Hrungnir was a jötunn in Norse mythology, slain by the god Thor with his hammer Mjölnir. The account is documented in the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson. Prior to his demise, Hrungnir engaged in a wager with Odin in which Odin stakes his head on his horse, being faster than Hrungnir's steed Gullfaxi. During the race, which Sleipnir wins, Hrungnir enters Valhalla, there becomes drunk and abusive. After they grow weary of him, the gods call on Thor to battle Hrungnir. Thor and his servant Thjalfi challenge the giant. Smashed to smithereens by Thor's hammer Mjölnir, fragments of the whetstone fall down to earth - and "thence... come all the flint-rocks" - while one shard sinks deep into the god's forehead. The hammer strikes Hrungnir dead, shattering his skull; when both Thjalfi and the combined strength of the Æsir fail at pushing and pulling the giant's foot off Thor's throat, Thor's infant son with the giantess Jarnsaxa, passes by and lifts the foot, rebuking his father for his weakness. Back in Asgard, the sorceress Groa is called upon to remove Hrungnir's whetstone from Thor's forehead.
As her enchantments are beginning to show an effect loosening the stone, Thor promises to generously reward her for her services, mentioning that he had helped her husband Aurvandil cross the icy river Eliwagar and that it would not be long for her to be reunited with him. Rejoicing at this news, Groa, in her excitement, forgets all about her chants, thus leaving the whetstone locked in Thor's forehead. Hrungnir's head and shield were made of stone, his heart had a peculiar shape, it was triangular due to which both the Valknut and the Triquetra have been called Hrungnir's heart. They regarded it important who should gain the victory, they feared the worst from Thor if Hrungnir should be defeated, for he was the strongest among them. Thereupon the giants made at Grjöttungard a man of clay, nine rasts tall and three rasts broad under the arms, but being unable to find a heart large enough to be suitable for him, they took the heart from a mare, but this fluttered and trembled when Thor came.
Hrungner had, as is well known, a heart of stone and three-sided. His head was of stone, his shield was of stone, was broad and thick, he was holding this shield before him as he stood at Grjottungard waiting for Thor. His weapon was a flint-stone, which he swung over his shoulders, altogether he presented a most formidable aspect. On one side of him stood the giant of clay, named Mokkerkalfe, he was so exceedingly terrified, that it is said that he wet himself when he saw Thor..... But the hammer Mjölner hit Hrungner right in the head, crushed his skull in small pieces, he himself fell forward over Thor. Meanwhile Thjalfe attacked Mokkerkalfe. Conchobar mac Nessa, an Irish king from the Ulster Cycle, wounded in a similar manner by Cet mac Magach Orchard, Andy. Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34520-2
The Karlevi Runestone, designated as Öl 1 by Rundata, is dated to the late 10th century and located near the Kalmarsund straight in Karlevi on the island of Öland, Sweden. It is one of the most notable and prominent runestones and constitutes the oldest record of a stanza of skaldic verse; the runic inscription on the Karlevi Runestone is in prose in verse. It is the only example of a complete scaldic stanza preserved on a runestone and is composed in the "lordly meter" the dróttkvætt, it is notable for mentioning Thor's daughter Þrúðr and Viðurr, one of the names for Odin, in kennings for "chieftain." In the second half of the stanza a reference is made to Denmark, but it is not clear what this means in this poetic context. The stone is contemporary with the Battle of the Fýrisvellir and it is possible that the stone was raised by warriors who partook in it, in memory of their lord; the inscription, on a granite stone, 1.4 meters in height, is classified as being in runestone style RAK. This is the classification with inscriptions with runic text in bands that have no attached dragon or serpent heads and the ends of the runic bands are straight.
The non-runic inscription on the reverse side appears to be accompanied by a small Christian cross and a Norse pagan Thor's hammer, or Mjöllnir. Other surviving runestones or inscriptions depicting Thor's hammer include runestones U 1161 in Altuna, Sö 86 in Åby, Sö 111 in Stenkvista, Sö 140 in Jursta, Vg 113 in Lärkegapet, DR 26 in Laeborg, DR 48 in Hanning, DR 120 in Spentrup, DR 331 in Gårdstånga. Transliteration of the runes into Latin characters: + s-a... --- is * satr * aiftir * si * kuþa * sun * fultars * in hons ** liþi * sati * at * u * -ausa-þ-... +: fulkin: likr: hins: fulkþu: flaistr * uisi * þat * maistar * taiþir: tulka * þruþar: traukr: i: þaimsi * huki * munat: raiþ:uiþur: raþa: ruk:starkr * i * tanmarku: --ntils: iarmun**kruntar: urkrontari: lontiA more idiomatic English translation of the poetic stanza is provided by Foote & Wilson: Tree of Thrúd of hostilities, the man whom the greatest virtues accompanied - most men know that - lies buried in this mound. The reverse side of the stone has a non-runic inscription In nomin Ie which may mean "In the name of Jesus."
