Sinthgunt

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"Wodan Heals Balder's Horse" (1905) by Emil Doepler

Sinthgunt is a figure in Germanic mythology, attested solely in the Old High German 9th- or 10th-century "horse cure" Merseburg Incantation. In the incantation, Sinthgunt is referred to as the sister of the personified sun, Sunna (whose name is alliterative to Sinthgunt),[1] and the two sisters are cited as both producing charms to heal Phol's horse, a figure also otherwise unattested. The two are then followed by Friia and Uolla, also alliterative and stated as sisters.

As Sinthgunt is otherwise unattested, her significance is otherwise unknown, but some scholarly theories exist about her role in Germanic mythology based on proposed etymologies, and the potential significance of her placement within the incantation.

Etymology[edit]

The etymology of Sinthgunt is unclear. Within the original manuscript, Sinthgunt is spelled "Sinhtgunt" (emphasis added). Sticking directly to this reading has yielded interpretations such as "the night-walking one". As a result of the paring with Sunna, the personified sun, this etymology has been interpreted as a reference to the moon. However, this reading has yielded problems; the moon in Germanic mythology is considered masculine, exemplified in the personification of the moon in Norse mythology, Máni, a male figure. Interpretations from the amended "Sinthgunt" have resulted in readings such as "the one moving into battle" or "heavenly body, star".[2]

Placement[edit]

The figures Fulla (Uolla) and Frigg (Friia) are attested together in later Old Norse sources (though not as sisters), and theories have been proposed that the Fulla may at one time have been an aspect of Frigg. As a result, this notion has resulted in theory that a similar situation may have existed between the figures of Sinthgunt and Sól, in that the two may have been understood as aspects of one another rather than entirely separate figures.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Orchard (1997:112).
  2. ^ Simek (2007:285-286).
  3. ^ Bostock (1976:29).

References[edit]