The Wild Hunt is a folklore motif that occurs in European folklore. Wild Hunts involve a ghostly or supernatural group of hunters passing in wild pursuit; the hunters may be either elves or fairies or the dead, the leader of the hunt is a named figure associated with Woden, but may variously be a historical or legendary figure like Theodoric the Great, the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag, the Welsh psychopomp Gwyn ap Nudd, biblical figures such as Herod, Gabriel or the Devil, or an unidentified lost soul or spirit either male or female. Seeing the Wild Hunt was thought to presage some catastrophe such as war or plague, or at best the death of the one who witnessed it. People encountering the Hunt might be abducted to the underworld or the fairy kingdom. In some instances, it was believed that people's spirits could be pulled away during their sleep to join the cavalcade; the concept was developed based on comparative mythology by Jacob Grimm in Deutsche Mythologie as a folkloristic survival of Germanic pagan tradition, but comparable folk myths are found throughout Northern and Central Europe.
Grimm popularised the term Wilde Jagd for the phenomenon. Based on the comparative approach based on German folklore, the phenomenon is referred to as Wilde Jagd or Wildes Heer. In Germany, where it was known as the "Wild Army", or "Furious Army", its leader was given various identities, including Wodan, Knecht Ruprecht and Holda; the Wild Hunt is known from post-medieval folklore. In England, it was known as Herlaþing, Woden's Hunt, Herod's Hunt, Cain's Hunt, the Devil's Dandy Dogs, Gabriel's Hounds, Ghost Riders. In Wales, a comparable folk myth is known as Cŵn Annwn. In Scandinavia, the Wild Hunt is known as Oskoreia or Asgårdsreia, Odens jakt or Vilda jakten. In Northern France, it was known in Old French as Mesnée d'Hellequin and with a large range of variant forms. In West Slavic Central Europe it is known as divoký hon or štvaní, Dziki Gon or Dziki Łów, Divja Jaga. Other variations of the same folk myth are Caccia Morta, Caccia infernale, or Caccia selvaggia in Italy; the concept of the Wild Hunt was first documented by the German folklorist Jacob Grimm, who first published it in his 1835 book Deutsche Mythologie.
It was in this work. Grimm's methodological approach was rooted in the idea – common in nineteenth-century Europe – that modern folklore represented a fossilized survival of the beliefs of the distant past. In developing his idea of the Wild Hunt, he mixed together recent folkloric sources with textual evidence dating to the Medieval and Early Modern periods; this approach came to be criticized within the field of folkloristics during the 20th century, as more emphasis was placed on the "dynamic and evolving nature of folklore". Grimm interpreted the Wild Hunt phenomenon as having pre-Christian origins, arguing that the male figure who appeared in it was a survival of folk beliefs about the god Wodan, who had "lost his sociable character, his near familiar features, assumed the aspect of a dark and dreadful power... a spectre and a devil." Grimm believed that this male figure was sometimes replaced by a female counterpart, whom he referred to as Holda and Berchta. In his words, "not only Wuotan and other gods, but heathen goddesses too, may head the furious host: the wild hunter passes into the wood-wife, Wôden into frau Gaude."
He added his opinion. Discussing martial elements of the Wild Hunt, Grimm commented that "it marches as an army, it portends the outbreak of war." He added that a number of figures, recorded as leading the hunt, such as "Wuotan, Berholt, bestriding their white war-horse and spurred, appear still as supreme directors of the war for which they, so to speak, give licence to mankind."Grimm believed that in pre-Christian Europe, the hunt, led by a god and a goddess, either visited "the land at some holy tide, bringing welfare and blessing, accepting gifts and offerings of the people" or they alternately float "unseen through the air, perceptible in cloudy shapes, in the roar and howl of the winds, carrying on war, hunting or the game of ninepins, the chief employments of ancient heroes: an array which, less tied down to a definite time, explains more the natural phenomenon." He believed that under the influence of Christianisation, the story was converted from being that of a "solemn march of gods" to being "a pack of horrid spectres, dashed with dark and devilish ingredients".
