What are Prose Edda and Poetic Edda?

15/07/2021

     Prose Edda and Poetic Edda are, in general, in Nordic Mythology traditional poems that explain the origin (and final) of the whole and also, through these poems, we can understand their tradition.

What is Edda?

     Eddas or Edda, is the name given to two distinct collections of texts from the century. XIII, found in Iceland, and which allowed the beginning of the study and compilation of stories referring to the gods and heroes of Norse and Germanic mythology: The Edda in prose and the Edda in verse.

     The Eddas are fragmentary parts of an ancient Scandinavian tradition of oral storytelling (now lost) that was compiled and written by scholars who have preserved a portion of these stories.

     There are two complications: the Edda in prose (also known as Edda Prosaica or Edda de Snorri) and the Edda in verse (also called Edda Poética or Edda de Saemund)

Prose Edda:

     Prose Edda, Young Edda or Edda of Snorri is an Icelandic textbook of Scaldic poetry and a compendium of Norse mythology. The work was written by Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet, historian and politician, around the year 1220. It is a fundamental source for understanding ancient Norse mythology and poetic art.

     Today, there are 7 surviving manuscripts with passages from the Edda text in prose, of which the 4 most important are Codex Upsaliensis (U), the oldest, Codex Wormianus (W), Codex Trajectinus (T) and above all the Codex Regius(R).

     Codex Upsaliensis is kept in the Library of the University of Uppsala in Uppsala, Sweden. The Edda in Prose is divided into three parts:

  • Gylfaginning - Gylfe, a Swedish mythological king, visits the asses gods (Aesir) and asks questions about the beginning of the world, about the horse Sleipnir, among others.
  • Skáldskaparmál - An approach to the figurative language of Nordic poetry and its occult associations, with numerous references to Edda in verse.
  • Háttatal - Compendium of poetry for scalded poets.

Poetic Edda:

     Edda in Verse or Poetic Edda is a collection of poems in Old Norse preserved bulletin in the medieval Icelandic manuscript Codex Regius, from the 13th century. The work consists of 11 mythological poems and 19 poems by Nordic and Germanic heroes, reserved are unknown. Along with the prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson, it is the most important source of information about Norse mythology and legendary Germanic heroes.

     This work is a collection of ancient poems, echoes of an oral tradition, about gods and heroes of times past. It includes narratives about the creation of the world as well as its end, about asses (Aesir) gods like Odin, Thor and Frey, about heroes like Siegfried. These are the main poems:

  • Völuspá (The Wise Woman's Prophecy, The Seer's Prophecy)
  • Hávamál (The ballad of the highest, The sayings of Hár, The sayings of the highest)
  • Vafþrúðnismál (The ballad of Vafthrúdnir, The song of Vafthrúdnir, The sayings of Vafthrúdnir)
  • Grímnismál (The ballad of Grímnir, The song of Grímnir, The sayings of Grímnir)
  • Skírnismál (The Ballad of Skírnir, The Song of Skírnir, The Journey of Skírnir)
  • Hárbarðsljóð (The poem of Hárbard, The Song of Hárbard)
  • Hymiskviða (The song of Hymir, The poem of Hymir)
  • Lokasenna (Loki's quarrel, Loki's kink of insults, Loki's quarrel)
  • Þrymskviða (The song of Thrym, The poem of Thrym)
  • Völundarkviða (The Song of Völund)
  • Alvíssmál (The ballad Alvís, The song Alvís, The sayings of all wisdom)

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