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  • aomiarmster 6:32 PM on 24/12/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , norse,   


    Noodle Incident: In the Lokasenna, Odin says Loki went around disguised as a milkmaid for awhile, and according to both Odin and Njorth, he’s given birth to multiple children. It doesn’t get any more elaborate than that.

  • aomiarmster 6:35 PM on 23/11/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , norse   

    It’s mythology. It’s going to have different sources say different things about the same thing. 

  • aomiarmster 4:58 AM on 31/10/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , norse,   

      We are not certain what it is about seiðr that made it “unmanly” for a man to practice the art: it could be anything from the idea of cowardice as a result of being able to harm your enemies through magic rather than in open battle, to overt sexual rituals involving the seiðr-practitioner as the passive sexual partner, or even as the passive homosexual partner.

  • aomiarmster 12:21 AM on 31/10/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Egils saga Skallagrimssonar, , Grágás, , norse, , Sørenson,   

    Insults Alleging Homosexuality 

    There is ample documentation of homosexuality in insults. Judging by the literature, the Vikings were the “rednecks” of medieval Europe… if you went into the mead hall and called a man a faggot, he’d do the same thing that any good ol’ boy at a Texas cowboy bar would do. The end result would be a big axe in your head instead of a big cowboy boot in your face, but the idea is the same. Furthermore, in every one of the instances where níð or ergi is encountered as an accusation, no one seriously believes that the accused party is in fact homosexual: the charge is symbolic, rather like calling a modern redneck “queer” to provoke him to fight. (Sørenson 20)

    Because, then as now, some sorts of insults were “fightin’ words” or even killing words, Scandinavian law codes made certain types of insults illegal, and either condoned the victim’s slaying of the slanderer or penalized the utterance of insults with outlawry. The Gulaþing Law of Norway (ca. 100-1200 C.E.) Says:

    Um fullrettes orð. Orð ero þau er fullrettis orð heita. Þat er eitt ef maðr kveðr at karlmanne oðrom at hann have barn boret. Þat er annat ef maðr kyeðr hann væra sannsorðenn. Þat er hit þriðia ef hann iamnar hanom við meri æða kallar hann grey æða portkono æða iamnar hanom við berende eitthvert.

    Concerning terms of abuse or insult. There are words which are considered terms of abuse. Item one: if a man say of another man that he has borne a child. Item two: if a man say of another man that he has been homosexually used. Item three: if a man compare another man to a mare, or call him a bitch or a harlot, or compare him to any animal which bears young. (Markey, 76, 83)

    Similarly, the Icelandic law code Grágás (ca. 1100-1200 C.E.) has:

    Þav ero orð riú ef sva mioc versna máls endar manna er scog gang vaðla avll. Ef maðr kallar man ragan eða stroðinn eða sorðinn. Oc scal søkia sem avnnor full rettis orð enda a maðr vigt igegn þeim orðum þrimr.

    Then there are three terms which occasion bringing such a serious suit against a man that they are worthy to outlaw him. If a man call a man unmanly [effeminate], or homosexual, or demonstrably homosexually used by another man, he shall proceed to prosecute as with other terms of abuse, and indeed a man has the right to avenge with combat for these terms of abuse. (Markey, 76, 83)

    The Frostaþing Lawlikewise tells us that it is fullréttisorð (verbal offenses for which full compensation or fines must be paid to the injured party) to compare a man to a dog, or to call him sannsorðinn (demonstrably homosexually used by another man), but goes on to penalize as hálfréttisorð (requiring one-half compensation) terms which in our culture would almost be considered complementary, including comparing a man with a bull, a stallion, or other male animal (Sørenson 16).

    Many exchanges of insults are to be found in thePoetic Edda, particularly inHárbarðljóð, a man-matching between Óðinn and Thórr;Lokasenna, in which Loki insults the Norse gods;Helgakviða Hundingsbanain the exchange of deadly insults between Sinfjotli and Guðmundr;Helgakviða Hjorvarðssonarin the exchange of threats between Atli and the giantess Hrimgerð. Other instances may be found in the sagas such asEgils saga SkallagrimssonarandVatnsdæla saga.

