Sól (sun)

Sól (Old Norse "Sun")[1] or Sunna (Old High German, and existing as an Old Norse and Icelandic synonym: see Wiktionary sunna, "Sun") is the Sun personified in Norse mythology. One of the two Old High German Merseburg Incantations, written in the 9th or 10th century CE, attests that Sunna is the sister of Sinthgunt. In Norse mythology, Sól 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 both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda she is described as the sister of the personified moon, Máni, is the daughter of Mundilfari, is at times referred to as Álfröðull, and is foretold to be killed by a monstrous wolf during the events of Ragnarök, though beforehand she will have given birth to a daughter who continues her mother's course through the heavens. In the Prose Edda, she is additionally described as the wife of Glenr. As a proper noun, Sól appears throughout Old Norse literature. Scholars have produced theories about the development of the goddess from potential Nordic Bronze Age and Proto-Indo-European roots.

Máni and Sól by Lorenz Frølich
A depiction of Máni and Sól (1895) by Lorenz Frølich

"Horse cure" Merseburg Incantation

Wodan heilt Balders Pferd by Emil Doepler
Wodan Heals Balder's Horse (1905) by Emil Doepler

One of the two Merseburg Incantations (the "horse cure"), recorded in Old High German, mentions Sunna, who is described as having a sister, Sinthgunt. The incantation describes how Phol and Wodan rode to a wood, and there Balder's foal sprained its foot. Sinthgunt sang charms, her sister Sunna sang charms, Friia sang charms, her sister Volla sang charms, and finally Wodan sang charms, followed by a verse describing the healing of the foal's bone.[2]

Norse attestations

Sól, her daughter, and Fenrir by Lorenz Frølich
A depiction of Sól, her daughter, and the wolf Fenrir (1895) by Lorenz Frølich.

Poetic Edda

In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin. In doing so, the völva recounts the early days of the universe, in which:

Benjamin Thorpe translation:

The sun from the south, the moon's companion,
her right hand cast about the heavenly horses.
The sun knew not where she a dwelling had,
the moon know not what power he possessed,
the stars knew not where they had a station.[3]

Henry Adams Bellows translation:

The sun, the sister of the moon, from the south
Her right hand cast over heaven's rim;
No knowledge she had where her home should be,
The moon knew not what might was his,
The stars knew not where their stations were.[4]

In the poem Vafþrúðnismál, the god Odin tasks the jötunn Vafþrúðnir with a question about the origins of the sun and the moon. Vafþrúðnir responds that Mundilfari is the father of both Sól and Máni, and that they must pass through the heavens every day to count the years for man:

Mundilfæri hight he, who the moon's father is,
and eke the sun's;
round heaven journey each day they must,
to count years for men.[5]
"Mundilferi is he who began the moon,
And fathered the flaming sun;
The round of heaven each day they run,
To tell the time for men."[6]

In a stanza Vafþrúðnismál, Odin asks Vafþrúðnir from where another sun will come from once Fenrir has assailed the current sun. Vafþrúðnir responds in a further stanza, stating that before Álfröðull (Sól) is assailed by Fenrir, she will bear a daughter who will ride on her mother's paths after the events of Ragnarök.[7]

The Chariot of the Sun by Collingwood
The Chariot of the Sun by W. G. Collingwood

In a stanza of the poem Grímnismál, Odin says that before the sun (referred to as "the shining god") is a shield named Svalinn, and if the shield were to fall from its frontal position, mountain and sea "would burn up". In stanza 39 Odin (disguised as Grimnir) says that both the sun and the moon are pursued through the heavens by wolves; the sun, referred to as the "bright bride" of the heavens, is pursued by Sköll, while the moon is pursued by Hati Hróðvitnisson.[8]

In the poem Alvíssmál, the god Thor questions the dwarf Alvíss about the sun, asking him what the sun is called in each of the worlds. Alvíss responds that it is called "sun" by mankind, "sunshine" by the gods, "Dvalinn's deluder" by the dwarves, "everglow" by the jötnar, "the lovely wheel" by the elves, and "all-shining" by the "sons of the Æsir".[9]

Prose Edda

The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani
The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani (1909) by J. C. Dollman.
Far away and long ago by Willy Pogany
Far away and long ago (1920) by Willy Pogany.

