The Poetic Edda: A Study Guide
 The Speech of the Masked One
Codex Regius
MS No. 2365 4to  [R]
Arnamagnæan Codex
AM 748 I 4to [A]
1954 Guðni Jónsson
Normalized Text:

15. Glitnir er inn tíundi,
hann er gulli studdr
ok silfri þakðr it sama;
en þar Forseti
byggir flestan dag
ok svöfir allar sakir.

15. Glitnir h. e. x.
hann er gulli studdr
ok silfri þakðr it sama;
en þar Forseti
byggir flestan dag
ok svæfir allar sakir.  

15. Glitnir er inn tíundi,
hann er gulli studdr
ok silfri þakðr it sama;
en þar Forseti
byggir flestan dag
ok svæfir allar sakir.  

English Translations
1797 Amos Simon Cottle
in Icelandic Poetry
The Song of Grimnir
1851 C.P. in
The Yale Magazine, Vol. 16
The Song of Grimner

Tenth house of fame, lo! Glitner shines,
Blest with the wealth of golden mines;
Bright molten silver crowns the dome,
Forester proudly calls his own:
There on soft rose-leaf beds he lies,
While suns successive set and rise.

The tenth is Glitner; there from golden shaft
And capital, the silver arches spring,
And bear aloft th' o'erhanging silvery dome
'Heath which Forsete sitteth every day
In chair of judgment, and with soothing hand
Husheth to sleep the civil strifes of men.

1866 Benjamin Thorpe
in Edda Sæmundar Hinns Frôða

The Lay of Grimnir
1883 Gudbrand Vigfusson
in Corpus Poeticum Boreale

The Sayings of the Hooded One

15. Glitnir is the tenth;
it is on gold sustained,
and eke with silver decked.
There Forseti dwells
throughout all time,
and every strife allays.

Glistener is the tenth, its pillars are of gold
and it is thatched with silver: here Forseti (Judge)
 lives every day, settling all causes.
1908 Olive Bray
in Edda Saemundar
The Sayings of Grimnir
1923 Henry Bellows
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnismol: The Ballad of Grimnir

15. The tenth is Glistener pillared with gold,
and eke with silver roofed ;
there Forseti dwells nigh the long day through,
the Judge, and soothes all strife.

15. The tenth is Glitnir;        its pillars are gold,
And its roof with silver is set;
There most of his days        does Forseti dwell,
And sets all strife at end.

1962 Lee M. Hollander
in The Poetic Edda
The Lay of Grimnir
1967 W. H. Auden & P. B. Taylor
in The Elder Edda
The Lay of Grimnir

15. Glitnir the tenth,    which with gold is propped,
    and is shingled with shining silver;
    there Forseti    unflagging sits,
    the god that stills all strife.

15. The tenth Glittering; it has gold pillars
And a rich roof of silver:
There Foreseti sits as a rule
And settles every suit.

1996 Carolyne Larrington
in The Poetic Edda
Grimnir’s Sayings
2011 Ursula Dronke
in The Poetic Edda, Vol. III: Mythological Poems 
“The Lay of Grimnir”

15. Glitnir is the tenth, it has golden buttresses,
and likewise is roofed with silver;
and there Forseti lives most days
and puts to sleep all quarrels.

15. Glistening is the tenth,
with gold it is buttressed
and also with silver roofed,
for there Forseti makes his home
most of the days
and calms all the quarrels.