Haakon the Good
Haakon Haraldsson Haakon the Good and Haakon Adalsteinfostre, was the king of Norway from 934 to 961. He was noted for his attempts to introduce Christianity into Norway. Haakon is not mentioned in any narrative sources earlier than the late 12th century. According to this late saga tradition, Haakon was the youngest son of King Harald Fairhair and Thora Mosterstang, he was born on the Håkonshella peninsula in Hordaland. King Harald determined to remove his youngest son out of harm's way and accordingly sent him to the court of King Athelstan of England. Haakon was fostered by King Athelstan, as part of an agreement made by his father, for which reason Haakon was nicknamed Adalsteinfostre. However, Haakon is not mentioned in any contemporary Anglo-Saxon sources, historians of Athelstan, such as William of Malmesbury, make no reference to Haakon. According to Norwegian royal biographies from the late 12th century, the English court introduced him to the Christian religion. On the news of his father's death, King Athelstan provided Haakon with ships and men for an expedition against his half-brother Eric Bloodaxe, proclaimed king of Norway.
At his arrival back in Norway, Haakon gained the support of the landowners by promising to give up the rights of taxation claimed by his father over inherited real property. Eric Bloodaxe soon found himself deserted on all sides, saved his own and his family's lives by fleeing from the country. Eric fled to the Orkney Islands and to the Kingdom of Jorvik meeting a violent death at Stainmore, Westmorland, in 954 along with his son, Haeric. In 953, Haakon had to fight a fierce battle at Avaldsnes against the sons of Eric Bloodaxe. Haakon won the battle. One of Haakon's most famous victories was the Battle of Rastarkalv near Frei in 955 at which Eric's son, died. By placing ten standards far apart along a low ridge, he gave the impression that his army was bigger than it was, he managed to fool Eric's sons into believing. The Danes were slaughtered by Haakon's army; the sons of Eric returned in 957, with support from King Gorm the Old, King of Denmark, but were again defeated by Haakon's effective army system.
Three of the surviving sons of Eric Bloodaxe landed undetected on the coast of Hordaland in 961 and surprised the king at his residence in Fitjar. Haakon was mortally wounded at the Battle of Fitjar after a final victory over Eric’s sons; the King’s arm was pierced by an arrow and he died from his wounds. He was buried in the burial mound in the village of Seim in Lindås municipality in the county of Hordaland. Upon his death his court poet, Eyvindr Skáldaspillir, composed a skaldic poem Hákonarmál about the fall of the King in battle and his reception into Valhalla. After Haakon's death, Harald Greycloak, the eldest surviving son of Eric Bloodaxe, ascended the throne as King Harald II, although he had little authority outside western Norway. Subsequently, the Norwegians were tormented by years of war. In 970, King Harald was tricked into coming to Denmark and killed in a plot planned by Haakon Sigurdsson, who had become an ally of King Harald Bluetooth. Haakon's Park is the location of a statue of King Haakon sculpted by Anne Grimdalen.
During 1961, the statue was erected opposite Fitjar Church for the one thousand-year commemoration of the Battle of Fitjar. Håkonarspelet is a historical play written by Johannes Heggland in 1997. Haakon is a major character in Mother of Kings by Poul Anderson. Haakon is the protagonist in God's Hammer by Eric Schumacher; this article contains information from "Haakon". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. Birkeli, Fridtjov Norge møter kristendommen fra vikingtiden til ca. 1050 ISBN 9788203087912 Enstad, Nils-Petter Sverd eller kors? Kristningen av Norge som politisk prosess fra Håkon den gode til Olav Kyrre ISBN 9788230003947 Krag, Claus Vikingtid og rikssamling 800–1130 ISBN 9788203220159 Sigurdsson, Jon Vidar and Synnøve Veinan Hellerud Håkon den gode ISBN 9788243005778 van Nahl, Jan Alexander. "The Medieval Mood of Contingency. Chance as a Shaping Factor in Hákonar saga góða and Haralds saga Sigurðarsonar". In: Mediaevistik, International Journal of Interdisciplinary Medieval Research 29. Pp. 81–97.