Sól is referenced in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, where she is introduced in chapter 8 in a quote from stanza 5 of Völuspá. In chapter 11 of Gylfaginning, Gangleri (described as King Gylfi in disguise) asks the enthroned figure of High how the sun and moon are steered. High describes that Sól is one of the two children of Mundilfari, and states that the children were so beautiful they were named after the sun (Sól) and the moon (Máni). Mundilfari has Sól married to a man named Glenr.[10]

High says that the gods were "angered by this arrogance" and that the gods had the two placed in the heavens. There, the children were made to drive the horses Árvakr and Alsviðr that drew the chariot of the sun. High says that the gods had created the chariot to illuminate the worlds from burning embers flying from the fiery world of Muspelheim. In order to cool the horses, the gods placed two bellows beneath their shoulders, and that "according to the same lore" these bellows are called Ísarnkol.[11]

In chapter 12 of Gylfaginning, Gangleri tells High that the sun moves quickly, almost as if she were moving so quickly that she fears something, that she could not go faster even if she were afraid of her own death. High responds that "It is not surprising that she moves with such speed. The one chasing her comes close, and there is no escape for her except to run." Gangleri asks who chases her, to which High responds that two wolves give chase to Sól and Máni. The first wolf, Sköll, chases Sól, and despite her fear, Sköll will eventually catch her. Hati Hróðvitnisson, the second wolf, runs ahead of Sól to chase after Máni, whom Hati Hróðvitnisson will also catch.[11] In chapter 35, Sól's status as a goddess is stated by High, along with Bil.[12]

In chapter 53, High says that after the events of Ragnarök, Sól's legacy will be continued by a daughter that is no less beautiful than she, who will follow the path she once rode, and, in support, Vafþrúðnismál stanza 47 is then quoted.[13]

In the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Sól is first presented in chapter 93, where the kennings "daughter of Mundilfæri", "sister of Máni", "wife of Glen", "fire of sky and air" are given for her, followed by an excerpt of a work by the 11th century skald Skúli Þórsteinsson:

God-blithe bedfellow of Glen
steps to her divine sanctuary
with brightness; then descends the good
light of grey-clad moon.[14]

In chapter 56, additional names for Sól are given; "day-star", "disc", "ever-glow", "all-bright seen", "fair-wheel", "grace-shine", "Dvalinn's toy", "elf-disc", "doubt-disc", and "ruddy".[15] In chapter 58, following a list of horses, the horses Arvakr and Alsviðr are listed as drawing the sun,[16] and, in chapter 75, Sól is again included in a list of goddesses.[17]


The Trundholm sun chariot from the Nordic Bronze Age, discovered in Denmark.

Scholars have proposed that Sól, as a goddess, may represent an extension of an earlier Proto-Indo-European deity due to Indo-European linguistic connections between Norse Sól, Sanskrit Surya, Common Brittonic Sulis, Lithuanian Saulė, Latin Sol, and Slavic Tsar Solnitse.[18]

Regarding Sól's attested personifications in Norse mythology, John Lindow states that "even kennings like 'hall of the sun' for sky may not suggest personification, given the rules of kenning formation"; that in poetry only stanzas associated with Sól in the poem Vafþrúðnismál are certain in their personification of the goddess; and "that Sól is female and Máni male probably has to do with the grammatical gender of the nouns: Sól is feminine and Máni is masculine." Lindow states that, while the sun seems to have been a focus of older Scandinavian religious practices, it is difficult to make a case for the placement of the sun in a central role in surviving sources for Norse mythology.[10]

Rudolf Simek states that Nordic Bronze Age archaeological finds, such as rock carvings and the Trundholm sun chariot, provide ample evidence of the sun having been viewed as a life-giving heavenly body to the Bronze Age Scandinavians, and that the sun likely always received an amount of veneration. Simek states that the only evidence of the sun assuming a personification stems from the Old High German Incantation reference and from Poetic Edda poems, and that both of these references do not provide enough information to assume a Germanic sun cult. "On the other hand", Simek posits, the "great age of the concept is evident" by the Trundholm sun chariot, which specifically supports the notion of the sun being drawn across the sky by horses. Simek further theorizes that the combination of sun symbols with ships in religious practices, which occur with frequency from the Bronze Age into Middle Ages, seem to derive from religious practices surrounding a fertility god (such as the Vanir gods Njörðr or Freyr), and not to a personified sun.[19]

See also

  • Solveig, an Old Norse female given name that may involve the sun
  • Sowilo rune, the s rune, named after the sun
  • Sunday, a day of the week named after the sun in Germanic societies


  1. ^ Orchard (1997:152).
  2. ^ Lindow (2001:227).
  3. ^ Thorpe (1907:1).
  4. ^ Bellows (1923:4).
  5. ^ Thorpe (1907:12).
  6. ^ Bellows (1923:7).
  7. ^ Larrington (1999:47).
  8. ^ Larrington (1999:57).
  9. ^ Larrington (1999:111).
  10. ^ a b Lindow (2001:198–199).
  11. ^ a b Byock (2005:19–20).
  12. ^ Byock (2005:35).
  13. ^ Byock (2005:78).
  14. ^ Faulkes (1995:93). Divided into four lines.
  15. ^ Faulkes (1995:133). Here Álfröðull is translated as "elf-disc".
  16. ^ Faulkes (1995:137)
  17. ^ Faulkes (1995:157).
  18. ^ Mallory (1989:129).
  19. ^ Simek (2007:297).


