Saxo Grammaticus on pre-Christian religion of the Slavs: the relevant fragments from book XIV of Gesta Danorum (draft)
Among the literary sources on pre-Christian religion and mythology of the Slavs, predominantly highly fragmented and biased, the Western, German-Danish, Latin texts distinguish themselves, compared to the Arab and Old Rus’ sources, by their relative scrupulousness and a less obvious agenda. Even on the backdrop of the other Western sources, accounts of Saxo Grammaticus are specially characterized by the detailed and rigorous descriptions and the minimal use of the ideologically motivated narrative instruments. Unfortunately, the English translation of book XIV done by Erik Christiansen is highly difficult to access, while Oliver Elton’s translation of a number of fragments in books I-IX describing the same pre-Christian religion, lack the desired level of accuracy and detail of the cult description. The following translation, with all its imperfections, still, is intended to make Saxo Grammaticus’ texts more accessible for a wider circle of readers, both specialists and not, present frequently overlooked fragments, and correct some of the errors traditionally creeping from one of the Saxo’s account overview to another. The translation is accompanied by the Latin original, and an attempt was made to preserve the original structure of the text in English translation as much as possible without impeding its semantics and the ease of understanding. Another goal of this translation is to give a second possible reading to vague fragments, compared to existing translations, without penalizing the accuracy.
 Because the people of Arkona, neither having gathered enough troops to conduct the war, nor having found a sufficient place to amass auxiliary forces, surrendered to necessities of life and, having promised to convert to Christianity, surrendered, however, the statue, which they adored, [they] retained, [because] the Danes let them.  For this statue, related to frequently celebrated services of the civic religious rites observed of the particular city, was falsely named after Saint Vit.  That preservation [of the statue] caused that common folk did not completely reject old religious mores.
 Igitur Archonenses, cum nec vires conserendi belli haberent neque locum ad contrahenda auxilia suppetere cernerent, necessitate victi salutem et in Christiana sacra transitionem pacti, statua, quam venerabantur, retenta, Danis se tradunt.  Erat enim simulacrum urbi praecipua civium religione cultum crebrisque finitimorum officiis celebratum, sed falso sancti Viti vocabulo insignitum.  Quo asservato, oppidani veterem sacrorum morem penitus abrogari passi non sunt.
 Therefore, first, having requested ceremonial rite of washing out [sins/baptism], to be urged to [proceed] to a large body of water, showing of religious zeal of neophytes, under it dysplayed religious weakness, [because they just] refreshed [their] siege-wery bodies.  Also, an instructor in the divine religious matters have been gaven to the people of Arkona, who taught them life of religious rites observance, and corrected newly re-appeared rudiments of the [old] cult.  However, after Erick and the instructor left, [observance] of religious rites was interrupted.  Following [the departure], the people of Arkona, having betrayed hostages, returned to the original rites of the statue, thus rejecting the divine faith given [to] them.
 Primum itaque sollemni ritu prolui iussi, stagnum maiore pellendae sitis quam initiandae religionis ardore petentes, sub specie sacrorum fessa obsidione corpora refecerunt.  Datur Archonensibus pariter rerum divinarum antistes, qui et iis cultioris vitae formam praescriberet et novae religionis rudimenta contraderet.  Sed post abscessum Erici cum antistite pulsa religio.  Siquidem Archonenses, abiecta obsidum caritate, pristinum statuae cultum repetentes, qua fide divinum susceperint, prodiderunt.
 Seeing that, [despite] before Dambor humbly begged for peace, [now] he offered it under the equal, for both sides, conditions.  In addition, he requested Absalon’s intervention in king’s matters.  Being asked a confirmation of the sincerity of the aims of his requests, he offered to conduct a local pledge, in which a stone was thrown in a water to be consumed by it.  The being offered barbarian superstitious rite was to contemplate over the prophecy of the waves, that if a treaty is forgotten, the sinking of the stone will foretell the doom [of the violator].  However, Absalon dismissed the colorful superstitious nonsense in such serious matters, demanding hostages, and in no way agreed with Dambor’s recquest for the mutual hostage exchange.  Finding that unappropriate, Absalon asserted that Rugians were not accustomed to take Danes as hostages, and, in opposite, used to send them ships with money and supplies, while Danes do not remember that they ever granted such a service to Rugians even once.
 Quod videns Domborus pacem, quam ante supplex petiverat, sub aequis tantum condicionibus offerebat.  Ceterum Absalonis apud regem interventum poscebat.  A quo oblationem suam liquida fide prosequi rogatus, pignoris loco lapillum se aquae iniecturum asseruit.  Siquidem icturis foedus barbaris religioni erat calculum in undas conicere seque, si pacto obviam issent, mersi lapidis exemplo perituros orare.  Sed contra poscente obsides Absalone fucosaque superstitionum mendacia in rebus seriis recipienda negante, haudquaquam Domboro mutua petendorum obsidum fiducia defuit.  Quod Absalon indigne ferens, Rugianos non solum obsides Danis, sed etiam pecuniam cum supplementis classis transmittere solitos asseverabat, cum Dani nihil tale Rugianis umquam a se concessum solutumve meminerint.
 At night Absalon had returned, while the king [Waldemar] still staying long sleepless, was in the torment of delaying and waiting.  Whom [he, the king] received with joy, [and] his ship, which [he] considered not having necessary navigational qualities because of the size, sent home, and [he] moved on a somewhat smaller ship, transferring it to the lake, [and he] sent into a raid Sven’s two suitable ships in the long shallow marshy pool.  Also city of Rostock, [whose] population was not cowardly, [still he] burned without troubles.  Their statue, which simple people think of as a heavenly divinity, and giving it divine honours, [he] committed to burning.
 Noctu redeunte Absalone, rex adhuc insomnis diutinam eius moram angore et vigilia prosequebatur.  Quo excepto gavisus, liburna sua, quod ob granditatem navigationi inhabilis videretur, domum remissa, in aliquanto minorem se contulit; eaque ad lacum devectus, Sunonem binis instructum navigiis in longinquos paludis recessus praedatum mittit.  Urbem quoque Rostock, oppidanorum ignavia destitutam, nullo negotio perussit.  Statuam etiam, quam gentis profana credulitas perinde ac caeleste numen divinis honoribus prosequebatur, incendio mandavit.
