31 Mar 2016

The Pagan Sites of Europe Remembered (27): Harzburg Castle

There is strong but confusing evidence that Harzburg Castle in Germany was once an important pagan site.

Given the extent of the cultural genocide committed against European Paganism by the Abrahamic religion, and in light of the fact that Pagans sacralized almost any important geographical feature, this means that there is a practical certainty that Harzburg was in fact an important Pagan site, even if this is now conveyed to us through garbled and imprecise sources.

Harzburg Castle is the most prominent site in Bad Harzburg, a spa town that lies at the Northern edge of the Harz Mountains in Saxony. These mountains are not particularly high, with the highest point being 3,743 feet.

The basis for the Pagan pedigree of Harzburg Castle is the Saxon Chronicle of 1492 attributed to the Brunswick goldsmith Conrad Bothe (c. 1475 – c. 1501). This is partly based on the Sächsische Weltchroniuniversal, a history written between 1229 and 1277, and other unknown sources.

Critics imply that Bothe was freely using his own imagination, and call Krodo a "pseudo god." A degree of fanciful elaboration is not unlikely, although the idea of pure invention is inconsistent with the times and culture in which the chronicle was written. Bothe's reliance on the Sächsische Weltchroniuniversal clearly suggests that he was sincerely presenting his best knowledge of the facts and existing legends at the time.

In the Chronicle, Bothe describes Krodo as a Saturn-like god, partly inspired by military standards erected by the Romans during their military expeditions in Germany, including one at the site of what later became Harzburg Castle. The god was subsequently represented by an idol that Bothe has depicted in the Chronicle as a man standing on a fish, holding a bucket of roses and a wheel, and with a linen belt wafting in the breeze. These symbols seem to represent the four classical elements: fish (water), roses (earth), wheel (fire), and belt (air).

Charlemagne has the statue of Krodo destroyed.
In 780, the area was invaded by the Christian Frankish king Charlemagne, who, the Chronicle mentions, attacked and destroyed the statue and its shrine.

In 2007, a statue of Krodo based on the illustration in the Chronicle was erected, recognizing the confused echo of the site's pagan past. Krodo is now used as the town's mascot and as a means to promote tourism.

Colin Liddell
A Pagan Place

1st  April, 2016

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