Saga Hákonar góða Hákonarmól
Sceafa was an ancient Lombardic king in English legend. According to his story, Sceafa appeared mysteriously as a child, coming out of the sea in an empty skiff; the name appears in the corrupt forms Seskef, Stefius and Stresaeus. Though the name has been modernized Shava, J. R. R. Tolkien used the modern spelling Sheave; the Old English poem Widsith, line 32, in a listing of famous kings and their countries, has Sceafa Longbeardum, so naming Sceafa as ruler of the Lombards. In Origo Gentis Langobardorum the Lombards' origins are traced to an "island" in the north named Scadan or Scandan, but neither this account or any other mentions Sceafa among their kings or gives the names of any kings that ruled them in the land of their origin where they were said to have been known as the Winnili. Other than this, Sceaf is mentioned only in chronicles tracing the lineage of the English kings, although variants are found in similar genealogies for the rulers of the Danes and Icelanders in the sagas. Most such genealogies stop at the god Woden, but some trace the supposed ancestors of Woden up to a certain Geat.
The account in the Historia Britonum calls Geat a son of a god. Asser in his Life of Alfred writes instead that the pagans worshipped Geat himself for a long time as a god. Moderns speculate on whether this Geat is any eponym of the people known as Geats, or whether it may be the name of a god, or whether it is both; the apparent Old Norse cognate form Gautr is a common byname for Odin. The Icelandic Herrauðssaga speaks of King Hring who ruled East Götaland and was son of Gauti son of Odin. Jordanes in his The origin and deeds of the Goths traces the line of the Amelungs up to Hulmul son of Gapt, purportedly the first Gothic hero of record; this Gapt is felt by many commentators to be an error for Gaut. A few of these genealogies provide mortal ancestors to Geat, tracing his ancestry to Sceaf and tell of Sceaf's origin. Æthelweard in his Chronica writes of Sceaf: This Scef came in a light boat to an island of the ocean, called Scani, arms around about him, he was a young boy, unknown to the dwellers in the land.
But he was accepted by them and cared for like one of their own kind, afterwards they chose him as king, from whose family descended King Æthelwulf. William of Malmesbury in his Gesta regum anglorum wrote:.. Sceaf; however the genealogy in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle year 855, versions B and C, explains instead that Scef was born in Noah's Ark, interpreting Sceaf as a non-Biblical son of Noah, continuing with the ancestry of Noah up to Adam as found in Genesis. Sceaf is unknown outside of English sources except for one mention in Snorri Sturluson's Prologue to the Prose Edda, informed by English sources. Older than these is the Old English poem Beowulf which applies the story of the boy in the boat instead to the Danish, the eponym of the legendary Danish royal lineage known as the Scyldings or Skjöldings. In the opening lines of Beowulf, Scyld is called Scyld Scefing, which might mean Scyld descendant of Scef, Scyld son of Scef, or Scyld of the Sheaf; the Beowulf poet does not explain. But after relating in general terms the glories of Scyld's reign, the poet describes Scyld's funeral, how his body was laid in a ship surrounded by treasures, the poet explains: They decked his body no less bountifullywith offerings than those first ones did who cast him away when he was a child and launched him alone out over the waves.
No other source relates anything similar about Scyld/Skjöld, so it cannot be known whether this is a case of similar stories being told about two different heroes or whether separate figures have been confused with one another. A connection between sheaf and shield appears in the 13th century Chronicon de Abingdon which relates a dispute over ownership of a river meadow named Beri between the Abbot of Abingdon and the men of Oxfordshire; the dispute was decided by a ritual in which the monks placed a sheaf of wheat on a round shield and a wax candle upon the sheaf which they lit. They floated the shield with sheaf and candle on the Thames river to see where it would go; the shield purportedly kept to the middle of the Thames until it arrived at the disputed field, an island because of flooding, whereupon it changed its course and circled the meadow between the Thames and the Iffley. Æ = Æthelweard's Chronica. ASC = Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, year 855 versions B and C; the A version omits the names Hwala and Scef certainly by accident, so that in that text it is Hrathra, a son of Noah born in the ark.
