In the 12th century, Danish accounts by Saxo Grammaticus and other Danish Latin chroniclers recorded a euhemerized account of his story. Compiled in Iceland in the 13th century, but based on much older Old Norse poetry, the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda contain numerous references to the death of Baldr as both a great tragedy to the Æsir and a harbinger of Ragnarök.
According to Gylfaginning, a book of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, Baldr's wife is Nanna and their son is Forseti. In Gylfaginning, Snorri relates that Baldr had the greatest ship to ever be built, named Hringhorni, and that there is no place more beautiful than his hall, Breidablik.
Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology (ch. 11) identifies Old Norse Baldr with the Old High German Baldere (2nd Merseburg Charm, Thuringia), Palter (theonym, Bavaria), Paltar (personal name) and with Old English bealdor, baldor "lord, prince, king" (used always with a genitive plural, as in gumena baldor "lord of men", wigena baldor "lord of warriors", et cetera). Old Norse shows this usage of the word as an honorific in a few cases, as in baldur î brynju (Sæm. 272b) and herbaldr (Sæm. 218b), both epithets of heroes in general.
Grimm traces the etymology of the name to *balþaz, whence Gothic balþs, Old English bald, Old High German pald, all meaning "bold, brave".
But the interpretation of Baldr as "the brave god" may be secondary. Baltic (cf. Lithuanian baltas, Latvian balts) has a word meaning "the white, the good", and Grimm speculates that the name may originate as a Baltic loan into Proto-Germanic. In continental Saxon and Anglo-Saxon tradition, the son of Woden is called not Bealdor but Baldag (Saxon) and Bældæg, Beldeg (Anglo-Saxon), which shows association with "day", possibly with Day personified as a deity. This, as Grimm points out, would agree with the meaning "shining one, white one, a god" derived from the meaning of Baltic baltas, further adducing Slavic Belobog and German Berhta.
Grimm's etymology is endorsed by modern research. According to Rudolf Simek, the original name for Baldr must be understood as 'shining day'.
In the Poetic Edda the tale of Baldr's death is referred to rather than recounted at length. Among the visions which the Völva sees and describes in the prophecy known as the Völuspá is one of the fatal mistletoe, the birth of Váli and the weeping of Frigg (stanzas 31–33). Yet looking far into the future the Völva sees a brighter vision of a new world, when both Höðr and Baldr will come back (stanza 62). The Eddic poem Baldr's Dreams mentions that Baldr has bad dreams which the gods then discuss. Odin rides to Hel and awakens a seeress, who tells him Höðr will kill Baldr but Vali will avenge him (stanzas 9, 11).
In Gylfaginning, Baldur is described as follows:
Apart from this description, Baldr is known primarily for the story of his death. His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarök. Baldr will be reborn in the new world, according to Völuspá.
He had a dream of his own death and his mother had the same dreams. Since dreams were usually prophetic, this depressed him, so his mother Frigg made every object on earth vow never to hurt Baldr. All objects made this vow except mistletoe—a detail which has traditionally been explained with the idea that it was too unimportant and nonthreatening to bother asking it to make the vow, but which Merrill Kaplan has instead argued echoes the fact that young people were not eligible to swear legal oaths, which could make them a threat later in life.
When Loki, the mischief-maker, heard of this, he made a magical spear from this plant (in some later versions, an arrow). He hurried to the place where the gods were indulging in their new pastime of hurling objects at Baldr, which would bounce off without harming him. Loki gave the spear to Baldr's brother, the blind god Höðr, who then inadvertently killed his brother with it (other versions suggest that Loki guided the arrow himself). For this act, Odin and the giantess Rindr gave birth to Váli who grew to adulthood within a day and slew Höðr.
Baldr was ceremonially burnt upon his ship, Hringhorni, the largest of all ships. As he was carried to the ship, Odin whispered in his ear. This was to be a key riddle asked by Odin (in disguise) of the giant Vafthrudnir (and which was unanswerable) in the poem Vafthrudnismal. The riddle also appears in the riddles of Gestumblindi in Hervarar saga.
The dwarf Litr was kicked by Thor into the funeral fire and burnt alive. Nanna, Baldr's wife, also threw herself on the funeral fire to await Ragnarök when she would be reunited with her husband (alternatively, she died of grief). Baldr's horse with all its trappings was also burned on the pyre. The ship was set to sea by Hyrrokin, a giantess, who came riding on a wolf and gave the ship such a push that fire flashed from the rollers and all the earth shook.
