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Vafthrudnismal and Grimnismal Vafthrudnirs and Grimnirs Sayings Both poems begin with a contest or argument between Odin and his wife, Frigg. In each poem,

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Presentation on theme: "Vafthrudnismal and Grimnismal Vafthrudnirs and Grimnirs Sayings Both poems begin with a contest or argument between Odin and his wife, Frigg. In each poem,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Vafthrudnismal and Grimnismal Vafthrudnirs and Grimnirs Sayings Both poems begin with a contest or argument between Odin and his wife, Frigg. In each poem, Odin sets off – in disguise – to test an adversary, the Giant Vafthrudnir or the King Geirrod. In each case, Odin reveals occult knowledge. Both poems thus serve to record and transmit such mythological lore to their audience.

2 Vafthrudnismal Vafthrudnismal is devoted to a wisdom contest, in which each participant must answer the others questions. The poem begins with Odins insatiable curiosity to learn more of his own fate or to gather wisdom from other sources. His wife Frigg is worried, because Vafthrudnir is one of the wisest and most powerful of the Giants, a serious opponent even for Odin.

3 Vafthrudnismal Odin leaves Asgard and travels to Jotunheim, home of the Giants, to the Hall of Vafthrudnir. Vafthrudnir greets him rather arrogantly: What man is this to whom I am addressing myself in my hall? May you not come out of our halls alive Unless you turn out to be the wiser one. (7) Odin calls himself Gagnrad and accepts the challenge posed by the giant.

4 Vafthrudnismal Vafthrudnir then invites Gagnrad to sit in the hall and he poses his first question: Tell me, Gagnrad, since on the hall-floor You want to try your luck, What that horse is called who draws every Day to mankind? (11) That is, which horse draws the sun across the sky? Odin answers correctly: Shining-Mane (or Skinfaxi).

5 Vafthrudnismal Vafthrudnir then asks Gagnrad which horse draws night across the sky. Gagnrad (Odin) replies: Frost-Mane (Hrimfaxi) he is called, who Draws every night to the beneficent gods; Foam from his bit he lets fall every morning; From there dew comes to the valleys. (14) Example of aetiological myth, explaining dew.

6 Vafthrudnismal Vafthrudnir continues his questions, asking about the gods and giants: the name of the river which divides the earth between the giants and the gods? (Ifing) The name of the plain where the giants and gods will do battle? (Vigrid). Gagnrad (Odin) is able to answer these questions easily. Now the contest changes.

7 Vafthrudnismal Vafthrudnir admits that his opponent is indeed wise, and challenges him to a greater contest: Wise you are, guest, come to the giants bench, And we will speak together in the seat; We shall wager our heads in the hall, Guest, on our wisdom. (19) Gagnrad (Odin) now proceeds to question Vafthrudnir about the giants, Ymir and his descendents. These questions provide a context for relating information about the cosmos, for transmitting lore.

8 Vafthrudnismal Odin says: Tell me this one thing if your knowledge is sufficient And you, Vafthrudnir, know, From where the earth came or the sky above, First, o wise giant. (20) Vafthrudnir said: From Ymirs flesh the earth was shaped, And the mountains from his bones; The sky from the skull of the frost-cold giant, And the sea from his blood. (21)

9 Vafthrudnismal Gagnrad (Odin) continues to pose questions, asking about the origin of the moon and the sun, day and night, the summer and the winter. Gagnrad (Odin) then questions Vafthrudnir about the origins of the giants, who are older than the gods themselves. Vafthrudnir relates the myth of Bergelmir, of Thrudgelmir his father and Aurgelmir (Ymir) his grandfather, first of all giants, who emerged from poison drops out of Elivagar (28-31). (Different version than in Voluspa).

10 Vafthrudnismal Odin said: Tell me this seventh thing, since you are said to be Wise, and you Vafthrudnir, know, How he got children, that fierce giant, When he had no sport with giantesses. (32) Vafthrudnir said: They said that under the frost-giants arms A girl and boy grew together; One foot with the other, of the wise giant, Begot a six-headed son. (33)

11 Vafthrudnismal Odin questions Vafthrudnir further about the origins of the giants and of the winds which no man sees. Odin then poses a question about the god Njord of the Vanir, who came to the Æsir as a hostage after the first war between the gods. (38-39) Odin moves on to more personal knowledge, questioning Vafthrudnir about the Einheriar in Valhalla. (40-41)

12 Vafthrudnismal Odin finally seeks answers to the question of his own doom, questioning Vafthrudnir about Ragnarok: Tell me this twelfth thing, why all the fate of the gods you, Vafthrudnir, know; Of the secrets of the giants and of all the gods tell most truly, all-wise giant. (42) Vafthrudnir replies that he has been to the nine worlds, even to Mist-hell (Niflheim), and thus he knows the fates of which Gagnrad speaks.

