The Nafnathulur in English Translation (Nafnaþulur)

Posted: March 19, 2014 in Aesir & Asynjur, Handmaidens, Lore
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 

World Tree


The Nafnathulur is the the last part of the Skáldskaparmál in Snorri’s Prose Edda. It isn’t present in all the original manuscripts, and thus is usually omitted from modern versions. Some scholars believe it predates Snorri’s work while others say it’s a later addition. Seeing as Snorri Sturluson wrote his book two hundred years after everyone converted to Christianity, I don’t think saying it was written fifty years earlier or later makes a big difference. It may even be his writing, and omitted from copies for whatever reason. 

English online versions of the Nafnathulur are very rare, and I can currently find none, so I am making what I have available for those who need it. I believe what’s below was the first of two pages from the now defunct cybersamurai.net. The second page wasn’t useful to my research so unfortunately I didn’t save a local copy, and the Internet Archive only seems to have snapshots in the original language. 

I added Old Norse section titles to make finding verses in untranslated versions easier. Any italicized commentary, bolding and coloring are mine.

Sea-Kings – Sækonungar:

1. Atli, Fróði, Áli, Glammi, Beiti, Áti, and Beimuni, Auðmundr, Guðmundr, Atall and Gestill, Geitir, Gauti, Gylfi, Sveiði.

2. Gæir, Eynefir, Gaupi and Endill, Skekkill, Ekkill, Skefill and Sölvi, Hálfr and Hemlir, Hárekr and Gorr, Hagbarðr, Haki, Hrauðnir, Meiti.

3. Hjörólfr and Hrauðungr, Högni, Mýsingr, Hundingr, Hvítingr, Heiti, Mævill, Hjálmarr, Móir, Hæmir, Mævi, Róði, Rakni, Rerr and Leifi.

4. Randver, Rökkvi, Reifnir, Leifnir, Næfill, Ræfill, Nóri, Lyngvi, Byrvill, Kilmundr, Beimi, Jórekr, Ásmundr, Þvinnill, Yngvi, Teiti.

5. Virfill, Vinnill, Vandill, Sölsi, Gautrekr and Húnn, Gjúki, Buðli, Hómarr, Hnefi, Hörvi, Sörvi. I have assembled no more sea-kings.

Giants I – Jötnar I – Ek mun jötna inna heiti;

6. I will make a listing of the giants; Ymir, Gangr and Mímir, Iði and Þjazi, Hrungnir, Hrímnir, Hrauðnir, Grímnir, Hveðrungr, Hafli, Hripstoðr, Gymir.

7. Hraðverkr, Hrökkvir, and Hástigi, Hræsvelgr, Herkir and Hrímgrímnir, Hymir and Hrímþurs, Hvalr, Þrígeitir, Þrymr, Þrúðgelmir, Þistilbarði.

8. Geirröðr, Fyrnir, Galarr, Þrívaldi, Fjölverkr, Geitir, Fleggr, Blapþvari, Fornjótr, Sprettingr, Fjalarr, Stígandi, Sómr and Svásuðr, Svárangr, Skrati.

9. Surtr and Stórverkr, Sækarlsmúli, Skærir, Skrýmir, Skerkir, Salfangr, Öskruðr and Svartr, Önduðr, Stúmi, Alsvartr, Aurnir, Ámr and Skalli.

10. Köttr, Ösgrúi and Alfarinn, Vindsvalr, Víparr and Vafþrúðnir, Eldr and Aurgelmir, Ægir, Rangbeinn, Vindr, Víðblindi, Vingnir, Leifi.

11. Beinviðr, Björgólfr and Brandingi, Dumbr, Bergelmir, Dofri and Miðjungr, Nati, Sökmímir. Now have all been recounted the loathsome giants’ names.

Troll-Wives – Tröllkonur : Skal ek trollkvenna telja heiti:

12. Of the troll-wives I shall tell the names Gríðr and Gnissa, Grýla, Brýja,Glumra, Geitla, Gríma and Bakrauf, Guma Gestilja, Grottintanna.

13. Gjálp, Hyrrokkin, Hengikefta, Gneip and Gnepja, Geysa, Hála, Hörn and Hrúga, Harðgreip, Forað, Hryggða, Hveðra and Hölgabrúðr.

14. Hrímgerðr, Hæra, Herkja, Fála, Imð, Járnsaxa, Íma, Fjölvör, Mörn, Íviðja, Ámgerðr, Simul, Sívör, Skríkja, Sveipinfalda.

15. Öflugbarða and Járnglumra, Ímgerðr, Áma and Járnviðja, Margerðr, Atla, Eisurfála, Leikn, Munnharpa and Myrkriða.

16. Leirvör, Ljóta and Loðinfingra, Kráka, Varðrún and Kjallandi, Vígglöð, Þurbörð; we will name finally Rýgi and Rifingöflu.