Upon Frigg's entreaties, delivered through the messenger Hermod, Hel promised to release Baldr from the underworld if all objects alive and dead would weep for him. All did, except a giantess, Þökk (often presumed to be the god Loki in disguise), who refused to mourn the slain god. Thus Baldr had to remain in the underworld, not to emerge until after Ragnarök, when he and his brother Höðr would be reconciled and rule the new earth together with Thor's sons.
Writing during the end of the 12th century, the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus tells the story of Baldr (recorded as Balderus) in a form that professes to be historical. According to him, Balderus and Høtherus were rival suitors for the hand of Nanna, daughter of Gewar, King of Norway. Balderus was a demigod and common steel could not wound his sacred body. The two rivals encountered each other in a terrific battle. Though Odin and Thor and the other gods fought for Balderus, he was defeated and fled away, and Høtherus married the princess.
Nevertheless, Balderus took heart of grace and again met Høtherus in a stricken field. But he fared even worse than before. Høtherus dealt him a deadly wound with a magic sword, named Mistletoe, which he had received from Mimir, the satyr of the woods; after lingering three days in pain Balderus died of his injury and was buried with royal honours in a barrow.
There are also two lesser known Danish Latin chronicles, the Chronicon Lethrense and the Annales Lundenses of which the latter is included in the former. These two sources provide a second euhemerized account of Höðr's slaying of Baldr.
It relates that Hother was the king of the Saxons and son of Hothbrodd and Hadding. Hother first slew Othen's (i.e. Odin) son Balder in battle and then chased Othen and Thor. Finally, Othen's son Both killed Hother. Hother, Balder, Othen and Thor were incorrectly considered to be gods.
A Latin votive inscription from Utrecht, from the 3rd or 4th century C.E., has been theorized as containing the dative form Baldruo, pointing to a Latin nominative singular *Baldruus, which some have identified with the Norse/Germanic god, although both the reading and this interpretation have been questioned.
As referenced in Gylfaginning, in Sweden and Norway, the scentless mayweed (Matricaria perforata) and the similar sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) are both called baldursbrá "Balder's brow" and regionally in northern England (baldeyebrow). In Iceland only the former is found. In Germany lily-of-the-valley is known as weisser Baldrian; variations using or influenced by reflexes of Phol include Faltrian (upper Austria), Villumfallum (Salzburg), and Fildron or Faldron (Tyrol).
There are a few old place names in Scandinavia that contain the name Baldr. The most certain and notable one is the (former) parish name Balleshol in Hedmark county, Norway: "a Balldrshole" 1356 (where the last element is hóll m "mound; small hill"). Others may be (in Norse forms) Baldrsberg in Vestfold county, Baldrsheimr in Hordaland county Baldrsnes in Sør-Trøndelag county—and (very uncertain) the Balsfjorden fjord and Balsfjord municipality in Troms county.
In Sweden there is a Baldersgatan (Balder's Street) in Stockholm. There is also Baldersnäs (Balder's isthmus), Baldersvik (Balder's bay), Balders udde (Balder's headland) and Baldersberg (Balder's mountain) at various places.
Baldur, Manitoba is a village in southern Manitoba, Canada. About 1890, Sigurdur Christopherson could not find a suitable flower in the district to name the town after, so he suggested the name of a beautiful Nordic God, namely Baldur, son of Odin.
Earlier reflexes of Phol, especially in Baldr's role as opener of wells, appear as Pholesbrunnen (Thuringia), Phulsborn (village, near Saale river), Falsbrunn (Steigerwald, Franconia), and the village Pfalsau (OHG pholesauwa, pholesouwa). Also, there are two Baldersbrunno (Eifel mountains; Rhine Palatinate) and a Baldur's Brönd on the road between Copenhagen and Roeskilde (Saxo Grammaticus).
