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Svanhildr as illustrated by Jenny Nyström in Fredrik Sander's 1893 Swedish edition of the Poetic Edda.

Svanhild is the beautiful daughter of Sigurd and Gudrun in Germanic mythology, whose grisly death at the hands of her jealous royal husband Ermanaric was told in many northern European stories, including the Icelandic Poetic Edda (Hamðismál and Guðrúnarhvöt), Prose Edda and the Volsunga Saga; the Norwegian Ragnarsdrápa; the Danish Gesta Danorum; and the German Nibelungenlied and Annals of Quedlinburg.

She was "the most beautiful of all women,"[1] and was married to Ermanaric (Jörmunrekkr) the king of the Goths. She was accused of infidelity with the king's son, Randver. Because of this Ermanaric had her trampled to death under horses.

Her mother made her half-brothers Hamdir and Sörli exact revenge on her death, a story which is retold in Hamðismál and Guðrúnarhvöt, Bragi Boddason's Ragnarsdrápa, in the Völsunga saga and in Gesta Danorum. [2][3]

Jordanes wrote in 551 AD that Ermanaric, king of the Gothic Greuthungi, was upset with the attack of a subordinate king and had his young wife Sunilda (i.e. Svanhild) torn apart by four horses. As revenge Ermanaric was pierced with spears by her brothers Ammius (Hamdir) and Sarus (Sörli) and died from the wounds. The Annals of Quedlinburg (end of the 10th century) relates that the brothers Hemidus (Hamdir), Serila (Sörli) and Adaccar (Erp/Odoacer) had cut off the hands of Ermanaric.

See also[edit]

Jonakr's sons

Ermenrichs Tod


  1. ^ Lettsom, William Nanson; Carpenter, William H. (1901), The Nibelungenlied, Colonial Press, retrieved 7 May 2011
  2. ^ The Ballad of Hamther(Hamðismál) Archived 2006-01-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Fate of Svanhild (Völsunga Saga)

Other sources[edit]

  • Anderson, Rasmus B. (1876) Norse Mythology: Myths of the Eddas (Chicago: S. C. Griggs and company; London: Trubner & co. Reprinted 2003, Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific) ISBN 1-4102-0528-2