Gylfaginning 17:
Then said Gangleri: "Thou knowest many tidings to tell of the heaven. What chief abodes are there more than at Urdr's Well?" Hárr said: "Many places are there, and glorious. That which is called Álfheimr ("Elf-home") is one, where dwell the peoples called Light-Elves; but the Dark-Elves dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike in appearance, but by far more unlike in nature. The Light-Elves are fairer to look upon than the sun, but the Dark-Elves are blacker than pitch. Then there is also in that place the abode called Breidablik ("Broad-gleaming"), and there is not in heaven a fairer dwelling. There, too, is the one called Glitnir ("Glittering"), whose walls, and all its posts and pillars, are of red gold, but its roof of silver. There is also the abode called Himinbjörg ("Heaven-crag"): it stands at heaven's end by the bridge-head, in the place where Bifröst joins heaven. Another great abode is there, which is named Valaskjálf ("Seat of the Fallen"); Odin possesses that dwelling; the gods made it and thatched it with sheer silver, and in this hall is the Hlidskjálf ("Gate-seat"), the high-seat so called. Whenever
Allfather sits in that seat, he surveys all lands. At the southern end of heaven is that hall which is fairest of all, and brighter than the sun; it is called Gimlé ("Heaven"?). It shall stand when both heaven and earth have departed; and good men and of righteous conversation shall dwell therein.
Gylfaginning 32:
"Forseti is the name of the son of Baldr and Nanna daughter of Nep: he has that hall in heaven which is called Glitnir. All that come to him with such quarrels as arise out of law-suits, all these return thence reconciled. That is the best seat of judgment among gods and men; thus it is said here:
A hall is called Glitnir, | with gold 't is pillared,
And with silver thatched the same;
There Forseti bides | the full day through,
And puts to sleep all suits.


this in context of Grimnismal 29, 30 which inform us that the gods ride their horses across Bifrost hvern dag (every day) to sit in dæma (judgement) by Urd’s well daily. The location of Urd’s well is not specified, except to say that it is on the opposite end of the place from which the gods begin their journey “every day”. Thus, their home  (Asgard) is presumably on one end of the bridge and Urd’s well is on the other. Snorri says Urd’s well is “in the heaven”.
If we accept Snorri’s statement that Glitnir is located at Urd’s well, along with Alfheim, Breidablik and Himinbjorg, then the gods ride from their homes (in Asgard) “every day” to Urd’s well (in heaven), EXCEPT FOR  Forseti Frey, Balder, and Heimdall, who already have their homes there? How many of you would accept that?
Is this then what the ancient heathens believed, or could it in fact be Snorri’s interpretation of it, based on his understanding as a Christian living in a Christian society converted over 200 years before? In other words, who is more reliable/ Snorri or an actual heathen poet, as expressed in an anonymous, but traditional, Eddic poem, such as Grimnismal? And can Snorri’s interpretations of verses, and his retellings, always be used to explain obscure passages in the eddic poems— especially the mythological poems of the Poetic Edda—or were some of them just as obscure to him and he sought to explain them? This can be answered with various degrees of certainty throughout of the Prose Edda (and opinions vary among scholars).
I would simply note that Grimnismal 30 names the horses that the gods ride across Bifrost daily, to come to Urd’s well. One of them is Gulltop. And, Gulltop is one of the few horses whose owner we can identify.
Ulf Uggason’s poem Husdrapa, quoted by Snorri in Skaldskaparmal, informs us that Heimdall’s horse is Gulltop. So Heimdall would be one of the gods riding across Bifrost (from his home in Asgard) to arrive at Urd’s well. Thus, Himinbjorg cannot be in heaven, near Urd’s well. Why else would Heimdall on Gulltop ride “daily” to Urd’s well over Bifrost, if he did not live on its opposite end?


Forseti: The Fore-sitter
Carl Emil Doepler, Sr.

Jacob Grimm, Teutonic Mythology,

Chapter 11, James Stalleybrass tr.

This Forseti is well entitled to be compared with the Frisian god Fosite, concerning whom some biographies composed in the ninth century gives us valuable information. The vita sancti Wilibrordi (d. 739), written by the famous Alcuin (d. 804), relates as follows, cap. 10 [In the Medieval Sourcebook]:  

Cum ergo pius verbi Dei praedicator iter agebat, pervenit in confinio Fresonum et Danorum ad quamdam insulam, quae a quodam deo suo Fosite ab accolis terrae Fositesland appellatur, quia in ea ejusdem dei fana fuere constructa. qui locus a paganis in tanta veneratione habebatur, ut nil in ea, vel animalium ibi pascentium, vel aliarum quarumlibet rerum, gentilium quisquam tangere audebat, nec etiam a fonte qui ibi ebulliebat aquam haurire nisi tacens praesumebat. Quo cum vir Dei tempestate jactatus est, mansit ibidem aliquot dies, quousque sepositis tempestatibus opportunum navigandi tempus adveniret. sed parvipendens stultam loci illius religionem, vel ferocissimum regis animum, qui violatores sacrorum illius atrocissima morte damnare solebat; tres homines in eo fonte cum invocatione sanctae Trinitatis baptizavit. sed et animalia in ea terra pascentia in cibaria suis mactare praecepit. Quod pagani intuentes, arbitrabantur eos vel in furorem verti, vel etiam veloci morte perire; quos cum nil mali cernebant pati, stupore perterriti, regi tamen Radbodo quod viderant factum retulerunt. Qui nimio furore succensus in sacerdotem Dei vivi suorum injurias deorum ulcisci cogitabat, et per tres dies semper tribus vicibus sortes suo more mittebat, et nunquam damnatorum sors, Deo vero defendente suos, super servum Dei aut aliquem ex suis cadere potuit; nec nisi unus tantum ex sociis sorte monstratus martyrio coronatus est.---

