• Frigg and Freya
  • References:
  • [6] Tacitus, Cornelius. Germania 8.

[4] Snorri Sturluson. The Prose Edda. Skáldskaparmál 18-19.

[10] Snorri Sturluson. The Prose Edda. Gylfaginning 35.

[11] Saxo Grammaticus. The History of the Danes.

[12] The Poetic Edda. Lokasenna, verse 26.
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[17] Orel, Vladimir. 2003. A Handbook of Germanic Etymology. p. 114.

[13] Snorri Sturluson. Ynglinga Saga 3. In Heimskringla: eða Sögur Noregs Konunga.
[2] Heide, Eldar. 2006. Spinning Seiðr. In Old Norse Religion in Long-Term Perspectives: Origins, Changes and Interactions. Edited by Anders Andrén, Kristina Jennbert, and Catharina Raudvere. p. 166.

 

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[7] Enright, Michael J. 1996. Lady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophecy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tène to the Viking Age.


Looking for more great information on Norse mythology and religion? While this site provides the ultimate online introduction to the topic, my book provides the ultimate introduction to Norse mythology and religion period. I’ve also written a popular list of , which you’ll probably find helpful in your pursuit.


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Germanic mythology acquired its basic form during the Migration Period, and is, accordingly, a mythology especially suited to the socio-political institutions and prevailing ways of life that characterized that era. The cornerstone of this schema is the divine pair Frija and Woðanaz, the veleda and the *xarjanaz (“warband leader”) respectively. During the Viking Age, the formal warbands of earlier times gave way to informal, often leaderless groups of roving warriors – the vikings. Since the warband was no longer a feature of the lives of the Norse people, the mythological structures that had accompanied it lost much of their relevance. Now that Odin was no longer thought of as the leader of the warband of the gods, nor Freya/Frigg its veleda, the opportunity arose for their roles to be reinterpreted. For unknown reasons, part of this reinterpretation evidently involved splitting Frija into two goddesses, a process that appears to have never been fully completed, but was instead interrupted by the arrival and acceptance of Christianity.

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Clearly, then, the two are ultimately the same goddess. But this raises the question of why they’re portrayed as distinct goddesses in Old Norse literature.

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