In Norse mythology, Aurgelmir, Brimir, or Bláinn is the ancestor of all jötnar. Ymir is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from traditional material, in the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. Ymir birthed a male and female from the pits of his arms, in addition, one stanza relates that the dwarfs were given life by the gods from Ymirs flesh and blood. In the Prose Edda, a narrative is provided that draws from, adds to, according to the Prose Edda, after Ymir was formed from the elemental drops, so too was Auðumbla, a primeval cow, whose milk Ymir fed from. The Prose Edda states that three gods killed Ymir, the brothers Odin, Vili and Vé, and details that, upon Ymirs death, Ymir is mentioned in four poems in the Poetic Edda, Völuspá, Vafþrúðnismál, Grímnismál, and Hyndluljóð. In Völuspá, in which an undead völva imparts knowledge in the god Odin, in the first instance, the third stanza of the poem, Ymir is mentioned by name, In the above translations the name of the location Ginnungagap is translated as chaotic chasm and yawning gap.
Later in the poem, a few references are apparently made to Ymir as Brimir and Bláinn, In this stanza Thorpe has treated Brimir. Brimir and Blain are usually held to be proper names that refer to Ymir, in the poem Vafþrúðnismál, the god Odin engages the wise jötunn Vafþrúðnir in a game of wits. Odin asks Vafþrúðnir to tell him, if Vafþrúðnirs knowledge is sufficient, in the first of which that refers to Ymir, Odin asks from where first came the Earth and the sky. The jötunn responds with an account involving Ymir, As the verbal battle continues. Odin asks what ancient jötun is the eldest of Ymirs kin, and Vafþrúðnir responds that long, long ago it was Bergelmir, in the poem Grímnismál, the god Odin imparts in the young Agnarr cosmological knowledge. In one stanza, Odin mentions Ymir as he recalls the fashioning of the world from his body, In a stanza of Völuspá hin skamma, Ymir receives one more mention. According to the stanza, völvas are descended from Viðòlfr, all seers from Vilmeiðr, all charm-workers from Svarthöfði, Ymir is mentioned in two books of the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning and Skáldskaparmál.
Ymir is first mentioned in chapter 5 of the prior, in which High, Just-As-High, the trio explain that the first world to exist was Muspell, a glowing, fiery southern region consisting of flames, uninhabitable by non-natives. After many ages Niflheimr was made, and within it lies a spring, Gangleri asks the three what things were like before mankind. And so, when this ice came to a halt and stopped flowing and this rime increased, layer upon layer, across Ginnungagap. Just-As-High adds that the part of Ginnungagap was heavy with ice and rime. Yet the southern part of Ginunngagap was clear on account of the sparks, Third assesses that just as from Niflheim there was coldness and all things grim, so what was facing close to Muspell was hot and bright, but Ginunngagap was as mild as a windless sky
Freyr or Frey is one of the most important gods of Norse religion. The name is conjectured to derive from the Proto-Norse *frawjaz, Freyr was associated with sacral kingship and prosperity, with sunshine and fair weather, and was pictured as a phallic fertility god, Freyr is said to bestow peace and pleasure on mortals. Freyr, sometimes referred to as Yngvi-Freyr, was associated with Sweden and seen as an ancestor of the Swedish royal house. In the Icelandic books the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Freyr is presented as one of the Vanir, the gods gave him Álfheimr, the realm of the Elves, as a teething present. He rides the shining dwarf-made boar Gullinbursti and possesses the ship Skíðblaðnir which always has a favorable breeze and can be folded together and he has the servants Skírnir and Beyla. The most extensive surviving Freyr myth relates Freyrs falling in love with the female jötunn Gerðr, she becomes his wife but first Freyr has to give away his magic sword which fights on its own if wise be he who wields it.
Although deprived of this weapon, Freyr defeats the jötunn Beli with an antler, lacking his sword, Freyr will be killed by the fire jötunn Surtr during the events of Ragnarök. Like other Germanic deities, veneration of Freyr is revived in the period in Heathenry. Written around 1080, one of the oldest written sources on pre-Christian Scandinavian religious practices is Adam of Bremens Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum, Adam claimed to have access to first-hand accounts on pagan practices in Sweden. He refers to Freyr with the Latinized name Fricco and mentions that an image of him at Skara was destroyed by the Christian missionary and his description of the Temple at Uppsala gives some details on the god. Later in the account Adam states that when a marriage is performed a libation is made to the image of Fricco, historians are divided on the reliability of Adams account. While he is close in time to the events he describes he has an agenda to emphasize the role of the Archbishopric of Hamburg-Bremen in the Christianization of Scandinavia.
