Ancient links between Azerbaijan and Northern Europe discussed in London

On 7 December, David Parry, the renowned author, dramaturge and Chair, Gruntler’s Theatre gave a presentation to an audience of over 50 people at Pushkin House, London, entitled In the Footsteps of Odin, sponsored by The European Azerbaijan Society. During this, he examined the legends surrounding Odin, the leading Norse God, from a wide variety of mythic, historical, musical and literary perspectives. By exploring the sagas, folktales and legendary equivalents amongst the Celts and Hindus, together with reexamining material from recent reworkings of these ageless fables, he explained that a previously rich, yet almost unknown history, is emerging from study of this fascinating character. In fact, the story of Odin, combined with moral psychology, sheds considerable light on the early culture, beliefs and migrations of our own ancestors. These also indicate numerous unexplored links between Azerbaijan and Northern Europe.

Following his visit to Gobustan National Park in Azerbaijan, and having been an avid reader of works by Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian ethnographer, since boyhood, David used a range of sources to trace the influence of this supernaturally inspired chieftain. He surveyed his semi-legendary position as the second mythological King of Sweden, as outlined in the Ynglinga Saga, to the more vibrant reality of Odin as a tribal shaman leading his people into Europe through Azerbaijan in order to escape increasing political persecution. David also discussed the significance of the Gobustan petroglyphs, as described by Heyerdahl, who visited Azerbaijan four times; his own conversations with the curator of Gobustan National Park; and Heyerdahl's groundbreaking, yet highly contentious, research into a non-eurocentric version of human development.

Finally, David unveiled his own longstanding view that there were indirect exchanges between ancient Azerbaijanis and Anglo-Saxon tribes from the same period that occurred independently of the famed Silk Road, manifested through poetry, song, and art, which exhibited a similar worldview. The evening concluded with an inspired series of questions that indicated the need for further archaeological and literary research into such ancient migrations that reached Azerbaijan.