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The Germanic Sword In The Tree: Parallel Development Or Diffusion?

The Germanic Sword In The Tree: Parallel Development Or Diffusion?

Littleton, Scott C. &  Malcor, Linda A.

The Heroic Age, Issue 11 (May 2008)

Abstract

In this paper we consider whether the Norse story of the “Sword in the Branstock” and the Arthurian tale of the “Sword in the Stone” may represent two variants of a tale about a celestial event that occurred 2160 B.C.E.

Scholars have long pointed to the Arthurian tale of the “Sword in the Stone” and the Norse story of the “Sword in the Branstock” as examples of the parallel development of an Indo-European myth that became part of an epic tradition in the Celtic and Germanic cultures (e.g., Bruce 1958, 1:145). In this paper we reexamine these two tales and consider whether they may represent two variants of a story that was born as the result of a celestial event that was viewed from somewhere near the northern shore of the Black Sea in 2160 B.C.E. (Barber and Barber 2004, 210).

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