1. The Nadir in Ideas of God
In the beginning God created heaven and earth and all those things which are in them; and last of all, two of human kind, Adam and Eve, from whom the
races are descended. And their offspring multiplied among themselves and were scattered throughout the earth. But as time passed, the races of men became
unlike in nature: some were good and believed on the right; but many more turned after the lusts of the world and slighted God's command. Wherefore, God
drowned the world in a swelling of the sea, and all living things, save them alone that were in the ark with Noah. After Noah's flood eight of mankind
remained alive, who peopled the earth; and the races descended from them. And it was even as before: when the earth was full of folk and inhabited of
many, then all the multitude of mankind began to love greed, wealth, and worldly honor, but neglected the worship of God. Now accordingly it came to so
evil a pass that they would not name God; and who then could tell their sons of God's mighty wonders? Thus it happened that they lost the name of God;
and throughout the wideness of the world the man was not found who could distinguish in aught the trace of his Creator. But not the less did God bestow
upon them the gifts of the earth: wealth and happiness, for their enjoyment in the world; He increased also their wisdom, so that they knew all earthly
matters, and every phase of whatsoever they might see in the air and on the earth.
One thing they wondered and pondered over: what it might mean, that the earth and the beasts and the birds had one nature in some ways, and yet were
unlike in manner of life. In this was their nature one: that the earth was cleft into lofty mountain-peaks, wherein water spurted up, and it was not
needful to dig longer for water there than in the deep valleys; so it is also with beasts and birds: it is equally far to the blood in the head and
the feet. Another quality of the earth is, that in each year grass and flowers grow upon the earth, and in the same year all that growth falls away
and withers; it is even so with beasts and birds: hair and feathers grow and fall away each year. This is the third nature of the earth, that when it
is opened and dug up, the grass grows straightway on the soil which is uppermost on the earth. Boulders and stones they likened to the teeth and bones
of living beings. Thus they recognized that the earth was quick, and had life with some manner of nature of its own; and they understood that she was
wondrous old in years and mighty in kind: she nourished all that lived, and she took to herself all that died. Therefore they gave her a name, and traced
the number of their generations from her. The same thing, moreover, they learned from their aged kinsmen: that many hundreds of years have been numbered
since the same earth yet was, and the same sun and stars of the heavens; but the courses of these were unequal, some having a longer course, and some a
From things like these the thought stirred within them that there might be some governor of the stars of heaven: one who might order their courses after
his will; and that he must be very strong and full of might. This also they held to be true: that if he swayed the chief things of creation, he must have
been before the stars of heaven; and they saw that if he ruled the courses of the heavenly bodies, he must also govern the shining of the sun, and the
dews of the air, and the fruits of the earth, whatsoever grows upon it; and in like manner the winds of the air and the storms of the sea. They knew
not yet where his kingdom was; but this they believed: that he ruled all things on earth and in the sky, the great stars also of the heaven, and the
winds of the sea. Wherefore, not only to tell of this fittingly, but also that they might fasten it in memory, they gave names out of their own minds
to all things. This belief of theirs has changed in many ways, according as the peoples drifted asunder and their tongues became severed one from another.
But all things they discerned with the wisdom of the earth, for the understanding of the spirit was not given to them; this they perceived, that all
things were fashioned of some essence.
2. About the three parts of the world
The world was divided into three parts: from the south, extending into the west and bordering on the Mediterranean Sea,--all this part was called
Africa, the southern quarter of which is hot, so that it is parched with the sun. The second part, from west to north and bordering on the ocean, is
called Európá or Eneá; its northern part is so cold that no grass grows upon it, and no man dwells there. From the north and all down over the eastern
part, even to the south, is called Asia. In that region of the world is all fairness and pride, and the fruits of the earth's increase, gold and jewels.
There also is the centre of the earth; and even as the land there is lovelier and better in every way than in other places, so also were the sons of men
there most favored with all goodly gifts: wisdom, and strength of the body, beauty, and all manner of knowledge.
