Bragi is the skaldic god of poetry in Norse mythology. Bragi is associated with bragr, the Norse word for poetry; the name of the god may have been derived from bragr, or the term bragr may have been formed to describe'what Bragi does'. A connection between the name Bragi and Old English brego'chieftain' has been suggested but is now discounted. A connection between Bragi and the bragarfull'promise cup' is sometimes suggested, as bragafull, an alternate form of the word, might be translated as'Bragi's cup'. See Bragarfull. Snorri Sturluson writes in the Gylfaginning after describing Odin and Baldr: One is called Bragi: he is renowned for wisdom, most of all for fluency of speech and skill with words, he knows most of skaldship, after him skaldship is called bragr, from his name that one is called bragr-man or -woman, who possesses eloquence surpassing others, of women or of men. His wife is Iðunn. In Skáldskaparmál Snorri writes: How should one periphrase Bragi? By calling him husband of Iðunn, first maker of poetry, the long-bearded god, son of Odin.
That Bragi is Odin's son is mentioned only here and in some versions of a list of the sons of Odin. But "wish-son" in stanza 16 of the Lokasenna could mean "Odin's son" and is translated by Hollander as Odin's kin. Bragi's mother is the giantess Gunnlod. If Bragi's mother is Frigg Frigg is somewhat dismissive of Bragi in the Lokasenna in stanza 27 when Frigg complains that if she had a son in Ægir's hall as brave as Baldr Loki would have to fight for his life. In that poem Bragi at first is overruled by Odin. Loki gives a greeting to all gods and goddesses who are in the hall save to Bragi. Bragi generously offers his sword, an arm ring as peace gift but Loki only responds by accusing Bragi of cowardice, of being the most afraid to fight of any of the Æsir and Elves within the hall. Bragi responds that if they were outside the hall, he would have Loki's head, but Loki only repeats the accusation; when Bragi's wife Iðunn attempts to calm Bragi, Loki accuses her of embracing her brother's slayer, a reference to matters that have not survived.
It may be. A passage in the Poetic Edda poem Sigrdrífumál describes runes being graven on the sun, on the ear of one of the sun-horses and on the hoofs of the other, on Sleipnir's teeth, on bear's paw, on eagle's beak, on wolf's claw, on several other things including on Bragi's tongue; the runes are shaved off and the shavings are mixed with mead and sent abroad so that Æsir have some, Elves have some, Vanir have some, Men have some, these being speech runes and birth runes, ale runes, magic runes. The meaning of this is obscure; the first part of Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál is a dialogue between Ægir and Bragi about the nature of poetry skaldic poetry. Bragi tells the origin of the mead of poetry from the blood of Kvasir and how Odin obtained this mead, he goes on to discuss various poetic metaphors known as kennings. Snorri Sturluson distinguishes the god Bragi from the mortal skald Bragi Boddason, whom he mentions separately; the appearance of Bragi in the Lokasenna indicates that if these two Bragis were the same, they have become separated for that author or that chronology has become muddled and Bragi Boddason has been relocated to mythological time.
Compare the appearance of the Welsh Taliesin in the second branch of the Mabinogi. Legendary chronology sometimes does become muddled. Whether Bragi the god arose as a deified version of Bragi Boddason was much debated in the 19th century by the scholars Eugen Mogk and Sophus Bugge; the debate remains undecided. In the poem Eiríksmál Odin, in Valhalla, hears the coming of the dead Norwegian king Eric Bloodaxe and his host, bids the heroes Sigmund and Sinfjötli rise to greet him. Bragi is mentioned, questioning how Odin knows that it is Eric and why Odin has let such a king die. In the poem Hákonarmál, Hákon the Good is taken to Valhalla by the valkyrie Göndul and Odin sends Hermóðr and Bragi to greet him. In these poems Bragi could be either a dead hero in Valhalla. Attempting to decide is further confused because Hermóðr seems to be sometimes the name of a god and sometimes the name of a hero; that Bragi was the first to speak to Loki in the Lokasenna as Loki attempted to enter the hall might be a parallel.
