Gapt

Meaning of Name

Scholars suggest that Gapt (also written Gaut) is a theonym that derives from Proto-Germanic *gautaz [1], which in turn derives from Proto-Germanic *geutaną meaning “to pour.” His name most likely means, “He who poured (out libations)” [2].

Pronunciation

IPA: /gɔːpt/ (“GAWFT”) or /gɔːt/ (“GAWT”)

Function

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

KINGSHIP: Jordanes lists Gapt as the divine progenitor of the Amali dynasty, which was the most famous and prestigious line of kings among the ancient Goths [3]. This immediately links Gapt to kingship and sovereignty.

WAR: Wolfram links Gapt to “the Greutungian warrior” (a.k.a. Gizur Grýtingaliði from The Battle of the Goths and Huns) and other references to the Norse God Odin. While he argues that Gapt cannot possibly be the same deity as Wōden or Odin [4], he nevertheless draws parallels between Them.

PRIESTHOOD, RITUAL: The meaning of Gapt’s name suggests His role as the dual chieftain-priest, the warrior-king who sets the example of piety for His people by giving sacrifices and pouring libations. He established the concept of giba swaei gibais (“I give so you might give”) between the Gods and humans.

TRAVEL, MOVEMENT, LIMINALITY: SRS interprets the concept of “pouring out” as symbolic of the spread of the Goths across Europe during the Migration Period, inspired by commentary by Wolfram of the Goths as “seed-spreaders” [5]. Additionally, in SRS mythos, Gapt travels across the world in pursuit of Sauil, who moves from east to west daily.

Iconography

None known historically.

Within SRS, Gapt is depicted as a warrior-priest wielding a spear or lance. He wears a veiled shamanic headdress and the lamellar armor of a mounted steppe warrior. In His other hand, He holds an overflowing bowl of horse milk, while a horse whip is tucked into His belt, indicating His role as priest and His connection to horses, respectively. Around His shoulders, He wears the pelt of a wolf, slain during a hunt with eagles.

Attested Sources

Jordanes writes of Gapt as the divine ancestor and mythic progenitor of the Gothic people in his book The Origins and Deeds of the Goths.

Epithets and Bynames

There are no attested bynames for Gapt. Listed below are some modern ones gifted to Him by His worshipers.

  • Aba Sauilis (“Sauil’s Husband”)
  • Attareikis (“Father of Kings”)
  • Blostreis (“Sacrificer”)
  • Drauhtifaþs (“Warlord”)
  • Gaisareiks (“Spear-King”)
  • Gudeweiha (“Priest of the Gods”)
  • Jiukareis (“Conqueror”)
  • Marhareiks (“Horse-Lord”)
  • Reidareis Fruma Hansos (“First Rider of the Horde”)
  • Sunnoskadus (“Sun-Shadow”)
An illustration of Gapt.

NOTES

  1. Wolfram, History of the Goths, 21.
  2. Wiktionary, “*gautaz.”
  3. Jordanes, Origins and Deeds, 13.
  4. Wolfram, History of the Goths, 110-111.
  5. Ibid., 21.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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

Wiktionary. “*gautaz.” Accessed May 24, 2020. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/gautaz.

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

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