A presentation with pictures at the Foteviken Museum website. Foote, Peter & Wilson, David M.: The Viking Achievement. 1989 ISBN 0-283-97926-7. Jansson Sven B. F.: Runinskrifter i Sverige. 1984. 201 pages. Salberger, Evert: "Dedikationen på Karlevi-Stenen, Mansnamn och Versform." Sydsvenska Ortnamnssällskapets Årsskrift 1997. Pp. 88-115. Strid, Jan Paul: Runstenar. Malmö 1991. 119 pages. Söderberg, Sven: Sveriges Runinskrifter. Bd 1, "Ölands Runinskrifter." Stockholm 1900-1906
In Germanic mythology, a dwarf is a human-shaped entity that dwells in mountains and in the earth, is variously associated with wisdom, smithing and crafting. Dwarfs are sometimes described as short and ugly, although some scholars have questioned whether this is a development stemming from comical portrayals of the beings. Dwarfs continue to be depicted in modern popular culture in a variety of media; the modern English noun dwarf descends from the Old English dweorg. It has a variety of cognates in other Germanic languages, including Old Norse dvergr and Old High German twerg. According to Vladimir Orel, the English noun and its cognates descend from Proto-Germanic *đwerȝaz. A different etymology of dwarf traces it to Proto-Germanic *dwezgaz, with r being the product of Verner's Law. Anatoly Liberman connects the Germanic word with Modern English dizzy: dwarfs inflicted mental diseases on humans, in this respect did not differ from elves and several other supernatural beings. Beyond the Proto-Germanic reconstruction, the etymology of the word dwarf is contested.
Scholars have proposed theories about the origins of the being by way of historical linguistics and comparative mythology, including that dwarfs may have originated as nature spirits, as beings associated with death, or as a mixture of concepts. Competing etymologies include a basis in the Indo-European root *dheur-, the Indo-European root *dhreugh, comparisons have been made with Sanskrit dhvaras. Modern English has two plurals for the word dwarf: dwarves. Dwarfs remains the most employed plural; the minority plural dwarves was recorded as early as 1818, but it was popularized by the fiction of philologist and author J. R. R. Tolkien, originating as a mistake and employed by Tolkien since some time before 1917. Regarding the plural, Tolkien wrote in 1937, "I am afraid it is just a piece of private bad grammar, rather shocking in a philologist. Norse mythology provides different origins for the beings, as recorded in the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda; the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá details that the dwarfs were the product of the primordial blood of the being Brimir and the bones of Bláinn.
The Prose Edda, describes dwarfs as beings similar to maggots that festered in the flesh of Ymir before being gifted with reason by the gods. The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda contain over 100 dwarf names, while the Prose Edda gives the four dwarfs Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri a cosmological role: they hold up the sky. In addition, scholars have noted that the Svartálfar appear to be the same beings as dwarfs, given that both are described in the Prose Edda as the denizens of Svartálfaheimr. Few beings explicitly identifiable as dwarfs appear in the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, they have quite diverse roles: murderous creators who create the mead of poetry,'reluctant donors' of important artifacts with magical qualities, or sexual predators who lust after goddesses, they are associated with metalsmithing, with death, as in the story of King Sveigðir in Ynglinga saga, the first segment of the Heimskringla — the doorways in the mountains that they guard may be regarded as doors between worlds.
One dwarf named Alvíss claimed the hand of Thor's daughter Þrúðr in marriage, but he was kept talking until daybreak and turned to stone, much like some accounts of trolls. After the Christianization of the Germanic peoples, tales of dwarfs continued to be told in the folklore of areas of Europe where Germanic languages were spoken. In the late legendary sagas, dwarfs demonstrate skill in healing as well as in smithing. In the early Norse sources, there is no mention of their being short. Anatoly Liberman suggests that dwarfs may have been thought of as lesser supernatural beings, which became literal smallness after Christianization. Old Norse dwarf names include Fullangr and Hár, whereas Anglo-Saxon glosses use dweorg to render Latin terms such as nanus and pygmaeus. Dwarfs in folklore are described as old men with long beards. Female dwarfs are hardly mentioned. Dvalinn the dwarf has daughters, the 14th-century romantic saga Þjalar Jóns saga gives the feminine form of Old Norse dyrgja, but the few folklore examples cited by Grimm in Teutonic Mythology may be identified as other beings.