It might have been useful and customary that a man of great eloquence and versed in poetry should greet those entering a hall. He is depicted in tenth-century court poetry of helping to prepare Valhalla for new arrivals and welcoming the kings who have been slain in battle to the hall of Odin. In the Prose Edda Snorri Sturluson quotes many stanzas attributed to Bragi Boddason the old, a Norwegian court poet who served several Swedish kings, Ragnar Lodbrok, Östen Beli and Björn at Hauge who reigned in the first half of the 9th century; this Bragi was reckoned as the first skaldic poet, was the earliest skaldic poet remembered by name whose verse survived in memory. Snorri quotes passages from Bragi's Ragnarsdrápa, a poem composed in honor of the famous legendary Viking Ragnar Lodbrók describing the images on a decorated shield which Ragnar had given to Bragi; the images included Thor's fishing for Jörmungandr, Gefjun's ploughing of Zealand from the soil of Sweden, the attack of Hamdir and Sorli against King Jörmunrekk, the never-ending battle between Hedin and Högni.
Bragi son of Hálfdan the Old is mentioned only in the Skjáldskaparmál. This Bragi is the sixth of the second of
The American-Scandinavian Foundation
The American-Scandinavian Foundation, is an American non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting international understanding through educational and cultural exchange between the United States and Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. The Foundation's headquarters, Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America, is located at 58 Park Avenue, New York City. ASF was founded in 1910 by the Danish-American industrialist Niels Poulson, it is a publicly supported 501 non-profit organization that carries out an extensive program of fellowships, grants and trainee J-1 visa sponsorship, membership offerings, cultural events. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees of individuals from the United States and Scandinavia, representing diverse interests, yet linked by personal or professional ties to the Scandinavian countries; the five Nordic Heads of State serve as the organization's patrons. More than 26,000 young Americans and Scandinavians have participated in ASF's exchange programs of study, research or practical training.
Many of its alumni have gone on to leading positions in business and the arts. The Foundation cultivates enduring academic and personal ties between the U. S. and the Nordic countries. Each year the ASF awards more than $800,000 in fellowships and grants to individual students, scholars and artists - either Scandinavians studying or conducting research in the United States or Americans studying or conducting research in Scandinavia; the Foundation's internships and training program enables young Americans and Scandinavians living abroad to receive practical working experience in fields such as engineering, law, finance and technology. Language classes at Scandinavia House are offered and accredited through New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies; the ASF presents a wide range of cultural programs at Scandinavia House, including art and design exhibitions, concerts lectures, children's programs representing all facets of Nordic culture. Through its public project grants, the ASF funds a wide variety of programs that bring American and Scandinavian culture and thought to public audiences.
Grants are awarded to arts and educational institutions adding a Nordic focus to their programming, as well as to smaller organizations with a more regional focus. In 2005–2006, 65 projects throughout the U. S. and Scandinavia received $250,000 in total funding. In 2006–2007, an additional $221,000 was awarded to 62 projects; the American-Scandinavian Foundation's quarterly journal, Scandinavian Review, is the oldest publication of its kind in the United States. It covers all aspects of life in contemporary Scandinavia with an emphasis on areas in which Scandinavian achievement is renowned: art and design. Leading journalists and writers on both sides of the Atlantic write for it; the Foundation publishes books, including the occasional series Scandinavian Classics and Scandinavian Monographs, both of which began in 1914. The American-Scandinavian Foundation's cultural center, Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America, is located at 58 Park Avenue, between 37th and 38th Streets in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Midtown Manhattan.