Beowulf calls Heremod a Scylding and calls his people were Scyldings, which should mean Heremod was a descendant of Scyld. But that may be anachonistic usage of a common term. Edda: The forms used indicate an English source. Of the three supposed Norse counterparts, the equation with Skjöld is correct, but nothing is otherwise known about Bjárr or this particular Annarr. Seskef, in this pseudohistorical account, is son of Magi, son of Móda, son of Vingener, son of Vingethor, son of Einridi, son of Lóridi, son
Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines. It is arguably one of the most important works of Old English literature; the date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars. The author was an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet, referred to by scholars as the "Beowulf poet"; the story is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland and becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is mortally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants erect a tower on a headland in his memory; the full story survives in the manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. It has no title in the original manuscript, but has become known by the name of the story's protagonist.
In 1731, the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through Ashburnham House in London that had a collection of medieval manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton. The Nowell Codex is housed in the British Library; the events in the poem take place over most of the sixth century, after the Anglo-Saxons had started migrating to England and before the beginning of the seventh century, a time when the Anglo-Saxons were either newly arrived or were still in close contact with their Germanic kinsmen in Northern Germany and southern Scandinavia. The poem may have been brought to England by people of Geatish origins. Many suggest that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia, that the Sutton Hoo ship-burial shows close connections with Scandinavia, that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffingas, may have been descendants of the Geatish Wulfings. Others have associated this poem with the court of King Alfred the Great or with the court of King Cnut the Great.
The poem deals with legends, was composed for entertainment, does not separate between fictional elements and historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac into Frisia. Though Beowulf himself is not mentioned in any other Anglo-Saxon manuscript, scholars agree that many of the other figures referred to in Beowulf appear in Scandinavian sources.. This concerns not only individuals, but clans and certain events. In Denmark, recent archaeological excavations at Lejre, where Scandinavian tradition located the seat of the Scyldings, i.e. Heorot, have revealed that a hall was built in the mid-6th century the time period of Beowulf. Three halls, each about 50 metres long, were found during the excavation; the majority view appears to be that people such as King Hroðgar and the Scyldings in Beowulf are based on historical people from 6th-century Scandinavia. Like the Finnesburg Fragment and several shorter surviving poems, Beowulf has been used as a source of information about Scandinavian figures such as Eadgils and Hygelac, about continental Germanic figures such as Offa, king of the continental Angles.
19th-century archaeological evidence may confirm elements of the Beowulf story. Eadgils was buried at Uppsala according to Snorri Sturluson; when the western mound was excavated in 1874, the finds showed that a powerful man was buried in a large barrow, c. 575, on a bear skin with two dogs and rich grave offerings. The eastern mound was excavated in 1854, contained the remains of a woman, or a woman and a young man; the middle barrow has not been excavated. The protagonist Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, whose great hall, Heorot, is plagued by the monster Grendel. Beowulf kills Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a giant's sword that he found in her lair. In his life, Beowulf becomes king of the Geats, finds his realm terrorized by a dragon, some of whose treasure had been stolen from his hoard in a burial mound, he attacks the dragon with the help of his thegns or servants. Beowulf decides to follow the dragon to its lair at Earnanæs, but only his young Swedish relative Wiglaf, whose name means "remnant of valour", dares to join him.
Beowulf slays the dragon, but is mortally wounded in the struggle. He is cremated and a burial mound by the sea is erected in his honour. Beowulf is considered an epic poem in that the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts; the poem begins in medias res or "in the middle of things,", a characteristic of the epics of antiquity. Although the poem begins with Beowulf's arrival, Grendel's attacks have been an ongoing event. An elaborate history of characters and their lineages is spoken of, as well as their interactions with each other, debts owed and repaid, deeds of valour; the warriors form a kind of brotherhood linked by loyalty to their lord. What is unique about "Beowulf" is that the poem begins and ends with a funeral. At the beginning of the poem, the king, Shield Shiefson dies and there is a huge funeral for him. At the end of the poem when Beowulf dies, there is a massive funeral for Beowulf. Beowulf begins with the story of Hrothgar, who constructed the great hall Heorot for himself and his warriors.