13 Vafthrudnismal Odin asks more pointedly who will survive when the Mighty Winter (fimbulvetr) comes among men? Vafthrudnir said: Life (Lif) and Lifthrasir, and they will hide in Hoddmimirs wood, They will have the morning dew for food; From them the generations will spring. (45)

14 Vafthrudnismal Gagnrad (Odin) then poses further questions about Ragnarok, about the fate of the sun after Fenrir has assailed her, about mysterious maidens (the Norns?), and about the possessions of the gods after the battle of Ragnarok: Vidar and Vali will live in the temples of the gods, When Surts fire is slaked; Modi and Magni shall have Mjollnir For battle-strength. (51)

15 Vafthrudnismal Odin now poses the question he really came to ask: Much have I travelled, much have I tried out, Much have I tested the Powers; What will Odins lifes end be, When the Powers are torn apart? (52) Vafthrudnir said: The wolf will swallow the Father of Men, Vidar will avenge this; The cold jaws of the beast he will sunder In battle. (53)

16 Vafthrudnismal Once Gagnrad (Odin) has this knowledge, he puts a quick end to the contest, posing a question which no one but he himself can answer: Much have I traveled, much have I tried out, Much have I tested the Powers; What did Odin say into the ear of his son Before he mounted the pyre? (54)

17 Vafthrudnismal Vafthrudnir realizes that his guest can only be Odin in disguise, and that he has lost the wager (and his head). The poem ends with the Giants admission of defeat: No man knows what you said in bygone days into your sons ear; With doomed mouth Ive spoken my ancient lore about the fate of the gods; Ive been contending with Odin in wisdom; Youll always be the wisest of beings. (55)

18 Grimnismal / Grimnirs Sayings Odin in the Hall of Geirrod

19 Grimnismal / Grimnirs Sayings Grimnismal begins with a prose introduction, recounting the legend of King Hraudung and his sons, favored by Odin and Frigg. King Hraudung had two sons, Agnar (10) and Geirrod (8), who are lost at sea while fishing. Their boat crashes upon an island, where Geirrod is taken in by a farmer, and Agnar by his wife. After a winter on the island, the boys return to the boat and the farmer whispers secretly into Agnars ear. They sailed home, but on arriving, Geirrod leaps from the ship, yells Go where the trolls take you! and shoves the boat back out to sea.

20 Grimnismal Geirrod arrives home to discover that his father has died; he is greeted as the heir to the throne and is made king. Meanwhile, Agnar washes ashore in Jotunheim, takes a giantess to wife, and lives in a cave. Odin and Frigg view these events from his high seat Hlidskialf, and Odin boasts to Frigg that his own foster-child Geirrod is now a king, while her foster- child Agnar is raising giant children in a cave! Raising a foster-child a common practice in Norse society, cemented bonds between families.

21 Grimnismal Frigg is indignant that her foster-child has a lesser fate than Odins favorite, so she tells a lie about Geirrod: Geirrod is so stingy with food that he tortures his guests if it seems to him that too many have come. Hospitality an important Norse virtue; a sacred obligation to care and provide for guests. Odin is outraged and calls that a lie (which it is). The two wager on the truth of the accusation; Odin determines to test Geirrod.

22 Grimnismal Frigg sends her servant Fulla to Geirrod, warning him of a dangerous wizard who will come to bewitch him. Fulla tells Geirrod that he can recognize the wizard because no dog is fierce enough to attack him–dogs and wolves are favorites of Odin. A man calling himself Grimnir appears; since no dog will attack him and he refuses to answer questions, Geirrod assumes he is a wizard and has him tortured. Grimnir (Odin) lies between two fires for eight nights.

23 Grimnismal Geirrods son, Agnar (10 years old, named after his uncle sitting with the giantess in the cave) takes pity on his fathers (innocent) victim, and brings him a horn to drink from. Agnar thus fulfills the obligations of a host to care for his guests. Agnar thus wins Odins favor, for he has shown himself worthy of support from the gods. Odin speaks to Agnar, describing the world of the gods and magic lore. The poem begins.

