The Antler Knife Picture

There is an idea behind this picture that takes a bit of explaining.

According to a myth in Nordic Mythology the Vanir god Frej fought the giant Beli and slew him with an antler.

Now why would he use an antler? Is that really an effective weapon?

Antlers look different depending on what sort of deer we are talking about. Some types might work as a club the way they are. But generally speak they don't look like they would be much good as a weapon.

Antlers may however be used as material for making tools and weapons. So what if Frej made a weapon using an antler as material. You could make a useful knife (not just the handle) (useful for stabbing at least) out of a suitable piece of an antler. So I will at this time assume that Frej used an knife made out of an antler. (I'm jumping to conclusions quite wildly here. It gets worse.)

Now if Frej was making weapons of bone that strongly indicates that metal wasn't an option. Could the roots of this story go back to the stone age? Could it go back as far as to a time when Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal co-existed?

That would be interesting from the point of view of finding an explanation of who the giants was.

Neanderthal are in many ways an excellent candidate for the role as the giants. Neanderthal was bigger and stronger than Cro-Magnon (but not really taller). They look different and they might have had a different way of thinking. They would quite natural have been seen as the ”other people”. If they had a different way of thinking that might have made them seem extraordinary wise in some situations and possibly as evil in other situations. They where different but at the same time similar enough for cross breading to be possible. Not only possible. There are a fair amount of Neanderthal DNA still in the human population.

They would fit the role as giants quite nicely I think.

So what we have here is a Cro-Magnon Frej with an antler knife fighting a Neanderthal Beli. A possible origin for the Myth.

Do I find this likely? No, not really.
The main reason I find it unlikely that the Neanderthals was the giants of Nordic (and other) Mythologies is the time factor. It is roughly 30 000 years since the extinction of the Neanderthal. I have a hard time believing that any stories would survive for that long.

Still it is fun play with the thought.
Continue Reading: The Myths