 Having interrupted this dispute before the king, a certain Masko, [who was] born between Rugians, and highly revered by them, completely blind, but with the clear vivacity of the mind, which his age did not deprived him from, said: “[It’s] imprudent to use a mad horse tightening the bridle, let the lashes, causing the madness, loose.  Therefore, relax the harness on Saxons, do not let the excess of the strain rupture [it].  Because we know them too well, and they – us, which is good.”
 Ea altercatione per regem sedata, Masco quidam, inter Rugianos natu atque auctoritate praestantissimus, luminibus orbatus, sed ingenii sagacitate perspicuus nec annis quam animo vivacior: ‘Concitatioris’, inquit, ‘petulantiae equis mos est, quo artius retinentur, hoc vehementius habenas tendere.  Laxentur itaque Saxonibus freni, ne retentationis nimietate rumpantur.  Siquidem et nobis ipsorum et ipsis nostra perquam nota est virtus.’
 Meantime, Duke Henry the Lion, preparing to go into expedition, sent a vanguard [forth] with many standards, consisting of Count Adolf (II) of Holstein and prefect of the city of Schwerin Guncellin, who was appointed by Henry (of Badewide) of Ratzeburg, and who recently received from the Saxons rights of authority and maps of his lands, not without a certain Regnald, who was somewhat known for his violent deeds, rather than a noble birth.  That invasion the Slavs decided to engage when they learned about it, partly from rumors, partly from experience; [they] preferred to attack a part, not the whole, of the enemie’s forces, much trusting [their] experience that has vuangard been crashed, the rest will flee.  After careful preparation and with flaming zeal, [they] charged on their enemies, [and a] horrible demonic image of supreme [nature] was seen overhanging them.  As if confirming divinely given support of conducting the offence, supposedly guaranteeing victory, unexpectedly for their enemies, emerged in their camp, and stubbed them unprepared.
 Interea Henricus Holsatiorum principem Adolfum cum Henrico Razaburgensi praefectumque Suerini oppidi, Guncellinum, quod nuper a Saxonibus in potestatem redactum ius et formam civitatis acceperat, nec non Regnaldum quendam, parum origine liberum, operibusque quam genere clariorem, cum insigni copiarum parte praemittit, expeditum sibi transitum paraturos.  Quorum ingressum Sclavi cum partim fama, partim experimento cognovissent, cum parte hostium confligere quam universos aggredi maluerunt, multum ex eorum robore, si praevios oppressissent, defluxurum credentes.  Cumque summa cura ac flagrantissimo studio ad eos opprimendos contenderent, daemonem horrendae formae superne verticibus imminentem videre.  Quo monstro tamquam divinitus dati ducis adventu firmati, sumptis victoriae auspiciis, ex improviso hostium se castris immergunt eosque imparatos confodiunt.
 Adolf and Regnald were killed in this attack on the camp, a price paid by their blood for the neglecting military prudence.  Those who have avoided the initial destruction, Guncellin and Henry, during the battle escaping the encirclement, picked up standards, gathered reminders of others [who were also] fleeing, finally boldly attacked the enemy who was plundering [the camp], [and thus] changed fleeing into victory.  So Saxons, though they recklessly carried the war, [despite] suffering and accepting many casualties, [by] bravery [they] relinquished the disarray.
 Adolfus et Regnaldus, in ipso castrorum aditu interfecti, neglectae militaris prudentiae poenas sanguine persolverunt.  Quibus prima caede prostratis, Guncellinus et Henricus, mediis irruentium globis elapsi, correptis aquilis, ad se fugientium sociorum reliquias contraxere ac demum hostes praedae incubantes audacter adorti, fugam victoria mutavere.  Ita Saxones, quamquam improvidi bellum tentassent, maiorem cladem gesserint an acceperint, virtute dubium reliquere.
 Henry, after suffering such losses, quite naturally enraged, being moved by the desire of vengeance, hurried up, with all possible speed, to the sieged city of Demin.  More, after he learned that locals burned [the city], and all buildings there were destroyed, he ordered to level reminders of the walls to the ground.  And since [he] was not able to punish people, as if directing vengeance on lifeless objects, ordered to burn down the city of Cozcov (Gutzkow), similarly abandoned by terrified inhabitants.  People of the neighboring city of Walogast (Wolgast), also being afraid of such destruction, having followed the example, secretly crossing the river with wives and children, without any baggage except home relics, left the city, escaping the enemy’s fury.
 Quo accepto, Henricus, suorum caedibus, ut par erat, permotus, exigendae vindictae studio ad obsidionem Deminae urbis, quantacumque potuit celeritate, contendit.  Quam postquam ultro ab incolis obustam comperit, ut universa ipsius munimenta subrueret, reliquias moenium solo exaequari praecepit.  Et quoniam in homines grassari non licuit, tamquam a rebus mutis supplicium exacturus, urbem Cozcovam, simili incolarum trepidatione desertam, cremandam curavit.  Walogastini quoque, finitimarum urbium, quarum excidio terrebantur, exemplum secuti, clandestino traiectu fluminis cum uxoribus ac liberis municipium deserunt, penates dumtaxat rebus vacuos hostili saevitiae relicturi.
 It [Arkona], being located on an elevated place, nearby the summit, from the East, South, and North was protected not by artificial, but by natural fortifications, steep walls [of which] presented an [impressive] view, [and] to the tops of them the missiles launched from the throwing machines were not able to reach.  They were surrounded by the stormy sea, a rampart of fifty elbows high completely closing the West, the lower part of which was made from dirt, and the upper – from a seamless wooden palisade.  On the North side of it was a freshwater spring, to which a fortified path was built for the city folk to use.  Once already, Eric (Unforgotten) having brutally blocked access to it, used no less difficult thirst, instead of armed [assault] for the siege.  On the central square of the city there was seen a wooden temple of the most elegant craftsmanship, being revered not only for its greatness, but also for the statue of the local deity.  It was seen [that] the temple was surrounded by accurately curved [figures], but its exterior [walls] were painted by rough and unpolished pictures of various shapes and figures.  The temple had one door leading to its insides.  The temple had a double wall, a scarlet roof was attached to its external constructional part, while the internal wall construction was a hanging of four main posts and a few beams, to which shining curtains were attached, but not connected to external walls or roof.
