Donaws

Meaning of Name

*Donaws is a reconstructed Gothic theonym from the Proto-Germanic *Dōnawjaz, which was borrowed from Proto-Celtic *Dānowyos. The theorized meanings include “to set in motion; to flow” [1].

Pronunciation

IPA: /doːnaus/ (“DOE-nah-oos”)

Function

The associations listed below are only the primary domains of the deity. Others may be revealed in time to different worshipers.

WATER, RIVERS: The meaning of Donaws’ name indicates an association with flowing water, especially rivers. The Danube River is considered one of the manifestations of Donaws, since the ancient Goths lived in the lands around the Danube in the 4th century CE.

DEFENSE, PROTECTION: The Danube River features prominently in Gothic history on two occasions. First, when Athanaric waged war against the Roman Emperor Valens, the Danube famously flooded and forced the Roman armies to retreat to higher ground. It was then that the Greutungi King Athanaric claimed that “holy Donaws” had given the Gothic armies His support [2]. Second, the Goths had to cross the Danube and enter Roman territory to escape the invading armies of the Huns. Therefore, Donaws is associated with defense and protection, especially during times of war.

TREATIES, CONTRACTS, LEGAL MATTERS: Athanaric brokered peace with Valens on a boat in the middle of the Danube River [3], prompting the association of Donaws with peacemaking, treaties, contracts, and other legal matters. This exchange repeated 133 years later when the Visigothic King Alaric II and Clovis, King of the Franks, met in the middle of the Loire River to broker their own peace [4].

BOUNDARIES, LIMINAL SPACES: Real world examples and mythic examples both suggest the role of rivers as boundaries and liminal spaces, both of which SRS attributes to Donaws. On their study of the God Entarabos / Intarabus, Senobessus Bolgon explains that rivers indicate “demarcation of space between wild and civilized; rivers were the highways of the ancient world if you are traveling by ship, but they form a border to be crossed if you are on foot” [5]. Moreover, the legend of Alaric I’s death involves diverting the river Busentus so that his soldiers could bury his body and treasures in the riverbank. Then they covered the grave again with the same river, to hide the grave [6]. SRS interprets this to mean that rivers provide a direct pathway to Ganohawaggs, the underworld.

WRITING, COMMUNICATION: Due to Donaws’ link to treaties and contracts, SRS also associates Him with writing and communication, including modern methods such as radio and Internet.

Iconography

None known historically, though there are multiple recent depictions of Donaws, such as the Danubius Fountain in Budapest (built between 1880 and 1883 by Miklos Ybi) and the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Rome (built in 1651 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini).

Within SRS, Donaws is depicted as a steppe warrior wielding a trident. The choice of trident is based on the trident-shaped brooches discovered along the Danube River, likely made in dedication to the Roman God Neptune [7], a deity also associated with fresh water. In Donaws’ other hand, He holds a scroll or ledger, representing His associations with various legal matters and with writing. Donaws is often depicted as emerging from water or otherwise standing in it.

Attested Sources

According to Herwig Wolfram in his book History of the Goths, the Latin poet Claudianus mentions Donaws in Carmina when the Danube River flooded and Athanaric claimed it was a sign of the God’s support [8]. However, Wolfram cautions against taking a literary text as an actual historical account.

Epithets and Bynames

Listed below are some modern bynames gifted to Donaws by His worshipers.

  • Abba (“Father”)
  • Ahwarinnands (“Flowing Water”)
  • Alawitands (“All-Knowing”)
  • Bokabindareis (“Contract-Binder”)
  • Gawairþjaskapjands (“Peacemaker”)
  • Gawitands (“Defender”)
  • Gudebokareis (“Scribe of the Gods”)
  • Guderagineis (“Advisor of the Gods”)
  • Meleragineis (“Steward of Writing”)
  • Sunjonds (“Vindicator”)

NOTES

  1. Wiktionary, “*Dōnawjaz.”
  2. Wolfram, History of the Goths, 68.
  3. Ibid., 68.
  4. Ibid., 192.
  5. Senobessus Bolgon, “Entarabos/Intarabus.”
  6. Jordanes, Origins and Deeds, 27.
  7. Bondoc, “Roman Trident-Shaped Brooches,” 298.
  8. Wolfram, History of the Goths, 405.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bondoc, Dorel. “Roman Trident-Shaped Brooches to the North of the Lower Danube.” In Antiquitas Istro-Pontica, translated by Dr. Mihaela Pena, 297-303. Cluj-Napoca: Mega Éditions, 2010.

Jordanes. The Origins and Deeds of the Goths. Translated by Charles Christopher Mierow. Princeton: Princeton University, 2012. Kindle.

Senobessus Bulgon. “Entarabos/Intarabus.” Access February 12, 2021. https://senobessusbolgon.wordpress.com/entarabos-intarabus/

Wiktionary. “*Dōnawjaz.” Accessed January 29, 2021. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/D%C5%8Dnawjaz.

Wolfram, Herwig. History of the Goths. Translated by Thomas J. Dunlap. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

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