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Barbarian Potency

Worlds of faith

Classical and medieval sources pass down fragments of Germanic beliefs. There was no pan-Germanic religion. At the beginning, earth-born creator powers, fertility gods and rites were important in the rural Germanic world

Animals played a special role in the world of belief as mediators between the spheres of this world and the beyond. The depiction of animals was intended to obtain a share in their power - the small bronze 'cult cattle' are probably meant to be understood in this sense.

In the time of the conflict with the Romans, gods of war and death such as Odin/Wotan became increasingly important. Gold bracteates minted on one side and dating from around AD 500 are an important pictorial source of this period. The images, which at first glance seem massive but are extremely artistic, tell mythological stories that can still be understood today thanks to later written traditions. For example, the divine healing of a horse is attested by one of the Merseburg incantations from the 10th century.

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