However, in the Swedish ballad "Herr Peder och Dvärgens Dotter", the role of supernatural temptress is played by a dwarf's daughter. The Anglo-Saxon charm Wið Dweorh appears to relate to sleep disturbances; this may indicate that the dwarf antagonist is similar to the oppressive supernatural figure the mare, the etymological source of the word "nightmare", or that the word had come to be used to mean "fever". In the Old English Herbal, it translates warts. In Middle High German heroic poetry, most dwarfs are portrayed as having long beards, but some may have a childish appearance. In some stories, the dwarf takes on the attributes of a knight, he is most separated from normal humans by his small size, in some cases only reaching up to the knees. Despite their small size, dwarfs have superhuman strength, either by nature or through magical means
In Norse mythology, a valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle, the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, ruled over by the god Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar; when the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear. Valkyries appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens and sometimes connected to swans or horses. Valkyries are attested in the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, the Heimskringla and the Njáls saga, all written—or compiled—in the 13th century, they appear throughout the poetry of skalds, in a 14th-century charm, in various runic inscriptions. The Old English cognate terms wælcyrge and wælcyrie appear in several Old English manuscripts, scholars have explored whether the terms appear in Old English by way of Norse influence, or reflect a tradition native among the Anglo-Saxon pagans.
Scholarly theories have been proposed about the relation between the valkyries, the Norns, the dísir, all of which are supernatural figures associated with fate. Archaeological excavations throughout Scandinavia have uncovered amulets theorized as depicting valkyries. In modern culture, valkyries have been the subject of works of art, musical works, comic books, video games and poetry; the word valkyrie derives from Old Norse valkyrja, composed of two words: the noun valr and the verb kjósa. Together, they mean'chooser of the slain'; the Old Norse valkyrja is cognate to Old English wælcyrge. From the Old English and Old Norse forms, philologist Vladimir Orel reconstructs the Proto-Germanic form *wala-kuzjōn. However, the term may have been borrowed into Old English from Old Norse: see discussion in the Old English attestations section below. Other terms for valkyries in Old Norse sources include óskmey, appearing in the poem Oddrúnargrátr and Óðins meyjar, appearing in the Nafnaþulur. Óskmey may be related to the Odinic name Óski, referring to the fact that Odin receives slain warriors in Valhalla.
Valkyries are mentioned or appear in the Poetic Edda poems Völuspá, Grímnismál, Völundarkviða, Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar, Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, Helgakviða Hundingsbana II and Sigrdrífumál. In stanza 30 of the poem Völuspá, a völva tells Odin that "she saw" valkyries coming from far away who are ready to ride to "the realm of the gods"; the völva follows this with a list of six valkyries: Skuld who "bore a shield", Skögul, Hildr, Göndul and Geirskögul. Afterwards, the völva tells him she has listed the "ladies of the War Lord, ready to ride, over the earth". In the poem Grímnismál, tortured and thirsty, tells the young Agnar that he wishes that the valkyries Hrist and Mist would "bear him a horn" provides a list of 11 more valkyries who he says "bear ale to the einherjar". A prose introduction in the poem Völundarkviða relates that the brothers Slagfiðr, Egil and Völund dwelt in a house sited in a location called Úlfdalir. There, early one morning, the brothers find three women spinning linen on the shore of the lake Úlfsjár, "near them were their swan's garments.
