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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Þulur, 11. Ása heiti I, 1 [Vol. 3, 754]

[9] Heimdallr: Son of Óðinn, and a great and ‘holy’ (heilagr) god, called hvíti Áss ‘the white god’, according to Snorri (Gylf, SnE 2005, 25; cf. Þry 15/1-2). According to the poem Heimdalargaldr, which Snorri quotes in Gylf (loc. cit.), Heimdallr was born from nine maidens, all sisters, but no other mythological source aside from this þula and Skm (SnE 1998, I, 19) mentions his father (see Clunies Ross 1994b, 174). He is the watchman of the gods and sits at the edge of heaven near the bridge Bifrǫst, i.e. the quaking path, the rainbow. Cf. the element heimr m. ‘world’ in his name, whose sense as a whole is controversial (it is not clear whether the last element is ‑dallr or ‑dalr; ÍO: Heimdall(u)r, Heimdal(u)r). At the beginning of Ragnarǫk, Heimdallr will blow his horn and awaken the gods. He will then have a battle with Loki, which neither will survive (cf. Vsp 27/1-4, 46, Grí 13, SnE 2005, 25-6 and SnE 1998, I, 19). In Vsp 1/4 (NK 1) humans are addressed as megir Heimdallar ‘sons of Heimdallr’ (see also the prose introduction to the eddic poem Rígsþula, NK 280, and Turville-Petre 1964, 147-55, as well as ÚlfrU Húsdr 8 and Notes to Þul Hrúts ll. 6, 8). The reading ‘Heimballdr’ in C is apparently caused by confusion with the name of another god, Baldr (l. 2).


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