Now whilst this energetic preacher of the Word was pursuing his iourney he came to a certain island on the boundary between the Frisians and the Danes, which the people of those parts call Fositeland,[l] after a god named Fosite, whom they worship and whose temples stood there. This place was held by the pagans in such great awe that none of the natives would venture to meddle with any of the cattle that fed there nor with anything else, nor dare they draw water from the spring that bubbled up there except in complete silence. On this island the man of God was driven ashore by a storm and waited for some days until the gale died down and fair weather made it possible to set sail again. He set little store by the superstitious sacredness ascribed to the spot, or by the savage cruelty of the king, who was accustomed to condemn nolators of the sacred objects to the most cruel death. Willibrord baptized three persons in the fountain in the name of the Blessed Trinity and gave orders that some of the cattle should be slaughtered as food for his company. When the pagans saw this they expected that the strangers would become mad or be struck with sudden death. Noticing, however, that they suffered no harm, the pagans, terror­stricken and astounded, reported to the king what they had witnessed.

[1] Fositeland or Heligoland.

Radbod feared king Pippin the Frank, and let the evangelist go unhurt. What Wilibrord had left unfinished, was accomplished some time after by another priest, as the vita sancti Liudgeri, composed by Altfrid (d. 849), tells of the year 785:

----Altfrid evidently had the work of Alcuin by him. From that time the island took the name of hélegland, Helgoland, which it bears to this day; here also the evangelists were careful to conserve, in the interest of christianity, the sense of sacredness already attaching to the site. Adam of Bremen, in his treatise De situ Daniae (Pertz 9, 369), describes the island thus:

Ordinavit (archiepiscopus episcopum) in Finne (Fühnen) Eilbertum, quem tradunt conversum (l. captum) a piratis Farriam insulam, quae in ostio fluminis Albiae longo secessu latet in oceano, primum reperisse constructoque monasterio in ea fecisse habitabilem. haec insula contra Hadeloam sita est. cujus longitudo vix VIII milliaria panditur, latitudo quatuor; homines stramine fragmentisque navium pro igne utuntur. Sermo est piratas, si quando praedam inde vel minimam tulerint, aut max perisse naufragio, aut occisos ab aliquo, nullum redisse indempnem; quapropter solent heremitis ibi viventibus decimas praedarum offerre cum magna devotione. est enim feracissima frugum, ditissima volucrum et pecudum nutrix, collem habet unicum, arborem nullam, scopulis includitur asperrimis, nullo aditu nisi uno, ubi et aqua dulcis (the spring whence they drew water in silence), locus venerabilis omnibus nautis, praecipue vero piratis, unde nomen accepit ut Heiligeland dicatur. hanc in vita sancti Willebrordi Fosetisland appellari dicimus, quae sita est in confinio Danorum et Fresonum. sunt et aliae insulae contra Fresiam et Daniam, sed nulla earum tam memorabilis.

[Summary from The Lives of the Saints, Volume 3 by Sabine Baring-Gould:

"Albric sent Ludger and others to destroy the heathen temples and places of worship throughout Friesland. They found a vast quantity of treasure in them, of which Charlemagne reserved two-thirds, and gave the other to Albric for his own uses."