 Haec, in excelso promontorii cuiusdam vertice collocata, ab ortu, meridie et aquilone non manu factis, sed naturalibus praesidiis munitur, praecipitiis moenium speciem praeferentibus, quorum cacumen excussae tormento sagittae iactus aequare non possit.  Ab iisdem quoque plagis circumfluo mari saepitur; ab occasu vero vallo quinquaginta cubitos alto concluditur, cuius inferior medietas terrea erat, superior ligna glaebis intersita continebat.  Septentrionale eius latus fonte irriguo scatet, ad quem muniti callis beneficio oppidanis iter patebat.  Huius quondam Ericus usu violentius intercluso, non levius siti quam armis obsessos premebat.  Medium urbis planities habebat, in qua delubrum materia ligneum, opere elegantissimum visebatur, non solum magnificentia cultus, sed etiam simulacri in eo collocati numine reverendum.  Exterior aedis ambitus accurato caelamine renitebat, rudi atque impolito picturae artificio varias rerum formas complectens.  Unicum in eo ostium intraturis patebat.  Ipsum vero fanum duplex saeptorum ordo claudebat, e quibus exterior, parietibus contextus, puniceo culmine tegebatur; interior vero, quattuor subnixus postibus, parietum loco pensilibus aulaeis nitebat, nec quicquam cum exteriore praeter tectum et pauca laquearia communicabat.
 Inside the temple a giant statue was seen, whose size was greatly exceeding any typical human body, from which, surprisingly, four heads on four necks were erected, from them, two were [looking] ahead, another two – in opposite [direction].  Also, whatever direction one would look at them: from front or back, from left or right, he would meet their line of sight. (Literally: Also, whatever [was] the placement [of the pairs of heads]: front or back, one [of the pair] – to the right, another – to the left, the line of [their] sight was seen.)  Combed beards and clipped hair were curved [on the heads], skillfully depicted after the traditional fashion of the Rugen.  The right hand [of the statue] was holding a horn decorated by various metal pieces, which the priest, experienced in his annual sacred rites, according to the customs, filled in with honey drink; a year later, he was making foretelling by the amount of a mead wine, which has turned out of it.  In the left hand, prostrated aside, was sculpted a stringed bow.  Tunica, made from different pieces of wood, was sculpted hanging over shank bones, so hiddenly was joined to the knees that the place of the joint would not be possible to distinguish without careful investigation.  Feet, touching the floor were seen, while the soles were hidden in the ground.  Not far were seen a harness and saddle, and many other symbols of the divinity.  [There was hanging] a large sword, of an admirable view, the impression of the more than excellent silver engravings on the exterior of its sheath and handle was quite noticeable.
 Ingens in aede simulacrum, omnem humani corporis habitum granditate transscendens, quattuor capitibus totidemque cervicibus mirandum perstabat, e quibus duo pectus totidemque tergum respicere videbantur.  Ceterum tam ante quam retro collocatorum unum dextrorsum, alterum laevorsum contemplationem dirigere videbatur.  Corrasae barbae, crines attonsi figurabantur, ut artificis industriam Rugianorum ritum in cultu capitum aemulatam putares.  In dextra cornu vario metalli genere excultum gestabat, quod sacerdos sacrorum eius peritus annuatim mero perfundere consueverat, ex ipso liquoris habitu sequentis anni copias prospecturus.  Laeva arcum reflexo in latus brachio figurabat.  Tunica ad tibias prominens fingebatur, quae ex diversa ligni materia creatae, tam arcano nexu genibus iungebantur, ut compaginis locus non nisi curiosiori contemplatione deprehendi potuerit.  Pedes humo contigui cernebantur, eorum basi intra solum latente.  Haud procul frenum ac sella simulacri compluraque divinitatis insignia visebantur.  Quorum admirationem conspicuae granditatis ensis augebat, cuius vaginam ac capulum praeter excellentem caelaturae decorum, exterior argenti species commendabat.
 Ceremonial services of this cult included: yearly, after counting results of the bountiful harvest, the island’s population crowded before the temple of the statue, cattle being sacrificed, and a ceremonial feast of the rites [devoted] to the divinity was celebrated.  The priest [of the divinity], showing the strict observance of the length of hair and beard according to old traditions of the ancestral community, a day before [the feast] had to perform an even more important service to the divinity, the temple, only he had traditional right to enter, he used to clean most diligently with a broom, making sure he would not breath inside the temple; when he needed to breath in or out, he ran to the doors, to prevent pollution of the pure divine presence by the contact with mortal spirits.
 Sollemnis eidem cultus hoc ordine pendebatur: Semel quotannis, post lectas fruges, promiscua totius insulae frequentia ante aedem simulacri, litatis pecudum hostiis, sollemne epulum religionis nomine celebrabat.  Huius sacerdos, praeter communem patriae ritum barbae comaeque prolixitate spectandus, pridie quam rem divinam facere debuisset, sacellum, quod ei soli intrandi fas erat, adhibito scoparum usu, diligentissime purgare solebat, observato, ne intra aedem halitum funderet; quo quoties capessendo vel emittendo opus habebat, toties ad ianuam procurrebat, ne videlicet dei praesentia mortalis spiritus contagio pollueretur.
 The next day, the population [of the island], having gathered before the temple’s gates, was excited to see the horn taken out of the statue’s hand, [because] if the amount of the distilled mead [in the horn] was less than expected value, that meant the next year’s [crops] tend to be scarce.  In that case, the current harvest results were prescribed to be conserved for the future.  If recessing of the usual fertility criterion would not be seen, then the coming of times of prolific crops was predicted.  According to this prediction, either more economic, or more liberal use of the yearly supply on hand was prescribed.  Then, after the old mead being poured out to the feet of the statute, as a libation to its divinity, [the priest] washed fresh the emptied horn, and, in similar obligatory toasts, having praised the statue and the people, in solemn oration proclaimed a wish of an annual increase of wealth and victory for good fellow citizens.  Having finishing [the toasts], [the priest], closing the horn to [his] mouth, with huge, fast, consecutive gulps, drunk it out dry, [and] having replenished the honey drink [in the horn], re-deposited it into the right hand of the statue.  A cake of round form, made with the use of honey, of such large size that [it] was almost equal to the human height, was brought forward as a sacrificial [gift].  Having placed the cake between him and the people, the priest used to ask whether Rugians see him.  To those, who answered they, from their position, can see him, he wished that the next year they would not be able to see him from there.  Though those traditional sayings were related not to predictions of his of their fate, but to hopes over the increase of future harvest.
