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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Þul Ásynja 4III

[6] Skuld: The name means ‘future destiny’ (cf. the verb skulu ‘must’ and skuld f. ‘debt’). This is the name of one of the three norns in Vsp 20/8 who are mentioned in the next stanza of the present þula. Later in the same eddic poem Skuld is given as the name of a valkyrie, however (Vsp 30/5 (NK 7)): Sculd helt scildi ‘Skuld held a shield’. Here she is the first of the riding valkyries seen by the prophetess (vǫlva). It is perhaps owing to these passages from Vsp that the norn Skuld is identified with Skuld the valkyrie in Gylf (SnE 2005, 30): Guðr ok Rota ok norn in yngsta er Skuld heitir ríða jafnan at kjósa val ok ráða vígum ‘Guðr and Rota and the youngest norn, who is called Skuld, always ride to choose those to be slain and to decide the killings’. See also this name in Þul Valkyrja 1/7.


  1. Bibliography
  2. NK = Neckel, Gustav and Hans Kuhn (1899), eds. 1983. Edda: Die Lieder des Codex Regius nebst verwandten Denkmälern. 2 vols. I: Text. 5th edn. Heidelberg: Winter.
  3. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  4. Internal references
  5. Not published: do not cite (GylfIII)
  6. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Heiti valkyrja 1’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 969.
  7. Not published: do not cite ()


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