"...On S. Ludger's return, in 787, to Friesland, Charlemagne sent him to bear the glad tidings of the gospel of peace to the Frisians in the neighbourhood of Groningen and Norden. Away in the sea to the north was a white island, so he was told, a home of hardy seamen, whither S. Willibroad had been. Ludger resolved to go to this island of Fositesland, or Heligoland, and water the little seed of life that Willibroad had sown there. He embarked in a little vessel, and a pleasant breeze springing up, the boat was wafted towards the distant isle. Ludger stood in the bows, cross in hand, and saw a dark grey fog envelope the island. But presently the veil of mist rose, and disclosed the white chalk-cliffs glittering in sunshine, and the bishop gladly took this as an omen of success. He landed, preached the faith, and destroyed the temples, erecting churches in their stead. The people gladly heard the Word, and Ludger baptized them in the waters of the very fountain in which S. Willibroad had baptized three of the islanders on a former occasion. A son, also, of one of the chiefs embraced the faith, and became a teacher of the Frisians and the founder of a monastery."]

In an island lying between Denmark, Friesland and Saxony, we might expect to find a heathen god who was common to all three. It would be strange if the Frisian Fosite were unknown to the Norsemen; and stranger still if the Eddic Forseti were a totally different god. It is true, one would have expected a mention of this deity in particular from Saxo Grammaticus, who is quite silent about it; but then he omits many others, and in his day Fosite's name may have died out amongst the Frisians.

There is some discrepancy between the two names, as was natural in the case of two nations: ON. Forseti gen. forseta, Fris. Fosite gen. Fosites. The simplest suppostion is, that from Forsite arose by assimilation Fossite, Fosite, or that the R dropt out, as in OHG. mosar for morsar, Low Germ. mösar; so in the Frisian Angeln, according to Hagerup p. 20, föst, föste = förste, primus. Besides, there is hardly any other way of explaining Fosite. In ON. forseti is praeses, princeps, apparently translatable into OHG. forasizo, a fitting name for the god who presides over judgment, and arranges all disputes. The Gothic faúragaggja bears almost the same sense, which I also find, even in much later writings, attached to our word vorgänger (now = predecessor). More complete AS. genealogies would perhaps name a Forseta or Forsete as Bældæg's son.

Forseti, Fosite are a proof of the extent of Balder's worship. If we may infer from Pholesouwa and Baldrshagi that the god loved isles and 'eas' (estuaries). Helgoland is a case in point, where the flocks of his son grazed; and so is perhaps the worship of the Hercules-pillars, which, following Tacitus, we might fix on some other island near it. 