 Postero die, populo prae foribus excubante, detractum simulacro poculum curiosius speculatus, si quid ex inditi liquoris mensura subtractum fuisset, ad sequentis anni inopiam pertinere putabat.  Quo annotato, praesentes fruges in posterum tempus asservari iubebat.  Si nihil ex consuetae fecunditatis habitu deminutum vidisset, ventura agrorum ubertatis tempora praedicabat.  Iuxta quod auspicium instantis anni copiis nunc parcius, nunc profusius utendum monebat.  Veteri deinde mero ad pedes simulacri libamenti nomine defuso, vacuefactum poculum recenti imbuit; simulatoque propinandi officio statuam veneratus, tum sibi, tum patriae bona civibusque opum ac victoriarum incrementa sollemnium verborum nuncupatione poscebat.  Qua finita, admotum ori poculum nimia bibendi celeritate continuo haustu siccavit repletumque mero simulacri dexterae restituit.  Placenta quoque mulso confecta, rotundae formae, granditatis vero tantae, ut paene hominis staturam aequaret, sacrificio admovebatur.  Quam sacerdos sibi ac populo mediam interponens, an a Rugianis cerneretur, percontari solebat.  Quibus, illum a se videri, respondentibus, ne post annum ab iisdem cerni posset, optabat.  Quo precationis more non suum aut populi fatum, sed futura messis incrementa poscebat.
Then, [the priest] in the name of the deity of the statue greeted the crowd, for a long time encouraging them conducting thorough sacrificial rituals to his divinity, and promised definite rewards for that in a form of victories on the ground and the sea.  That finished, the rest of the day was protracted with the luxurious plentiful feast, which could have turned from the religious meal into a joyous eating and gluttony, because [abundance of] the sacrificed animals to the deity were provoking people for excesses.  [If] in this moderate feast someone had been seen as violating restraint, [he] would be [considered] breaking tradition.
 Consequenter sub simulacri nomine praesentem turbam consalutabat, eamque diutius ad huius numinis venerationem sedulo sacrificii ritu peragendam hortatus, certissimum cultus praemium terra marique victoriam promittebat.  His ita peractis, reliquum diei plenis luxuriae epulis exigentes, ipsas sacrificii dapes in usum convivii et gulae nutrimenta vertere, consecratas numini victimas intemperantiae suae servire cogentes.  In quo epulo sobrietatem violare pium aestimatum est, servare nefas habitum.
 A coin from every annual tribute of males and females was expected to be given to the deity in rites of his statue.  For each who paid a tribute by the third of his spoils, his guardsmen equally also had to pay proportional donation.  Also, this deity had an army consisting of as many as 300 horse-riding guards, whose whole wealth, either with robbery or theft sought for, was subjected to the authority of the priest, who made various types of symbols and temple decoration out of things he got his hands on, he ordered to make a lockable storage/chest, in which a more than abundant number of expensive [things and] purple garments, [now] touched by old age, were collected.  Also, here were seen many exuberant public and private gifts, which accompanied eager requests to the deity about favours.
 Nummus ab unoquoque mare vel femina annuatim in huius simulacri cultum doni nomine pendebatur.  Eidem quoque spoliorum ac praedarum pars tertia deputabatur, perinde atque eius praesidio parta obtentaque fuissent.  Hoc quoque numen trecentos equos descriptos, totidemque satellites in iis militantes habebat, quorum omne lucrum, seu armis seu furto quaesitum, sacerdotis custodiae subdebatur; qui ex earum rerum manubiis diversi generis insignia ac varia templorum ornamenta conflabat, eaque obseratis arcarum claustris mandabat, in quibus praeter abundantem pecuniam multa purpura vetustate exesa congesta fuerat.  Illic quoque publicorum munerum ac privatorum ingens copia visebatur, studiosis beneficia poscentium votis collata.
 Therefore this statue, which all Slavs were giving tributes to, also was respected by neighboring kings, [even] not without giving her sacrilegious gifts.  Thus, among other [non-Slavic] kings, also Danish king Sven, seeking an appeasement means, was following rites of the horn divination, preferring respecting alien traditions over domestic, and, later, for that sacrilegious infidelity paid the price of his life.
 Hanc itaque statuam, totius Sclaviae pensionibus cultam, finitimi quoque reges non absque sacrilegii respectu donis prosequebantur.  Quam inter ceteros etiam rex Danorum Sueno propitiandi gratia exquisiti cultus poculo veneratus est, alienigenae religionis studium domesticae praeferendo, cuius postmodum sacrilegii infelici nece poenas persolvit.
 Also, this divinity had many temples in the vicinity, which were run by other, almost equally, or less respected priests.  More, a special white horse had a [unique] status, whose hair from mane or tail was considered impious to pull off.  Whom only the priest had a right to ride to pasture, not using this divine animal [for anything else], because if [such uses] were more common, he [the horse] would be less valuable.  Rugians believed that on this horse Svantovit (such the statue was called) definitely was waging a war against their enemies.  Surest indication of that thing was, that it was seen that after a night time most of the standing [structures] and floor of the stable were wet from the morning dew so much, like [from the sweat] from exercise that would come from a long trip, [in which the horse] would run a great distance.
