In Norse mythology, Gullveig (Old Norse, potentially "gold drink" or "gold might") is a mysterious figure who appears solely in the "Poetic Edda" poem "Völuspá" in association with the Æsir-Vanir War. In the poem, Gullveig is stated to have been burned three times in Odin's hall, yet to have been three times reborn.


Gullveig is only mentioned, at least by that name, in the "Völuspá", stanza 21. The seeress, after her account of the coming of the Norns, continues:

The war I remember, the first in the world,
When the gods with spears had smitten Gullveig,
And in the hall of Hár had burned her,
Three times burned, and three times born,
Oft and again, yet ever she lives.
Heid they named her when she came to the house,
The wide-seeing witch, in magic wise;
She performed "seið" where she could worked "seið" in a trance,
To evil women she was always a joy.Fact|date=September 2008

"Hár" 'High' is a common name for Odin. "Heid" means 'gleaming' and as a noun 'honor'. It is a common given name for seeresses or witches in the sagas notably in the "Landnámabók", in the "Hrólfs Saga Kraka" and in "Örvar-Odds Saga". "Seið" is a particular type of magic, often looked on pejoratively. Instead phrase translated here "worked "seið" in a trance" is sometimes interpreted instead as something like "drove mad the gods with "seið".

It is generally assumed that the two stanzas are connected and that Heiðr is another name for Gullveig. The poem continues with a council apparently about who should pay "wergild" for Gullveig and that leads into a war with the Vanir.

Commentators speculate variously on this passage, but with general agreement that in part it speaks about the corrupting power of gold and generally understanding that mistreatment of this Gullveig was the reason for the resultant war between the Æsir and Vanir. Gullveig is usually taken to be one of the Vanir.


Gullveig's brief mention in surviving texts has resulted in a number of scholars and others speculating on the nature of the figure.


Georges Dumézil (1966 and 1973) believed that the first war was based on a mythical Indo-European pattern that also emerges in the Roman legend of the war between the warlike Romans (comparable to the Æsir) and wealthy Sabines (comparable to the Vanir) and that the Gullveig element corresponded to the role of Tarpeia in Roman tradition. In one common version Tarpeia betrayed the citadel to the Sabines in exchange for what they had on their left arm, meaning their gold bracelets. However the Sabines, while taking advantage of Tarpeia's treachery, fulfilled their part of the bargain by striking her with their shields, which were also on their left arms, until she died.

Dumézil also proposed that a related tradition occurs in Saxo Grammaticus' account ("Gesta Danorum", Book 1) of Frigg's theft of the gold from Odin' statue and her adultery. Odin (either from disgust or shame) goes into exile and a certain Mit-othin to some extent gains Odin's position, until Odin returns and drives Mit-othin away.


Viktor Rydberg proposed a connection between the Gullveig stanza of Völuspá to two stanzas in "Völuspá hin skamma" (found in some editions of the Poetic Edda as the last section of the poem "Hyndluljóð"):

The wolf did Loki sire on Angrboda,
And Sleipnir he bore to Svadilfari;
The worst piece of witchcraft seemed the one
Sprung from the brother of Byleist then.

A heart ate Loki— in the embers it lay,
And half-cooked found he the woman's heart—
With child from the woman Lopt soon was,
And thence among men came every troll-woman.

(Loki is often called "brother of Blyeist" and "Lopt" in other texts.)

If the burned heart of a woman that was eaten by Loki is Gullveig's heart, then Gullveig may live still through a race of troll-women whom Loki then bore. "Troll-women" might refer to malevolent seeresses and witches in general. The word "flagð" is well established as meaning 'troll-woman, female monster, ogress, giantess, witch'. But it is sometimes here taken metaphorically to mean she-wolves, or all wolves, even monsters in general.

The "Lesser Völuspá" also refers to Heid and Hrossthjóf (a name otherwise unknown) as the children of Hrímnir in a context that suggests Hrímnir is a giant.

Rydberg took the account of Loki eating the heart as a recaptulation of the previous stanza and so identified Gullveig with Angrboda, the mother of Fenrir. To make this work Rydberg glosses "flagð" 'troll-woman' as referring to trolls of either gender and includes Fenrir among them. (However Snorri Sturluson in his "Edda" knew Angrboda only as "a giantess of Jötunheimr" and mother by Loki of Fenrir, Jörmungandr, and Hel and provides no indication that Loki gave birth to any of these himself.)