The Religion of the Teutons
 by P. D. Chantepie de la Saussaye, 1902

Forsete is usually connected with Baldr, who, according to Gylfaginning, Chapter 32, is his father. He inhabits the resplendent heavenly hall Glitnir, "where he allays every strife." Aside from this, and a few names of places in Norway, little mention is made of him in the Scandinavian North. He is a Frisian god, who has his seat on Helgoland. He probably came to the North during the Viking period and was there connected with Baldr, to whom he otherwise bears little resemblance. The name Fosite may be an epitheton, possibly of Wodan or of Tiu (the Mars Thingsus of the Frisian cuneus in England has been compared with him), less likely of Donar.
The accounts furnished by the Vitie of the missionaries concerning the land of Fosite have already been touched upon. On this inhospitable island, where the tempest so frequently cast the shipwrecked mariner, were the sacred well, the cattle, and the temples of the god. Whosoever profaned these was offered up by the king as a sacrifice to the god. Helgoland, just as Seeland, was probably the centre of an amphictyony. From this latter, and from the line cited above from Grimnismal, we may infer that Fosite was among the Frisians regarded as the god of justice. 
Characteristically heathen traits are better represented among the Frisians and Saxons than among the peoples that we have hitherto considered. The Frisians occupied a strip of land, not extending far into the interior, along the coast of the North Sea, from Flanders (Sinkfal, near Bruges) up to Sleswick. The history of their conversion (677-785) we know from contemporaneous Frankish, but not from native sources. It embraces several periods, intimately connected with their struggles against the Franks, which broke forth ever anew. The missionaries who preached among them were mostly Anglo-Saxons: Wilfrid, Willehad, Willebrord, Winfrid (Boniface). Liudger alone was of Frisian origin. The Frankish kings did everything within their power to further the spread of Christianity among them. As early as 622 Dagobert, of Austrasia, had founded a chapel in Utrecht and had given orders to baptize and evangelize the Frisians, but with little success. Wilfrid, who had accidentally stranded on the Frisian coast, was received kindly by king Aldgild. Redbad I, on the contrary, showed an inveterate hatred towards Christianity. As often as the Frankish yoke was shaken off, persecution of the Christians followed.
This marked hostility against Christianity is by no means to be attributed solely to national pride or political fears. The Frisians were attached to their heathen religion, which was at the time still in a flourishing state. We read of sacred groves, of springs, of temples in which treasures were stored. On Helgoland there were several temples. The great god Fosite was worshipped there; water from the holy spring might be drawn only in silence, and the cattle grazing round about it were not allowed to be touched. As late as the eleventh century we hear that the island was regarded as sacred by Norse seafarers. Even after their conversion some observances derived from paganism were still retained in Frisian law. In the century that marks the period of struggle between the old and new religion, known to us chiefly from the lives of the missionaries, the Frisians long remained faithful to their ancient religious usages. When Willebrord, on his return from his fruitless mission among the Danes, landed on Helgoland he defied the wrath of Fosite by baptizing several Frisians with water from the sacred spring. He is brought into the presence of the king as one under sentence of death, but Redbad does not deviate from the custom according to which the lot was to decide concerning the life or death of the prisoner, and when this is found favorable to the Christian the king sets him free. Subsequently Liudger succeeds in accomplishing on the island sacred to Fosite what his predecessor had failed in; he replaces the heathen temples with Christian churches. Liudger's mother was Liafborg, and of her we are told that, in accordance with the wishes of a wicked grandmother, she was to have been put to death immediately after birth, but the compassionate wife of a neighbor saved the child's life by placing a little honey upon its lips, it being considered obligatory that a child which had already partaken of some food should be brought up. The material at our command is extremely meagre, but from such accounts it appears that life was to a large extent bound up in religious observances and duties. Everywhere the gods play an essential part in the lives of these Frisian heathen. Chief among them are Wodan, his sons Thuner and Tiu, and his spouse Fria, all of whom we know only from their use as names of days of the week. Concerning Fosite alone are we more fully informed, but perhaps this too is only another name under which the chief of all gods, Wodan, was worshipped. That the service of these gods was by no means dead is proved by the fanaticism which could be evoked among its followers, — a fanaticism to which Boniface fell a victim on the 5th of June, 755, near Dokkum.
The Saxons showed themselves no less hostile toward the new religion. The first who, towards the end of the seventh century, preached the gospel among them, the "white" and the "black" Ewald fell as martyrs. Not long after Suidbert, numerous heathen customs, and the synods, especially those held at Orleans, had to inveigh against sacrificatory feasts, conjurations, worship of trees, springs, rocks, and various kinds of commingling of paganism with Christianity, yet the organization of the church became gradually more firmly established and its influence upon the people more marked. At first this influence was an outward one and did not penetrate very rapidly into the moral nature of the people. Chlodowech, after his conversion, was still the same faithless man, who did not shrink from inciting a son to patricide or from slaying kinsmen with his own hand. His successors were even worse. The horrors of the Merovingian royal house have rarely been surpassed in history, and while the morals of the royal family in the present instance probably do not indicate the general standard of morality, that standard was doubtless none too high. But the church could abide its time. Its influence gradually percolated the nation at large, and it was from the kingdom of the Franks that Christianity was disseminated among the German tribes.
The German peoples were Christianized first by Goths and Romans and subsequently by Franks and missionaries from Ireland and England. In the case of some tribes we know little or nothing as to the particular circumstances of their conversion. So the Lombards were converted to Arianism as early as the end of the fifth century. When Alboin came to Italy he was a Christian, but it was not until the days of Pope Gregory I that the union with Rome followed, brought about more especially through the influence of the queen Theudelinde, who was a Bavarian princess of Frankish descent. We notice very little, however, of paganism among this people, although we have already seen that it was by no means poor in historical legends —- embodying as usual mythical elements — that had received poetical treatment.

Saxo Grammaticus, Gesta Dancorum (Oliver Elton Translation):
III. The Statue of Suanto- Vitus (Bk. XIV, p. 564 8qq.)
[Waldemar I and Absalon lay siege to Arkon in Rügen, a city on a ness with precipice walls.]