3. Of the men of Troy
Near the earth's centre was made that goodliest of homes and haunts that ever have been, which is called Troy, even that which we call Turkland. This
abode was much more gloriously made than others, and fashioned with more skill of craftsmanship in manifold wise, both in luxury and in the wealth
which was there in abundance. There were twelve kingdoms and one High King, and many sovereignties belonged to each kingdom; in the stronghold were
twelve chieftains. These chieftains were in every manly part greatly above other men that have ever been in the world. One king among them was called
Múnón or Mennón; and he was wedded to the daughter of the High King Priam, her who was called Tróán; they had a child named Trór, whom we call Thor. He
was fostered in Thrace by a certain war-duke called Lóríkus; but when he was ten winters old he took unto him the weapons of his father. He was as goodly
to look upon, when he came among other men, as the ivory that is inlaid in oak; his hair was fairer than gold. When he was twelve winters old he had his
full measure of strength; then he lifted clear of the earth ten bear-skins all at one time; and then he slew Duke Lóríkus, his foster-father, and with him
his wife Lórá, or Glórá, and took into his own hands the realm of Thrace, which we call Thrúdheim. Then he went forth far and wide over the lands, and
sought out every quarter of the earth, overcoming alone all berserks and giants, and one dragon, greatest of all dragons, and many beasts. In the northern
half of his kingdom he found the prophetess that is called Síbil, whom we call Sif, and wedded her. The lineage of Sif I cannot tell; she was fairest of all
women, and her hair was like gold. Their son was Lóridi, who resembled his father; his son was Einridi, his son Vingethor, his son Vingener, his son Móda,
his son Magi, his son Seskef, his son Bedvig, his son Athra (whom we call Annarr), his son Ítermann, his son Heremód, his son Skjaldun (whom we call Skjöld),
his son Bjáf (whom we call Bjárr), his son Ját, his son Gudólfr, his son Finn, his son Fríallaf (whom we call Fridleifr); his son was he who is named Vóden,
whom we call Odin: he was a man far-famed for wisdom and every accomplishment. His wife was Frígídá, whom we call Frigg.
4. Óðin's journey to the north of the world
Odin had second sight, and his wife also; and from their foreknowledge he found that his name should be exalted in the northern part of the world and
glorified above the fame of all other kings. Therefore, he made ready to journey out of Turkland, and was accompanied by a great multitude of people,
young folk and old, men and women; and they had with them much goods of great price. And wherever they went over the lands of the earth, many glorious
things were spoken of them, so that they were held more like gods than men. They made no end to their journeying till they were come north into the land
that is now called Saxland; there Odin tarried for a long space, and took the land into his own hand, far and wide.
In that land Odin set up three of his sons for land-wardens. One was named Vegdeg: he was a mighty king and ruled over East Saxland; his son was Vitgils;
his sons were Vitta, Heingistr's father, and Sigarr, father of Svebdeg, whom we call Svipdagr. The second son of Odin was Beldeg, whom we call Baldr: he had
the land which is now called Westphalia. His son was Brandr, his son Frjódigar, (whom we call Fródi), his son Freóvin, his son Uvigg, his son Gevis (whom we
call Gave). Odin's third son is named Sigi, his son Rerir. These the forefathers ruled over what is now called Frankland; and thence is descended the house
known as Völsungs. From all these are sprung many and great houses.
Then Odin began his way northward, and came into the land which they called Reidgothland; and in that land he took possession of all that pleased him. He set
up over the land that son of his called Skjöldr, whose son was Fridleifr;--and thence descends the house of the Skjöldungs: these are the kings of the Danes.
And what was then called Reidgothland is now called Jutland.
5. Óðinn set up his residence at Sigtuna
After that he went northward, where the land is called Sweden; the king there was named Gylfi. When the king learned of the coming of those men of Asia,
who were called Æsir, he went to meet them, and made offer to them that Odin should have such power in his realm as he himself wielded. And such well-being
followed ever upon their footsteps, that in whatsoever lands they dwelt were good seasons and peace; and all believed that they caused these things, for the
lords of the land perceived that they were unlike other men whom they had seen, both in fairness and also in wisdom.
The fields and the choice lands in that place seemed fair to Odin, and he chose for himself the site of a city which is now called Sigtún. There he
established chieftains in the fashion which had prevailed in Troy; he set up also twelve head-men to be doomsmen over the people and to judge the laws of the
land; and he ordained also all laws as, there had been before, in Troy, and according to the customs of the Turks. After that he went into the north, until he
was stopped by the sea, which men thought lay around all the lands of the earth; and there he set his son over this kingdom, which is now called Norway. This
king was Sæmingr; the kings of Norway trace their lineage from him, and so do also the jarls and the other mighty men, as is said in the Háleygjatal. Odin had
with him one of his sons called Yngvi, who was king in Sweden after him; and those houses come from him that are named Ynglings. The Æsir took wives of the
land for themselves, and some also for their sons; and these kindreds became many in number, so that throughout Saxland, and thence all over the region of the
north, they spread out until their tongue, even the speech of the men of Asia, was the native tongue over all these lands. Therefore men think that they can
perceive, from their forefathers' names which are written down, that those names belonged to this tongue, and that the Æsir brought the tongue hither into the
northern region, into Norway and into Sweden, into Denmark and into Saxland. But in England there are ancient lists of land-names and place-names which may
show that these names came from another tongue than this.