It offers a variety of art exhibitions, concerts and children's programs, plus a shop and cafe. Designed by architect James Stewart Polshek, it opened to the public in 2000. In October 2011, the Foundation celebrated its first 100 years with a series of events attended by Scandinavian heads of state; the centenary exhibition, Luminous Modernism: Scandinavian Art Comes to America, 1912, was opened by Queen Sonja of Norway on October 20, 2011, in the presence of King Harald, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Finnish President Tarja Halonen. Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden Harald V of Norway Margrethe II of Denmark Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson Sauli Ninistö Princess Benedikte of Denmark Princess Märtha Louise of Norway Martti Ahtisaari Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Official website Polshek Partnership building information and photos Scandinavia House - The Nordic Center in America
In Norse mythology, Heimdallr is a god who possesses the resounding horn Gjallarhorn, owns the golden-maned horse Gulltoppr, is called the shining god and the whitest of the gods, has gold teeth, is the son of Nine Mothers. Heimdallr is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, keeps watch for invaders and the onset of Ragnarök while drinking fine mead in his dwelling Himinbjörg, located where the burning rainbow bridge Bifröst meets the sky. Heimdallr is said to be the originator of social classes among humanity and once regained Freyja's treasured possession Brísingamen while doing battle in the shape of a seal with Loki. Heimdallr and Loki are foretold to kill one another during the events of Ragnarök. Heimdallr is additionally referred to as Rig, Hallinskiði, Vindlér or Vindhlér. Heimdallr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional material. Two lines of an otherwise lost poem about the god, survive. Due to the problematic and enigmatic nature of these attestations, scholars have produced various theories about the nature of the god, including his apparent relation to rams, that he may be a personification of or connected to the world tree Yggdrasil, potential Indo-European cognates.
The etymology of the name is obscure. Heimdallr may be connected to one of Freyja's names. Heimdallr and its variants are sometimes modernly anglicized as Heimdall. Heimdallr is attested as having three other names; the name Hallinskiði has resulted in a series of attempts at deciphering it. Gullintanni means'the one with the golden teeth'. Vindlér translates as either'the one protecting against the wind' or'wind-sea'. All three have resulted in numerous theories about the god. A lead spindle whorl bearing an Old Norse Younger Futhark inscription that mentions Heimdallr was discovered in Saltfleetby, England on September 1, 2010; the spindle whorl itself is dated from the year 1000 to 1100 AD. On the inscription, the god Heimdallr is mentioned alongside the god Odin and Þjálfi, a name of one of the god Thor's servants. Regarding the inscription reading, John Hines of Cardiff University comments that there is "quite an essay to be written over the uncertainties of translation and identification here.
In the Poetic Edda, Heimdallr is attested in six poems. Heimdallr is mentioned thrice in Völuspá. In the first stanza of the poem, the undead völva reciting the poem calls out for listeners to be silent and refers to Heimdallr: This stanza has led to various scholarly interpretations; the "holy races" have been considered variously as the gods. The notion of humanity as "Heimdallr's sons" is otherwise unattested and has resulted in various interpretations; some scholars have pointed to the prose introduction to the poem Rígsþula, where Heimdallr is said to have once gone about people, slept between couples, so doled out classes among them. In Völuspá, the völva foresees the events of Ragnarök and the role in which Heimdallr and Gjallarhorn will play at its onset. Due to manuscript differences, translations of the stanza vary: Regarding this stanza, scholar Andy Orchard comments that the name Gjallarhorn may here mean "horn of the river Gjöll" as "Gjöll is the name of one of the rivers of the Underworld, whence much wisdom is held to derive", but notes that in the poem Grímnismál Heimdallr is said to drink fine mead in his heavenly home Himinbjörg.
