Gríðr

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Gríðr (or Gríd) is a jötunn in Norse mythology. She is the mother of Víðarr the silent and the consort of Odin.[1]

Name[edit]

The poetic Old Norse name Gríðr has been translated as "vehemence, violence, or impetuosity".[2][3][4] Its etymology is unclear.[2]

Attestations[edit]

Prose Edda[edit]

In Skáldskaparmál (The Language of Poetry), Gríðr is portrayed as equipping the thunder-god Thor with her belt of strength, her iron glove, and her staff Gríðarvöl (Gríðr's-staff) on Thor's journey to the abode of Geirröðr.[1]

Thor lodged for the night with a giantess called Grid. She was Víðarr the silent's mother. She told Thor the truth about Geirrod, that he was a cunning giant and awkward to deal with. She lent him a girdle of might and some iron gauntlets of hers, and her staff, called Grid's pole.

— Snorri Sturluson, Skáldskaparmál, 18, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

Gríðr is also mentioned in a list of troll-wives ("I shall list the names of troll-wives. Grid and Gnissa, Gryla...").[5]

Viking Age[edit]

Gríðarvöl (Gríðr's staff) is also mentioned in the poem Þórsdrápa by the late-10th-century skald Eilífr Goðrúnarson.[6]

The feller of the dolphins of the steeps [giants] advanced with violent temper with Grid's pole.

— Eilífr Goðrúnarson, Þórsdrápa, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

Gríðr appears in 10th-century kennings for 'wolf' (the steed of troll-wife) and for 'axe' (that which is dangerous to the life-protector, i.e. shield or helmet).[7]

Battle raged when the feeder of Grid's steed [wolf], he who waged war, advanced with ringing Gaut's [Odin's] fire. Weird rose from the well.

— Kormákr Ögmundarson, Skáldskaparmál 49, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

Riders [seafarers] of Ræfil's land's [sea's] horses [ships] can see how beautifully engraved dragons lie just by the brow of the Grid of the life-protector.

— Einarr Skúlason, Skáldskaparmál 49, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

Other texts[edit]

Saxo Grammaticus refers to her as Grytha, the wife of the legendary king Dan I of Denmark, "a lady whom the Teutons accorded the highest honour".[8] A witch of the same name appears in Illuga saga Gríðarfóstra.[9]

Theory[edit]

Her role as the donor of information and necessary items to the hero has been analyzed by folklorists as a commonplace of folk narrative.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lindow 2002, p. 149.
  2. ^ a b de Vries 1962, p. 188.
  3. ^ Simek 1996, p. 117.
  4. ^ Orchard 1997, p. 61.
  5. ^ Faulkes 1987, p. 156.
  6. ^ Faulkes 1987, p. 84.
  7. ^ Faulkes 1987, pp. 121, 238.
  8. ^ Fisher 1999, pp. 1:14, 2:26.
  9. ^ Lavender 2015, p. v.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • de Vries, Jan (1962). Altnordisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch (in German) (1977 ed.). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-05436-3.
  • Faulkes, Anthony, trans. (1987). Edda (1995 ed.). Everyman. ISBN 0-460-87616-3.
  • Fisher, Peter, trans. Davidson, Hilda Ellis (ed.). Saxo Grammaticus: The History of the Danes (1999 ed.). D.S. Brewer. ISBN 085991-502-6.
  • Lavender, Philip, ed. and trans. (2015). Illuga Saga Gríðarfóstra: The Saga of Illugi, Gríður's Foster-Son (PDF). Viking Society for Northern Research, University College, London. ISBN 978-0-903521-91-8.
  • 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.
  • Simek, Rudolf (1996). Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 978-0-85991-513-7.