Musings on a Germanic Hermes

I have often mused that despite sometimes being rather shallow and limited, almost an afterthought, Interpretatio Romana can indeed be sometimes rather insightful.

Take for instance, the identification of Odin with Hermes.
Now to modern eyes this seems a bit strange to cast the lord of victory and father of the Aesir in the role of Hermes, but it is rather insightful based on what a Roman might have seen and heard about the deity in question.

Consider that Hermes is a psychopomp, responsible for ferrying the dead to their respective afterlives, akin to how the Valkyries of Odin might take one to Asgard and the hall of the slain.

He is also a God of the road and crossroads, fitting for the wandering lord of the Aesir.

When Hermes was born in the wilds of arcadia, his first act was to steal Apollo’s sacred cattle and sacrifice them to the Gods (including himself). The story invokes him as the one “of many shifts (polytropos), blandly cunning, a robber, a cattle driver, a bringer of dreams, a watcher by night, a thief at the gates, one who was soon to show forth wonderful deeds among the deathless gods.”

Consider then that Odin is himself God of deceit and trickery, the many named and many shaped, Ill-advisor, and his own warrior cult of the Ulfhethnar lived in the wilds like wolves, living as bandits on rapine and slaughter. The immediate conflict with Apollo also portrays Hermes as fundamentally Dionysian in origin which would not have been lost on them.
He is a God of magicians and occult knowledge in his form as Hermes Trismegistus, just like Odin is the father of all magical spells.

He also bears the wing staff of the Caudecus and gives his gifts to healers and doctors, akin to Odin’s spear Gungnir and his famed ability at healing among the Gods.

He is a god of the Graveyards an intimately associated with the passage of the dead, which brings to mind the Alfather as the great necromancer.

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