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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to Anon Krm 29VIII

[3] frá höllu Herjans ‘from the hall of Herjan <= Óðinn> [= Valhǫll]’: Herjan(n) is listed as one of the names of Óðinn in Þul Óðins 2/5III (see Note to that line), and (by Óðinn himself) in Grí 46/3. Valkyries are referred to as nǫnnur Herjans ‘ladies of Herjan’ in Vsp 30/12 (NK 7). In Guðr I 19/4 (NK 205) the term dís Herjans occurs in the meaning ‘valkyrie’ (see the previous Note), while in Anon (TGT) 12/5III and in HaukrV Ísldr 11/5IV the name occurs in the gen. as the determinant in a helmet-kenning and shield-kenning respectively. The origin of the name is disputed (see Lorenz 1984, 91), but a relationship of some kind with herr ‘host, army’ seems clear, and it is likely that its meaning is ‘leader of a host’. If so, it is an eminently suitable name for Óðinn, given his capacities as god of war and father of gods and men (cf. Turville-Petre 1964, 50-6), and the name Herjafǫðr ‘father of armies’ applied to him in Grí 19/1 (NK 61). AEW, ÍO: Herjann both relate the name to the tradition of Óðinn’s (or Wodan’s) leadership of the Wild Hunt, on which see Simek (1993, 372-3) and Orchard (1997, 182-3) with references.


  1. Bibliography
  2. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  3. Turville-Petre, Gabriel. 1964. Myth and Religion of the North. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  4. 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.
  5. ÍO = Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon. 1989. Íslensk orðsifjabók. Reykjavík: Orðabók Háskólans.
  6. Simek, Rudolf. 1993. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Trans. Angela Hall. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer.
  7. Lorenz, Gottfried, ed. 1984. Snorri Sturluson: Gylfaginning. Texte, Übersetzung, Kommentar. Texte zur Forschung 48. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftlichen Buchgesellschaft.
  8. Orchard, Andy. 1997. Dictionary of Old Norse Myth and Legend. London: Cassell.
  9. Internal references
  10. Tarrin Wills 2017, ‘The Third Grammatical Treatise’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].
  11. Not published: do not cite (HaukrV ÍsldrIV)
  12. Not published: do not cite ()
  13. Not published: do not cite ()
  14. Not published: do not cite ()
  15. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘(Introduction to) Anonymous, Óðins nǫfn’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 731.


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