Earlier in the same poem, the völva mentions a scenario involving the hearing or horn of the god Heimdallr: Scholar Paul Schach comments that the stanzas in this section of Völuspá are "all mysterious and obscure, as it was meant to be". Schach details that "Heimdallar hljóð has aroused much speculation. Snorri seems to have confused this word with gjallarhorn, but there is otherwise no attestation of the use of hljóð in the sense of'horn' in Icelandic. Various scholars have read this as "hearing" rather than "horn". Scholar Carolyne Larrington comments that if "hearing" rather than "horn" is understood to appear in this stanza, the stanza indicates that Heimdallr, like Odin, has left a body part in the well. Larrington says that "Odin exchanged one of his eyes for wisdom from Mimir, guardian of the well, while Heimdall seems to have forfeited his ear."In the poem Grímnismál, tortured and thirsty, tells the young Agnar of a number of mythological locations. The eighth location he mentions is Himinbjörg, where he says that Heimdallr drinks fine mead: Regarding the above stanza, Henry Adams Bellows comments that "in this stanza the two functions of Heimdall—as father of humanity and as warder of the gods—seem both to be mentioned, but the second line in the manuscripts is in bad shape, in the editions it is more or less conjecture".
In the poem Lokasenna, Loki flyts with various gods. At one point during the exchanges, the god
Jove's Oak was a sacred tree of the Germanic pagans located in an unclear location around what is now the region of Hesse, Germany. According to the 8th century Vita Bonifatii auctore Willibaldi, the Anglo-Saxon missionary Saint Boniface and his retinue cut down the tree earlier the same century. Wood from the oak was reportedly used to build a church at the site dedicated to Saint Peter. Sacred trees and sacred groves were venerated by the Germanic peoples. According to Willibald's 8th century Life of Saint Boniface, the felling of the tree occurred during Boniface's life earlier the same century at a location at the time known as Gaesmere. Although no date is provided, the felling may have occurred around 723 or 724. Willibald's account is as follows: Sacred groves and sacred trees were venerated throughout the history of the Germanic peoples and were targeted for destruction by Christian missionaries during the Christianization of the Germanic peoples. Ken Dowden notes that behind this great oak dedicated to Donar, the Irminsul, the Sacred tree at Uppsala, stands a mythic prototype of an immense world tree, described in Norse mythology as Yggdrasil.
In the nineteenth century Gaesmere was identified as Geismar in the Schwalm-Eder district, for instance by August Neander. There are a few dissenting voices: in his 1916 translation of Willibald's Vita Bonifacii, George W. Robinson says "The location is uncertain. There are in Hesse several places named Geismar." Historian Thomas F. X. Noble describes the location of the tree felling as "still unidentified". In the late 19th century and philologist Francis Barton Gummere identifies the Gaesemere of the attestation as Geismar, a district of Frankenberg located in Hesse. However, most scholars agree. In 1897 historian C. Neuber placed the Donar Oak "im Kreise Fritzlar". While Gregor Richter, in 1906, noted that one scholar considered Hofgeismar as a possible location, he himself comments that most people consider Geismar near Fritzlar as the right place. Unequivocal identification of Geismar near Fritzlar as the location of the Donar Oak is found in the Catholic Encyclopedia, in teaching materials for religious studies classes in Germany, in the work of Alexander Demandt, in histories of the Carolingians, in the work of Lutz von Padberg.
The Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde notes that for Willibald it was not necessary to specify the location any further because he presumed it known. This Geismar was close to Büraburg a hill castle and a Frankish stronghold. One of the focal points of Boniface's life, the scene is repeated and reimagined. Roberto Muller, for instance, in a retelling of Boniface's biography for young adults, has the four parts of the tree fall down to the ground and form a cross. In Hubertus Lutterbach's fictional expansion of the Boniface correspondence, Boniface relates the entire event in a long letter to Pope Gregory II, commenting that it took hours to cut the tree down, that any account that says the tree fell down miraculously is a falsification of history. Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae, a law code imposed by Charlemagne in 785 that prescribes death for Saxon pagans refusing to convert to Christianity Massacre of Verden, a massacre of 4,500 captive pagan Saxons ordered by Charlemagne in 782 Caill Tomair, a grove dedicated by Thor destroyed by the forces of Brian Born in early 1000 Dam, Harmjan.