In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. Hel is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In addition, she is mentioned in poems recorded in Heimskringla and Egils saga that date from the 9th and 10th centuries, respectively. An episode in the Latin work Gesta Danorum, written in the 12th century by Saxo Grammaticus, is considered to refer to Hel, Hel may appear on various Migration Period bracteates. In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance; the Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.
Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel's potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th-century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name. The Old Norse feminine proper noun Hel is identical to the name of the location over which she rules, Old Norse Hel; the word has cognates in all branches of the Germanic languages, including Old English hell, Old Frisian helle, Old Saxon hellia, Old High German hella, Gothic halja. All forms derive from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic feminine noun *xaljō or *haljō. In turn, the Proto-Germanic form derives from the o-grade form of the Proto-Indo-European root *kel-, *kol-:'to cover, save'; the term is etymologically related to Modern English hall and therefore Valhalla, an afterlife'hall of the slain' in Norse Mythology.
Hall and its numerous Germanic cognates derive from Proto-Germanic *hallō'covered place, hall', from Proto-Indo-European *kol-. Related early Germanic terms and concepts include Proto-Germanic *xalja-rūnō, a feminine compound noun, *xalja-wītjan, a neutral compound noun; this form is reconstructed from the Latinized Gothic plural noun *haliurunnae, Old English helle-rúne, Old High German helli-rūna'magic'. The compound is composed of two elements: *xaljō and *rūnō, the Proto-Germanic precursor to Modern English rune; the second element in the Gothic haliurunnae may however instead be an agent noun from the verb rinnan, which would make its literal meaning "one who travels to the netherworld".) Proto-Germanic *xalja-wītjan is reconstructed from Old Norse hel-víti'hell', Old English helle-wíte'hell-torment, hell', Old Saxon helli-wīti'hell', the Middle High German feminine noun helle-wīze. The compound is a compound of * * wītjan; the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, features various poems that mention Hel.
In the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá, Hel's realm is referred to as the "Halls of Hel." In stanza 31 of Grímnismál, Hel is listed as living beneath one of three roots growing from the world tree Yggdrasil. In Fáfnismál, the hero Sigurd stands before the mortally wounded body of the dragon Fáfnir, states that Fáfnir lies in pieces, where "Hel can take" him. In Atlamál, the phrases "Hel has half of us" and "sent off to Hel" are used in reference to death, though it could be a reference to the location and not the being, if not both. In stanza 4 of Baldrs draumar, Odin rides towards the "high hall of Hel."Hel may be alluded to in Hamðismál. Death is periphrased as "joy of the troll-woman" and ostensibly it is Hel being referred to as the troll-woman or the ogre, although it may otherwise be some unspecified dís. Hel is referred to in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In chapter 34 of the book Gylfaginning, Hel is listed by High as one of the three children of Loki and Angrboða.
High continues that, once the gods found that these three children are being brought up in the land of Jötunheimr, when the gods "traced prophecies that from these siblings great mischief and disaster would arise for them" the gods expected a lot of trouble from the three children due to the nature of the mother of the children, yet worse so due to the nature of their father. High says that Odin sent the gods to bring them to him. Upon their arrival, Odin threw Jörmungandr into "that deep sea that lies round all lands," Odin threw Hel into Niflheim, bestowed upon her authority over nine worlds, in that she must "administer board and lodging to those sent to her, and, those who die of sickness or old age." High details that in this realm Hel has "great Mansions" with high walls and immense gates, a hall called Éljúðnir, a dish called "Hunger," a knife called "Famine," the servant Ganglati, the serving-maid Ganglöt, the entrance threshold "Stumbling-block," the bed "Sick-bed," and the curtains "Gleaming-bale."
High describes Hel as "half black
In Germanic mythology, Fulla or Volla is a goddess. In Norse mythology, Fulla is described as wearing a golden band and as tending to the ashen box and the footwear owned by the goddess Frigg, and, in addition, Frigg confides in Fulla her secrets. Fulla is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources. Volla is attested in the "Horse Cure" Merseburg Incantation, recorded anonymously in the 10th century in Old High German, in which she assists in healing the wounded foal of Phol and is referred to as Frigg's sister. Scholars have proposed theories about the implications of the goddess. In the prose introduction to the Poetic Edda poem Grímnismál, Frigg makes a wager with her husband—the god Odin—over the hospitality of their human patrons. Frigg sends her servant maid Fulla to warn the king Geirröd—Frigg's patron—that a magician will visit him. Fulla meets with Geirröd, gives the warning, advises to him a means of detecting the magician: In chapter 35 of the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, High provides brief descriptions of 16 ásynjur.