 Alia quoque fana compluribus in locis hoc numen habebat, quae per supparis dignitatis ac minoris potentiae flamines regebantur.  Praeterea peculiarem albi coloris equum titulo possidebat, cuius iubae aut caudae pilos convellere nefarium ducebatur.  Hunc soli sacerdoti pascendi insidendique ius erat, ne divini animalis usus, quo frequentior, hoc vilior haberetur.  In hoc equo opinione Rugiae Suantovitus (id simulacro vocabulum erat) adversum sacrorum suorum hostes bella gerere credebatur.  Cuius rei praecipuum argumentum exstabat, quod is, nocturno tempore stabulo insistens, adeo plerumque mane sudore ac luto respersus videbatur, tamquam ab exercitatione veniendo magnorum itinerum spatia percurrisset.
 Also, divinations with the use of that horse were conducted in such ways: when a war against another province would be decided to undertake, before the temple an attendant used to lay out an arrangement of tree spears, in which the ends of any two, and the one crossing/deviding them, were joined to point to the land of interest, making sure that the space between spears was the same.  At the time of the military expedition, the priest, saying ceremonial words, leading this horse through the court [before the temple] on a long strap, decided that the omen for waging a war was favorable if the being laid out [spear] arrangement would be stepped over, first, by the right, then the left feet; else if, even once, the left [foot] would precede the right, the candidate province to be attacked would be changed; not sending ships in the original direction until three [times] in a row a favorable way of stepping over would be noticed.
 Auspicia quoque per eundem equum huiusmodi sumebantur: Cum bellum adversum aliquam provinciam suscipi placuisset, ante fanum triplex hastarum ordo ministrorum opera disponi solebat, in quorum quolibet binae e transverso iunctae, conversis in terram cuspidibus, figebantur, aequali spatiorum magnitudine ordines disparante.  Ad quos equus ductandae expeditionis tempore, sollemni precatione praemissa, a sacerdote e vestibulo cum loramentis productus, si propositos ordines ante dextro quam laevo pede transscenderet, faustum gerendi belli omen accipiebatur; sin laevum vel semel dextro praetulisset, petendae provinciae propositum mutabatur. Nec prius certa navigatio praefigebatur, quam tria continue potioris incessus vestigia cernerentur.
 Also, various things to be decided from the mentioned above divination of the animal [horse] were accepted as omens; so, if a positive [one] would happen, to that enterprise a quick course of action was seized; else negative, another, opposite course of actions was chosen instead.  A use of lots was not unknown for them; [the lots] consisted of many wooden chips, one side of them was white, another – black, being thrown out of a bag, the light [colour] meant the good, the dark – the opposite.  Even women were not immune to this type of acquiring knowledge; for example those who sat near a hearth counted accidental line on the ashes; if their number was even, then a foretelling [of] favorable things would be decided; if odd – an adverse prediction was reckoned.
 Ad varia quoque negotia profecturi ex primo animalis occursu votorum auspicia capiebant. Quae si laeta fuissent, coeptum alacres iter carpebant; sin tristia, reflexo cursu propria repetebant.  Nec sortium iis usus ignotus exstitit; siquidem tribus ligni particulis, parte altera albis, altera nigris, in gremium sortium loco coniectis, candidis prospera, furvis adversa signabant.  Sed ne feminae quidem ab hoc scientiae genere immunes fuere. Quippe foco assidentes absque supputatione fortuitas in cinere lineas describebant. Quas si pares numerassent, prosperae rei praescias arbitrabantur; si impares, sinistrae praenuntias autumabant.
 Meanwhile, the population of the city made a giant heap from the clumps of dirt to lesser the ability of the gates to open, shutting up access by building a turf structure, [they] got so much confidence from their work, because the tower, which was located over the gates, had to be protected by the standards.  Among those was a grandiose and colorful depiction of Stanicia (on margins – Stuatira), to whom the population of Rugen paid a tribute of such a great worship, having almost such prestige as all [other] deities.  She represented for them a divine, uncontrolled power, they had to endure so much from, who would have her pleasure committing the forbidden: to destroy populated cities and sanctuaries, to bring, equally, the good, and the bad, all Rugian homesteads could have given to fire or destruction, [this] superstition was so powerful, that influence of that small piece of canvas [she was depicted on] would exceed power of the regal authority.  Her canvas image had to be respected as if the divinity herself: damaging was punishable, betraying allegiance would be fined.
 Interea oppidani portam urbis, quo minor eam attentandi facultas pateret, ingenti glaebarum acervo praestruxerant, aditumque coacta caespitum compage claudentes, tantum ex eo opere fiduciae contrahebant, ut turrim, quae supra portam sita fuerat, signis tantum aquilisque protegerent.  Inter quas erat Stanitia (am Rande Stuatira) magnitudine ac colore insignis, cui tantum venerationis a populo Rugiano tributum est, quantum omnium paene deorum maiestas obtinuit.  Eam enim prae se ferentes in humana divinaque grassandi potestatem habebant, nec quicquam iis, quod libitum foret, illicitum habebatur. Populari urbes, aras demoliri, fas ac nefas in aequo ponere, cunctosque Rugiae penates aut ruinis aut incendiis evertere potuissent, tantumque superstitioni indultum est, ut exigui panni auctoritas regiae potestatis vires transscenderet.  Plectenti se signo, perinde ac divino gestamini, honorem habebant, officiis damna, iniurias obsequiis rependentes.
 To confirm the loyalty of the people [of Rugen] to the laws received, the king [demanded] they have to surrender the statue and whole sacred treasure, that releasing Christian captives from imprisonment, they should dismiss them without a ransom, [they] should follow all true elements of conducting Danish rituals of religious service; besides, lands and farms [that belong to Rugian] deities, and are in use by [their] priests should be taken [from them], and, then, given, when required, to Danish warrior Erls, and would never refrain from the king’s call summoning them to a battle; also [they] should provide, in their confirmation of the treaty, as many hostages as they used to pay annually (40 silver coins) as gift to deity for each oxen yoke.
 Probato consilio, rex oppidanos in fidem hac lege recepit, ut, simulacro cum omni sacra pecunia tradito, captivos Christianos ergastulo liberatos absque redemptione dimitterent, omniaque verae religionis momenta Danico ritu celebranda susciperent; quin etiam ut agros ac latifundia deorum in sacerdotiorum usus converterent seque, quoties res posceret, Danicae expeditionis comites exhiberent, nec umquam accersiti regis militiam prosequi supersederent; praeterea annuatim ex singulis boum iugis quadragenos argenteos tributi nomine penderent, totidemque obsides in earum condicionum firmamentum praestarent.
