In Norse mythology, Gylfe, Gylvi, or Gylve was the earliest recorded king in Scandinavia. He often uses the name Gangleri when appearing in disguise, the traditions on Gylfi deal with how he was tricked by the gods and his relations with the goddess Gefjon. The Ynglinga saga section of Snorris Heimskringla and the Eddic poem Ragnarsdrápa tell a legend of how Gylfi was seduced by the goddess Gefjon to give her as much land as she could plow in one night. Gefjon transformed her four sons into oxen and took enough land to create the Danish island of Zealand and the remaining older bronze-age inhabitants of the land supposedly adopted the religion of the Æsir and began to live under their rule. Snorri presents an outline of Norse mythology through a dialogue between Gylfi and three rulers of the Æsir and it is possible that Snorris account is based on an old tradition tracing particular beliefs or foundations of particular Norse cults to this legendary Gylfi. However, it is more likely that the Historic King Gylfi was simply already a follower of the Ancient Norse Religion.
In one version of Hervarar saga, king Gylfi married his daughter Heiðr to Sigrlami, Heiðr and Sigrlami had the son Svafrlami who forced the two dwarves Dvalin and Durin to forge the magic sword Tyrfing
Snorri Sturluson was an Icelandic historian and politician. He was elected twice as lawspeaker at the Icelandic parliament, the Althing and he was the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. For stylistic and methodological reasons, Snorri is often taken to be the author of Egils saga, as a historian and mythographer, Snorri is remarkable for proposing the hypothesis that mythological gods begin as human war leaders and kings whose funeral sites develop cults. As people call upon the war leader as they go to battle, or the dead king as they face tribal hardship. Eventually, the king or warrior is remembered only as a god and he proposed that as tribes defeat others, they explain their victory by proposing that their own gods were in battle with the gods of the others. Snorri Sturluson was born in Hvammur into the wealthy and powerful Sturlungar family of the Icelandic Commonwealth and his parents were Sturla Þórðarson the elder of Hvammur and his second wife, Guðný Böðvarsdóttir.
He had two brothers, Þórðr Sturluson and Sighvatr Sturluson, two sisters and nine half-siblings. By a quirk of circumstance Snorri was raised from the age of three by Jón Loftsson, a relative of the Norwegian royal family, in Oddi, Iceland. The resulting settlement would have beggared Páll, but Jón Loftsson intervened in the Althing to mitigate the judgment and, to compensate Sturla, offered to raise, Snorri therefore received an excellent education and made connections that he might not otherwise have made. He attended the school of Sæmundr fróði, grandfather of Jón Loftsson, at Oddi and his father died in 1183 and his mother as guardian soon wasted Snorris share of the inheritance. The two families arranged an marriage in 1199 between Snorri and Herdís, the daughter of Bersi Vermundarson. From her father, Snorri inherited an estate at Borg and a chieftainship and he soon acquired more property and chieftainships. Snorri and Herdís were together for four years at Borg and they had at least two children, Hallbera and Jón.
The marriage succumbed to Snorris philandering, and in 1206, he settled in Reykholt as manager of an estate there and he made significant improvements to the estate, including a hot outdoor bath. The bath and the buildings have preserved to some extent. During the initial years at Reykholt he fathered five children by three different women, Guðrún Hreinsdóttir, Oddný, and Þuríður Hallsdóttir, Snorri quickly became known as a poet, but was a successful lawyer. In 1215, he became lawspeaker of the Althing, the public office of the Icelandic commonwealth. In the summer of 1218, he left the position and sailed to Norway
The term skald or skáld, meaning ‘poet’, is generally used for poets who composed at the courts of Scandinavian and Icelandic leaders during the Viking Age and Middle Ages. Skaldic poetry forms one of two groupings of Old Norse poetry, the other being the anonymous Eddic poetry. The most prevalent metre of skaldic poetry is dróttkvætt, the subject is usually historical and encomiastic, detailing the deeds of the skalds patron. There is no evidence that the skalds employed musical instruments, the technical demands of the skaldic form were equal to the complicated verse forms mastered by the Welsh bards and Gaelic ollaves. Like those poets, much skaldic verse consisted of panegyrics to kings, the word skald is perhaps ultimately related to Proto-Germanic *skalliz sound, shout. Old High German has skalsang song of praise and skellan means ring, the Old High German variant stem skeltan etymologically identical to the skald- stem means to scold, accuse, insult. The person doing the insulting is a skelto or skeltāri and this bears striking similarities to the Dutch verb schelden and the southern German schelten, which mean shouting abuse or calling names.
The West Germanic counterpart of the skald is the scop, like the scop, which is related to Modern English scoff, the name skald is continued in English scold, reflecting the central position of mocking taunts in Germanic poetry. Skaldic poetry can be traced to the earlier 9th century with Bragi Boddason and his Ragnarsdrápa, Bragi is considered the oldest and original Skald. At the time, the Icelanders and Nordic people were still pagan, as time went on, Skalds became the main source of Icelandic and Norse history and culture, as it was the Skalds who learned and shared the largely oral history. That led to a shift in the role of the Skald, every king and chieftain needed a Skald to record their feats and ensure their legacy lived on, as well as becoming the main historians of their society. The written artifacts of that come from Skalds, as they were the first from the time. As the years passed, the Skald profession was threatened with extinction until Snorri Sturluson compiled the Prose Edda, born in Iceland during the 12th century is the most famous skald.