Balder the Brave is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is based on the deity Baldr from Norse mythology.Baldr Force
Baldr Force is a 2D action-shooter game and eroge visual novel with fast action and detailed sprite characters. The game features a world in the not-so-distant future where humans are able to dive into the network, and fight using humanoid tools called "Simulacrum".Baldrs draumar
Baldrs draumar (Baldr's dreams) or Vegtamskviða is an Eddic poem which appears in the manuscript AM 748 I 4to. It describes the myth of Baldr's death consistently with Gylfaginning. Bellows suggest that the poem was composed in the mid 10th century as well as the possibility that the author also composed Völuspá or at least drew from it, pointing at the similarity of stanza 11 in Baldrs draumar and stanzas 32-33 in Völuspá.Breidablik Peak
Breidablik Peak is a mountain on Baffin Island, located 51 km (32 mi) northeast of Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Canada. It lies in the southern Baffin Mountains which in turn form part of the Arctic Cordillera mountain system. Like Mounts Odin and Asgard and other peaks in the Arctic Cordillera, its name comes from Norse mythology. It is named after Breidablik, the home of Baldr.Frigg
In Germanic mythology, Frigg (; Old Norse), Frija (Old High German), Frea (Langobardic), and Frige (Old English) is a goddess. In nearly all sources, she is described as the wife of the god Odin. In Old High German and Old Norse sources, she is also connected with the goddess Fulla. The English weekday name Friday (etymologically Old English "Frīge's day") bears her name.
Frigg is described as a goddess associated with foresight and wisdom in Norse mythology, the northernmost branch of Germanic mythology and most extensively attested. Frigg is the wife of the major god Odin and dwells in the wetland halls of Fensalir, is famous for her foreknowledge, is associated with the goddesses Fulla, Lofn, Hlín, and Gná, and is ambiguously associated with the Earth, otherwise personified as an apparently separate entity Jörð (Old Norse "Earth"). The children of Frigg and Odin include the gleaming god Baldr. Due to the significant thematic overlap, scholars have proposed a particular connection to the goddess Freyja.
After Christianization, the mention of Frigg continued to occur in Scandinavian folklore. During modern times, Frigg has appeared in popular culture, has been the subject of art and receives veneration in Germanic Neopaganism.Fulla
In Germanic mythology, Fulla (Old Norse, possibly "bountiful") or Volla (Old High German) is a goddess. In Norse mythology, Fulla is described as wearing a golden band and as tending to the ashen box and the footwear owned by the goddess Frigg, and, in addition, Frigg confides in Fulla her secrets. Fulla is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; and in skaldic poetry. Volla is attested in the "Horse Cure" Merseburg Incantation, recorded anonymously in the 10th century in Old High German, in which she assists in healing the wounded foal of Phol and is referred to as Frigg's sister. Scholars have proposed theories about the implications of the goddess.Gjallarbrú
Gjallarbrú (literally "Gjöll Bridge") is a bridge in Norse mythology which spans the river Gjöll in the underworld. It must be crossed in order to reach Hel.
According to Gylfaginning it is described as a covered bridge, "thatched with glittering gold". It figures most prominently in the story of Baldr, specifically when Hermód is sent to retrieve the fallen god from the land of the dead. When Hermód arrived at the bridge he was challenged by the giant maiden Módgud who demanded that he state his name and business before allowing him to pass.Gjöll
Gjöll (Old Norse Gjǫll) is the river that separates the living from the dead in Norse mythology. It is one of the eleven rivers traditionally associated with the Élivágar, rivers that existed in Ginnungagap at the beginning of the world.
According to Snorri Sturluson's Gylfaginning, Gjöll originates from the wellspring Hvergelmir in Niflheim, flowing through Ginnungagap, and thence into the worlds of existence. Gjöll is the river that flows closest to the gate of the underworld. Within the Norse mythology, the dead must cross the Gjallarbrú, the bridge over Gjöll, to reach Hel. The bridge, which was guarded by Móðguðr, was crossed by Hermóðr during his quest to retrieve Baldr from the land of the dead.
In Gylfaginning, Gjöll is one of eleven rivers that rise from Hvergelmir. In the following chapter, these are called the Élivágar and are said to have flowed in Ginnungagap in primordial times.Gjöll has a parallel with similar mythological rivers from Indo-European cultures such as the Greek Styx.