 The next day, Esbern and Sven, to carry out the king’s order to remove the statue, which was impossible without doing work to disassemble it, having removed the curtains the temple was covered [inside], started commanding servants to proceed with caution doing the job of cutting [the statue] down, to do things carefully under the threat of destruction from such a big mass, to avoid her weight [which] would crush [them], thus bringing up payment of punishments from the disturbed deity.  Meanwhile, a crowd of local folk gathered around the temple, hoping that the disturbed deity would use its powers against those who did such an offence against [the statue of] Svantovit.
 Postero die Esbernus ac Suno, iubente rege, simulacrum eversuri, quod sine ferri ministerio convelli nequibat, aulaeis, quibus sacellum tegebatur, abstractis, famulos succidendi officium arripere iussos attentius monere coeperunt, ut adversum tantae molis ruinam cautius se gererent, ne, eius pondere oppressi, infesto numini poenas luere putarentur.  Interea fanum ingens oppidanorum frequentia circumstabat, Suantovitum talium iniuriarum auctores infestis numinis sui viribus insecuturum sperantium.
 Suddenly, the statue, being cut at the ankles, fell on its back on the nearest wall.  To extract it, Sven, having ordered servants to disassemble that wall, told [to do so] cautiously, to avoid either problems that would come from the haste in cutting it down because of the lack of foresight, or from slippage and crushing of the statue because of the lack of care.  The fall of the statue did not come without a ground tremor.  Moreover, the purple curtains the temple was decorated with were indeed excellent, however [they were] so mold-rotten, that [they] could not bare a touch.  Unusual horns of wild beasts were not lacking, to be marveled not only for their natural [qualities], but for the artistic treatment.  A demon, having been seen leaving the internal chambers of the temple in the form of a dark animal appearance, suddenly made the light around him disappear.
 Iamque statua, extrema tibiarum parte praecisa, propinquo parieti supina incidit.  Cuius extrahendae gratia Suno ministros ad eiusdem parietis deiectionem hortatus, cavere iussit, ne succidendi aviditate pericula sua parum dispicerent neu se labenti statuae per incuriam proterendos obicerent.  Ruinam simulacri non sine fragore humus excepit.  Praeterea frequens aedem purpura circumpendebat, nitore quidem praedita, sed situ tam putris, ut tactum ferre non posset.  Nec silvestrium bestiarum inusitata cornua defuere, non minus suapte natura quam cultu miranda.  Daemon in furvi animalis figura penetralibus excedere visus, subito se circumstantium luminibus abstulit.
 Then, the local folk, having been ordered to throw ropes and drag the statue out of the town, would not dare to do that because of the fears of their old superstition, [so then] the foreigners, who had been doing their business in the city, were ordered to drag the statue away, [while] those of the simple folk were voicing objections [fearing] powerful wrath of the deity.  Surely, violators of the dignity of the local deity, to whom such [luxurious] rites used to be conducted, were expected [and] would get grave and swift punishments.  Then, curiously, different voices of the local folk were heard: some lamenting about offences to their deity, others – laughing.  No doubt, the sentient part of the local population had to be ashamed of sharing (though mockingly) so many years, so ridiculous rites, with simple folk.  A gang of soldiers snatched such an exceptional statue, dragging it to the camp, though not before the supervising commanding officers gave permission, when the majority of the local folk they were monitoring after had dissipated.
 Igitur oppidani simulacro urbe egerendo funes inicere iussi, cum id pristinae religionis metu per se ipsos exsequi non auderent, captivis exterisque quaestum in urbe petentibus, ut illud egererent, imperabant, ignobilium hominum capita divinae irae potissimum obiectanda ducentes.  Quippe domestici numinis maiestatem, quam tanto cultu prosequi consueverant, graves e vestigio poenas a suis violatoribus exacturam putabant.  Tum vero variae incolarum voces exaudiebantur, aliis dei sui iniurias lamento, aliis risu prosequentibus.  Nec dubium, quin ingens prudentiori oppidanorum parti rubor incesserit, simplicitatem suam tot annis tam stolido cultu delusam cernenti.  Pertractum in castra simulacrum admirantis exercitus concursus except. Nec prius sibi principes spectandi licentiam indulserunt, quam plebem visendi satietas amovisset.
 The rest of the day was spent receiving hostages that were not released yesterday.  Even the chief scribe was sent to the city, so his priestly office would habituate uncivilized superstitious folk with Christian worship, [thus] replacing their sacrilegious perceptions with piety teaching.  With evening coming, all who were presiding over cooking, tried to cut the statue in such pieces which would fit stoves.  According to the old primitive culture of Rugians, the deity of the ancestral land, which used to receive great rites of celebration, [now] had to be watched by servants shamefully burned on the fire, on which the food for foreigners had to be prepared.  After that, our people, having burned the temple, [started] building a basilica from the wood of siege machines, transforming utensils of war into a domicile of peace.  Thus, those things designed to crash enemies’ bodies, provided salvation to their spirits.  Also, a day was scheduled to take care of the [riches] taken from the Rugians’ treasury, which was given to Svantovit as a gift to [his] deity.
 Reliquum diei in obsidibus, qui pridie remanserant, accipiendis deductum est.  Sed et scribae principum in urbem mittuntur, qui sacerdotali ministerio rudem religionis populum Christianis sacris assuefacerent, eiusque sacrilegis sensibus sanctitatis disciplinam ingenerarent.  Vespera appetente, omnes, qui culinis praeerant, simulacrum attentatum securibus in exigua frusta aptosque foculo stipites redegerunt.  Crediderim, tunc Rugianos pristinae piguisse culturae, cum patrium avitumque numen, quod maxima religione celebrare solebant, igni deformiter applicatum concoquendis hostium alimentis famulari conspicerent.  Post haec nostri pariter et fanum cremandum et basilicam lignis machinamentorum exaedificandam curabant, belli instrumenta pacis domicilio permutantes.  Itaque, quod obterendis hostium corporibus excogitaverant, salvandis eorum spiritibus impendebant.  Dies quoque, quo thesaurus Suantovito votorum nomine consecratus a Rugianis traderetur, praefigitur.
