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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

3. Anonymous Þulur, 14. Ásynja heiti, 1 [Vol. 3, 763]

[5] Gefjun: One of the Ásynjur mentioned among the guests of the sea-giant Ægir in Lok 19-21, where she is accused of selling her chastity for jewels. Since the same is told of Freyja and the name Gefjun is related to the strong verb gefa ‘give’ as is Freyja’s nickname Gefn, there may be a connection between the two (cf. Turville-Petre 1964, 187, who believes that Gefjun is a goddess of fertility). In Gylf (SnE 2005, 29) she is said to be a virgin, however, and she is attended by all women who die a virgin. It cannot be ascertained whether the goddess Gefjun is identical with the mythic woman Gefjun who cut off a piece of Swedish land owned by king Gylfi and pulled it to Sjælland (Zealand), a legend alluded to in Bragi Frag 1 and told in Gylf (SnE 2005, 7) and Yng (ch. 5, ÍF 26, 14-15). The name does not occur in skaldic kennings, but it appears in the rímur (Finnur Jónsson 1926-8: Gefjon).


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