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Horses of the Æsir

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Horses of the Æsir

The horses of the Æsir are listed twice.

The Eddic poem Grímnismál gives the following names:

Glad and Gyllir,
Gler and Skeidbrimir,
Sillfrintopp and Sinir,
Gisl and Falhofnir,
Gulltopp and Lettfeti;
on these steeds the Æsir
each day ride,
when they to council go,
at Yggdrasil’s ash.
Grímnismál (30), Thorpe's translation[1]

Snorri Sturluson paraphrases this stanza in his Gylfaginning:

Each day the Æsir ride thither up over Bifröst, which is also called the Æsir's Bridge. These are the names of the Æsir's steeds: Sleipnir is best, which Odin has; he has eight feet. The second is Gladr, the third Gyllir, the fourth Glenr, the fifth Skeidbrimir, the sixth Silfrintoppr, the seventh Sinir, the eighth Gisl, the ninth Falhófnir, the tenth Gulltoppr, the eleventh Léttfeti. Baldr's horse was burnt with him; and Thor walks to the judgment.
Gylfaginning (15), Brodeur's translation[2]

Apart from Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse, and Gulltoppr, who belongs to Heimdallr according to the Prose Edda,[3] nothing is known about these horses, especially their owner. These names are yet listed in the þulur.

Other horses are mentioned elsewhere: Gullfaxi, which originally belonged to Hrungnir, but who was given by Thor to his son Magni after he killed the giant (Skáldskaparmál, 17), Blóðughófi, which belongs to Freyr (Kálfsvísa) and Hófvarpnir, which is ridden by Gná (Gylfaginning, 35).

Meanings

  • Blóðughófi: "Bloody-hoof";
  • Falhófnir: "Hairy-hoof" or "Hidden-hoof", i.e. whoses hoofs are covered with hair, or "Pale-hoof";
  • Gulltoppr: "Gold-tuft";
  • Gísl: related to "beam", "ray";
  • Glaðr: "Glad" or "Bright";
  • Glær:[4] "Clear", "Glassy";
  • Gullfaxi: "Golden-mane"
  • Gyllir:[5] "Golden";
  • Hófvarpnir : "Hoof-thrower";
  • Léttfeti: "Light-foot";
  • Silfrintoppr: "Silver-tuft";
  • Sinir: "Sinewy";
  • Skeiðbrimir: "the one which snorts as he runs";
  • Sleipnir: "trickster";

Notes

  1. ^ Thorpe, Benjamin (trans.). 1866. Edda Sæmundar Hinns Froða: The Edda Of Sæmund The Learned. London: Trübner & Co.
  2. ^ Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist (trans.). 1916. Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda. New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation.
  3. ^ Gylfaginning (27, 49), Skaldskaparmal (8).
  4. ^ In the manuscripts of the Prose Edda, Glær is mentioned in the Codex Regius only. The Codex Wormianus and the Codex Trajectinus have the alternate name Glenr.
  5. ^ Gyllir is also the name of a giant in the þulur, whose name means "Yeller".
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