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WikiProject Norse history and culture (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
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WikiProject Mythology    (Inactive)
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This page confuses two separate words that are present in a number of Germanic languages, and whose spelling has changed through time.

1) -gard, -geard, Ȝeard, -gardh or -garth with a semantic field of garden, garth, yard, fence, enclosure, etc. This attested in Old Norse as garðr.

2) -erde and -earth, meaning earth/ground. This is attested in Old Norse as jǫrð/jörð.

We need some way of explaining that "middle earth" is how the Old Norse/Old English phrase is commonly translated, despite the fact that the second word maps to meaning #1, not #2. This will avoid spuriously conflating two separate Germanic roots.

Old Norse/English dictionaries (Zoega, for example) translate miðgarðr as midgarth, the latter part of which Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as a small yard or enclosure. And the quote from Cynewulf references "middangeard," unambigiously garth not earth.

(It may very well be that the translation of the Cynewulf poem was done by Tolkien himself, and that's what the author meant by "the name was popularized in the form middle-earth...".)

We also need to be careful about saying things like "The name Middle-earth occurs half a dozen times in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf...", because of course that name doesn't occur at all, what occurs is middan-geard.

Finally, we should represent Old Norse words with normalized orthography, see This means getting rid of the dh's and replacing them with ð's.

  • Why is there no mention of Midgaard as used in the common backing for many MUD enviroments? There should at least be a link. - User:Grinick 1:54 Sep 20, 2005

The term mannheim, or OldIcelandic mannheimr, does not mean "home of men". In modern Icelandic, the word heimur means "world". Although "home" may possibly be part of the meaning back then similar to the Icelandic "heimili", the English word "world" surely is a much closer translation and the meaning that is given to the word "heim(r)" by any native speaker. HG August 7, 2006

  • I have been researching Midgard and Jotunheim on the internet. In some places it says jotunheim is east of midgard/mannheim, in others it says it is west or north west. This needs clearing up. Does it differ between the poetic eddas and the prose eddas or other sources? Any thoughts would be valued.

Other spellings of the name[edit]

I removed this part of the text:

Midjungards (Gothic), Middangeard (Old English), Midgård (common Danish and Swedish), Midgard or Midgård (Norwegian) and Mittilagart (Old High German), from Proto-Germanic *medja-gardaz (*meddila-, *medjan-, projected PIE *medhyo-ghartos),

For this reasons:

  1. The gothic and old english ones are not attested in any source of literature
  2. The danish, swedish and norwegian are simple adjustment from the old norse
  3. Old high german is another reconstructed from not present in any source.
  4. Proto germanic and indoeuropean are simply reconstructed, maybe not even correct.

Helios 12:23, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Oops, something is attested Helios 12:30, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Ok now is really clear Helios 13:20, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

shouldn't the reference to Lord Of The Rings (with the word middle-earth) also be in the part "In Literature, Games, and other Media Today" ?

External Concepts[edit]

The first paragraph of the Old Norse section makes references to Heaven and Hell, two concepts non-existent in Norse mythology, and their use is quite misleading (listing Asgard as heaven and attributing Niflheim and Hel to hell). The following sentence is a little better, describing upper, middle, and lower worlds, but once again, attributing external concepts to those worlds (heaven to the upper, and "Underworld" to the lower). At this time, I'm not entirely sure how to correct this, otherwise I would have. If anyone else would like to take a crack at it, feel free. Otherwise, I'll correct it myself when I have time. ~Kenzal Hunter (talk) 18:00, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

I believe I've solved this problem, thanks for bringing it up. :bloodofox: (talk) 21:54, 11 March 2008 (UTC)