Poetic Edda

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Poetic Edda

Also known as the Sæmundar Edda, or the Elder Edda, is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius. Along with Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends.

Codex Regius was written in the 13th century but nothing is known of its whereabouts until 1643 when it came into the possession of Brynjólfur Sveinsson, then Bishop of Skálholt. At that time versions of Snorri's Edda were well known in Iceland but scholars speculated that there once was another Edda, an Elder Edda, which contained the pagan poems which Snorri quotes in his book. When Codex Regius was discovered it seemed that this speculation had proven correct. Brynjólfur attributed the manuscript to Sæmundr the Learned, a larger-than-life 12th century Icelandic priest. While this attribution is rejected by modern scholars the name Sæmundar Edda is still sometimes encountered.

Bishop Brynjólfur sent Codex Regius as a present to the Danish king, hence the name. For centuries it was stored in the Royal Library in Copenhagen but in 1971 it was returned to Iceland.

Mythological Poems[edit]

[In Codex Regius]

  • Völuspá - Wise-woman's prophecy, The Prophecy of the Seeress, The Seeress's Prophecy
  • Hávamál - The Ballad of the High One, The Sayings of Hár, Sayings of the High One
  • Vafþrúðnismál - The Ballad of Vafthrúdnir, The Lay of Vafthrúdnir, Vafthrúdnir's Sayings
  • Grímnismál - The Ballad of Grímnir, The Lay of Grímnir, Grímnir's Sayings
  • Skírnismál - The Ballad of Skírnir, The Lay of Skírnir, Skírnir's Journey
  • Hárbarðsljóð - The Poem of Hárbard, The Lay of Hárbard, Hárbard's Song
  • Hymiskviða - The Lay of Hymir, Hymir's Poem
  • Lokasenna - Loki's Wrangling, The Flyting of Loki, Loki's Quarrel
  • Þrymskviða - The Lay of Thrym, Thrym's Poem
  • Alvíssmál - The Ballad of Alvís, The Lay of Alvís, All-Wise's Sayings
  • Völundarkviða - The Lay of Völund

[Not in Codex Regius]

  • Baldrs draumar - Baldr's Dreams
  • Rígsþula - The Song of Ríg, The Lay of Ríg, The List of Ríg
  • Hyndluljóð - The Poem of Hyndla, The Lay of Hyndla, The Song of Hyndla
  • Svipdagsmál - The Ballad of Svipdag, The Lay of Svipdag - This title, originally suggested by Bugge, actually covers two separate poems:

Heroic lays[edit]

The Helgi Lays[edit]

  • Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar - The Lay of Helgi the Son of Hjörvard, The Lay of Helgi Hjörvardsson, The Poem of Helgi Hjörvardsson
  • Helgakviða Hundingsbana I or Völsungakviða - The First Lay of Helgi Hundingsbane, The First Lay of Helgi the Hunding-Slayer, The First Poem of Helgi Hundingsbani
  • Helgakviða Hundingsbana II or Völsungakviða in forna - The Second Lay of Helgi Hundingsbane, The Second Lay of Helgi the Hunding-Slayer, A Second Poem of Helgi Hundingsbani

The Niflung Cycle[edit]

The Jörmunrekkr Lays[edit]

  • Guðrúnarhvöt - Gudrún's Inciting, Gudrún's Lament, The Whetting of Gudrún.
  • Hamðismál - The Ballad of Hamdir, The Lay of Hamdir

Abbreviations of titles[edit]

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.