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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Þul Ásynja 1III

Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Ásynja heiti 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. 763.

Anonymous ÞulurÁsynja heiti
12

Nú skal ásynjur         allar nefna:
Frigg ok Freyja,         Fulla ok Snotra,
Gerðr ok Gefjun,         Gná, Lofn, Skaði,
Jǫrð ok Iðunn,         Ilmr, Bil, Njǫrun.

Nú skal nefna allar ásynjur: Frigg ok Freyja, Fulla ok Snotra, Gerðr ok Gefjun, Gná, Lofn, Skaði, Jǫrð ok Iðunn, Ilmr, Bil, Njǫrun.

Now all the Ásynjur shall be named: Frigg and Freyja, Fulla and Snotra, Gerðr and Gefjun, Gná, Lofn, Skaði, Jǫrð and Iðunn, Ilmr, Bil, Njǫrun.

Mss: R(42v), Tˣ(44r), C(11v), A(18r), B(8v), 744ˣ(62v) (SnE)

Readings: [1] Nú: ‘[…]v’ B, Nú 744ˣ;    skal: ‘[…]’ B, skal 744ˣ;    ásynjur: so Tˣ, C, A, ‘asyn[…]’ R, ‘[…]iur’ B, ‘asyniur’ 744ˣ    [3] ok: om. Tˣ    [4] ok: om. Tˣ    [5] Gerðr: ‘gerd[…]’ B, ‘gerdr’ 744ˣ;    ok: om. Tˣ    [6] Lofn Skaði: ‘lof[…]’ B, ‘lofn skade’ 744ˣ    [7] Jǫrð: ‘[…]o᷎rd’ B, ‘j́o᷎rð’ 744ˣ;    ok: om. Tˣ;    Iðunn: ‘jd[…]n’ B, ‘jdunn’ 744ˣ

Editions: Skj AI, 658, Skj BI, 661, Skald I, 325; SnE 1848-87, I, 556, II, 473, 557, 617, SnE 1931, 197, SnE 1998, I, 114.