Two daughters of King Hlödvér are named Hervör alvitr. The brothers take the three women back to their hall with them—Egil takes Ölrún, Slagfiðr takes Hlaðguðr svanhvít and Völund takes Hervör alvitr, they live together for seven winters, until the women do not return. Egil goes off in snow-shoes to look for Ölrún, Slagfiðr goes searching for Hlaðguðr svanhvít and Völund sits in Úlfdalir. In the poem Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar, a prose narrative says that an unnamed and silent young man, the son of the Norwegian King Hjörvarðr and Sigrlinn of Sváfaland, witnesses nine valkyries riding by while sitting atop a burial mound, he finds one striking. The valkyrie speaks to the unnamed man, gives him the name Helgi; the silent Helgi speaks. The valkyrie tells him she knows of a hoard of swords in Sigarsholm, that one of them is of particular importance, which she describes in detail. Further into the poem, Atli flytes with the female jötunn Hrímgerðr. While flyting with Atli, Hrímgerðr says that she had seen 27 valkyries around Helgi, yet one fair valkyrie led the band: Three
In Norse mythology, Hildr is a valkyrie. Hildr is attested in the Prose Edda as Hedin's wife in the Hjaðningavíg, she had the power to revive the dead in battlefields and used it to maintain the everlasting battle between Hedin and Högni. Hildr is mentioned along with other valkyries in Völuspá, Darraðarljóð and other Old Norse poems; the Old Norse word hildr is a common noun meaning "battle" and it is not always clear when the poets had the valkyrie in mind, as a personification of battle. Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist; the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson. New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation. Available online at Google Books. Jónsson, Finnur. Lexicon Poeticum. S. L. Møllers Bogtrykkeri, København. Orchard, Andy. Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34520-2
Poetic Edda is the modern attribution for an unnamed collection of Old Norse anonymous poems, different from the Edda written by Snorri Sturluson. Several versions exist, all of text from the Icelandic medieval manuscript known as the Codex Regius; the Codex Regius is arguably the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends. From the early 19th century onwards, it has had a powerful influence on Scandinavian literatures. Not only by its stories, but by the visionary force and the dramatic quality of many of the poems, it has become an inspiring model for many innovations in poetic meter in Nordic languages, offering many varied examples of terse, stress-based metrical schemes that lack any final rhyme by instead using alliterative devices and strongly-concentrated imagery. Poets who have acknowledged their debt to the Codex Regius include Vilhelm Ekelund, August Strindberg, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges, Karin Boye. Codex Regius was written in the 13th century, but nothing is known of its whereabouts until 1643, when it came into the possession of Brynjólfur Sveinsson Bishop of Skálholt.
At the time, versions of the Edda were known in Iceland, but scholars speculated that there once was another Edda, an Elder Edda, which contained the pagan poems that Snorri quotes in his Edda. When Codex Regius was discovered, it seemed that the speculation had proved, but modern scholarly research has shown that Edda was written first and the two were, at most, connected by a common source. Brynjólfur attributed the manuscript to Sæmundr the Learned, a larger-than-life 12th century Icelandic priest; that attribution is rejected by modern scholars, but the name Sæmundar Edda is still sometimes associated with both the "Codex Regius" and versions of "Poetic Edda" using it as a source. Bishop Brynjólfur sent Codex Regius as a present to the Danish king. For centuries, it was stored in the Royal Library in Copenhagen but in 1971, it was returned to Iceland; the Eddic poems are composed in alliterative verse. Most are in fornyrðislag; the rest, about a quarter, are composed in ljóðaháttr. The language of the poems is clear and unadorned.
Kennings are employed, though they do not arise as nor are they as complex, as those found in skaldic poetry. Like most early poetry, the Eddic poems were minstrel poems, passing orally from singer to singer and from poet to poet for centuries. None of the poems are attributed to a particular author, though many of them show strong individual characteristics and are to have been the work of individual poets. Scholars sometimes speculate on hypothetical authors, but firm and accepted conclusions have never been reached; the dating of the poems has been a source of lively scholarly argument for a long time, firm conclusions are hard to reach. Lines from the Eddic poems sometimes appear in poems by known poets, but such evidence is difficult to evaluate. For example, Eyvindr skáldaspillir composed in the latter half of the 10th century, he uses a couple of lines in his Hákonarmál which are found in Hávamál, it is possible that he was quoting a known poem, but it is possible that Hávamál, or at least the strophe in question, is the younger derivative work.
The few demonstrably historical characters mentioned in the poems, such as Attila, provide a terminus post quem of sorts. The dating of the manuscripts themselves provides a more useful terminus ante quem. Individual poems have individual clues to their age. For example, Atlamál hin groenlenzku is claimed by its title to have been composed in Greenland, seems so by some internal evidence. If so, it can be no earlier than about 985, since there were no Scandinavians in Greenland until that time. In some cases, old poems may have been merged with other poems. For example, stanzas 9-16 of Völuspá, the "Dvergatal" or "Roster of Dwarfs", is considered by some scholars to be an interpolation; the problem of dating the poems is linked with the problem of finding out. Iceland was not settled until about 870, so anything composed before that time would have been elsewhere, most in Scandinavia. Any young poems, on the other hand, are Icelandic in origin. Scholars have attempted to localize individual poems by studying the geography and fauna to which they refer.