His timeframe for the Christianization of Sweden conflicts with other sources, such as runic inscriptions, on the other hand, the existence of phallic idols was confirmed in 1904 with a find at Rällinge in Södermanland. When Snorri Sturluson was writing in 13th century Iceland, the indigenous Germanic gods were still remembered although they had not been openly worshiped for more than two centuries, in the Gylfaginning section of his Prose Edda, Snorri introduces Freyr as one of the major gods. This description has similarities to the account by Adam of Bremen. Adam assigns control of the weather and produce of the fields to Thor, Snorri omits any explicitly sexual references in Freyrs description. Those discrepancies can be explained in several ways and it is possible that the Norse gods did not have exactly the same roles in Icelandic and Swedish paganism but it must be remembered that Adam and Snorri were writing with different goals in mind. Either Snorri or Adam may have had distorted information, the only extended myth related about Freyr in the Prose Edda is the story of his marriage
In Germanic mythology, Odin is a widely revered god. In the modern period, Odin continued to be acknowledged in the folklore of Germanic Europe. Forms of his name appear frequently throughout the Germanic record, though narratives regarding Odin are mainly found in Old Norse works recorded in Iceland and these texts make up the bulk of modern understanding of Norse mythology. In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, frequently wielding a spear named Gungnir, and wearing a cloak, Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the god Baldr with Frigg, and is known by hundreds of names. Odin has an association with Yule, and mankinds knowledge of both the runes and poetry is attributed to him. In Old Norse texts, Odin is given primacy over female beings associated with the battlefield—the valkyries—and oversees Valhalla, where he receives half of those who die in battle, the other half are chosen by the goddess Freyja for her afterlife location, Fólkvangr. In folklore, Odin appears as a leader of the Wild Hunt and he has been associated with charms and other forms of magic, particularly in Old English and Old Norse texts.
Odin has been a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies, in the modern period, Odin has inspired numerous works of poetry and other forms of media. He is venerated in most forms of the new religious movement Heathenry, together with other gods venerated by the ancient Germanic peoples, some branches focus particularly on him. The Old Norse theonym Óðinn and its cognates, including Old English Wōden, Old Saxon Wōden, the masculine noun *wōđanaz developed from the Proto-Germanic adjective *wōđaz, related to Latin vātēs and Old Irish fáith, both meaning seer, prophet. Adjectives stemming from *wōđaz include Gothic woþs possessed, Old Norse óðr, frantic, additionally the Old Norse noun æði rage and Old High German wuotī madness derive from the feminine noun *wōđīn, from *wōđaz. Over 170 names are recorded for the god Odin and these names are variously descriptive of attributes of the god, refer to myths involving him, or refer to religious practices associated with the god. This multitude of names makes Odin the god with the most names known among the Germanic peoples, the weekday name Wednesday derives from Old English wōdnesdæg.
Cognate terms are found in other Germanic languages, such as Middle Low German wōdensdach, all of these terms derive from Proto-Germanic *Wodensdag, itself a Germanic interpretation of Latin Dies Mercurii. However, in Old High German, the derived from Odins was replaced by a translation of Church Latin media hebdomas. The earliest records of the Germanic peoples were recorded by the Romans and they regard it as a religious duty to offer to him, on fixed days, human as well as other sacrificial victims. Hercules and Mars they appease by animal offerings of the permitted kind, in this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as Mercury, Thor as Hercules, and Týr as Mars, and the identity of the Isis of the Suebi has been debated. But their rankings in their respective religious spheres may have very different
Yggdrasil is an immense mythical tree that connects the nine worlds in Norse cosmology. Yggdrasil is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from traditional sources. In both sources, Yggdrasil is an ash tree that is center to the cosmos and considered very holy. The gods go to Yggdrasil daily to assemble at their things, creatures live within Yggdrasil, including the dragon Níðhöggr, an unnamed eagle, and the stags Dáinn, Dvalinn and Duraþrór. The generally accepted meaning of Old Norse Yggdrasill is Odins horse and this interpretation comes about because drasill means horse and Ygg is one of Odins many names. The Poetic Edda poem Hávamál describes how Odin sacrificed himself by hanging from a tree and this tree may have been Yggdrasil. Gallows can be called the horse of the hanged and therefore Odins gallows may have developed into the expression Odins horse, according to this interpretation, askr Yggdrasils would mean the world tree upon which the horse of the highest god is bound.