Gjöll is also the name of the boulder to which the monstrous wolf Fenrir is bound. The word has been translated "noisy".Hel (being)
In Norse mythology, Hel is a being who presides over a realm of the same name, where she receives a portion of the dead. Hel is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In addition, she is mentioned in poems recorded in Heimskringla and Egils saga that date from the 9th and 10th centuries, respectively. An episode in the Latin work Gesta Danorum, written in the 12th century by Saxo Grammaticus, is generally considered to refer to Hel, and Hel may appear on various Migration Period bracteates.
In the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, and Heimskringla, Hel is referred to as a daughter of Loki. In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, Hel is described as having been appointed by the god Odin as ruler of a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. In the same source, her appearance is described as half blue and half flesh-coloured and further as having a gloomy, downcast appearance. The Prose Edda details that Hel rules over vast mansions with many servants in her underworld realm and plays a key role in the attempted resurrection of the god Baldr.
Scholarly theories have been proposed about Hel's potential connections to figures appearing in the 11th-century Old English Gospel of Nicodemus and Old Norse Bartholomeus saga postola, that she may have been considered a goddess with potential Indo-European parallels in Bhavani, Kali, and Mahakali or that Hel may have become a being only as a late personification of the location of the same name.Hel (location)
In Norse mythology, Hel, the location, shares a name with Hel, a being who rules over the location. In late Icelandic sources, varying descriptions of Hel are given and various figures are described as being buried with items that will facilitate their journey to Hel after their death. In the Poetic Edda, Brynhildr's trip to Hel after her death is described and Odin, while alive, also visits Hel upon his horse Sleipnir. In Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, Baldr goes to Hel on his death and subsequently Hermóðr uses Sleipnir to attempt to retrieve him.Hermóðr
Hermóðr the Brave (Old Norse "war-spirit"; anglicized as Hermod) is a figure in Norse mythology, a son of the god Odin. He is often considered the messenger of the gods.Höðr
Höðr (Old Norse: Hǫðr [ˈhɔðr] (listen); often anglicized as Hod, Hoder, or Hodur) is a blind god and a son of Odin and Frigg in Norse mythology. Tricked and guided by Loki, he shot the mistletoe arrow which was to slay the otherwise invulnerable Baldr.
According to the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda, the goddess Frigg, Baldr's mother, made everything in existence swear never to harm Baldr, except for the mistletoe, which she found too unimportant to ask (alternatively, which she found too young to demand an oath from). The gods amused themselves by trying weapons on Baldr and seeing them fail to do any harm. Loki, the mischief-maker, upon finding out about Baldr's one weakness, made a spear from mistletoe, and helped Höðr shoot it at Baldr. In reaction to this, Odin and the giantess Rindr gave birth to Váli, who grew to adulthood within a day and slew Höðr.
The Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus recorded an alternative version of this myth in his Gesta Danorum. In this version, the mortal hero Høtherus and the demi-god Balderus compete for the hand of Nanna. Ultimately, Høtherus slays Balderus.Mistilteinn
Mistilteinn ("Mistletoe"), also known as Misteltein or Mystletainn, is Hrómundr Gripsson's sword in Hrómundar saga Gripssonar, a legendary saga from Iceland.
Mistilteinn first belonged to Þráinn, who had been king in Valland before he retired in his burial mound with his wealth.
The Danish king Óláfr and his men, among whom Hrómundr Gripsson, learnt about that and found the barrow. Þráinn, who had become a draugr (living dead) was sitting inside. No one but Hrómundr dared to enter. After a long and fierce fight, he defeated Þráinn and took his treasure, especially his sword, with which Þráinn had killed four hundred and twenty men, including the Swedish king Semingr.
Hrómundr used Mistilteinn during the battle between Óláfr and two Swedish kings both named Haldingr. He killed Helgi inn frækni (the Valiant), who had slain his brothers. He then lost Mistilteinn in the water out of witchcraft. He deeply felt this loss but soon recovered his sword, which was found in the stomach of a pike. But Mistilteinn was of no help when he fought king Haldingr, whom he eventually killed with a club.