Kirchengeschichte im Religionsunterricht: Basiswissen und Bausteine für die Klassen 5–10. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 9783525776414. Zerstörung der Donar-Eiche in Geismar bei Fritzlar Demandt, Alexander. Geschichte der Spätantike: das Römische Reich von Diocletian bis Justinian 284-565 n. Chr. Munich: C. H. Beck. ISBN 9783406572418. Bonifatius erbaute aus dem Holz der Donar-Eiche die erste Petruskirche der späteren Stadt Fritzlar Dowden, Ken. European Paganism: The Reality of Cult from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Routledge. ISBN 0415120349 Emerton, Ephraim; the Letters of Saint Boniface. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231120923 Gummere, Francis B.. Germanic Origins: A Study in Primitive Culture. Charles Scribner's Sons. Levison, Wilhelm. Vitae Sancti Bonifatii archiepiscopi moguntini. Monumenta Germaniæ historica: Scriptores rerum germanicorum in usum scholarum separatim editi. Hannover and Leipzig: Hahn. OCLC 2116528 Lutterbach, Hubertus. Bonifatius - mit Axt und Evangelium: eine Biographie in Briefen. Herder.
ISBN 9783451285097. Mershman, Francis. "St. Boniface". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Muller, Roberto. Bring Me an Ax!. Notre Dame: Dujarie. Neander, August. General history of the Christian religion and church. Crocker & Brewster. Neuber, C.. "Die altere Geschichte von Fritzlar". Hessenland: Zeitschrift für die Kulturpflege des Bezirksverbandes Hessen: 253–55. Retrieved 26 September 2016. Padberg, Lutz von. Wynfreth-Bonifatius. Wuppertal: Brockhaus. ISBN 3417211042. Padberg, Lutz von. Bonifatius: Missionar und Reformer. Munich: C. H. Beck. ISBN 9783406480195....in unmittelbare Nähe den Fränkischen Stützpunkt Büraburg-Fritzlar Riche, Pierre. The Carolingians: A Family Who Forged Europe. U of Pennsylvania P. ISBN 9780812213423. Protected by Frankish forces, Boniface established a first monastery at Amoneburg and after
Germanic paganism refers to the indigenous religion of the Germanic people from the Iron Age until Christianisation during the Middle Ages. Rooted in Proto-Indo-European religion, Proto-Germanic religion expanded during the Migration Period, yielding extensions such as Old Norse religion among the North Germanic peoples, Continental Germanic paganism among the continental Germanic peoples, Anglo-Saxon paganism among the West Germanic people. Among the East Germanic peoples, traces of Gothic paganism may be discerned from scant artifacts and attestations. According to John Thor Ewing, as a religion it consisted of "individual worshippers, family traditions and regional cults within a broadly consistent framework". Anglo-Saxon paganism Continental Germanic paganism Frankish paganism Gothic paganism Norse paganism Heathenry Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, translated by Stallybrass, James S. Dover Publications Buchholz, Peter, "Perspectives for Historical Research in Germanic Religion", History of Religions, University of Chicago Press, 8: 111–138 North, Pagan words and Christian meanings, Rodopi, ISBN 978-90-5183-305-8
Anthropomorphic wooden cult figurines of Central and Northern Europe
Anthropomorphic wooden cult figurines, sometimes called pole gods, have been found at many archaeological sites in Central and Northern Europe. They are interpreted as cult images, in some cases depicting deities, sometimes with either a votive or an apotropaic function. Many have been preserved in peat bogs; the majority are less crudely worked poles or forked sticks. They have been dated to periods from the Mesolithic to the Early Middle Ages, including the Roman Era and the Migration Age; the majority have been found in areas of Germanic settlement, but some are from areas of Celtic settlement and from the part of the date range, Slavic settlement. A typology has been developed based on the large number found at Oberdorla, Thuringia, at a sacrificial bog, now the Opfermoor Vogtei open-air museum; the oldest of the figures is the Mesolithic find from Willemstad in the Netherlands and the latest is 13th-century, but most date from between c. 500 BCE and 500 CE. They are found as far east as Gorbunovo Moor in Russia.
