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PCRN

Pre-Christian Religions of the North: Sources

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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.

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Freyr is the most important fertility god and belongs to the Vanir family, the twin brother of Freyja and son of Njörðr. He is said to rule the rain and the sunshine and therefore decides on the outcome of the harvest and important for the peace and prosperity amongst men. He has a ship called Skíðblaðnir, described in Gylfaginning 44 and Skáldskaparmál 7 and 33 and the boar Gullinbursti which draws his chariot, according to Snorri in Gylfaginning 48. His home is in Alfheimr. At Ragnarök Freyr battles the fire giant Surtr and kills him with the antlers of a stag. Next to the numerous mentions on the mythological texts, Freyr is also described in Snorris Ynglinga Saga 10 as the ancient Swedish kind who settled in Uppsala with his wife Gerðr and son Fjöllnir where he became the ancestor of the powerful line of the Swedish kings of the Ynglingar dynasty.

For more, see:

Ellis Davidson, H. R, (1990), Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. London: Penguin Books. pp. 92-103.

Simek, Rudolf (2007), Transl: Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer. pp. 91-92.

Steinsland, Gro (2005), Norrøn Religion. Myter, Riter, Samfunn. Oslo: Pax Forlag. pp. 151-156.

(Contributed by Liv Marit Aurdal.)

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Main text: Gylfaginning

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