 It [Karentia], surrounded by marshy abysses and water pools from all sides, had only one swampy and difficult to pass approach, and if one, incautiously, had wandered away from it, he would, surely, fall into a bottomless bog.  This [pass], crossing a shoal, led to the beginning of the road that ran to the city gate between a rampart and a lake.
 Haec, undiquesecus voraginibus ac lacunis vallata, unicum palustri ac difficili vado aditum habet, a quo si quis incautis viae excessibus aberraverit, in profundum paludis incidat, necesse est.  Hoc vadum emensis praetentus urbi callis occurrit; hic ad portam ducit, mediusque vallum et paludem interiacet.
 Three remarkable, very impressive temple buildings were in this town [of Karentia], representing an excellence in skill of [local] artisans; they concentrated almost the same significance in venerating their unofficial deities, as the official cult in Arkona possessed.  Connected halls of this place, deserted in the times of peace, now were attended by crowds.  They were three stories high, the lower, medium and higher supported by suspended weights.  Besides, they were so closely connected, that, had balistas fired stones in the town, they would never hit empty ground.  In addition to the stench of natural filth that filled all buildings of the town, no less tormenting was the spirit of fear [emanating from] bodies.  Therefore the inability of Karentians to withstand our siege was obvious; their quick surrender was caused not because of the sudden caprice, but, clearly obvious, because of the strict necessity.
 Insignis hic vicus trium praepollentium fanorum aedificiis erat, ingenuae artis nitore visendis. Iis tantum paene venerationis privatorum deorum dignitas conciliaverat, quantum apud Arkonenses publici numinis auctoritas possidebat.  Sed et hic locus, ut pacis tempore desertus, ita tunc frequentibus habitaculis consertus patebat.  Quorum altitudinis tres ordines fuere, infimo medii supremique ponderibus sustentamentum praebente.  Quin etiam tantae consertionis angustiae fuere, ut, si tormentis in urbem lapides iacerentur, nudam humum, in quam conciderent, non offenderent.  Super haec natus immunditiis foetor cunctos urbis penates asperserat, nec minus corpora quam metus animos cruciabat.  Unde nostris, Karentinos obsidioni resistere nequivisse, conspicuum fuit. Neque enim eorum tam promptam deditionem ulterius mirari voluerunt, quorum tam artam necessitatem liquido perviderunt.
The porch of the main temple was attached to the middle [of the building], but the space where walls [of the porch should have been] were curtained with purple [fabric], while the roof [of the porch] was placed merely on pillars.  So servants, having torn the decorative fabric from the [porch], extended [actions] of their hands on internal coverings of the temple.  Which, being removed, opened the view on comedic disfigurement of the statue, made from the oak, which was called Rugievit – the greatest one of them [deities of Karentia] all.  For swallows, which built rows of their nests under the beams [of the roof], accumulated a thick layer of filth on his breast.  [It was] such a deserved deity, and its image was so shamefully defiled by the winged [creatures].  Further, on his head seven similar faces were colocated, which all were topped with the one crown.  Exactly the same number of swords in sheath, attached to the single belt, were depicted by the sculptor on his [sculpture’s] side, the eighth, the drawn [sword] he held in the right hand.  Which, tightly inserted in the fist, was fixed unmovable by the iron nail, and by hands, without severing [it], has not been possible to remove; so for cutting [the hand and other] things off that was a [good] excuse.  The bulkiness [of the statue] was greater than the usual human body, the height was really tall, such that Absalon, standing tippy-toe, barely could reach the beard [of the statue] with the axe, which he was accustomed to carry.
 Maius fanum vestibuli sui medio continebatur, sed ambo parietum loco purpura claudebantur, tecti fastigio solis dumtaxat columnis imposito.  Itaque ministri, direpto vestibuli cultu, tandem manus ad interiora fani velamina porrexerunt.  Quibus amotis, factum quercu simulacrum, quod Rugiaevitum vocabant, ab omni parte magno cum deformitatis ludibrio spectandum patebat.  Nam hirundines, quae sub oris eius lineamentis nidos molitae fuerant, in eiusdem pectus crebras stercorum sordes congesserant.  Dignum numen, cuius effigies tam deformiter a volucribus foedaretur.  Praeterea in eius capite septem humanae similitudinis facies consedere, quae omnes unius verticis superficie claudebantur.  Totidem quoque veros gladios cum vaginis uni cingulo appensos eius lateri artifex conciliaverat. Octavum in dextra destrictum tenebat.  Hunc pugno insertum firmissimo nexu ferreus clavus astrinxerat, nec manui nisi praecisae evelli poterat; quae res truncandae eius occasio exstitit.  Spissitudo illi supra humani corporis habitum erat: longitudo vero tanta, ut Absalon, supra primam pedum partem consistens, aegre mentum securicula, quam manu gestare consueverat, aequaret.
 This deity, endowed with powers similar to those Mars [has], was considered presiding over the wars.  Nothing delightful was in the appearance of this statue, [with] strokes of the rough carving underscoring its ugliness.  Now, many servants, to the great terror of the townspeople, started cutting by axes [the statue] at its ankles.  Which, being cut off, fell, producing sound when hitting the ground.  Seeing that insult of their deity’s powers, local people despised the change of [their] superstitious order.
 Hoc numen, perinde ac Martis viribus praeditum, bellis praeesse crediderant.  Nihil in hoc simulacro iucundum visentibus fuit, lineamentis impoliti caelaminis deformitate sordentibus.  Iamque famuli, maxima cum totius urbis exanimatione, tibiis eius secures applicare coeperunt.  Quibus abscissis, comitante sono, lapsus terrae truncus impingitur.  Hoc viso oppidani, dei sui viribus insultantes, religionem mutavere contemptu.
 Without its [the statue’s] destruction, the company of soldiers [even] more eagerly extended [action] of their hands on the statue of Porevit, who was worshipped in the next temple.  His statue, which five heads were placed on, was depicted without weapons.  Having cut off [that statue], they moved to the temple of Porenut.  That statue, displaying four faces [on the head], had the fifth inserted in its breast, and his left hand reached [for his] forehead, while the right hand – his chin.  On which the hits of axes of a number of servants fell.