24 Grimnismal Eight nights I have sat here between the fires, And no one offered me food, Except Agnar alone, and he alone shall rule, The son of Geirrod, over the land of the Goths. Blessed shall you be Agnar, Since Odin bids you be blest; For one drink you shall never get A better reward. (2-3)

25 Grimnismal Odin then describes Asgard and the realms of the gods and giants to Agnar. He lists the lands and halls of Thor, Ull (the archer god), Freyr (Alfheim), and his own halls Valaskialf, Sokkvabekk, Gladsheim and Vallhall. The halls of Skadi (skiing giantess), Baldr, Heimdall, Freyia (Volkvang, which holds half of all fallen warriors), Forseti, Niord, and Vidar (Odins son). Mnemonic poetry, designed to help the poet remember the catalogue of gods and their dwellings.

26 Grimnismal Grimnismal has one of the best descriptions of Valhall: Andhrimnir has Sæhrimnir boiled In Eldhrimnir, The best of pork, but few know By what the Einheriar are nourished. (18) Geri and Freki, tamed to war, he satiates, The glorious father of Hosts; But on wine alone the weapon-magnificent Odin always lives. (19)

27 Grimnismal Hugin and Munin fly every day Over the wide world; I fear for Hugin that he will not come back, Yet I tremble more for Munin. (20) Five hundred doors and forty I think there are in Valhall; Eight hundreds of warriors will go together from one door When they go to fight the wolf. (23)

28 Grimnismal Grimnir (Odin) also describes other halls and animals living there, especially Heidrun (the goat who furnishes mead for the Einheriar). (24-26) Grimnir then names a list of rivers, most of which are fictional. (27-29) Grimnir lists the horses of the Æsir (30) Grimnir describes Yggdrasil, the world tree, and the animals living on or near it (31-35): Ratatosk, the Squirrel. The Eagle and the Dragon Nidhogg. Four harts: Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr and Durathror. A few of the many serpents biting on the trees branches.

29 Grimnismal The ash of Yggdrasil suffers agony More than men know: A hart bites it from above, and it decays at the sides, And Nidhogg rends it beneath. (35) Grimnir then lists many of the Valkyries (warrior- maidens, literally choosers of the slain). They also bear ale to the Einheriar in Valhall. (36) Grimnir lists the horses that pull the sun and moon, and the wolves that chase the sun and moon. (37-39) Grimnir describes how the earth was formed from the flesh of Ymir. (40-41)

30 Grimnismal Grimnir now lists the best of things: Skidbladnir, the best of shipsYggdrasill the noblest of trees Sleipnir the best of horsesOdin the best of the Æsir Bifrost, the best of bridgesBragi the best of poets Habrok the best of hawksGarm the best of dogs Grimnir now reveals himself as Odin and lists many of the names he has assumed: Mask, Wanderer, Warrior, Helm-wearer, Known and Third, Thund, Ud, Hellblind and High, as well as many others. (45-50)

31 Grimnismal Odin then turns to confront Geirrod: Drunk are you, Geirrod! Youve drunk too much; You lose much when you lose My favor, and that of all the Einheriar. (51) Much I said to you but you remember little of it; Your friend has deceived you. I see the sword of my friend lying All covered in blood. (52)

32 Grimnismal Slaughter that wearies sword-edges the Terrible One Now wants to have; I know your life is over; The disir are against you, now you may see Odin; Draw near to me if you can! (53) When Geirrod realizes that his guest is Odin, he rises to free him and release him from the fire. The sword lying on his lap falls with its hilt downward, Geirrod slips and is impaled on his own weapon. Odin disappears; Agnar assumes the throne and rules for a long time.

33 Grimnismal Odin a capricious god, often betrays those such as Geirrod who try to follow his advice. Geirrod tricked into mistreating Odin; his innocence does not matter, he is still punished for his actions. Lack of Hospitality a greater sin than tyranny and oppression, raping, looting and pillaging! Image of Odin being tortured also typical; as a god he suffers mightily, often in order to procure wisdom. Ordeal by fire might represent a shamanistic rite, a ritual associated with Odin-worship that led to visions and occult knowledge granted by Odin to initiates in his cult (such as Agnar in the poem).


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