Hnoss

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"Heimdall and little Hnossa - how all things came to be" (1920) by Willy Pogany.

Hnoss (Old Norse "treasure") is one of the daughters of Freyja and Óðr in Norse mythology.[1]

Name[edit]

The Old Norse name Hnoss is translated as 'treasure'.[1][2] It is semantically and etymologically comparable with the Icelandic hnoss ('nipper'), or with the Old Danish noss ('sweetheart) and nusse ('infant').[3]

In the Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson states that beautiful things were called hnossir (Old Norse: 'treasures') after her name, which is doubtful since Hnoss appears in no myth.[2]

Attestations[edit]

In Gylfaginning (The Beguiling of Gylfi), Hnoss is portrayed as the beautiful daughter of Freyja and Óð:

Freyia is highest in rank next to Frigg. She was married to someone called Od. Hnoss is the name of their daughter. She is so beautiful that from her name whatever is beautiful and precious is called hnossir [treasures].

— Gylfaginning, 34–35, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

In Skáldskaparmál (The Language of Poetry), a þulur (18–22) mentions Hnoss as the daughter of Freyja ("How shall Freyia be referred to? By calling her (...) mother of Hnoss"),[4] and another passage (75) of the poem describes "Hnoss and Gersemi" as her daughters.[5] Gersemi (whose name also means 'treasure' and only appears in this passage of the Prose Edda) could be the same figure as Hnoss.[6]

The 12th-century skald Einarr Skúlason, cited by Snorri in Skáldskaparmál, refers to Hnoss in a kenning as Freyia's "glorious child" and Freyr’s niece:

I am able to possess Horn’s [Freyia’s] gold-wrapped glorious child [Hnoss; hnoss = treasure]. We received a valuable treasure. Ocean’s fire [gold] rests on shield’s damager [axe]. Freyr’s niece [Hnoss] bears her mother’s eyelash-rain [tears]

— Einarr Skúlason, Skáldskaparmál, 36–37, trans. A. Faulkes, 1987.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Orchard 1997, p. 87.
  2. ^ a b Lindow 2001, p. 177.
  3. ^ de Vries 1962, p. 244.
  4. ^ Faulkes 1987, p. 186.
  5. ^ Faulkes 1987, p. 157.
  6. ^ Orchard 1997, p. 67.

Bibliography[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.
  • Lindow, John (2001). 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.