By far the majority were preserved in wetlands of some sort. The earliest evidence of anthropomorphic wooden cult figures in areas that would have Germanic-speaking inhabitants is from the Bronze Age; the Broddenbjerg idol, an ithyphallic forked-stick figure found in a peat bog near Viborg, Denmark, is carbon-dated to 535–520 BCE. The Braak Bog Figures, a male and female forked-stick pair found in a peat bog at Braak, Schleswig-Holstein, have been dated to the 2nd to 3rd centuries BCE but as early as the 4th century. In areas with Germanic-speakers, figures have been found in an area extending from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany to Norrland in Sweden, but the vast majority have been preserved in bogs or other moist environments, so it is impossible to know how widespread the practice was. One figure has been found on dry land, in a ditch complex on a hillside at Bad Doberan, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; the great majority of the figurines are markedly more abstract than other artistic artefacts of their time.
The 5th-6th century seated figure from the Rude-Eskilstrup bog in Munke Bjergby parish, Denmark, is unusually detailed: it has a triple neck-ring or collar, a kirtle and a pronounced chin or beard, resembles a bronze figure found at Bregneburg on Funen. It has been suggested that this figure may have stood in a heathen temple and been placed in the bog at the conversion. Tacitus states in Germania that the Teutons did not have idols depicting their gods, yet describes the annual parading of an image of the goddess Nerthus. Tacitus did not recognise the simpler cult images made by the Teutons as equivalent to the more developed images used by Romans, or was unaware of them; the Old Norse term for a god áss has a homonym meaning "pole" or "beam". Jacob Grimm proposed that as the origin of the "god word" and the etymology was accepted by some scholars; some of the wooden figures take the form of a simple pole or post, sometimes set up in a heap of stones. The more complex figures made of carved forked sticks recall the "wooden people" or "tree-men" of the Eddic poem "Hávamál": Other more or less contemporary texts attest to wooden cult figurines in Scandinavian paganism.
Christian missionary writings refer disparagingly to wooden'idols', such as the figure of the god Freyr in Gunnars þáttr helmings. In Ibn Fadlan's early 10th-century account of the Volga Vikings, he writes that as soon as they come into harbour, they leave their ships with food and alcoholic drink and offer them at a tall piece of wood with the face of a man carved in it, surrounded by smaller similar figures; such an arrangement has been found at sites such as the Oberdorla sacrificial bog. The mentions in Icelandic sagas of Öndvegissúlur carved with the images of gods, in particular Thor and Freyr, of other idols, may be related but have been influenced by Christian concepts since the sagas were written down in the 12th to 14th centuries, centuries after the heathen period. More related is the large post hole which forms the focal point of the "grandstand" at the 6th to 7th-century Anglo-Saxon royal hall site of Yeavering: with a side length of 56 centimetres and a depth of 1.2 metres, it indicates a pillar of considerable size a cult pillar of some sort.
Günter Behm-Blancke classified the anthropomorphic figurines into four groups based on the finds at Oberdorla: Type 1. Poles or posts, sometimes equipped with a phallus, as at Oberdorla. Type 2. Formed from a forked stick, with a head carved out at the top; those found at Oberdorla are all female. Sizes range from 1 to 3 metres. Type 3. Carved from a broad plank cut in silhouette with blank faces, males with rectangular bodies, females with breasts or shoulder
Baldr is a god in Norse mythology, a son of the god Odin and the goddess Frigg. He has numerous brothers, such as Váli. In the 12th century, Danish accounts by Saxo Grammaticus and other Danish Latin chroniclers recorded a euhemerized account of his story. Compiled in Iceland in the 13th century, but based on much older Old Norse poetry, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of Ragnarök. According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, Baldr's wife is Nanna and their son is Forseti. In Gylfaginning, Snorri relates that Baldr had the greatest ship built and that there is no place more beautiful than his hall, Breidablik. Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology identifies Old Norse Baldr with the Old High German Baldere, Palter and with Old English bealdor, baldor "lord, king". Old Norse shows this usage of the word as an honorific in a few cases, as in baldur î brynju and herbaldr, both epithets of heroes in general.
