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Pre-Christian Religions of the North: Sources

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Descriptions and mentions of Baldr in Gylfaginning.


Gylf ch. 22b

22b. Baldr

Þá mælti Gangleri: "Spyrja vi...

High said: 'Odin's second son...

[status: unverified copy]

[excerpt from] Gylf ch. 49b

49b. The Death of Baldr

En þat er upphaf þessa sǫgu a...

And the beginning of this sto...

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Gylfaginning, which is part of Snorra Edda, was composed in Iceland in the 13th century, and holds the stories of many of the Pre-Christian myths of northern Europe. It is believe to have been composed by the Icelander Snorri Sturlusson. Snorra Edda consists of three separate parts, Gylfaginning, Skaldskápamáland Háttatal, all functioning together as a greater work and guide for the aspiring medieval poet and storyteller.


Baldr is one of the Æsir. He is described the most beloved, beautiful, wise and friendly son of Óðinn and Frigg. His home is in Breiðablik located high in the heavens where he lives with his wife Nanna and his son Forseti. The story of Baldr‘s death and funeral in one of the most central myths found in Snorri‘s work. The death of Baldr is the sign for the gods that Ragnarök is coming. Snorri‘s image of Baldr is a bright, good and hopeful, while in the work of Saxo and as well as seen in eddic poetry and in such as Lokasenna, Baldr is a forceful god and a warrior. Therefore, the interpretations of the role and image of Baldr in the mythology has both been suggested to be linked to fertility and rebirth as well as to warrior ideology.

For more, see:

Ellis Davidson, H. R, (1990), Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. London: Penguin Books. pp. 182-189

Simek, Rudolf (2007), Transl: Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer. pp. 26-32

Steinsland, Gro (2005), Norrøn Religion. Myter, Riter, Samfunn. Oslo: Pax Forlag. pp. 208-219

(Contributed by Liv Marit Aurdal.)


Main text: Gylfaginning

Attributes: Ritual Ship Funeral customs Loki causing trouble Death Fire Shooting Arrow Arrow Suttee Æsir Marriage

Named things:

Text sections: SnSt, Gylf ch. 22b SnSt Gylf 49bIII


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