High lists Fulla fifth, stating that, like the goddess Gefjun, Fulla is a virgin, wears her hair flowing with a gold band around her head. High describes that Fulla carries Frigg's eski, looks after Frigg's footwear, that in Fulla Frigg confides secrets. In chapter 49 of Gylfaginning, High details that, after the death of the deity couple Baldr and Nanna, the god Hermóðr wagers for their return in the underworld location of Hel. Hel, ruler of the location of the same name, tells Hermóðr a way to resurrect Baldr, but will not allow Baldr and Nanna to leave until the deed is accomplished. Hel does, allow Baldr and Nanna to send gifts to the living. Of these "other gifts" sent, the only specific item that High mentions is a finger-ring for Fulla; the first chapter of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Fulla is listed among eight ásynjur who attend an evening drinking banquet held for Ægir. In chapter 19 of Skáldskaparmál, poetic ways to refer to Frigg are given, one of, by referring to her as "queen of Fulla."
In chapter 32, poetic expressions for gold are given, one of which includes "Fulla's snood." In chapter 36, a work by the skald Eyvindr skáldaspillir is cited that references Fulla's golden headgear. Fulla receives a final mention in the Prose Edda in chapter 75, where Fulla appears within a list of 27 ásynjur names. One of the two Merseburg Incantations, recorded in Old High German, mentions Volla; the incantation describes how Phol and Wodan rode to a wood, there Balder's foal sprained its foot. Sinthgunt sang charms, her sister Sunna sang charms, Friia sang charms, her sister Volla sang charms, Wodan sang charms, followed by a verse describing the healing of the foal's bone; the charm reads: Phol and Wodan went to the forest. Balder's horse sprained its foot. Sinthgunt sang charms, Sunna her sister. Andy Orchard comments that the seeming appearance of Baldr with Volla in the Merseburg Incantation is "intriguing" since Fulla is one of the three goddesses the deceased Baldr expressly sends gifts to from Hel.
John Lindow says that since the name Fulla seems to have something to do with fullness, it may point to an association with fertility. Rudolf Simek comments that while Snorri notes that Baldr sends Fulla a golden ring from Hel in Gylfaginning, "this does not prove that she plays any role in the Baldr myth, but shows that Snorri associated her with gold" because of kennings used associating Fulla with gold. Simek says that since Fulla appears in the poetry of Skalds as early as the 10th century that she was "not a late personification of plenty" but that she is likely identical with Volla from the Merseburg Incantation. Simek adds that it is unclear as to who Fulla is. John Knight Bostock says that theories have been proposed that the Fulla may at one time have been an aspect of Frigg; as a result, this notion has resulted in theory that a similar situation may have existed between the figures of the goddesses Sinthgunt and Sunna, in that the two may have been understood as aspects of one another rather than separate figures.
Hilda Ellis Davidson states that the goddesses Gefjun, Gerðr, Skaði "may represent important goddesses of early times in the North, but little was remembered about them by the time Snorri was collecting his material." On the other hand, Davidson notes that it is possible that these goddesses are viewable as aspects of a single Great Goddess. Davidson calls Fulla and Volla "vague, uncertain figures, emerging from odd references to goddesses which Snorri has noted in the poets, but they suggest the possibility that at one time three generations were represented among the goddesses of fertility and harvest in Scandinavia."