In addition to being a poet, he was leader of the Althing for part of his life. For example, the Prose Edda broke down and explained kennings used in skaldic poetry, allowing many of them to be understood today. Beyond writing the Prose Edda, Snorri had many poems from retelling old Norse legends to tales on exploits of kings. Most Nordic verse of the Viking Age came in one of two forms, eddic or skaldic, Eddic verse was usually simple, in terms of content and metre, dealing largely with mythological or heroic content. Skaldic verse, was complex, and usually composed as a tribute or homage to a particular jarl or king, there is debate over the performance of skaldic poetry, but there is a general scholalry consensus that it was spoken rather than sung
Poetic Edda is the modern attribution for an unnamed collection of Old Norse anonymous poems, which is different from the Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson. Several versions exist, all consisting primarily of text from the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript known as the Codex Regius, poets who have acknowledged their debt to the Codex Regius include Vilhelm Ekelund, August Strindberg, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges, and 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 once was another Edda, an Elder Edda. Brynjólfur attributed the manuscript to Sæmundr the Learned, a larger-than-life 12th century Icelandic priest and 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, while málaháttr is a common variation. The rest, about a quarter, are composed in ljóðaháttr, the language of the poems is usually clear and relatively unadorned. Kennings are often employed, though they do not arise as frequently, nor are they as complex, 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 an author, though many of them show strong individual characteristics and are likely 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, and firm conclusions are hard to reach.
Lines from the Eddic poems sometimes appear in poems by known poets, for example, Eyvindr skáldaspillir composed in the latter half of the 10th century, and he uses a couple of lines in his Hákonarmál which are found in Hávamál. It is possible that he was quoting a poem, but it is possible that Hávamál. The few demonstrably historical characters mentioned in the poems, such as Attila, 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, and seems so by some internal evidence. If so, it can be no earlier than about 985, in some cases, old poems may have been interpolated with younger verses or merged with other poems. For example, stanzas 9-16 of Völuspá, the Dvergatal or Roster of Dwarfs, is considered by scholars to be an interpolation. The problem of dating the poems is linked with the problem of finding out where they were composed, Iceland was not settled until about 870, so anything composed before that time would necessarily have been elsewhere, most likely in Scandinavia
In Norse religion, Asgard is one of the Nine Worlds and home to the Æsir tribe of gods. It is surrounded by an incomplete wall attributed to a Hrimthurs riding the stallion Svaðilfari and his wife, are the rulers of Asgard. One of Asgards well known locations is Valhalla, in which Odin rules, völuspá, the first poem of the work, mentions many of the features and characters of Asgard portrayed by Snorri, such as Yggdrasil and Iðavöllr. The Prose Edda presents two views regarding Asgard, in the Prologue Snorri offers an euhemerized and Christian-influenced interpretation of the myths and tales of his forefathers. Snorris interpretation of the 13th century foreshadows 20th-century views of Indo-European migration from the east, Snorri further writes that Asgard is a land more fertile than any other, blessed with a great abundance of gold and jewels. Correspondingly, the Æsir excelled beyond all other people in strength, Snorri proposes the location of Asgard as Troy, the center of the earth. About it were 12 kingdoms and 12 chiefs, one of them, Múnón, married Priams daughter, Tróán, and had by her a son, Trór, to be pronounced Thor in Old Norse.
The latter was raised in Thrace, at age 12 he was whiter than ivory, had hair lighter than gold, and could lift 10 bear skins at once. His father, led a migration to the northern lands, one of the sons of Odin was Yngvi, founder of the Ynglingar, an early royal family of Sweden. In Gylfaginning, Snorri presents the mythological version, taken no doubt from his sources, icelanders were still being converted at that time. He could not present the myths as part of any current belief, instead he resorts to a debunking device, king of Sweden before the Æsir, travels to Asgard and finds there a large hall in Section 2. Within are three officials, whom Gylfi in the guise of Gangleri is allowed to question about the Asgard and the Æsir. A revelation of the ancient myths follows, but at the end the palace, in Gylfis delusion, ancient Asgard was ruled by the senior god, the all-father, who had twelve names. He was the ruler of everything and the creator of heaven, the sons of Bor constructed Asgard as a home for the Æsir, who were divinities.
Odin is identified as the all-father, Asgard is conceived as being on the earth. A rainbow bridge, Bifröst, connects it to heaven, in Asgard is a temple for the 12 gods and another for the 12 goddesses, Vingólf. The plain of Idavoll is the centre of Asgard, the gods hold court there every day at the Well of Urd, beneath an ash tree, debating the fates of men and gods. The more immediate destinies of men are assigned by the Norns and it states Thor is a god as well
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