Lævateinn

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In Norse mythology, Lævateinn is a weapon mentioned in the Poetic Edda poem Fjölsvinnsmál. The name Lævateinn does not appear in the original manuscript reading, but is an emendation from Hævateinn made by Sophus Bugge and others. The amended name Lævateinn is etymologically considered to be a kenning for a sword (Old Norse "damage twig"[1]).

Fjölsvinnsmál[edit]

The weapon is mentioned briefly in the poem Fjölsvinnsmál:

Benjamin Thorpe's translation:
26. Tell me, Fiölsvith! etc.
whether there be any weapon,
before which Vidofnir may
fall to Hel´s abode?


27. Hævatein the twig is named,
and Lopt plucked it,
down by the gate of Death.
In an iron chest it lies
with Sinmoera,
and is with nine strong locks secured.[2]
Henry Adams Bellows translation:
41. Svipdag spake:
"Now answer me, Fjolsvith, the question I ask,
For now the truth would I know:
What weapon can send Vithofnir to seek
The house of Hel below?"


42. Fjolsvith spake:
"Lævatein is there, that Lopt with runes
Once made by the doors of death;
In Lægjarn's chest by Sinmora lies it,
And nine locks fasten it firm."[3]

Bellows comments that Lægjarn means "Lover of Ill" and, like the name Lopt, refers to Loki.[3]

Theories[edit]

Viktor Rydberg theorized that the weapon referred to was the sword forged by Völundr, and is the same one as Freyr gave away to gain Gerðr.[citation needed] Henry Adams Bellows comments that, regarding Lævateinn, "the suggestion the reference is to the mistletoe which Baldr was killed seems hardly reasonable."[3]

Leszek Gardeła theorized that the weapon was a magic staff, tein, meaning 'twig', being part of the general word for magic staff gambantein.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Simek (2007:185).
  2. ^ Thorpe (1907:96–97).
  3. ^ a b c Bellows (2004:245).
  4. ^ Gardeła (2009).

References[edit]