the dictionary of norse mythology


KENNING A poetic technique used most fre-quently by the norse writers of skaldic poetry, who created their art from about a.d. 700 to 1100. Essentially a kenning is a type of metaphor, using a set of words to represent a common noun. For exam-ple, for sword, the poet might use the name of a famous sword such as dainsleif, which means Dain's heirloom. Or a poet might refer to gold as Sif's hair, which would remind the audience of the myth of the golden hair the god loki had the dwarfs make after he cut off the locks of the goddess sif, wife of thor.Many kennings contain names and objects important to Norse mythology and provide scholars with hints and clues of stories that have been lost over time. At the same time, however, kennings are often the only mention of a name, and modern scholars and students have no other information to understand the meaning of that kenning. Kennings at the very least provide experts with the understanding that much about Norse mythology is lost to modern audiences.

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