1. Þróun guðshugmyndar.
Almáttigr guð skapaði í upphafi himin ok jörð ok alla þá hluti, er þeim fylgja, og síðast menn tvá, er ættir eru frá komnar, Adam ok Evu, ok fjölgaðist þeira
kynslóð ok dreifðist um heim allan.
En er fram liðu stundir, þá ójafnaðist mannfólkit. Váru sumir góðir ok rétttrúaðir, en miklu fleiri snerust eftir girnðum heimsins ok órækðu guðs boðorð, ok
fyrir því drekkði guð heiminum í sjóvargangi ok öllum kykvendum heimsins nema þeim, er í örkinni váru með Nóa. Eftir Nóaflóð lifðu átta menn, þeir er heiminn
byggðu, ok kómu frá þeim ættir, ok varð enn sem fyrr, at þá er fjölmenntist ok byggðist veröldin, þá var þat allr fjölði mannfólksins, er elskaði ágirni fjár
ok metnaðar, en afrækðust guðs hlýðni, ok svá mikit gerðist at því, at þeir vildu eigi nefna guð. En hverr myndi þá frá segja sonum þeira frá guðs stórmerkjum?
Svá kom, at þeir týndu guðs nafni, ok víðast um veröldina fannst eigi sá maðr, er deili kunni á skapara sínum. En eigi at síðr veitti guð þeim jarðligar
giftir, fé ok sælu, er þeir skyldu við vera í heiminum. Miðlaði hann ok spekðina, svá at þeir skilðu alla jarðliga hluti ok allar greinar, þær er sjá mátti
loftsins ok jarðarinnar.
Þat hugsuðu þeir ok undruðust, hví þat myndi gegna, er jörðin ok dýrin ok fuglarnir höfðu saman eðli í sumum hlutum ok þó ólík at hætti. Þat var eitt eðli,
að jörðin var grafin í hám fjalltindum ok spratt þar vatn upp, ok þurfti þar eigi lengra at grafa til vatns en í djúpum dölum. Svá er ok dýr ok fuglar, at
jafnlangt er til blóðs í höfði ok fótum. Önnur náttúra er sú jarðar, at á hverju ári vex á jörðinni gras ok blóm, ok á sama ári fellr þat allt ok fölnar,
svá ok dýr ok fuglar, at vex hár ok fjaðrar ok fellr af á hverju ári. Þat er in þriðja náttúra jarðar, þá er hon er opnuð ok grafin, þá grær gras á þeiri
moldu, er efst er á jörðinni. Björg ok steina þýddu þeir móti tönnum ok beinum kvikenda. Af þessu skilðu þeir svá, at jörðunni væri kvik ok hefði líf með
nökkurum hætti, ok vissu þeir, at hon furðuliga gömul at aldartali ok máttug í eðli. Hon fæddi öll kykvendi, ok hon eignaðist allt þat, er dó. Fyrir þá sök
gáfu þeir henni nafn ok tölðu ætt sína til hennar. Þat sama spurðu þeir af gömlum frændum sínum, at síðan er talið váru mörg hundruð vetra, þá var in sama
jörð ok sól ok himintungl, en gangr himintunglanna var ójafn. Áttu sum lengra gang, en sum skemmra. Af þvílíkum hlutum grunaði þá, at nökkurr myndi vera
stjórnari himintunglanna, sá er stilla myndi gang þeira at vilja sínum, ok myndi sá vera ríkr mjök ok máttigr. Ok þess væntu þeir, ef hann réði fyrir
höfuðskepnunum, at hann myndi ok fyrr verit hafa en himintunglin, ok þat sá þeir, ef hann ræðr gangi himintunglanna, at hann myndi ráða skini sólar ok
dögg loftsins ok ávexti jarðarinnar, er því fylgir, ok slíkt sama vindinum loftsins ok þar með stormi sævarins. Þá vissu þeir eigi, hvar ríki hans var,
en því trúðu þeir, at hann réð öllum hlutum á jörðu ok í lofti, himins ok himintunglum, sævarins ok veðranna.
