Jörð

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A statue depicting Jord as a matriarchal figure Moder Jord.jpg
A statue depicting Jörð as a matriarchal figure

In Norse mythology, Jörð (Old Norse jǫrð , "earth" pronounced [ˈjɔrð] , Icelandic Jörð, pronounced [ˈjœrð] , sometimes Anglicized as Jord or Jorth; also called Jarð, [jɑrð] as in Old East Norse), is a female jötunn. She is the mother of the thunder god Thor, son of Odin, and the personification of earth. Fjörgyn and Hlóðyn are considered to be other names for Jörð. Some scholars refer to Jörð as a goddess. [1] Jörð's name appears in skaldic poetry both as a poetic term for the land and in kennings for Thor.

Norse mythology body of mythology of the North Germanic people stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period

Norse mythology is the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia, and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition.

Old Norse North Germanic language

Old Norse was a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements from about the 9th to the 13th centuries.

Contents

Etymology

Jörð is the common word for earth in Old Norse, as are the word's descendants in the modern Scandinavian languages; Icelandic jörð, Faroese jørð, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian jord. It is cognate to English "earth" through Old English eorðe. [2]

Icelandic language North Germanic language mainly spoken in Iceland

Icelandic is a North Germanic language spoken in Iceland. It's most closely related to Faroese and Western Norwegian and has around 314,000 speakers.

Faroese is a North Germanic language spoken as a first language by about 72,000 people, around 49,000 of whom reside on the Faroe Islands and 23,000 in other areas, mainly Denmark. It is one of five languages descended from Old West Norse spoken in the Middle Ages, the others being Norwegian, Icelandic, and the extinct Norn and Greenlandic Norse. Faroese and Icelandic, its closest extant relative, are not mutually intelligible in speech, but the written languages resemble each other quite closely, largely owing to Faroese's etymological orthography.

Danish language North Germanic language spoken in Denmark

Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in Denmark and in the region of Southern Schleswig in northern Germany, where it has minority language status. Also, minor Danish-speaking communities are found in Norway, Sweden, Spain, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina. Due to immigration and language shift in urban areas, around 15–20% of the population of Greenland speak Danish as their first language.

Attestations

Gylfaginning

In Gylfaginning , the first part of the Prose Edda, Jörð is described as one of Odin's sexual partners and the mother of Thor. She is the daughter of Annar and Nótt and half-sister of Auðr and Dagr. [3]

<i>Gylfaginning</i> Part of the Prose Edda

Gylfaginning is the first part of Snorri Sturluson's 13th century Prose Edda after Prologue. The Gylfaginning deals with the creation and destruction of the world of the Norse gods, and many other aspects of Norse mythology. The second part of the Prose Edda is called the Skáldskaparmál and the third Háttatal.

The Prose Edda, also known as the Younger Edda, Snorri's Edda or, historically, simply as Edda, is an Old Norse work of literature written in Iceland during the early 13th century. The work is often assumed to have been written, or at least compiled, by the Icelandic scholar, lawspeaker, and historian Snorri Sturluson c. 1220. It is considered the fullest and most detailed source for modern knowledge of Germanic mythology.

Odin Major god in Norse mythology

Odin is a widely revered god in Germanic mythology. In Norse mythology, from which stems most surviving information about the god, Odin is associated with wisdom, healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, war, battle, victory, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg. In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, the god was known in Old English as Wōden, in Old Saxon as Wōdan, and in Old High German as Wuotan.

However, scholar Haukur Thorgeirsson points out that the four manuscripts of Gylfaginning vary in their descriptions of the family relations between Nótt, Jörð, Dagr, and Dellingr. In other words, depending on the manuscript, either Jörð or Nótt is the mother of Dagr and partner of Dellingr. Haukur details that "the oldest manuscript, U, offers a version where Jǫrð is the wife of Dellingr and the mother of Dagr while the other manuscripts, R, W and T, cast Nótt in the role of Dellingr's wife and Dagr's mother", and argues that "the version in U came about accidentally when the writer of U or its antecedent shortened a text similar to that in RWT. The results of this accident made their way into the Icelandic poetic tradition". [4]

In Norse mythology, Dellingr is a god. Dellingr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, Dellingr is described as the father of Dagr, the personified day. The Prose Edda adds that, depending on manuscript variation, he is either the third husband of Nótt, the personified night, or the husband of Jörð, the personified earth. Dellingr is also attested in the legendary saga Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks. Scholars have proposed that Dellingr is the personified dawn, and his name may appear both in an English surname and place name.

Skáldskaparmál

In Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál , Jörð (as the personified earth) is called the rival of Odin's wife Frigg and his other giantess concubines, Rindr and Gunnlöd, the mother-in-law of Sif, Thor's wife, daughter of Nótt, and sister of Auðr and Dagr. [5] [6]

Snorri Sturluson Icelandic historian, poet and politician (1179–1241)

Snorri Sturluson was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. He was elected twice as lawspeaker to the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning, a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, and the Háttatal, a list of verse forms. He was also the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. For stylistic and methodological reasons, Snorri is often taken to be the author of Egil's saga.

<i>Skáldskaparmál</i> songs of Snorri the skald

The second part of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda the Skáldskaparmál is effectively a dialogue between Ægir, the Norse god of the sea, and Bragi, the god of poetry, in which both Norse mythology and discourse on the nature of poetry are intertwined. The origin of a number of kennings is given; then Bragi delivers a systematic list of kennings for various people, places and things. He then goes on to discuss poetic language in some detail, in particular heiti, the concept of poetical words which are non-periphrastic, and again systematises these. This in a way forms an early form of poetic thesaurus.

Frigg Norse deity

In Norse mythology, Frigg, Frija, Frea (Langobardic), and Frīg is a goddess. In nearly all sources, she is described as the wife of the god Odin. In Old High German and Old Norse sources, she is also connected with the goddess Fulla. The English weekday name Friday bears her name.

Poetic Edda

In Lokasenna , Thor is called Jarðar burr ("son of Jörð"). [7] [8]

<i>Lokasenna</i> Eddic poem

Lokasenna is one of the poems of the Poetic Edda. The poem presents flyting between the gods and Loki. It is written in the ljóðaháttr metre, typical for wisdom verse.

In the same verse in Völuspá , he is referred to as mǫgr Hlóðyniar and Fjǫrgyniar burr (child of Hlóðyn, Fjörgyn's child). [9] [10] The otherwise unknown Hlóðyn was therefore another name of Jörð. [11] She is usually thought to be identical with Hludana, to whom Roman votive tablets have been found on the Lower Rhine. [12]

Notes

  1. Orchard (1997:98).
  2. "Earth" in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  3. Gylfaginning 10, 36.
  4. Haukur (2008:159—168).
  5. Lindow (2001:205).
  6. Skáldskaparmál 33 (24).
  7. Lokasenna 58.
  8. In Hárbarðsljóð 9, Thor calls himself son of Odin and brother of Meili, who therefore may also be Jörð's son.
  9. Völuspá 53 (56).
  10. Dronke (1997:22).
  11. Lindow (2001:206).
  12. Dronke (1997:150).

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References