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Gullveig
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In Norse mythology, Gullveig is a being who was speared by the sir, burnt three times, and yet thrice reborn.
Upon her third rebirth, Gullveig's name becomes Heir and she is described as a knowledgeable and skillful vlva.
Gullveig/Heir is solely attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional material.
Scholars have variously proposed that Gullveig/Heir is the same figure as the goddess Freyja, that Gullveig's death
may have been connected to corruption by way of gold among the sir, and/or that Gullveig's treatment by the
sir may have led to the sir-Vanir War.
Contents
1 Etymology
2 Attestations
3 Theories
4 See also
5 Notes
6 References
Etymology
The etymology of the Old Norse name Gullveig is problematic. The first element, Gull-, means "gold", yet the
second element, veig, is murky (a situation shared with the Old Norse personal names Rannveig, Slveig, and
Thrveig). Veig may sometimes mean "alcoholic drink", "power, strength", and sometimes also "gold". The name
Heir (Old Norse "fame", in adjective form "bright, clear") is semantically related; scholar Rudolf Simek comments
that although Gullveig's name changes to Heir, the meaning still remains basically the same.
[1]
Heir is sometimes
anglicized as Heith, Heid, or Heidi.
Attestations
Gullveig is solely attested in the Poetic Edda poem Vlusp. In the poem, a vlva recalls that Gullveig was pierced
by spears before being burnt three times in the hall of Hrr (Hrr is one of Odin's various names), and yet was
three times reborn. The vlva says that, presumably after Gullveig's burning, she was called Heir and that Heir
was a knowledgeable vlva who could perform great feats:
8/7/2014 Gullveig - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The sir lift Gullveig on spears over
fire as illustrated by Lorenz Frlich
(1895)
Benjamin Thorpe translation:
She that remembers, the first on earth,
when Gullveig they with lances pierced,
and in the high one's hall her burnt,
thrice burnt, thrice brought forth,
oft not seldom; yet she still lives.
Heidi they called her, whitherso'er she came,
the well-foreseeing Vala:
wolves she tamed, magic arts she knew, magic
arts practiced;
ever she was the joy of evil people.
[2]
Henry Adams Bellows translation:
The war I remember, the first in the
world,
When the gods with spears had smitten
Gollveig,
And in the hall of Hor had burned her,
Three times burned, and three times
born,
Oft and again, yet ever she lives.
Heith they named her who sought their
home
The wide-seeing witch, in magic wise;
Minds she bewitched that were moved
by her magic,
To evil women a joy she was.
[3]
A description of the sirVanir War follows and the poem continues thereafter.
Theories
Starting with scholar Gabriel Turville-Petre, scholars such as Rudolf Simek and John Lindow have theorized that
Gullveig/Heir is the same figure as Freyja, and that her involvement with the sir somehow led to the events of the
sirVanir War.
[4]
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See also
List of names of Freyja, a list of various names attributed to the goddess Freyja
Notes
1. ^ Simek (2007:123124).
2. ^ Thorpe (1907:4).
3. ^ Bellows (1923:10).
4. ^ Simek (2007:123124), Lindow (2002:155), and Orchard (1997:67).
References
Bellows, Henry Adams (1923). The Poetic Edda. American-Scandinavian Foundation.
Lindow, John (2002). Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs
(http://books.google.com/books?
id=KlT7tv3eMSwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false). Oxford University
Press. ISBN 0-19-515382-0
Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34520-2
Thorpe, Benjamin (Trans) (1907). Edda Smundar Hinns Fra The Edda of Smund the Learned. Part I.
London Trbner & Co.
Simek, Rudolf (2007) translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 0-85991-
513-1
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