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Pre-Christian Religions of the North: Sources

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Following his causing the death of Baldur, Loki is captured by the gods.


[excerpt from] Gylf ch. 49e

49e. The capturing of Loki

Þá mælir Gangleri: "Allmiklu ...

Then spoke Gangleri: ‘It was ...

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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.


Loki is a complex character floating somewhere between the gods and jötnar. He is born by jötnar but presented amongst the gods as Óðinn´s foster brother. The role of Loki in the mythological narrative is often crucial in driving the story, creating drama but also bringing solution. Loki does not stand as a sacred entity but rather functions in the narrative as important elements of surprise, creating challenges, twisting with trickery, hurting with evil intent but bringing peace and salvage. He is married to the jötunn woman Angrboða with whom he shares the three somewhat unpleasant children Hel, Jörmungandr and Fenrir.

For more, see:

Ellis Davidson, H. R, (1990), Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. London: Penguin Books. pp. 176-182.

Simek, Rudolf (2007), Transl: Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer. pp. 192-197

Steinsland, Gro (2005), Norrøn Religion. Myter, Riter, Samfunn. Oslo: Pax Forlag. pp. 128-135.

(Contributed by Liv Marit Aurdal.)


Main text: Gylfaginning

Attributes: attempted poisoning Landscape Mountain Shape-shift Loki as shape-shifter Loki causing trouble Fire Nature phenomenon Water Æsir Marriage

Named things:

Text sections: SnSt Gylf 49eIII


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