The meaning of the Old Norse name Gymir is unclear. Proposed translations include 'the earthly' (from Old Norse gumi), 'the wintry one' (from gemla), or 'the protector', the 'engulfer' (from geyma).
In Lokasenna (Loki's Flyting) and Skáldskaparmál (The Language of Poetry), Gymir is given by Snorri Sturluson as an alternative name for the divine personification of the sea Ægir. Rudolf Simek argues that it may be an erroneous interpretation of kennings in which different giant-names are used interchangeably.
Here it is implied that they are all the same, Ægir and Hler and Gymir ... What terms for sea are there? It is called mere, ocean (ægir), engulfer (gymir), roarer (hler), main, road, depth, salt, water, swell.— Skáldskaparmál, 25, 60–61, transl. A. Faulkes, 1987.
There was someone called Gymir, and his wife Aurboda. She was of the race of mountain-giants. Gerd is their daughter, the most beautiful of all women.— Gylfaginning, 35–37, transl. A. Faulkes, 1987.
Gymir’s spray-cold spae-wife [Rán] often brings the twisted-rope-bear [ship] into Ægir’s jaws [under the waves] where the wave breaks.— Ref Gestsson, Skáld. 24–25, transl. A. Faulkes, 1987.
According to John Lindow, "the verse in question seems to say that the cold seeress of Gymir often transports the bear of twisted lines into the jaw of Ægir; that is, that the wave (Ægir’s daughters are the nine waves) often drives a ship deep into the water."
Because of his identification with Ægir, Gymir has been regarded as a sea-giant.
- Orchard 1997, p. 70.
- Lindow 2002, p. 156.
- de Vries 1962, p. 197.
- Simek 1996, p. 127.
- Simek 1996, p. 126.
- de Vries 1957, p. 180 (note 1).
- "Fra gammelnorsk myte og kultus", Maal og Minne 1 (1909) 17-36, p. 21 (in Norwegian); Jan de Vries, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, volume 1, 2nd ed. Berlin: de Gruyter, 1956, repr. 1970, p. 251, note 1 (in German)
- de Vries, Jan (1957). Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (in German). 2 (1970 ed.). Walter De Gruyter.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- de Vries, Jan (1962). Altnordisches Etymologisches Worterbuch (1977 ed.). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-05436-3.
- 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)
- Simek, Rudolf (1996). Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 978-0-85991-513-7.
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