Both of these rely on a presumed but unattested *Yggsdrasill. A third interpretation, presented by F. Detter, is that the name Yggdrasill refers to the word yggr, yet not in reference to the Odinic name, and so Yggdrasill would mean tree of terror, gallows. F. R. Schröder has proposed a fourth etymology according to which yggdrasill means yew pillar, deriving yggia from *igwja, in the Poetic Edda, the tree is mentioned in the three poems Völuspá, Hávamál and Grímnismál. In stanza 19, the völva says, An ash I know there stands, Yggdrasill is its name, from there come the dews that drop in the valleys. It stands forever green over Urðrs well, in stanza 20, the völva says that from the lake under the tree come three maidens deep in knowledge named Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld. The maidens incised the slip of wood, laid down laws and chose lives for the children of mankind, in stanza 27, the völva details that she is aware that Heimdallrs hearing is couched beneath the bright-nurtured holy tree. In stanza 45, Yggdrasil receives a mention in the poem.
The völva describes, as a part of the onset of Ragnarök, that Heimdallr blows Gjallarhorn, that Odin speaks with Mímirs head, and then, Yggdrasill shivers, the old tree groans, and the giant slips free. In stanza 137 of the poem Hávamál, Odin describes how he sacrificed himself to himself by hanging on a tree. The stanza reads, I know that I hung on a windy tree nine long nights, wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself, on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run. In the stanza that follows, Odin describes how he had no food nor drink there, that he peered downward, in the poem Grímnismál, Odin provides the young Agnar with cosmological lore
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
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 mythology, Loptr, or Hveðrungr is a god or jötunn. Loki is the son of Fárbauti and Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi, by the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn, Loki is the father of Narfi and/or Nari, by the stallion Svaðilfari, Loki is the mother—giving birth in the form of a mare—to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir. In addition, Loki is referred to as the father of Váli in Prose Edda, though this refers to Odin as the father of Váli twice. Lokis relation with the gods varies by source, Loki sometimes assists the gods, Loki is a shape shifter and in separate incidents he appears in the form of a salmon, a mare, a fly, and possibly an elderly woman named Þökk. Lokis positive relations with the end with his role in engineering the death of the god Baldr. In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, the goddess Skaði is responsible for placing a serpent above him while he is bound, Loki may be depicted on the Snaptun Stone, the Kirkby Stephen Stone, and the Gosforth Cross.
Lokis origins and role in Norse mythology, which scholars have described as that of a trickster god, have been much debated by scholars. Loki has been depicted in or is referenced in a variety of media in popular culture. The etymology of the name Loki has yet to be solved and it may be related to Old Norse luka, meaning close, shut. The name Hveðrungr is used in reference to Loki, occurring in names for Hel, in the Poetic Edda, Loki appears in the poems Völuspá, Lokasenna, Þrymskviða, Reginsmál, Baldrs draumar, and Hyndluljóð. In stanza 35 of the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá, a völva tells Odin that, among other things, she sees Sigyn sitting very unhappily with her bound husband, Loki. In stanza 54, after consuming Odin and being killed by Odins son Víðarr, the poem Lokasenna centers around Loki flyting with other gods, Loki puts forth two stanzas of insults while the receiving figure responds with a single stanza, and another figure chimes in. The poem begins with an introduction detailing that Ægir, a figure associated with the sea, is hosting a feast in his hall for a number of the gods.
There, the gods praise Ægirs servers Fimafeng and Eldir, Loki could not bear to hear that, and kills the servant Fimafeng. In response, the gods grab their shields, shrieking at Loki, the gods return to the hall, and continue drinking. Entrance and rejection Loki comes out of the woods, and meets Eldir outside of the hall, Loki greets Eldir with a demand that Eldir tell him what the gods are discussing over their ale inside the hall. Eldir responds that they discuss their weapons and their prowess in war, Loki says that he will go into the feast, and that, before the end of the feast, he will induce quarrelling among the gods, and mix their mead with malice
In Norse mythology, Freyja is a goddess associated with love, beauty, gold, seiðr, and death. Along with her brother Freyr, her father Njörðr, and her mother, stemming from Old Norse Freyja, modern forms of the name include Freya and Freja. Freyja rules over her heavenly afterlife field Fólkvangr and there receives half of those that die in battle, whereas the other half go to the god Odins hall, within Fólkvangr is her hall, Sessrúmnir. Freyjas husband, the god Óðr, is frequently absent and she cries tears of red gold for him, and searches for him under assumed names. Freyja has numerous names, including Gefn, Hörn, Mardöll, Sýr, Freyjas name appears in numerous place names in Scandinavia, with a high concentration in southern Sweden. Various plants in Scandinavia once bore her name, but it was replaced with the name of the Virgin Mary during the process of Christianization, rural Scandinavians continued to acknowledge Freyja as a supernatural figure into the 19th century, and Freyja has inspired various works of art.