Thor – Þórr – Þórr heitir:

17. Thor is called Atli and Ásabragr, he is Ennilangr and Eindriði, Björn, Hlórriði and Harðvéorr, Vingþórr, Sönnungr, Véoðr and Rymr.

Sons of Óðinn – Synir Óðins -Burir eru Óðins: (the 9 not in the Aesir list are bolded)

18. Sons of Óðinn are: Baldr and Meili, Víðarr and Nepr, Váli, Áli, Þórr and  Hildólfr, Hermóðr, Sigi, Skjöldr, Yngvi-Freyr and Ítreksjóð, Heimdallr, Sæmingr (a King of Norway), Höðr and Bragi.

Giants II – Jötnar II – Enn eru eftir jötna heiti:

19. And here are further names of giants: Eimgeitir, Verr, Ímr, Hringvölnir, Viddi, Víðgrípr, Vandill, Gyllir, Grímnir, Glaumarr, Glámr, Sámendill.

20. Vörnir, Harðgreipr and Vagnhöfði, Kyrmir, Suttungr and Kaldgrani, Jötunn, Óglaðnir and Aurgrímnir, Gillingr, Gripnir, Gusir, Ófóti.

21. Hlói, Ganglati and Helreginn, Hrossþjófr, Durnir, Hundálfr, Baugi, Hrauðungr, Fenrir, Hróarr and Miði.

Æsir – Ása heiti: (13 are named, but note that Ullr is missing)

22. Now I shall list the Æsir’s names: There are Yggr (Odin) and Thor and Yngvi-Freyr, Víðarr and Baldr, Váli and Heimdallr, there are Týr and Njörðr, and next I list Bragi, Höðr, Forseti, the last here is Loki.

Here are the fourteen gods and three goddesses (in the order they are named in Gylfaginning under ‘Who are the Aesir?’) described just before the two pages I call the ‘catalog of goddesses’:

Odin, Loki, Thor, Baldr, Njord, Freyr (& Freya) , Tyr, Bragi (& Idunn), Heimdall, Hod, Vida, Vali or Ali, Ullr, Forseti (& Nanna).

It seems Odin has a court of 12 Aesir gods, plus Ullr as the challenger. Ullr replaced Odin on the throne when Odin was exiled for ten years, after which Ullr left (see Gesta Danorum).

Twenty-nine goddesses are named in the three sections below. Eir is oddly placed in the fourth section, among the 8 maidens of Odin (valkyries), along with Skuld (one of the Norns). Nift and Dísi are then named as Norns, and we can guess they are alternate names for Urd and Verdandi. Sif is not named anywhere in the Nafnathulur, so either she was omitted or is here under another name. Her absence is quite surprising, being one of the few goddesses with a story.

The total count is 33 goddesses, if we add Sif, Eir, Skuld, and the other two Norns (I’m not counting the 6 additional valkyries among them).

Goddesses – Ásynja heiti:  (33 total)

23. Now shall the goddesses all be named: Frigg and Freyja, Fulla and Snotra, Gerðr and Gefjon, Gná, Lofn, Skaði, Jörð and Iðunn, Ilmr[1], Bil, Njörun.

24. Hlín and Nanna, Hnoss, Rindr and Sjöfn, Sól and Sága, Sigyn and Vör. There is Vár, and Syn needs to be named, and Þrúðr and Rán are enumerated next after them.

25. Now, Freyja wept gold for Óðr. Names of hers are Hörn and Þrungva, Sýr, Skjalf and Gefn, and likewise Mardöll. Her daughters are Hnoss and Gersimi.

26. And these others are Óðin’s maidens: Hildr and Göndul, Hlökk, Mist, Skögul, then are Hrund and Eir, Hrist, and Skuld listed. Those who shape need[2] are known as norns; Nift (or Nipt) and Dísi I will now name.

[1. Ilmr or Hilmr is a word that means “a sweet smell” 2. nauð, as in the rune nauðiz. The word is also used in ON for bondage and childbirth.] (Translator’s notes)

Below are these 33 goddesses. Those in color play a role in a story.

Goddesses who have a husband:

1) Frigg, Freyja, Gerðr, Sigyn, Skaði, Iðunn, Sól (Sunna), Rán, Nanna (+Sif ).

Goddesses who have no husband (as far as we know):

2) Fulla, Vár, Hlín, Gefjon, Lofn, Sjöfn, Vör, Gná, Sága, (Eir), Snotra, Syn.

3) Rindr, Þrúðr, Jörð, Ilmr[1], Bil, Njörun, Hnoss, Gersimi, Urdh, Verdandi, Skuld.

List 2 are those known in modern times as the ‘Handmaidens of Frigga’, though I prefer to call them Ladies of Frigga’s Court. You’ll note that all married goddesses have stories, but only three of the unmarried ones do. Gefjon’s story is at the start of Gylfaginning, Gna appears in a small story fragment at the end of the ‘catalog of goddesses’, and Rindr is raped by Odin in the Gesta Danorum to give birth to a son (Vali) to avenge Baldr’s death.

