Háma

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This article is about the Old Norse hero. For Middle-earth character, see Háma (Middle-earth).
"King Heimer and Aslög" (1856) by August Malmström.

Háma (Old English: Hāma), Heimir (Old Norse), or Heime (German) was a legendary Germanic hero who often appears together with his friend Wudga.[1] He appears in the Anglo-Saxon poems Beowulf and Widsith, in the Scandinavian Þiðrekssaga and in German epics such as Alpharts Tod.[2]

Origins[edit]

Since Wudga is based on a Gothic hero named Vidigoia, it is possible that Hama has a similar origin, and the Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith talks of Hama and Wudga as Gothic warriors fighting against the Huns in the Vistula forests, where the Goths had an early settlement.[1] Later, during the evolution of the legends, the two heroes were connected with both the Gothic kings Ermanaric and Theodoric the Great, and they were increasingly presented as traitors; it is as traitors that they appear in the Þiðrekssaga.[1]

Adventures[edit]

According to the Þiðrekssaga, Heime was originally named Studas and named so after his father. He lost his name, however, and was renamed Heime as he looked as ferocious and grim as a dragon by that name. In German versions, he had killed the dragon. In the Middle High German Dietrich cycle, he is the son of a Madelger or Adelger of Lamparten, and he appears either as a duke or as a giant with several hands or elbows, a trait which also appears in the Swedish version of the Þiðrekssaga. Heime has an excellent weapon named Blodgang and a famous horse called Rispa. When Theodoric is only 12 years old and Heime is 17, Heime leaves his home to challenge Theodoric in a duel. In the fight, Heime's sword, Blutgang,[3] is destroyed and Theodoric's helmet shattered. Heime loses the duel, and swears allegiance to Theodoric. Later, when Theodoric wins the sword Eckesachs, he gives his old sword Nagelring to Heime. Heime is among Theodoric's twelve men who help him fight against Isung.[2]

In the German poems, Heime is bought over by Ermanaric and so abandons Theodoric. This is not mentioned in Þiðrekssaga, but on the other hand it relates that Heime and his comrade Widga (Wudga) fight for Ermanaric. This pairing of Widga and Heime is also mentioned in Widsith. In Alpharts Tod, Witege (Wudga) is rescued from Alphart (Hildebrand's kinsman) by Heime. By dishonourably fighting two against one, Heime and Wudga kill Alphart.[2]

The Þiðrekssaga has Heime spend his last years in a monastery where he calls himself Ludwig. When a giant named Aspilian threatens the monastery, Heime dons his armour again and kills the giant. He fails to return to his life as a monk because Theodoric calls him back and wants his services again. Heime then returns to the monastery in order to demand taxes from the monks, but when he does not receive anything, he kills every monk inside it and burns it down. Heime then has to fight a second giant, but loses and is killed. He is avenged by Theodoric. According to German sources, Heime is buried near Innsbruck at a monastery called Wilten.[2]

King Heimir[edit]

In Grípisspá, Helreið Brynhildar and the Völsunga saga there is a Heimir, and although the accounts of this Heimir have nothing in common with the traditions mentioned above,[2] they have been presented as the same character.[1] This Heimir is the king of Hlymdalir, the maternal uncle of Brynhildr and foster-father, or spouse, of Brynhildr's sister Bekkhildr.[4] He is also the foster-father of Aslaug, Brynhildr's daughter with Sigurd (Sigfried).[1][4] As the Burgundians wanted to kill the little child,[4] he kept her hidden in a harp and wandered as a minstrel until he arrived in Spangereid in Norway, where he was murdered in his sleep by Áki and Grima, who believed that Heimir kept valuables in the harp.[1][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f The article Heimer in Nordisk familjebok (1909).
  2. ^ a b c d e The entry Heime/Heimir in The Nibelungen Tradition: An Encyclopedia (2002) by Francis G. Gentry. ISBN 0-8153-1785-9 p. 84
  3. ^ Teutonic Myth and Legend: Chapter XXXVII. Dietrich of Bern
  4. ^ a b c d Ohlmarks, Åke. (1994). Fornnordiskt lexikon. Tiden. ISBN 91-550-4044-6 p. 144

Bibliography[edit]

  • Haymes, Edward R. and Susann T. Samples. Heroic Legends of the North: An Introduction to the Nibelung and Dietrich Cycles. New York: Garland. 1996, p 151.