The name Freyja is transparently lady and ultimately derives from Proto-Germanic *frawōn, Freyja is cognate with, for example, Old Saxon frūa lady and Old High German frouwa. The theonym Freyja is thus considered to have been an epithet in origin, in the Poetic Edda, Freyja is mentioned or appears in the poems Völuspá, Grímnismál, Lokasenna, Þrymskviða, Oddrúnargrátr, and Hyndluljóð. Völuspá contains a stanza that mentions Freyja, referring to her as Óðs girl, Freyja being the wife of her husband, the stanza recounts that Freyja was once promised to an unnamed builder, revealed to be a jötunn and subsequently killed by Thor. In the poem Grímnismál, Odin tells the young Agnar that every day Freyja allots seats to half of those that are slain in her hall Fólkvangr, while Odin owns the other half. In the poem Lokasenna, where Loki accuses nearly every female in attendance of promiscuity and/or unfaithfulness, the introduction to the poem notes that among other gods and goddesses, Freyja attends a celebration held by Ægir.
Loki tells her to be silent, and says that he knows all about her—that Freyja is not lacking in blame, for each of the gods and elves in the hall have been her lover. She says that Loki is lying, that he is just looking to blather about misdeeds, and since the gods and goddesses are furious at him, he can expect to go home defeated. Loki tells Freyja to be silent, calls her a malicious witch, Njörðr interjects—he says that a woman having a lover other than her husband is harmless, and he points out that Loki has borne children, and calls Loki a pervert. The poem Þrymskviða features Loki borrowing Freyjas cloak of feathers and Thor dressing up as Freyja to fool the lusty jötunn Þrymr, in the poem, Thor wakes up to find that his powerful hammer, Mjöllnir, is missing. Thor tells Loki of his hammer, and the two go to the beautiful court of Freyja. Thor asks Freyja if she will lend him her cloak of feathers, Freyja agrees, Loki flies away in the whirring feather cloak, arriving in the land of Jötunheimr.
He spies Þrymr sitting on top of a mound, Þrymr reveals that he has hidden Thors hammer deep within the earth and that no one will ever know where the hammer is unless Freyja is brought to him as his wife
The Prose Edda, known as the Younger Edda, Snorris Edda or, simply as Edda, is an Old Norse work of literature written in Iceland in the early 13th century. The work is assumed to have been written, or at least compiled, by the Icelandic scholar. It begins with a euhemerized Prologue, a section on the Norse cosmogony and this is followed by three distinct books, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál and Háttatal. Seven manuscripts, dating from around 1300 to around 1600, have independent textual value, Sturluson planned the collection as a textbook. It was to enable Icelandic poets and readers to understand the subtleties of alliterative verse, at that time, versions of the Edda were well known in Iceland, but scholars speculated that there once was an Elder Edda which contained the poems which Snorri quotes in his Edda. The etymology of Edda remains uncertain, there are many hypotheses, and little agreement. Some argue that the word derives from the name of Oddi, Edda could therefore mean book of Oddi.
However, this assumption is generally rejected, Faulkes in his English translation of the Prose Edda commented that this is unlikely, both in terms of linguistics and history since Snorri was no longer living at Oddi when he composed his work. Another connection was made with the word óðr, which means poetry or inspiration in Old Norse, Edda means great-parent, a word used by Snorri himself in the Skáldskaparmál. That is, with the meaning, the name of a character in the Rigsthula. A final hypothesis is derived from the Latin edo, meaning I write and it relies on the fact that the word kredda is certified and comes from the Latin credo, I believe. It seems likely Snorri would have been able to invent the word, Edda in this case could be translated as Poetic Art. This is the meaning that the word was given in the Middle Ages. The name Sæmundar Edda was given by the Bishop Brynjólfur Sveinsson to the collection of poems contained in the Codex Regius, many of which are quoted by Snorri. Brynjólfur, along many others of his time incorrectly believed that they were collected by Sæmundr fróði.
Seven manuscripts of the Edda have survived, six compositions of the Middle Ages, no one manuscript is complete, and each has variations. In addition to three fragments, the four manuscripts are Codex Regius, Codex Wormianus, Codex Trajectinus. Codex Upsaliensis, was composed in the first quarter of the century and is the oldest manuscript preserved of the Edda of Snorri