World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Game of the Gods

Article Id: WHEBN0002956441
Reproduction Date:

Title: Game of the Gods  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Norse mythology, Scandinavian folklore, Tafl games
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Game of the Gods

In Norse mythology, the Game of the Gods is a motif associated with the golden age of the Æsir early in the mythic time cycle and with the survival of the new race of gods following the endtime of Ragnarök.

The relevant passages are found in Völuspá, the first at stanza 8 occurring after the creation of the universe during a time of peace and prosperity:

In their dwellings at peace they played at tables
Of gold no lack did the gods then know[1]

Here the playing at tables refers to Tafl, a family of ancient Germanic board games somewhat resembling chess, although which variant of Tafl is being played or its rules are not known.[2] At this point a long period of struggle and conflict begins with the arrival of three powerful giant maidens from Jötunheim, possibly the three great Norns. What follows in the Völuspá is a synopsis of the entire mythology until the gods and the universe are destroyed during the final conflict of Ragnarök. However, a new earth is reborn from the sea, green and beautiful, and those gods who have survived the battle and conflagration gather to share their memories of the past. The Völuspá describes how Baldr and his brother Hödr return together once again and are reconciled, and, at stanza 61, that in the grass are found tangible artifacts from an earlier time:

In wondrous beauty shall be found
The golden table pieces in the grass
That the gods possessed in days of old[1]

In this context then, the gaming figures are a symbol of hope and regeneration and the survival of a new family of gods,[3] bringing the mythology full circle.


  1. ^ a b  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Short, William R. (2010). Icelanders in the Viking Age: The People of the Sagas. Jefferson, North Carolina: MacFarland & Company. p. 180.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.