On a level in the midst of the city was to be seen a wooden temple of most graceful workmanship, held in honour not only for the splendour of its ornament, but for the divinity of an image set up within it. The outside of the building was bright with careful graving [or painting], whereon sundry shape were rudely and uncouthly pictured. There was but one gate for entrance. The shrine itself was shut in a double row of enclosures, the outer whereof was made of walls and .covered with a red summit; while the inner one rested on four pillars, and instead of having walls was gorgeous with hangings, not communicating with the outer save for the roof and a few beams. In the temple stood a huge image, far overtopping all human stature, marvellous for its four heads and four necks, two facing the breast and two the back. Moreover, of those in front as well as of those behind, one looked leftwards and the other rightwards. The beards were figured as shaven and the hair as clipped; the skilled workman might be thought to have copied the fashion of the Rügeners in the dressing of the heads. In the right hand it held a horn wrought of divers metals, which the priest, who was versed in its rites, used to fill every year with new wine, in order to foresee the crops of the next season from the disposition of the liquor. In the left there was a representation of a bow, the arm being drawn back to the side. A tunic was figured reaching to the shanks, which were made of different woods, and so secretly joined to the knees that the place of the join could only be detected by narrow scrutiny. The feet were seen close to the earth, their base being hid underground. Not far off a bridle and saddle and many emblems of godhead were visible. Men's marvel at these things was increased by a sword of notable size, whose scabbard and hilt were not only excellently graven, but also graced outside with [mounts or inlaying of] silver. This image was regularly worshipped in the following way. Once every year, after harvest, a motley throng from the whole isle would sacrifice beasts for peace-offering before the temple of the image, and keep ceremonial feast. Its priest was conspicuous for his long beard and hair, beyond the common fashion of the country. On the day before that on which he must sacrifice, he used to sweep with brooms the shrine, which he had the sole right of entering. He took heed not to breathe within the building. As often as he needed to draw or give breath, he would run out to the door, lest forsooth the divine presence should be tainted with human breath. On the morrow, the people being at watch before the doors, he took the cup from the image, and looked at it narrowly; if any of the liquor put in had gone away he thought that this pointed to a scanty harvest for next year. When he had noted this he bade them keep, against the future, the corn which they had. If he saw no lessening in its usual fulness, he foretold fertile crops. So, according to this omen, he told them to use the harvest of the present year now thriftily, now generously. Then he poured out the old wine as a libation at the feet of the image, and filled the empty cup with fresh; and, feigning the part of a cupbearer, he adored the statue, and in a regular form of address prayed for good increase of wealth and conquests for himself, his country and its people. This done, he put the cup to his lips, and drank it up over-fast at an unbroken draught; refilling it then with wine, he put it back in the hand of the statue. Mead-cakes were also placed for offering, round in shape and great, almost up to the height of a man's stature. The priest used to put this between himself and the people, and ask, Whether the men of Rügen could see him? By this request he prayed not for the doom of his people or himself, but for increase of the coming crops. Then he greeted the crowd in the name of the image, and bade them prolong their worship of the god with diligent sacrificing, promising them sure rewards of their tillage, and victory by sea and land. ... [The people keep orgy the rest of the day to please the god.]  ... Each male and female hung a coin every year as a gift in worship of the image. It was also allotted a third of the spoil and plunder, as though these had been got and won by its protection. This god also had 300 horses appointed to it, and as many men-at-arms riding them, all of whose gains, either by arms or theft, were put in the care of the priest. Out of these spoils he wrought sundry emblems and temple-ornaments which he consigned to locked coffers containing store of money and piles of time-eaten purple. Here, too, was to be seen a mass of public and private gifts, the contributions of anxious suppplicants for blessings. This statue was worshipped with the tributes of all Sclavonia, and neighbouring kings did not fail to honour its sacrifice with gifts. ...