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The Fanes' saga - Short essays




The name “Odolghes” appears twice in the Fanes’ saga: first, it identifies the mythical king of Contrin nicknamed “Sabja da Fek” (Sword of Fire) who breaks the gates of the Aurona and marries princess Sommavida; second, it again designates a mythical king of Contrin who, however, now fights against the “Trusani”, here very probably the Romans, and prefers setting the town on fire when he realizes that most of his citizen have become collaborationists.

Ulrike Kindl taught us that the Ladinian name “Odolghes” derives from that of the legendary Bavarian duke Adelger, through the Lombard form “Adalgais”.

Adelger’s Bavarian legend shows him triumphant over several peoples and eventually defeating and slaying the Roman emperor Severus. As a result of this victory, the Bavarians acquire the right to occupy the Romans’ territories. So, Adelger becomes the mythical founding father, who legitimates the Bavarian conquest of the upper Adige valley.
The emperor Severus mentioned by the legend is almost certainly Libius Severus, a puppet put on the throne in 461 A.D. by the Suebian-born general Ricimerus, who got rid of him just four years later. Only eleven years still later, the Western Empire would have been even formally over.

Obviously, neither the Odolghes of the Aurona nor that of the Trusani have anything to share with the Bavarian duke, whose name must have become a sort of passepartout, like Dietrich von Bern (it. Teodorico da Verona), who was attributed every sort of deed; an evident indication that the kings of the previous myths may not have been named at all, like for instance the Fanes’ or the Caiutes’ kings.

The lack of an original name must have helped in identifying Odolghes-Aurona with Odolghes-Trusani, the kings of two towns which have been overlapped into one by attributing them the same archetypical name of Contrin, but which really were two completely different villages, that existed – in real world or maybe just in the myth – in absolutely different periods and backgrounds. It is curious that the “sword of fire”, that finds its mythological explanation in the tale of the Aurona (it would have been gilded by the prolonged beating on the golden gates of the mine) migrated into Odolghes-Trusani as well, even if in the second myth it doesn’t spit any spark at all.