the dictionary of norse mythology


VOLUSPA The Sibyls Prophecy A norse poem from iceland, recorded in the late 10th or early 11th century. It is perhaps the most important poem in the poetic edda. The poem takes the form of a monologue delivered by the volva, or sibyl, in answer to odin's questions. The question-and-answer format was common in Eddic poems. The verses deal with the creation of the world, of the gods and of humans tell of the war between the aesir and the vanir and recount the death of balder and loki's punishment. They also tell of Loki's monstrous children, fenrir, the wolf, and jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, and the part they played at ragnarok, the end of the world. At the end of the poem the new world begins, a kind of green paradise in gimle, marred only by the presence of the corpse-eating dragon nithog. Many scholars believe that the Voluspa is one of the greatest literary achievements in the Norse world.

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