A Woman – Kvinna heiti:

27. Gentlewoman, bride, lady,
proud lady, spark,
woman, dame, female,
sweet thing, widow,
housewife, wife and sweetheart,
slender lady, matron,
bondswoman, haughty one and war-widow,
maiden and old lady.

A Man – Manna heiti:

28. Time it is to tell
the terms for men:
poets and husbands,
men and bachelors,
stallions, yeomen,
braves, males,
a company, masters
and landowners.

29. Heroes, thanes,
stalwarts, gentry,
menfolk and seamen,
soldiers, holders,
fellow travelers, a household,
a band, hardymen,
champions and men of valor,
fighters, mates.

30. Population and folk
and bosses,
troops and hosts,
the common people and hordes,
the people, dandies,
lions and travelers,
a gentle, a noble,
a great man, a sage.

31. There’s the illustrious man
and the gold-giving lord,
wealth-amassers
and show-offs,
an army and a division
and chieftains,
the nation and the county,
the assembly, the populace.

32. Now there’s the throng and the crowd,
the village, good people,
the household and servants,
the down-chinned, men of courage,
a crew and a gathering,
a garrison, dandies,
beings and “brians”.

33. And there are further
terms for people,
the bodyguard and mercenaries
and housecarls,
a personal army and a couple,
if I list them all,
confidant and buddy
and counselor.

34. Housemates,
staffers,
bench-mate and acquaintance,
fellows and followers,
there are partners
and kinsmen together,
friend, hug-buddy,
the king’s guard, men.

35. Great-grandfather and relative,
grandfather, son, father,
brother, twin,
bro and sib,
baby, child, nephew
and heir,
there are full-blood brothers
and branches from the tree.

36. Offspring, clansman,
relation and kid,
gentleman and a lineage,
kinsman, a line,
youth, buddy,
in-law and secret-sharer,
clan, family line,
dependent and swain.

37. Drinking buddies
and brothers-in-law,
progeny there are
and pillar of the family,
there are council-member
and counsel-giver,
servitors, thralls,
servants, laborers,
workmen, slaves[3]
and serfs.

[3. Cleasby and Vigfusson vacillate on whether kefsar is cognate with German Kebsmann, “loverboy.”] (Translator’s Note)

Battle – Orrostu heiti:

38. These are the heiti:
din and tumult,
clangor, spear-slaughter
and spear-wielding,
strife and a clash,
shield-violence and shield-stir,
the rush and the onslaught,
victory, the campaign, a fight.

39. The fray, murder and slaughter,
an attack, direful enmity and terror
clamor, shock, war,
action and a bout;
there are battle
and fate’s decision,
storm and pugnaciousness,
army-movement, a thunderclap.

A Sword – Sverða heiti:

40. I will recount
the heiti for swords:
blade and Hrotti,
hewer, Dragvandil (draw-wand),
Gróa (grower), Gram (wrath), screamer,
resounding and end-scored,
scythe and polisher,
honor, light ray.

You can find yet more names for swords, boats, oxen, wolves and such in the complete Old Norse version here https://notendur.hi.is//~eybjorn/ugm/skindex/thul4a.html or here http://www.heimskringla.no/wiki/Nafna%C3%BEulur as of this writing.

 

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Comments
  1. Almost like… a Thesaurus in some senses? Especially the latter half with the heiti for all kinds of different things.

    Like

  2. Teka Lynn says:

    Oh, thank you! This is wonderful.

    James: Quite a bit like a thesaurus. You’d want to know the proper kennings to use in poetry.

    Like

  3. lofnbard says:

    Thank you, glad you find value in it! We have so few crumbs of lore, it’s always exciting to find a new one to squeeze a little more juice from.

    You may want to check out the blog of the lady who asked me about the Nafnathulur. We’re having a lovely conversation, exchanging UPG, and discussing the possibility of Sjofn another name for Sif on this post’s comments:
    http://flameinbloom.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/on-the-handmaidens-my-distate-for-the-term-and-sif/

    I’m impressed that we’ve managed to hold the paradox and not fall into a UPG Battle Royale. Some of our gnosis matches, and some may not match because we’re relating to different time periods of Sjofn’s life. Or they may be parallel stories. It’s not unusual for one village to have a completely different birth story for a deity from the next village over. Or it may be syncretism, like Frigga and Freya being a single goddess in the Germanic pantheon (Fricka as I recall). I’m cool with having more stories about my Sky Ladies and I’m not the arbiter of Truth.

    Like

  4. […] via The Nafnathulur in English Translation (Nafnaþulur) | Lofn’s Bard. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wendy says:

    THANK YOU! I had actually been looking for a translation of this a few months ago. ^_^

    Like

  6. solsdottir says:

    Great post! It’s wonderful to have a translation online.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] name also appears in a list of giantess names in Nafnathulur, a compilation of poetic synonyms, in Thorsdrapa (7:6), and a couple of poetic kennings. (French: […]

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