Odin’s connections outside the Germanic realm (*Wōðanaz: Óðinn/Wōdan/Wôden/Wuotan) are limited to Lat. vātēs ‘prophet’ (Irish fāith ‘poet’), probably akin to *wa- ‘blowing’, conveying the idea of ‘wind’, ‘inspiration’ and ‘fury’. The interpretation of Odin as a ‘spirit-’ or ‘wind god’, and the ‘leader of the Wild Hunt’ presupposes his
Germanic autochthony. Tacit’s identification of Odin with Mercury may reflect the later re-interpretation of the two gods’ affinity and functions, particularly that of leading the dead to the Other World, also the function of Ἅɩδης. The latter shares with Odin a number of characteristics, including ‘invisibility’ (resp. ‘lack of vision’, cf. Odin’s half-blindness), reflected in Ἅɩδης < *α-Fɩδης ‘unseen’, with prefix desemantization as a result of reanalysis after *F-loss.

Comparison of *Ϝɩδη- and Wōð- is possible, admitting that the root-final consonant in the latter belongs to the past participle of *vid-, with *-d- devoiced before the stressed suffix *-t(o)-: *t > *þ > *ð (Verner’s Law). The vacillation of the root vocalism may reflect different ablaut grades of the ‘see’ (Lat. vidēre, Goth. witan) and ‘know’ (Gr. Ϝοἶδα, Goth. wait), and contamination, similar to Russian svidetel’ (‘one who saw’) ~ svedetel’ (‘one who knows’), resulting in the desemantization and loss of the negative prefix in *n̥-Wōðanaz.

This does not exclude contamination with the /n/-infixed derivatives of vāt-, ventus/*winðaz ‘wind’, also connected with ‘blowing’ and ‘knowledge’, cf. Lat. inspiratio and Icelandic spyrja ‘to learn’, postulated as the Benennungsmotiv of Odin-*Wōðanaz.

pdf_iconKleiner Yuri. *Wōðanaz/Óðinn OUTSIDE THE GERMANIC PANTHEON