En til þess at heldr mætti frá segja eða í minni festa, þá gáfu þeir nöfn með sjálfum sér öllum hlutum, ok hefir þessi átrúnaðr á marga lund breytzt, svá
sem þjóðirnar skiptust ok tungurnar greindust. En alla hluti skilðu þeir jarðligri skilningu, því at þeim var eigi gefin andlig spekðin. Svá skilðu þeir, at
allir hlutir væri smíðaðir af nökkuru efni.
2. Um þrjár hálfur veraldar.
Veröldin var greind í þrjár hálfur, frá suðri í vestr ok inn at Miðjarðarsjó; sá hlutr var kallaðr Affríká. Inn syðri hlutr þeirar deilðar er heitr, svá at
þar brennr, af sólu. Annarr hlutr frá vestri til norðrs ok inn til hafsins; er sá kallaðr Evrópá eða Énéá. Inn nyrðri hluti er þar svá kaldr, at eigi vex
gras á ok eigi má byggja. Frá norðri ok um austrhálfur allt til suðrs, þat er kallat Asíá. Í þeim hluta veraldar er öll fegrð ok prýði ok eignir
jarðar-ávaxtar, gull ok gimsteinar. Þar er ok mið veröldin. Ok svá sem þar er jörðin fegri ok betri öllum kostum en í öðrum stöðum, svá var ok mannfólkit
þar mest tignat af öllum giftunum, spekinni ok aflinu, fegrðinni ok alls konar kunnustu.
3. Frá Trjóumönnum.
Nær miðri veröldinni var gert þat hús ok herbergi, er ágætast hefir verit, er kallat Trjóa, þar sem vér köllum Tyrkland. Þessi staðr var miklu meiri gerr en
aðrir ok með meira hagleik á marga lund með kostnaði ok föngum, en þar váru til. Þar váru tólf konungdómar ok einn yfirkonungr, ok lágu mörg þjóðlönd til
hvers konungdómsins. Þar váru í borginni tólf höfðingjar. Þessir höfðingjar hafa verit um fram aðra menn, þá er verit hafa í veröldu, um alla manndómliga
Einn konungr í Trjóu er nefndr Múnón eða Mennón. Hann átti dóttur höfuðkonungsins Príamí. Sú hét Tróan. Þau áttu son. Hann hét Trór, er vér köllum Þór. Hann
var at uppfæðslu í Trakíá með hertoga þeim, er nefndr er Lóríkús, en er hann var tíu vetra, þá tók hann við vápnum föður síns. Svá var hann fagr álitum, er
hann kom með öðrum mönnum, sem þá er fílsbein er grafit í eik. Hár hans er fegra en gull. Þá er hann var tólf vetra, þá hafði hann fullt afl. Þá lyfti hann
af jörðu tíu bjarnarstökkum öllum senn, ok þá drap hann Lóríkúm hertoga, fóstra sinn, ok konu hans, Lórá eða Glórá, ok eignaði sér ríkit Trakíá. Þat köllum
vér Þrúðheim. Þá fór hann víða um lönd ok kannaði allar heimshálfur ok sigraði einn saman alla berserki ok alla risa ok einn inn mesta dreka ok mörg dýr. Í
norðrhálfu heims fann hann spákonu þá, er Síbíl hét, er vér köllum Sif, ok fekk hennar. Engi kann at segja ætt Sifjar. Hon var allra kvinna fegrst. Hár hennar
var sem gull. Þeira sonr var Lóriði, er líkr var feðr sínum. Hans sonr var Einriði, hans sonr Vingeþórr, hans sonr Vingener, hans sonr Móda, hans sonr Magi,
hans sonr Seskef, hans sonr Beðvig, hans sonr Athra, er vér köllum Annan, hans sonr Ítrmann, hans sonr Heremóð, hans sonr Skjaldun, er vér köllum Skjöld, hans
Bjáf, er köllum Bjár, hans sonr Ját, hans sonr Guðólfr, hans sonr Finn, hans sonr Fríallaf, er vér köllum Friðleif. Hann átti þann son, er nefndr er Vóden.
Þann köllum vér Óðin. Hann var ágætr maðr af speki ok allri atgervi. Kona hans hét Frígíða, er vér köllum Frigg.
4. För Óðins norðr í heim.
Óðinn hafði spádóm ok svá kona hans, ok af þeim vísendum fann hann þat, at nafn hans myndi uppi vera haft í norðrhálfu heims ok tignat um fram alla konunga.