    Insults directed at men come in several varieties. Taunts might sneer at a man’s poverty, as Óðinn does when he tells Thórr that he is “but a barefoot beggar with his buttocks shining through his breeches” (Hárbarðljóð6), or declare a man to be a cuckold (Hárbarðljóð48,Lokasenna40). Some insults were scatological:

    Þegi þú Niorðr!     þú vart austr heðan
        gíls um sendr at goðom;
    Hymis meyiar     hofðo þic at hlandtrogi
        oc þér í munn migo.

    Be thou silent, Njorðr!     you were sent eastward
        to the gods as a hostage;
    Hymir’s maidens     used you as a piss-trough
        and they pissed in your mouth.
    (Lokasenna 34)

    Insults of this nature seem to have been merely rude or disgusting. More serious were those which were mentioned in the laws, concerning cowardice or unmanly behavior. Cowardice was perhaps the lesser of the two types of insults, although the categories blur:

    Enough strength hath Thórr,     but a stout heart nowise:
    in fainthearted fear     wast fooled in a mitten,
        nor seemed then Thórr himself:
    in utter dread     thou didst not dare
    to fart or sneeze,     lest Fjalar heard it.
    (Hárbarðljóð 26)

    Other insults alleging craven behavior may be found inHárbarðljóð27 and 51, as well asLokasenna13 and 15.

    More dangerous still were insults that called a man “gelding,” implying cowardice as well as touching on the connotations of sexual perversity connected with the horse, as in the insult where Hrimgerð calls Atli “a gelding who is a coward, whinnying loudly like a stallion but with his heart in his hinder part” (Helgakviða Hjorvarþssonar20).

    The very deadliest of insults were those which attributed effeminate behavior or sexual perversion to the victim. Accusations of seiðr, women’s magic or witchcraft, implied that the practitioner played the woman’s part in the sexual act (Sturluson, Prose Edda, 66-68). Óðinn, a practitioner of seiðr, was often taunted with the fact, although this insult is found in other contexts as well (Lokasenna 24,Helgakviða Hundingsbana 38). Similarly, an insult might call a man a mare, either directly or via a kenning such as “Grani’s bride” — Grani being the famous stallion belonging to Sigfried the Dragonslayer (Helgakviða Hundingsbana 42). Loki’s shapeshifting into the form of a mare may have resulted in the best of horses, Óðinn’s mount Sleipnir, but the implication of (at best) bisexuality was an inescapable slur on Loki’s reputation ever after (Markey, 79). As theGulaþing Law states, it was equally insulting to liken a man to any creature that bears young. One of the more comprehensive insults of this class is to be found inHelgakviða Hundingsbana:

    A witch wast thou        on Varin’s Isle,
    didst fashion falsehoods        and fawn on me, hag:
    to no wight would’st thou        be wed to but me,
    to no sword-wielding swain        but to Sinfjotli.

    Thou wast, witch hag,        a valkyrie fierce
    in Allfather’s hall,        hateful and grim:
    all Valhôll’s warriors        had well-nigh battled,
    willful woman,        to win thy hand.
    On Saga Ness        full nine wolves we
    had together —        I gat them all.
    (Helgakviða Hundingsbana 38-39)

    This was directed at Guðmundr Granmatsson, one of King Helgi’s captains and a formidable warrior!

    In pagan Scandinavia, a ritual form of insult was also practiced at times, the erection of a níðstông or scorn-pole. This ritual had five basic elements:

    1. an overt or covert association of ergi [effeminate behavior];
    2. implementation of an animal, usually female [i.e., a mare], as a totemic device whereby lack of masculinity is implied;
    3. an animal’s body or head is mounted on a pole and turned toward the dwelling place of the person towards whom the níð is directed;
    4. formulaic verse, often inscribed in runes on the pole supporting the totemic device;
    5. appellant incantations to the gods or spirits to confer magical power on the totemic device and/or carry out the desires of the níðskald (Markey 77-78).

    Mention of this ritual is made in Book V of Saxo Grammaticus’Gesta Danorumand in chapter 33 ofVatnsdæla saga, but the most complete description is given inEgils saga Skallagrimssonar:

    Egil went ashore onto the island, picked up a branch of hazel and then went to a certain cliff that faced the mainland. Then he took a horse head, set it up on the pole and spoke these formal words:

    “Here I set up a pole of insult against King Eirik and Queen Gunnhild.”

