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In Finnish mythology, Ahti or Ahto is a heroic character of oral poetic tradition. Sometimes given in folk poetry the epithet of Saarelainen or the Islander, he is described as a fierce sea-going warrior. In the poems, Ahti makes a double vow with his wife Kyllikki, binding him to stay at home and not to engage in raiding, and her to stay faithful. However, Kyllikki breaks their oath, sending Ahti on a voyage with his old war companions.[1] In some versions of the poem, he subsequently falls in combat.[citation needed]

Ahti Saarelainen was one of the heroic figures Elias Lönnrot artificially compounded with the character of Lemminkäinen when writing the Kalevala in the 19th century. The original poems in the Ahti cycle have been dated tentatively to the Iron Age based on their sea-going setting.[2]

Sometimes the name of Ahti is used of a god of the sea and of fishing, portrayed as a man with a handlebar moustache and beard of moss.[citation needed] He is the consort of Vellamo, and they dwell in the undersea palace of Ahtola.[citation needed] He probably possesses some fragments of Sampo, which was broken and then lost at sea after a battle.[citation needed] Also Vetehinen and Iku-Turso live underwater with Ahti.[citation needed]

Popular culture and literature[edit]

Finnish Folk metal band Ensiferum has a song on their 2007 album Victory Songs titled Ahti. Lyrically, the song describes a god of the sea. The music video however, is about the hero that falls in combat.

In the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic by Canadian developer BioWare the player visits the planet Manaan, the capital of the planet is called Ahto City.

The historical fiction story Lemminkäisen laulu (English: The song of Lemminkäinen) by the Finnish author Juha Ruusuvuori is a modern rendition of the poems concerning Ahti Saarelainen.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kuusi, Matti (1975). Kansanruno-Kalevala. Helsinki: Otava. ISBN 951-1-01969-4. 
  2. ^ Kuusi, Matti (1975). Kansanruno-Kalevala. Helsinki: Otava. ISBN 951-1-01969-4. 
  3. ^ Ruusuvuori, Juha (1999). Lemminkäisen laulu. Helsinki, Juva: WSOY. ISBN 951-0-23726-4.