Fyrir þá sök fýstist hann at byrja ferð sína af Tyrklandi ok hafði með sér mikinn fjölða liðs, unga menn ok gamla, karla ok konur, ok höfðu með sér marga
gersamliga hluti. En hvar sem þeir fóru yfir lönd, þá var ágæti mikit frá þeim sagt, svá at þeir þóttu líkari goðum en mönnum. Ok þeir gefa eigi stað ferðinni,
fyrr en þeir koma norðr í þat land, er nú er kallat Saxland. Þar dvalðist Óðinn langar hríðir ok eignaðist víða þat land. Þar setti Óðinn til landsgæzlu þrjá
sonu sína. Er einn nefndr Vegdeg. Var hann ríkr konungr ok réð fyrir Austr-Saxlandi. Hans sonr var Vitrgils. Hans synir váru þeir Vitta, faðir Heingests, ok
Sigarr, faðir Svebdeg, er vér köllum Svipdag. Annarr sonr Óðins hét Baldeg, er vér köllum Baldr. Hann átti þat land, er nú heitir Vestfál. Hans sonr var
Brandr, hans sonr Frjóðigar, er vér köllum Fróða. Hans sonr var Freóvin, hans sonr Uvigg, hans sonr Gevis, er vér köllum Gave. Inn þriði sonr Óðins er nefndr
Sigi, hans sonr Rerir. Þeir langfeðr réðu þar fyrir, er nú er kallat Frakland, ok er þaðan sú ætt komin, er kölluð er Völsungar. Frá öllum þeim eru stórar
ættir komnar ok margar.
Þá byrjaði Óðinn ferð sína norðr ok kom í þat land, er þeir kölluðu Reiðgotaland, ok eignaðist í því landi allt þat, er hann vildi. Hann setti þar til landa
son sinn, er Skjöldr hét. Hans sonr var Friðleifr. Þaðan er sú ætt komin, er Skjöldungar heita. Þat eru Danakonungar, ok þat heitir Jótland, er þá var kallat
5. Óðinn tók sér bústað í Sigtúnum.
Eftir þat fór hann norðr, þar sem nú heitir Svíþjóð. Þar var sá konungr, er Gylfi er nefndr. En er hann spyrr til ferðar þeira Ásíamanna, er er æsir váru
kallaðir, fór hann í móti þeim ok bauð, at Óðinn skyldi slíkt vald hafa í hans ríki, sem hann vildi sjálfr. Ok sá tími fylgði ferð þeira, at hvar sem þeir
dvölðust í löndum, þá var þar ár ok friðr, ok trúðu allir, at þeir væri þess ráðandi, því at þat sá ríkismenn, at þeir váru ólíkir öðrum mönnum, þeim er
þeir höfðu sét, at fegrð ok svá at viti. Þar þótti Óðni fagrir vellir ok landskostir góðir ok kaus sér þar borgstað, er nú heita Sigtún. Skipaði hann þar
höfðingjum ok í þá líking, sem verit hafði í Trója, setti tólf höfuðmenn í staðinum at dæma landslög, ok svá skipaði hann réttum öllum sem fyrr hafði verit
í Trója ok Tyrkir váru vanir.
Eftir þat fór hann norðr, þar til er sjár tók við honum, sá er þeir hugðu, at lægi um öll lönd, ok setti þar son sinn til þess ríkis, er nú heitir Nóregr.
Sá er Sæmingr kallaðr, ok telja þar Nóregskonungar sínar ættir til hans ok svá jarlar ok aðrir ríkismenn, svá sem segir í Háleygjatali. En Óðinn hafði með
sér þann son sinn, er Yngvi er nefndr, er konungr var í Svíþjóðu eftir hann, ok eru frá honum komnar þær ættir, er Ynglingar eru kallaðir.
Þeir æsir tóku sér kvánföng þar innan lands, en sumir sonum sínum, ok urðu þessar ættir fjölmennar, at umb Saxland ok allt þaðan of norðrhálfur dreifðist
svá, at þeira tunga, Ásíamanna, var eigin tunga um öll þessi lönd. Ok þat þykkjast menn skynja mega af því, at rituð eru langfeðganöfn þeira, at þau nöfn
hafa fylgt þessi tungu ok þeir æsir hafa haft tunguna norðr hingat í heim, í Nóreg ok í Svíþjóð, í Danmörk ok í Saxland, ok í Englandi eru forn landsheiti
eða staðaheiti, þau er skilja má, at af annarri tungu eru gefin en þessi.