Notes: [All]: Most of the names of Ásynjur listed in st. 1 frequently occur as base-words in kennings for ‘woman’: Freyja (l. 3), Fulla (l. 4), Gerðr (l. 5), Gná, Lofn (l. 6), Jǫrð (l. 7), Ilmr, Bil and Njǫrun (l. 8). They are therefore also included in Þul Kvenna II (i.e. the list of Kvenna heiti ókend). — [3] Frigg: According to Snorri (Gylf, SnE 2005, 29), the highest in rank among the goddesses, wife of Óðinn and mother of Baldr (see Note to Þul Ása I l. 2 and Þul Óðins). The name Frigg translates as ‘beloved’ (AEW: Frigg). This Ásynja is mentioned in many sources (e.g. Vsp 33/5-7, 53/7-8, Vafþr 1/1, Lok prose, 25-9, Gylf, Skm, Egill St 2/6V (Eg 73), Anon Mhkv 9/1), but the only skald who employs her name as a base-word in kennings for ‘woman’ is Kormákr Ǫgmundarson (KormǪ Lv 43/6V, 60/5,6V (Korm 62, 81)). — [3] Freyja: Lit. ‘lady’. This is the goddess highest in rank next to Frigg (Gylf, SnE 2005, 29). Freyja belongs to the family of the Vanir. She is the daughter of Njǫrðr and the female counterpart of her brother Freyr, the god of fertility (see Notes to Þul Ása I l. 7 and Ása II l. 7; see also Grí 14, Lok 29-32, Þry, Gylf, Skm). Her name occurs in kennings for ‘woman’,  ‘valkyrie’, ‘giantess’ and ‘gold’. — [4] Fulla: According to Gylf (SnE 2005, 29), this Ásynja is a virgin, and she is Frigg’s handmaid and confidante (see also Grí prose, NK 56-7)). In one of the continental sources, the Second Merseburg Charm (C9th or C10th), where her name appears as OHG Volla, this goddess is said to be a sister of Frija, i.e. Frigg (Turville-Petre 1964, 122, 188). The name is related to the adj. fullr ‘full’ (ÍO: fullur, Fulla). — [4] Snotra: The name of this Ásynja means ‘clever one’, and it is found neither in the eddic poems nor in skaldic verse. In Gylf (SnE 2005, 30), she is characterised as vitr ok látprúð, a ‘wise and courteous’ goddess, and from her name every wise person is called snotr ‘clever’. Snotra is also the name of Gautrekr’s mother in Gautreks saga. — [5] Gerðr: This Ásynja is the daughter of the giant Gymir (see Þul Jǫtna I 1/8) and the wife of the god Freyr. For their marriage, see Skí, Hyndl 30 and Gylf (SnE 2005, 31). Olsen (1909) believed that the name Gerðr is related to garðr m. ‘farm, yard’, and that Freyr’s bride is the personification of a cornfield (on other possible interpretations of this name, see AEW: Gerðr). — [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). — [6] Gná: One of the Ásynjur, Frigg’s messenger, who is not mentioned in eddic lays. According to Snorri (Gylf, SnE 2005, 30), her name is related to the weak verb gnæfa ‘tower’, but its actual meaning is unclear, possibly ‘abundance’ (for a discussion, see AEW: Gná). Other than as a base-word in kennings for ‘woman’ (see LP: Gnô), this name is frequently used in kennings for ‘valkyrie’. In Þjóð Yt 7/5I, Gná is the base-word in a kenning for ‘Hel’. — [6] Lofn: This Ásynja is not mentioned in eddic poetry, but in SnE (Gylf, SnE 2005, 29) she is characterised as a goddess whom one could invoke to get permission for otherwise forbidden or illicit unions between men and women. According to Snorri (loc. cit.), that is why both the noun lof n. ‘permission’ and the weak verb lofa ‘praise’ (lofat p. p.) are derived from her name. The name Lofn is in fact related to these words, but its direct cognates are Goth. lubains ‘hope’ and OE lufen ‘love, joy’. — [6] Skaði: Although listed among the Ásynjur as the wife of Njǫrðr (see Þul Ása II l. 7), Skaði is the daughter of the giant Þjazi. Bragi (Frag 2/2) calls her ǫndurdís ‘ski-dís’, as does Snorri, who tells how she travelled on skis and shot wild animals (Gylf, SnE 2005, 24; see also Grí 11, Skí 1, Lok 49-51, etc.). With her armour, bow and skis, Skaði shares some features with male gods (cf. Turville-Petre 1964, 164), and this common ground may be inferred from the very form of her name, whose origin is obscure. It is possible that Skaði is derived from skaði m. ‘harm’, but many other interpretations of this name have been suggested, e.g. that Skaði may be connected with Ska(n)dinavia (Scandinavia) or Skáney (Skåne, Scania) (cf. OE Scedenige; see ARG II, 337-8 and AEW: skaði). The name of this goddess does not occur in skaldic kennings. — [7] Jǫrð: This Old Norse goddess is the personification of the earth, consort of Óðinn and mother of Þórr (cf. Lok 58/1, Þry 1/7, Gylf, SnE 2005, 30 and Skm, SnE 1998, I, 8, 14, 30). According to Gylf (SnE 2005, 13), Jǫrð was both daughter and wife of Óðinn (Jǫrðin var dóttir hans ok kona hans). Other sources mention Jǫrð as the daughter of Ónarr (Skm, SnE 1998, I, 35) or the daughter of Nótt (‘night’) and Annarr (= Ónarr; Gylf, SnE 2005, 13). Other than in kennings for ‘woman’, where Jǫrð/jǫrð rather appears as a common noun, her name occurs in kennings for Óðinn and Þórr, as well as in ofljóst constructions playing on the double meaning of the name (Jǫrð ‘goddess’; jǫrð ‘earth’). — [7] Iðunn: Also Iðuðr; the name may mean ‘rejuvenating one’ (AEW: Iðunn). This goddess is the wife of Bragi (see Note to Þul Ása I l. 10). In Old Norse myth she owns the apples that prevent the gods from aging (see Lok 16-18, Gylf, SnE 2005, 25, Skm, SnE 1998, I, 1, 2, 19, 20, 30, etc.). In skaldic poetry the name of this Ásynja is found only in Þjóð Haustl 10/3-4. — [8] Ilmr: This name does not occur in eddic poems and it is not mentioned among the Ásynjur enumerated in Skm. It is used in kennings for ‘woman’, however, and is therefore listed in Þul Kvenna II 3/4. The name is most likely derived from ilmr m. ‘fragrance’. — [8] Bil: This name is derived from bil n. ‘moment, twinkling of an eye’ (AEW: Bil). According to Gylf (SnE 2005, 14), Bil is the companion of Máni (the moon). She is one of the two human children abducted by Máni, but she is included among the Ásynjur (see also Oddrgr 33/3). The name frequently occurs in skaldic kennings. — [8] Njǫrun: This name is probably related to Njǫrðr (cf. AEW: Njǫrun), but there is no information about this deity in any Old Norse source. Other than in the present þula and in skaldic kennings, the name is mentioned only in Alv 30/6 (NK 128), as a part of a term for ‘night’ in the language of the dwarfs, draumniǫrun ‘dream-Njǫrun’ (see Þul Dœgra l. 4 and Kommentar III, 365).