    Then, turning the horsehead towards the mainland:

    “And I direct this insult against the guardian spirits of this land, so that every one of them shall go astray, neither to figure nor to find their dwelling places until they have driven King Eirik and Queen Gunnhild from this country.”

    Next, he jammed the pole into a cleft in the rock and left it standing there with the horsehead facing towards the mainland, and cut runes on the pole declaiming the words of his formal speech
    (Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards, trans.Egil’s Saga. Harmondsworth: Penguin. 1976. p. 148) 

  • aomiarmster 12:17 AM on 31/10/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: argr, , norse, ragr, regi, seiðmaðr   

    Old Norse Terminology Regarding Homosexuality and Related Concepts 

    The Old Norse word used in the law code and literature for an insult was níð , which may be defined as “libel, insult, scorn, lawlessness, cowardice, sexual perversion, homosexuality” (Markey 75). From níð are derived such words as níðvisur (“insulting verses”), níðskald (“insult-poet”), níðingr (“coward, outlaw”), griðníðingr (“truce-breaker”), níðstông (“scorn-pole”) (Markey 75, 79 & 80; Sørenson 29), also níða (“to perform níð poetry”), tunguníð (“verbal níð”), tréníð (“timber níð”, carved or sculpted representations of men involved in a homosexual act, related to niíðstông, above) (Sørenson 28-29). Níð was part of a family of concepts which all have connotations of passive male homosexuality, such as: ergi or regi (nouns) and argr or ragr (the adjective form of ergi) (“willing or inclined to play or interested in playing the female part in sexual relations with another man, unmanly, effeminate, cowardly”); ergjask (“to become argr”); rassragr (“arse-ragr”); stroðinn and sorðinn (“sexually used by a man”) and sansorðinn (“demonstrably sexually used by another man”) (Sørenson 17-18, 80). A man who is a seiðmaðr (one who practices women’s magic) who is argr is called seiðskratti (Sørenson 63). 

  • aomiarmster 1:33 AM on 15/10/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , John Bruno Hare, , norse, The Poetic Eddas   

    The Poetic Eddas are the oral literature of Iceland, which were finally written down from 1000 to 1300 C.E. The Eddas are a primary source for our knowledge of ancient Norse pagan beliefs. This translation of the Poetic Eddas by Henry Adams Bellows is highly readable.

    The poems are great tragic literature, with vivid descriptions of the emotional states of the protagonists, Gods and heroes alike. Women play a prominent role in the Eddic age, and many of them are delineated as skilled warriors.

    The impact of these sagas from a sparsely inhabited rocky island in the middle of the Atlantic on world culture is wide-ranging. Wagners’ operas are largely based on incidents from the Edda, via the Niebelungenlied. J.R.R. Tolkien also plundered the Eddas for atmosphere, plot material and the names of many characters in the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings.

    John Bruno Hare
  • aomiarmster 7:10 AM on 10/10/2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , norse, , ,   

    Gods on the run by *humon

    Random Æsir god, Vanir goddess, and Jotun. They’re not supposed to look like any specific people from the Eddas.

    This is not meant to be an illustration of how they are usually portrayed, but simply how they look in my mind after having read about the old Norse religion and the many speculations surrounding it.

    The Æsir represent culture, tamed nature, order, and the male sex. They were at the very top of the godly hierarchy, so I put him in blue which was the color of the rich because it was very expensive to make.

    We know very little about the Vanir, but because the only Vanir with any significant roles in the Eddas are fertility gods, they are considered to be connected with fertility. This is why I have started drawing them more or less plump because classic fertility statues are often depicted so.
    It used to be a common belief that they represented an older religion, but that has since been dismissed by most experts. Still the idea lingered with me, so I tend to portray them more shamanic looking.

    Finally a Jotun. Even though they were the oldest and wisest of the races, they were the lowest in the hierarchy, which is why I have given him clothes with the lightest colors. In Viking culture you could tell a person’s place in the social hierarchy by how dark their clothes were, from the rich blue, to the slaves’ white.
    Jotuns represented chaos, wild nature, magic, and the female sex. Their roles as chaos and femininity gods can be seen by how male Jotuns were able to give birth. The first jotun Ymir gave birth in his sleep, Loki birthed quite a few children (most as a woman, but also as a man), and Odin who was king of the Æsir but originally a Jotun himself, also birthed children in the form of a woman.
    Men who could shapeshift into women was a special Jotun ability.