In Old Norse, ǫ́ss is a member of the principal pantheon in Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, Thor, Baldr and Týr; the second pantheon is known as the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage war against each other, which results in a unified pantheon; the cognate term in Old English is ōs denoting a deity in Anglo-Saxon paganism. The Old High German is ans, plural ensî; the Gothic language had ans-. The reconstructed Proto-Germanic form is *ansuz; the ansuz rune, ᚫ, was named after the Æsir. Unlike the Old English word god, the term ōs was never adopted into Christian use. Æsir is the plural of áss, óss "god", attested in other Germanic languages, e.g. Old English ōs, Old Dutch ans and Gothic anses "half-gods"; these all stem from Proto-Germanic *ansuz, which itself comes from Proto-Indo-European *h₂énsus "life force" (cf. Avestan aŋhū "lord, it is accepted that this word is further related to *h₂ens- "to engender". Old Norse áss has the accusative æsi and ásu. In genitival compounds, it takes the form ása-, e.g. in Ása-Þórr, besides ás- found in ás-brú "gods' bridge", ás-garðr, ás-kunnigr "gods' kin", ás-liðar "gods' leader", ás-mogin "gods' might", ás-móðr "divine wrath" etc.
Landâs "national god" is a title of Thor, as is allmáttki ás "almighty god", while it is Odin, "the" ás. The feminine suffix -ynja is known from a few other nouns denoting female animals, such as apynja "female monkey", vargynja "she-wolf"; the word for "goddess" is not attested outside Old Norse. The latinization of Danish Aslak as Ansleicus, the name of a Danish Viking converted to Christianity in 864 according to the Miracles de St. Riquier, indicates that the nasalization in the first syllable persisted into the 9th century; the cognate Old English form to áss is ōs, preserved only as a prefix Ōs- in personal names and some place-names, as the genitive plural ēsa. In Old High German, Old Dutch and Old Saxon, the word is only attested in personal and place names, e.g. Ansebert, Ansfrid, Vihans. Jordanes has anses for the gods of the Goths; the interaction between the Æsir and the Vanir has provoked an amount of scholarly theory and speculation. While other cultures have had "elder" and "younger" families of gods, as with the Titans versus the Olympians of ancient Greece, the Æsir and Vanir were portrayed as contemporaries.
The two clans of gods fought battles, concluded treaties, exchanged hostages. An áss like Ullr is unknown in the myths, but his name is seen in a lot of geographical names in Sweden, may appear on the 3rd century Thorsberg chape, suggesting that his cult was widespread in prehistoric times; the names of the first three Æsir in Norse mythology, Vili, Vé and Odin all refer to spiritual or mental state, vili to conscious will or desire, vé to the sacred or numinous and óðr to the manic or ecstatic. A second clan of gods, the Vanir, is mentioned in Norse mythology: the god Njörðr and his children and Freyja, are the most prominent Vanir gods who join the Æsir as hostages after a war between Æsir and Vanir; the Vanir appear to have been connected with cultivation and fertility and the Æsir were connected with power and war. In the Eddas, the word Æsir is used for gods in general, while Asynjur is used for the goddesses in general. For example, in the poem Skírnismál, Freyr was called "Prince of the Æsir".
In the Prose Edda, Njörðr was introduced as "the third among the Æsir", among the Asynjur, Freyja is always listed second only to Frigg. In surviving tales, the origins of many of the Æsir are unexplained. There are just three: Odin and his brothers Vili and Vé. Odin's sons by giantesses are counted as Æsir. Heimdallr and Ullr's connection with the Æsir is not mentioned. Loki is a jötunn, Njörðr is a Vanir hostage, but they are ranked among the Æsir. Given the difference between their roles and emphases, some scholars have speculated that the interactions between the Æsir and the Vanir reflect the types of interaction that were occurring between social classes within Norse society at the time. According to another theory, the Vanir may be more archaic than that of the more warlike Æsir, such that the mythical war may mirror a half-remembered religious conflict; this argument was first suggested by Wilhelm Mannhardt in 1877. On a similar note, Marija Gimbutas argues that the Æsir and the Vanir represent the displacement of an indigenous Indo-European group by a tribe of warlike invaders as part of her Kurgan hypothesis.
See her case in The Living Goddess for more details. Another historical theory is that the inter-pantheon interaction may be an apotheosisation of the conflict between the Roman Kingdom and the Sabines; the noted comparative religion scholar Mircea Eliade speculated that this conflict is a version of an Indo-European myth concerning the conflict between and eventual integration of a pantheon