Grimm traces the etymology of the name to *balþaz, whence Gothic balþs, Old English bald, Old High German pald, all meaning "bold, brave". But the interpretation of Baldr as "the brave god" may be secondary. Baltic has a word meaning "the white, the good", Grimm speculates that the name may originate as a Baltic loan into Proto-Germanic. In continental Saxon and Anglo-Saxon tradition, the son of Woden is called not Bealdor but Baldag and Bældæg, which shows association with "day" with Day personified as a deity. This, as Grimm points out, would agree with the meaning "shining one, white one, a god" derived from the meaning of Baltic baltas, further adducing Slavic Belobog and German Berhta. Grimm's etymology is endorsed by modern research. According to Rudolf Simek, the original name for Baldr must be understood as'shining day'. One of the two Merseburg Incantations names Baldere, but mentions a figure named Phol, considered to be a byname for Baldr. In the Poetic Edda the tale of Baldr's death is referred to rather than recounted at length.
Among the visions which the Völva sees and describes in the prophecy known as the Völuspá is one of the fatal mistletoe, the birth of Váli and the weeping of Frigg. Yet looking far into the future the Völva sees a brighter vision of a new world, when both Höðr and Baldr will come back; the Eddic poem Baldr's Dreams mentions that Baldr has bad dreams which the gods discuss. Odin rides to Hel and awakens a seeress, who tells him Höðr will kill Baldr but Vali will avenge him. In Gylfaginning, Baldur is described as follows: Apart from this description, Baldr is known for the story of his death, his death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarök. Baldr will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá, he had a dream of his own death and his mother had the same dreams. Since dreams were prophetic, this depressed him, so his mother Frigg made every object on earth vow never to hurt Baldr. All objects made this vow except mistletoe—a detail which has traditionally been explained with the idea that it was too unimportant and nonthreatening to bother asking it to make the vow, but which Merrill Kaplan has instead argued echoes the fact that young people were not eligible to swear legal oaths, which could make them a threat in life.
When Loki, the mischief-maker, heard of this, he made a magical spear from this plant. He hurried to the place where the gods were indulging in their new pastime of hurling objects at Baldr, which would bounce off without harming him. Loki gave the spear to Baldr's brother, the blind god Höðr, who inadvertently killed his brother with it. For this act and the giantess Rindr gave birth to Váli who grew to adulthood within a day and slew Höðr. Baldr was ceremonially burnt upon his ship, the largest of all ships; as he was carried to the ship, Odin whispered in his ear. This was to be a key riddle asked by Odin of the giant Vafthrudnir in the poem Vafthrudnismal; the riddle appears in the riddles of Gestumblindi in Hervarar saga. The dwarf Litr was burnt alive. Nanna, Baldr's wife threw herself on the funeral fire to await Ragnarök when she would be reunited with her husband. Baldr's horse with all its trappings was burned on the pyre; the ship was set to sea by Hyrrokin, a giantess, who came riding on a wolf and gave the ship such a push that fire flashed from the rollers and all the earth shook.
Upon Frigg's entreaties, delivered through the messenger Hermod, Hel promised to release Baldr from the underworld if all objects alive and dead would weep for him. All did, except Þökk, who refused to mourn the slain god, thus Baldr had to remain in the underworld, not to emerge until after Ragnarök, when he and his brother Höðr would be reconciled and rule the new earth together with Thor's sons. Writing during the end of the 12th century, the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus tells the story of Baldr in a form that professes to be historical. According to him, Balderus and Høtherus were rival suitors fo