    The rainbow in the background is of course Bifrost, the bridge that connected the worlds.

  • aomiarmster 3:41 PM on 13/09/2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , church, , , , , graveyard, , , , , , , , nordic, norse, raven, , , , troll, werewolves   

    Various Nordic Mythology Creatures 

    A compilation of various Nordic mythology creatures.

    It’s actually more Danish than Norwegian.
    The Norwegians had surprisingly few creatures besides trolls and huldras.

    All information and art are from Humon  : http://humon.deviantart.com/

    Party Party Folks –

    From left to right: Näcken (nix), trold/troll, lygtemand (light/lamp man), ellepige (elf girl made of mist), nisse/tomte (gnome), dwarf, huldra (a form of elf), slattenpatte (saggy breast,a form of elf/troll), mosekone (bog woman, another form of elf), huldufólk (elf from Iceland).

    I love Nordic mythology creatures far more than what’s healthy.
    When people want to use one of these guys in a story they often ask me which other mythological creatures they usually interact with, and the answer is: all of them. It’s pretty popular to draw them all partying together, for example.

    When using these creatures it’s important to understand that they are considered a people, with each race having their own society, norms and laws (except näcken who is a more solitary creature). So they have every day lives, meet, make friends and fight each other across races.

    Also, one thing they all have in common is that if humans treat them right they will be helpful and make friends with the humans, but if humans disrespect them they will take revenge. Some are easier than others to befriend. The nisse/tomte lives on farms and will help the farmer as long as he remembers to feed him and don’t tease the nisse/tomte too much. The trolls are pretty easy as well (at least in Denmark and parts of Sweden). The various elfs however are more difficult and humans should only ever interact with them if they know what they’re doing, or the elfs will make them go crazy.

    And don’t forget, they have special power over people who think about sex.

    Baddie Baddies –

    Helhesten (Hel Horse): It’s death in the form of a horse. It walks around at night on it’s three legs (or missing it’s head), and should you hear it come your way don’t look at it. It comes to collect a soul, but anyone else who sees it will die as well a few days later.

    Maren: Creatures known in many countries, who rides sleeping people, causing nightmares, but in the North it is said to be a human who turns into this creature at night and goes to hug those they love in a deadly grip. In some versions it is said that men turn into werewolves and women into maren.

    Hvidslangen (White Snake): A huge white snake that is usually surrounded by millions of normal snakes, all twirling around it’s body to protect it. It is said to bring death and sorrow.

    Kirkevare (Church protector): A very powerful spirit that protects churches, and are the enemies of the nature spirits. There are many stories of how people tried to build a church, but during the night the trolls would tear it all down because they hated the sound of the church bells. To prevent this people would use and ancient method from heathen times and bury a living creature on the building site. To make it more Christian they often used a lamb, but it could be any animal or even a human. The spirit would then protect the place from bjergfolk and ellefolk, and show itself to people who were about to die and were to be buried in the local graveyard.

    Kirkegrim: Another creature buried alive under churches, usually a black sow, which was far more dangerous than the kirkevare. While the kirkevare took care of the nature spirits, the kirkegrim took care of humans, both the dead and the living. They chased away children who played in the graveyard, or young people who wanted a peaceful place to make love. They also chased the souls of evil people out of the graveyard where they turned into night ravens. A more peaceful job was to show the priest where to bury the dead.

    Natteravn (Night raven): The souls of evil people who did not deserve to be buried in the church’s graveyard. Quite fond of hacking people’s eyes out.

    Den Sorte Mand (The black man): A very scary creature said to live in wells. He has no purpose other than to scare the living daylight out of people who come to collect water and pull them down if they’re not quick enough.

    Valravn (War raven): A raven that has eaten of the dead on a battlefield and has gained human intelligence that way. If they drink the blood of a newborn boy they will be able to turn into a knight, or as here, a half wolf half raven creature. Extreamly evil and dangerous. Can be befriended if you give it your firstborn baby.

    All information and art are from Humon  : http://humon.deviantart.com/

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