In Gesta Danorum, Mistiltainn is the weapon used to kill Baldr.Mount Baldr
Mount Baldr is a mountain on Baffin Island, located 49 km (30 mi) northeast of Pangnirtung, Nunavut, Canada. It lies in the southern Baffin Mountains, which in turn form part of the Arctic Cordillera mountain system. Like nearby Breidablik Peak and Mount Odin and other peaks in the Arctic Cordillera, its name comes from Norse mythology. It is named after Baldr, a god in Germanic paganism and is Odin's second son.Móðguðr
In Norse mythology, Móðguðr (Modgud, "Furious Battler") refers to the female guardian of the bridge over the river Gjöll ("Noisy"), Gjallarbrú. She allowed the newly dead to use the bridge to cross from one side of the river Gjöll to the other if the soul stated his or her name and business, and possibly in turn prevented the dead beyond the river from crossing back over Gjöll into the lands of the living.Nanna (Norse deity)
In Norse mythology, Nanna Nepsdóttir or simply Nanna is a goddess associated with the god Baldr. Accounts of Nanna vary greatly by source. In the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, Nanna is the wife of Baldr and the couple produced a son, the god Forseti. After Baldr's death, Nanna dies of grief. Nanna is placed on Baldr's ship with his corpse and the two are set aflame and pushed out to sea. In Hel, Baldr and Nanna are united again. In an attempt to bring back Baldr from the dead, the god Hermóðr rides to Hel and, upon receiving the hope of resurrection from the being Hel, Nanna gives Hermóðr gifts to give to the goddess Frigg (a robe of linen), the goddess Fulla (a finger-ring), and others (unspecified). Nanna is frequently mentioned in the poetry of skalds and a Nanna, who may or may not be the same figure, is mentioned once in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources.
An account provided by Saxo Grammaticus in his 12th century work Gesta Danorum records Nanna as a human female, the daughter of King Gevar, and the love interest of both the demi-god Baldr and the human Höðr. Spurred by their mutual attraction to Nanna, Baldr and Höðr repeatedly do battle. Nanna is only interested in Höðr and weds him, while Baldr wastes away from nightmares about Nanna.
The Setre Comb, a comb from the 6th or early 7th century featuring runic inscriptions, may reference the goddess. The etymology of the name Nanna is a subject of scholarly debate. Scholars have debated connections between Nanna and other similarly named deities from other cultures and the implications of the goddess's attestations.Váli
In Norse mythology, Váli is a son of the god Odin and the giantess Rindr. Váli has numerous brothers including Thor, Baldr, and Víðarr. He was birthed for the sole purpose of avenging Baldr, and does this by killing Höðr, who was an unwitting participant, and binding Loki with the entrails of his son Narfi. He grew to full adulthood within one day of his birth, and slew Höðr before going on to bind Loki. Váli is prophesied to survive Ragnarök.
Váli is often incorrectly referred to as the son of Loki, though this is most likely an early transcription error. This misconception is based on a single passage containing the phrase "Then were taken Loki's sons, Váli and Nari" in Gylfaginning, which also describes Váli as the son of Odin in two instances All other historical documents found at this time ascribe Váli only the role of Odin's son, with the exception of transcripts based on the original misattribution.Váli (son of Loki)
In some versions of Norse mythology, Váli was one of the unlucky sons of Loki. He is mentioned in the Gylfaginning section of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, chapter 50. After the death of Baldr, the Æsir chase down and capture Loki; in this version it is an unnamed god rather than Váli, son of Odin, who binds Loki with his son's entrails:
Váli, son of Loki, is otherwise unknown. A variant version in the Hauksbók manuscript of stanza 34 of "Völuspá" refers to this event; it begins: "Þá kná Vála | vígbǫnd snúa", usually amended to the nominative Váli in order to provide a subject for the verb; in Ursula Dronke's translation in her edition of the poem, "Then did Váli | slaughter bonds twist". This presumably refers to Váli, son of Óðinn, who was begotten to avenge Baldr's death, and thus it is not unlikely that he bound Loki; but the Hauksbók stanza interrupts the flow of "Völuspá" at this point and presumably draws on a variant oral tradition. It is likely that this was Snorri's source, and that he interpreted the manuscript text Vála vígbǫnd as "bonds from Váli's act of slaughter", thus inventing a second Váli. In the rather cryptic prose at the end of "Lokasenna", which appears to be derived from Snorri's account, Narfi transforms into a wolf and his brother Nari's guts are used to bind their father.Þökk
Þǫkk (also Thokk) (Old Norse "Thanks") is a Jǫtunn in Norse mythology, presumed to be Loki in disguise, who refuses to weep for the slain Baldr, thus forcing him (Baldr) to stay in Hel.