[Even Sweyn gave a wrought cup, and there were smaller shrines. ] ...Also it possessed a special white horse, the hairs of whose mane and tail it was thought impious to pluck, and which only the priest had the privilege of feeding and riding, lest the use of the divine beast might become common and therefore cheap. On this horse, in the belief of Rügen, Suanto-Vitus —so the image was called—rode to war against the foes of his religion. The chief proof was that the horse when stabled at night was commonly found in the morning, bespattered with mire and sweat, as though he had come from exercise and travelled leagues. Omens also where taken by this horse, thus: When war was determined against any district, the servants set out three rows of spears, two joined crosswise, each row being planted point downwards in the earth; the rows an equal distance apart. When it was time to make the expedition, after a solemn prayer, the horse was led in harness out of the porch by the priest. If he crossed the rows with the right foot before the left it was taken as a lucky omen of warfare; if he put the left first, so much as once, the plan of attacking that district was dropped; neither was any voyage finally fixed, until three paces in succession of the fortunate manner of walking were observed. Also folk faring out on sundry businesses took an omen concerning their wishes from their first meeting with the beast. Was the omen happy, they blithely went on with their journey; was it baleful, they turned and went home.  Nor were these people ignorant of the use of lots. Three bits of wood black on one side, white on the other, were cast into the lap. Fair, meant good luck; dusky, ill. Neither were their women free from this sort of knowledge, for they would sit by the hearth and draw random lines in the ashes without counting. If these when counted were even, they were thought to bode success; if odd, ill-fortune. [The king goes to attack the town and efface profane rites. His men make works, but he says these are needless] because the Rügeners had once been taken by Karl Cæsar , and bidden to honour with tribute Saint Vitus of Corvey, famous for his sanctified death. But when the conqueror died they wished to retain freedom, and exchanged slavery for superstition, putting up an image at home to which they gave the name of the holy Vitus, and, scorning the people of Corvey, they proceeded to transfer the tribute to its worship, saying that they were content with their own Vitus, and need not serve a strange one. [Vitus would come and avenge himself, so the king prophesies; the siege is related; the people trust their defences, and guard] the tower over the gate only with emblems and standards. Among these was Stanitia [margin, Stuatira], notable for size and hue, which received as much adoration from the Rügeners as almost all the gods together; for, shielded by her, they took leave to assail the laws of God and man, counting nothing unlawful which they liked. ... [the town is taken and fired] pg. 574. [The image could not be prized up without iron tools. Esbern and Snio cut it down] The image fell to the ground with a crash. Much purple hung round the temple; it was gorgeous, but so rotten with decay that it could not bear the touch. There were also the horns of woodland beasts, marvellous in themselves and for their workmanship. A demon in the form of a dusky animal was seen to quit the inner part and suddenly vanish from the sight of the bystanders. [The image of Suanto- Vitus is then chopped into firewood.]
IV. The lmage at Karentia [Garz] in Rügen (Bk. XIV, p. 577).
[Asalon goes against the Karentines; takes the town, and comes upon three temples of a similar kind to that at Arkon.] The greater temple was situated in the midst of its own ante-chamber, but both were enclosed with purple [hangings] instead of walls, the summit of the roof being propped merely on pillars. So the servants, tearing down the rear of the ante- chamber, at last stretched out their hands to the inmost veil of the temple. This was removed, and an oaken image which they called Rugie-Vitus [Rügen's Vitus] was exposed on every side amid mockery at its hideousness. For the swallows had built their nests beneath its features, and had piled a heap [of droppings on its breast. The god was only fit to have his effigy hideously befouled by birds. Also in its head were set seven faces, after human likenesses, all covered under a  single poll, and the workman had also bound by its side in a single belt seven real swords with their scabbards. The eighth it held in its hand drawn; this was fitted in the wrist and fixed very fast with an iron nail, and the hand must be cut off before it could be wrenched away: which led to the image being mutilated. Its thickness was beyond that of a human body, but it was so long that Absalon, standing a-tip-toe, could scarce reach its chin with the little axe he was wont to carry in his hand. The people had believed this god to preside over wars, as if it had the power of Mars. Nothing in this image pleased the eye; its features were hideous with uncouth gravings [or painting]. [It is cut down, and its own people spurn it and are converted. The assailants go on] to the image of Pore-Vitus, which was worshipped in the next town. This was also five-headed, but represented without weapons. On this being cut down they go to the temple of Porenutius. This statue representing four faces had the fifth inserted in its bosom; its left hand touched the brow, and its right the chin [It was destroyed.]