This approach does not yield firm results. For example, there are no wolves in Iceland, but we can be sure that Icelandic poets were familiar with the species; the apocalyptic descriptions of Völuspá have been taken as evidence that the poet who composed it had seen a volcanic eruption in Iceland - but this is hardly certain. Some poems similar to those found in Codex Regius are included in some editions of the Poetic Edda. Important manuscripts include AM 748 I Hauksbók and Flateyjarbók. Many of the poems are quoted in Snorri's Edda, but only in bits and pieces. What poems are included in an edition of the Poetic Edda depends on the editor; those not in Codex Regius are sometimes called Eddica minora, from their appearance in an edition with that title edited by Andreas Heusler and Wilhelm Ranisch in 1903. English translators are not consistent on the translations of the names of the Eddic poems or on how the Old Norse forms should be rendered in English. Up to three translated titles are given below, taken from the translations of Bellows and Larrington with proper names in the normalized English forms found in John Lindow's Norse Mythology and in Andy Orchard's Cassell's Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend.
Norse mythology is the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia, into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, folk tradition; the source texts mention numerous gods, such as the hammer-wielding, humanity-protecting thunder-god Thor, who relentlessly fights his foes. Most of the surviving mythology centres on the plights of the gods and their interaction with various other beings, such as humanity and the jötnar, beings who may be friends, foes or family members of the gods; the cosmos in Norse mythology consists of Nine Worlds that flank Yggdrasil. Units of time and elements of the cosmology are personified as beings. Various forms of a creation myth are recounted, where the world is created from the flesh of the primordial being Ymir, the first two humans are Ask and Embla.
These worlds are foretold to be reborn after the events of Ragnarök when an immense battle occurs between the gods and their enemies, the world is enveloped in flames, only to be reborn anew. There the surviving gods will meet, the land will be fertile and green, two humans will repopulate the world. Norse mythology has been the subject of scholarly discourse since the 17th century, when key texts were brought to the attention of the intellectual circles of Europe. By way of comparative mythology and historical linguistics, scholars have identified elements of Germanic mythology reaching as far back as Proto-Indo-European mythology. During the modern period, the Romanticist Viking revival re-awoke an interest in the subject matter, references to Norse mythology may now be found throughout modern popular culture; the myths have further been revived in a religious context among adherents of Germanic Neopaganism. The historical religion of the Norse people is referred to as Norse mythology. In certain literature the terms Scandinavian mythology or Nordic mythology have been used.
Norse mythology is attested in dialects of Old Norse, a North Germanic language spoken by the Scandinavian people during the European Middle Ages, the ancestor of modern Scandinavian languages. The majority of these Old Norse texts were created in Iceland, where the oral tradition stemming from the pre-Christian inhabitants of the island was collected and recorded in manuscripts; this occurred in the 13th century. These texts include the Prose Edda, composed in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, the Poetic Edda, a collection of poems from earlier traditional material anonymously compiled in the 13th century; the Prose Edda was composed as a prose manual for producing skaldic poetry—traditional Old Norse poetry composed by skalds. Composed and transmitted orally, skaldic poetry utilizes alliterative verse and various metrical forms; the Prose Edda presents numerous examples of works by various skalds from before and after the Christianization process and frequently refers back to the poems found in the Poetic Edda.
The Poetic Edda consists entirely of poems, with some prose narrative added, this poetry—Eddic poetry—utilizes fewer kennings. In comparison to skaldic poetry, Eddic poetry is unadorned; the Prose Edda features layers of euhemerization, a process in which deities and supernatural beings are presented as having been either actual, magic-wielding human beings who have been deified in time or beings demonized by way of Christian mythology. Texts such as Heimskringla, composed in the 13th century by Snorri and Gesta Danorum, composed in Latin by Saxo Grammaticus in Denmark in the 12th century, are the results of heavy amounts of euhemerization. Numerous further texts, such as the sagas, provide further information; the saga corpus consists of thousands of tales recorded in Old Norse ranging from Icelandic family histories to Migration period tales mentioning historic figures such as Attila the Hun. Objects and monuments such as the Rök Runestone and the Kvinneby amulet feature runic inscriptions—texts written in the runic alphabet, the indigenous alphabet of the Germanic peoples—that mention figures and events from Norse mythology.
Objects from the archaeological record may be interpreted as depictions of subjects from Norse mythology, such as amulets of the god Thor's hammer Mjölnir found among pagan burials and small silver female figures interpreted as valkyries or dísir, beings associated with war, fate or ancestor cults. By way of historical linguistics and comparative mythology, comparisons to other attested branches of Germanic mythology may lend insight. Wider comparisons to the