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After the war, he resumed them and was particularly influenced by Antoine Meillet. He aggregated in in Classics and received his doctorate in after writing a thesis comparing the common origins of the Greek ambrosia and a similarly named Indian drink Amrita , which was said to make its imbiber immortal. He learned Turkish and developed an interest in the Ubykh language and travelled widely in Russia, Turkey and the Caucasus. As a result, he became one of the premier experts of Caucasian languages to work in French.

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This arrangement manifested itself most straightforwardly in the social hierarchy, which consisted of three classes that corresponded to the three functions. What, then, are these three functions? The first function is that of sovereignty, and corresponds to the highest social class — that of rulers, priests, and legal specialists. The other aspect is more reassuring, more oriented to the human world. The gods of the second function are warriors whose intellectual abilities are inferior to those of the first, but who possess the necessary strength to actually put the decisions of the intellectual gods into action.

Its gods are those who preside over fertility, abundance, and peace. They tend to be simple but wealthy and fun-loving. In their eyes, it was in this hierarchy that one found the harmony necessary to the proper functioning of the cosmos, as well as that of the society. It touched every aspect of their way of life and their outlook on life.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that their social organization, religion, and mythology all had the kind of trifunctional structure described above. The Norse gods of the first function are Odin and Tyr. Thor is the god concerned with the physical fighting itself, while Odin governs ecstatic battle frenzy and magic. In an illustration of how deeply-rooted the trifunctional model was in the Norse psyche, Odin, Thor, and Freyr — the signature gods of each function — were frequently depicted together as a shorthand for the totality of divinity.

Want to learn more about the Norse branch of Indo-European mythology and religion? While this site provides the ultimate online introduction to the topic, my book The Viking Spirit provides the ultimate introduction to Norse mythology and religion period.

References: [1] Benoist, Alain de. In Tyr, Vol. Translated by William Wallace. Gods of the Ancient Northmen. Edited by Einar Haugen. Translated by Derek Coltman.

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