Rydberg also identifies his Gullveig/Angrboda with the old woman of Ironwood mentioned in "Völuspá" stanza 49 as raising the kindred of Fenrir, a normal interpretation. More daring is his identification of Gullveig, Angrboda or Woman-of-Ironwood with Aurboda, the wife of "Gymir" and mother of Gerd and also with the giantess "Hyrrokin" 'Fire-smoked', who is said to be slain by Thor in a list in the "þulur". Accordingly Rydberg believes Gullveig was finally slain by Thor's hammer. Rydberg then notes that in the "Svipdagsmál" Aurboda is also the name of one of Menglöd's nine serving women (Menglöd is often thought to be a variant of Freyja), that Heid was the name of Hrímnir's daughter, and that in the "Völsunga saga" Hljóð is both daughter of the giant Hrímnir and a maidservant of Frigg. (This Hljóð marries the hero "Volsung" and becomes father of the hero Sigmund). Rydberg takes all these as further variants of Gullveig. Rydberg further identifies his extended Gullveig with Grendel's dam in "Beowulf".

Rydberg's multiple identifications are generally not accepted by later scholars.


A different theory supported by Gabriel Turville-Petre Turville, Petre. E.O.G. Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964.] is that Gullveig is a name for the goddess Freyja. In the Prose Edda tale "Gylfaginning", Freyja sheds tears of red gold for her husband Ódr in his absence and who is mother of Gersemi and Hnoss, whose names both mean "Treasure". Freyja is often associated with a love for jewelry and treasure in surviving representations.

In Snorri Sturluson's "Heimskringla", in the "Ynglinga Saga", chapter 4, Snorri relates that it was Freyja who introduced "seið" among the Æsir as it was in use and fashion among the Vanir. Therefore, all Vanir practice "seið". In chapter 7 Snorri relates that Odin also knew "seið":

…but it was not thought respectable for men to practise it; andtherefore the priestesses were brought up in this art.

ee also

* Solveig



* Dumézil, Georges (1966). "La Religion romaine archaique suirvi d'un appendice sur la religion des Etrusques" Paris. Editions Payot. Trans. Krapp, Philip (1996). "Archaic Roman Religion." Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Republished 1970, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-8018-5482-2 ISBN 0-8018-5483-0 (hdbk); ISBN 0-8018-5480-6 ISBN 0-8018-5481-4 (pbk).
* Dumézil, Georges (1973). "The Gods: Æsir and Vanir", "Gods of the Ancient Northmen", trans. Einar Haugen. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03507-0.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gullveig — ist eine Göttin der germanischen Mythologie. Sie gehört dem Geschlecht der Wanen an. Ihr Name bedeutet so viel wie die Goldreiche, wird aber auch teilweise mit Goldrausch übersetzt. Manchmal wird sie aber auch nur als Riesin angesehen, als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gullveig — Imagen de la ejecución de Gullveig en un sello postal faroés. En la mitología nórdica, Gullveig era una misteriosa diosa o giganta que inició la guerra entre los Æsir y los Vanir. En una visita que realizó al Asgard los ases no la soportaron más …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gullveig — (Puissance de l’Or) Gullveig est une sorcière ayant un gigantesque amour pour l’or. Elle ne parle de rien d’autre lorsqu elle visite les Aesirs qui l’écoutent avec dégoût et finirent par la jeter dans le feu, pensant que le Monde se passerait… …   Mythologie nordique

  • Gullveig —    In Nordic myth one of the Vanir, probably a sorceress who was illtreated by the Aesir, who speared her and tried three times to burn her without success. The news of this brought about the war between the Vanir and the Aesir, which ended in… …   Who’s Who in non-classical mythology

  • Guerra entre los Æsir y los Vanir — Odín arroja su lanza sobre una multitud Vanir. Ilustración de Lorenz Frølich (1895 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Æsir-Vanir War — In Norse mythology, the Æsir Vanir War was a war that occurred between the Æsir and the Vanir, two tribes of gods. The war ultimately resulted in the unification of the two tribes into a single tribe of gods. The war is an important event in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Freyja — For other uses, see Freyja (disambiguation). Freja by John Bauer (1882–1918) In Norse mythology, Freyja (Old Norse the Lady ) is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr, war, and death. Freyja is the owner of the necklace… …   Wikipedia

  • Vanir — Los Vanir son uno de los dos grupos de dioses de la mitología nórdica, los otros son los Æsir. El nombre quizás tenga una raíz proto indoeuropea *wen luchar, ganar , relacionado con Venus (comparar con Vanadis), Wynn (protogermánico *Wanizaz),… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Guerre entre les Ases et les Vanes — Odin brandit sa lance aux Vanes, illustration réalisée par Lorenz Frølich en 1885 Dans la mythologie nordique, la guerre entre les Ases et les Vanes est la première guerre de l univers, opposant les deux groupes de dieux : les Ases et les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Angrboda — (Old Norse Angrboða Harm foreboding ) appears in Norse mythology as a giantess. She is mentioned in the Eddic poems only in the Shorter Völuspá (in some edition included in the Hyndluljóð) as the mother of Fenrir by Loki. However, she is also (by …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”