Fárbauti

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Fárbauti
Norse mythology character
In-universe information
SpeciesJötunn
SpouseLaufey
ChildrenLoki

Fárbauti is a jötunn in Norse mythology. In all sources, he is portrayed as the father of Loki. Fárbauti is attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in kennings of Viking Age skalds.

Name[edit]

The Old Norse name Fárbauti has been translated as 'dangerous striker',[1] 'anger striker',[2] or 'sudden-striker'.[3] It is a compound formed with the noun fár ('hostility, danger, unfortunateness, falseness') attached to the verb bauta ('to strike').[4]

Attestations[edit]

Punishment of Loki, who is depicted with his wife Sigyn, as shown on a stamp from the Faroe Islands

Two 10th-century skalds call Loki "son of Fárbauti", using, however, the poetic word mögr for "son" rather than the usual sonr.[2] The skald Úlfr Uggason is quoted referring to Loki as "Fárbauti's terribly sly son",[5] and the skald Þjóðólfr of Hvinir mentions Loki as "Fárbauti's son".[6]

Renowned defender [Heimdall] of the powers’ way [Bifröst], kind of counsel, competes with Farbauti’s terribly sly son [Loki] at Singastein

— Úlfr Uggason, Skáld. 16–17, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

The gracious lord of earth [Odin] bade Farbauti’s son [Loki] quickly share the bow-string-Var’s [Skadi’s] whale [ox] among the fellows.

— Þjóðólfr of Hvinir, Skáld. 22, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

In Gylfaginning (The Beguiling of Gylfi), the enthroned figure of High states that Loki is the son of the jötunn Fárbauti,[2] and that "Laufey or Nál is his mother".[7]

His name is Loki or Lopt, son of the giant Farbauti. Laufey or Nal is his mother. Byleist and Helblindi are his brothers.

— Gylfaginning, 27–34, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

In Skáldskaparmál (The Language of Poetry), Fárbauti is mentioned among kennings referring to his son Loki.[8]

How shall Loki be referred to? By calling him son of Farbauti and Laufey, of Nal, brother of Byleist and Helblindi...

— Skáldskaparmál, 8–16, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

Theories[edit]

Axel Kock has proposed Fárbauti's name and character may have been inspired by the observation of the natural phenomena surrounding the appearance of wildfire. If Fárbauti as "dangerous striker" refers to "lightning", the figure would appear to be part of an early nature myth alluding to wildfire (Loki) being produced by lightning (Fárbauti) striking dry tinder such as leaves (Laufey) or pine needles (Nál).[9]

Although only indirectly attested in a kenning of Völuspá (Prophecy of the Völva) mentioning Loki as "Byleist’s brother",[3] some scholars have considered Loki's brothers Helblindi and Býleistr to also be sons of Fárbauti.[10] However, their exact role in the presumably ancient mythic complex surrounding Loki's family remains largely unclear.[11]

Popular Culture[edit]

In the 2018 video game God of War, Fárbauti appears as the father of Loki, better known as Atreus. However, unlike in Norse mythology he is not a jötunn but instead the Greek god of war and series protagonist Kratos, son of Zeus. Loki's mother, however, is still Laufey.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ de Vries 1962, p. 112.
  2. ^ a b c Lindow 2002, p. 111.
  3. ^ a b Orchard 1997, p. 42.
  4. ^ de Vries 1962, pp. 29, 112.
  5. ^ Faulkes 1987, p. 77.
  6. ^ Faulkes 1987, p. 87.
  7. ^ Faulkes 1987, p. 26.
  8. ^ Faulkes 1987, p. 76.
  9. ^ Simek 1996, p. 93; Kock (1899:101–102).
  10. ^ Rydberg (2003:24); Sykes (2002:85); Guelpa (2009:123–124).
  11. ^ Simek 1996, p. 174; Kock (1899:100–102).

References[edit]

  • de Vries, Jan (1962). Altnordisches Etymologisches Worterbuch (1977 ed.). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-05436-3.
  • Faulkes, Anthony, trans. (1987). Edda (1995 ed.). Everyman. ISBN 0-460-87616-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Guelpa, Patrick (2009). Dieux & Mythes Nordique. Presses Universitaires du Septentrion. ISBN 978-2-7574-0120-0.
  • Kock, Axel (1899). "Etymologisch-mythologische Untersuchungen" in: Brugmann, K. & Streitberg, W. (Eds.) Indogermanische Forschungen: Zeitschrift für indogermanische Sprach- und Altertumskunde, Vol. 10, pp. 90–111. Strassburg: Karl J. Trübner.
  • Lindow, John (2002). Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-983969-8.
  • Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-34520-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Rydberg, Viktor (2003). Our Father's Godsaga: Retold for the Young. Lincoln: iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-29978-4.
  • Simek, Rudolf (1996). Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 978-0-85991-513-7.
  • Sykes, Egerton (2002). Who's Who in Non-Classical Mythology. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-203-43691-1.