 Nec eius excidio contentae satellitum manus, ad Porevitum simulacrum, quod in proxima aede colebatur, avidius porriguntur.  Id quinque capitibus consitum, sed armis vacuum fingebatur.  Quo succiso, Porenutii templum appetitur.  Haec statua, quattuor facies repraesentans, quintam pectori insertam habebat, cuius frontem laeva, mentum dextera tangebat.  Haec famulorum ministerio securibus icta concidit.
 According to the issued Absalon’s order, those statues had to be burned by local people inside the town’s walls, [however they] started pleadings against that edict, lamenting that [this] would expose the crammed town to a fire, [and] asking for [the] town to be spared.  Because if the fire would spread to a single nearby standing house, and which would catch it, from it all houses together, beyond any doubt, would burn down.  On which account people of the town, continuing pleading, resisted [the] whole day, for they were those who had to execute the order, expecting punishments of the deity, consumed with fear of [inevitable] losses, continued coming up with excuses for [their] despising superstitious behavior.  Finally, Absalon’s notice, that the deities had not been able to help themselves, having caused a great impression, had to give them hope for impunity, [because] the order was quickly obeyed.
 Has statuas oppidani Absalonis edicto intra moenia cremare iussi, preces imperio opponere coeperunt, orantes, misereatur confertae Urbis, nec incendio obiciat, quorum iugulo parcat.  Nam si ignis ad vicina prolapsus unum e tabernaculis corripuisset, ob eximiam consertionem universa indubitanter convelleret.  Quapropter eas urbe egerere rogati, diu repugnaverunt, quod se membrorum, quorum ministerium imperio exhibuissent, numine poenas exigente, usum amissuros metuerent, contemptumque religione excusare pergebant.  Ad ultimum Absalonis monitu dei, qui sibimet opitulari non posset, potentiam floccipendere docti, spe impunitatis accepta, imperio ocius paruerunt.
 No doubts, if they feared powers of their deities, they remembered repeated punishments they [received] for the deities’ dishonoring.  For example, men of the town, engaging in sexual intercourse with women, like dogs, used to stick cling together, [and] were not able to break out that join, sometimes both, being attached to opposite sides of the “long pole”, providing to people a comical show of the unusual union.  From that miracle the foul ceremonial rites of veneration of ignoble statues came, being caused by believing in powers of those [statues], influenced by the demonic delusion.
 Nec mirum, si illorum numinum potentiam formidabant, a quibus stupra sua saepenumero punita meminerant.  Siquidem mares in ea urbe cum feminis in concubitum ascitis canum exemplo cohaerere solebant, nec ab ipsis morando divelli poterant; interdumque utrique, perticis e diverso appensi, inusitato nexu ridiculum populo spectaculum praebuere.  Ea miraculi foeditate sollemnis ignobilibus statuis cultus accessit, creditumque est earum viribus effectum, quod daemonum erat praestigiis adumbratum.
 Sven, in particular, teaching [Karentians] to despise the statues more, decided to stand high on [the statue], while Karentians were dragging it.  That action had to increase the weight of the insult; the burden of that dragging was impeded by the [additional] load, [and] no less [from] seeing [a scene] of the foreign priest putting his feet on the domestic deities.
 Sueno vero, quo magis simulacra aspernanda doceret, super ea, cum a Karentinis egererentur, sublimis consistere voluit.  Quo facto pondus contumelia auxit, nec minus trahentes rubore quam onere vexavit, domestica numina alienigenae pontificis pedibus subiecta cernentes.
 While they [Karentians], with Sven, were doing these things, Absalon, having consecrated simple folk’s burials at Karentia’s cemetery, came back to Karentia at evening, destroyed statues, and, together with Jarimar, late in the night went down to the ships, [where] in the morning he assembled a banquet.  Already, Absalon spent three nights in a row without sleep, so the sharpness of the vision of his eyes had weakened, to such a degree that he almost had not been able to use eyesight.  The next day, scribes and independent high-ranking religious servants, having donated objects of the religious service, provided [means] to restore religious service in this island province.  To build many basilicas here, and [by doing so] replace dwellings of the superstitious cult, with publicly accessible abodes of the [true] religion.  The same day more of those who still remained hostages were released.
 Dum haec a Suenone geruntur, Absalon, tribus coemeteriis in agro Karentino dedicatis, vespere Karentiam rediit; deletisque simulacris, una cum Iarimaro profunda nocte ad naves pervenit, eumque secum cenitare coegit.  Iamque Absalon ternas continue noctes absque somno exegerat, adeoque oculorum eius aciem vigiliae debilitaverant, ut paene videndi usum exstinguerent.  Sequenti luce scribae, et qui privata principum sacra tractabant, sacerdotiorum ornamentis donati, regenerandae per aquam provinciae ministerium praebuerunt.  Item basilicas compluribus in locis moliti, privatae superstitionis tuguria publicae religionis domiciliis mutaverunt.  Eodem die pariter accipiendis obsidum reliquiis vacatum est.
 At that time, Pomeranian dukes, who were expecting to take Tetislav’s lands, also were settling division of the Rugian domain [they were supposed] to receive for the military service [rendered], expecting freedom of actions after the departure [of Danes], [and they] changed alliance to enmity.  This action of theirs afterwards was followed by the long military discord with Danes.  [They] decided to leave at evening for the nearest island [near] continental shores.  By that time, Rugians brought to king seven stuffed equally large chests with the riches which used to be given to the local deities.  Done with that, the decision to end the expedition was proclaimed.
 Quo tempore Pomeranorum duces, qui Tetiszlavum regno exuendum seque Rugianae rei dominium in praemium militiae recepturos putabant, postulata abeundi licentia, amicitias hostilitate mutarunt.  Quae res ipsis postmodum ac Danis longam belli discordiam interiecit.  Vespere portu solventes se ad proximam continenti insulam appulerunt.  Illic regi septem aequalis magnitudinis arcae, consecrata deorum numini pecunia refertae, a Rugianis allatae sunt.  His peractis, remittendae expeditionis decretum vulgatur.
6? 17? 2*?
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