References

  1. Bibliography
  2. SnE 1848-87 = Snorri Sturluson. 1848-87. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar: Edda Snorronis Sturlaei. Ed. Jón Sigurðsson et al. 3 vols. Copenhagen: Legatum Arnamagnaeanum. Rpt. Osnabrück: Zeller, 1966.
  3. Skald = Kock, Ernst Albin, ed. 1946-50. Den norsk-isländska skaldediktningen. 2 vols. Lund: Gleerup.
  4. AEW = Vries, Jan de. 1962. Altnordisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 2nd rev. edn. Rpt. 1977. Leiden: Brill.
  5. LP = Finnur Jónsson, ed. 1931. Lexicon poeticum antiquæ linguæ septentrionalis: Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog oprindelig forfattet af Sveinbjörn Egilsson. 2nd edn. Copenhagen: Møller.
  6. Turville-Petre, Gabriel. 1964. Myth and Religion of the North. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  7. Finnur Jónsson. 1926-8. Ordbog til de af samfund til udg. af gml. nord. litteratur udgivne Rímur samt til de af Dr. O. Jiriczek udgivne Bósarímur. SUGNL 51. Copenhagen: Jørgensen.
  8. 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.
  9. ÍO = Ásgeir Blöndal Magnússon. 1989. Íslensk orðsifjabók. Reykjavík: Orðabók Háskólans.
  10. Kommentar = von See, Klaus et al. 1997-. Kommentar zu den Liedern der Edda. 6 vols (continuing). Heidelberg: Winter.
  11. ÍF 26-8 = Heimskringla. Ed. Bjarni Aðalbjarnarson. 1941-51.
  12. SnE 1931 = Snorri Sturluson. 1931. Edda Snorra Sturlusonar. Ed. Finnur Jónsson. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
  13. SnE 1998 = Snorri Sturluson. 1998. Edda: Skáldskaparmál. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2 vols. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  14. SnE 2005 = Snorri Sturluson. 2005. Edda: Prologue and Gylfaginning. Ed. Anthony Faulkes. 2nd edn. University College London: Viking Society for Northern Research.
  15. ARG = Vries, Jan de. 1956-7. Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte. 2 vols. 2nd edn. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  16. Olsen, Magnus. 1909. ‘Fra gammelnorsk myte og kultur’. MM, 17-36.
  17. Internal references
  18. Edith Marold 2017, ‘Snorra Edda (Prologue, Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál)’ 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].
  19. 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Gautreks saga’ in Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.), Poetry in fornaldarsögur. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 8. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 241. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=9> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  20. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Skáldskaparmál’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=112> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  21. (forthcoming), ‘ Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=113> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  22. (forthcoming), ‘ Heimskringla, Ynglinga saga’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols, p. . <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=158> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  23. Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 9’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1223.
  24. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Jǫtna heiti I 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. 707.
  25. Elena Gurevich (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Þulur, Kvenna heiti ókend 3’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 963.
  26. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Bragi inn gamli Boddason, Fragments 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. 54.
  27. Not published: do not cite ()
  28. Not published: do not cite ()
  29. Not published: do not cite (Egill St 2V (Eg 73))
  30. Not published: do not cite ()
  31. Not published: do not cite ()
  32. Not published: do not cite ()
  33. Not published: do not cite ()
  34. Not published: do not cite ()
  35. Not published: do not cite ()
  36. Not published: do not cite ()
  37. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Ása heiti I’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 754. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=3187> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  38. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Ása heiti II’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 760. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=3189> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  39. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘ 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. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=3228> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  40. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Dœgra heiti’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 914. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=3231> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  41. Elena Gurevich 2017, ‘ Anonymous, Kvenna heiti ókend’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 959. <https://skaldic.org/m.php?p=text&i=3242> (accessed 20 September 2021)
  42. Not published: do not cite (KormǪ Lv 43V (Korm 62))
  43. Margaret Clunies Ross (ed.) 2017, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Haustlǫng 10’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 446.
  44. Edith Marold (ed.) 2012, ‘Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, Ynglingatal 7’ in Diana Whaley (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 1: From Mythical Times to c. 1035. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 19.
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