  • Bellows, Henry Adams (1923). The Poetic Edda. The American-Scandinavian Foundation
  • Byock, Jesse (Trans.) (2005). The Prose Edda. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044755-5
  • Mallory, J.P. (1989). In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology and Myth. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27616-1
  • Faulkes, Anthony (Trans.) (1995). Edda. Everyman. ISBN 0-460-87616-3
  • Larrington, Carolyne (Trans.) (1999). The Poetic Edda. Oxford World's Classics. ISBN 0-19-283946-2
  • Lindow, John (2001). Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515382-0.
  • Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34520-2
  • Simek, Rudolf (2007) translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 0-85991-513-1
  • Thorpe, Benjamin (Trans.) (1907). The Elder Edda of Saemund Sigfusson. Norrœna Society.
Old English rune poem

The Old English rune poem, dated to the 8th or 9th century, has stanzas on 29 Anglo-Saxon runes.

It stands alongside younger rune poems from Scandinavia, which record the names of the 16 Younger Futhark runes.

The poem is a product of the period of declining vitality of the runic script in Anglo-Saxon England after the Christianization of the 7th century. A large body of scholarship has been devoted to the poem, mostly dedicated to its importance for runology but to a lesser extent also to the cultural lore embodied in its stanzas.The sole manuscript recording the poem, Cotton Otho B.x, was destroyed in the Cotton Fire of 1731, and all editions of the poems are based on a facsimile published by George Hickes in 1705.


Siegel, is a German surname. it can be traced to 11th century Bavaria and was used by people who made wax seals for or sealed official documents (a Siegelbeamter). Alternate spellings include Sigel, Sigl, Siegl, and others. "Siegel" is also the modern German word for seal. The name ultimately derives from the Latin sigillum, meaning "seal" as in the "Seal of the City of New York": "Sigillum Civitatis Novi Eboraci." The Germanicized derivative of the name was given to professional seal makers and engravers. Some researchers have attributed the surname to Sigel, referring to Sól (Sun), the goddess of the sun in Germanic mythology (Siȝel or sigel in Old English / Anglo-Saxon), but that is highly speculative.

Variants may include Siegel, Siegle, Sigl and Sigel. Note that Segal and Segall are not cognate with Siegel, but derive from a quite different root. Most sources indicate that it derives from the Hebrew acronym SGL, the abbreviated form of Sagan Gadol ha-Leviya, which means Great assistant to the Levites, and is an honorific title bestowed upon a member of the tribe of Levi who performs synagogue duties faithfully. Some Rabbis aver that Segal/Segall derives from the Hebrew s'gula, meaning "treasure." However, this would not explain the association of the name only with the tribe of Levi. Lastly, the double-L in Segall seems to be a specifically Rumanian spelling variant.


Sigel may refer to:

Sigel, the Old English for "Sun", see Sól (Sun)

the Old English name of the s-rune, see Sowilō rune

A magic sign see Sigil (magic)


Solveig ( SOHL-vay) is a female given name of Old Norse origin, meaning either "Strong House", "Daughter of the Sun" or "the Sun's Path". It is most common in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland, and is also common in Germany and France.


Solvorn is a village in Luster Municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. The village is located on the western shore of the Lustrafjorden, the innermost part of the Sognefjorden. The village sits directly across the fjord from the village of Ornes, where the famous 12th-century Urnes Stave Church is located. The village of Hafslo lies about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the northwest.

The village is the site of the historic Walaker Hotel, dating back to about 1650. Solvorn Church, built in 1883, is located in the village. There has been a regular ferry route from Solvorn to Ornes, across the fjord, since 1859. From 1963 until 1990, there was also a regular ferry route from Solvorn to Årdalstangen, about 35 kilometres (22 mi) down the fjord.Solvorn has a long history as a trade center, a church site, a courthouse site, and it was the seat of the district magistrate for Inner Sogn. The village has had a church since the Middle Ages, the first time Solvorn Church is mentioned in historical records is in the 14th century. Solvorn was a natural place to go to for all the people who lived around the lake Hafslovatnet and its surrounding villages when they would sell or buy anything. The village had its heyday when the fjord was the main thoroughfare for transportation for the region. Since that time, car transportation has become more important that fjord travel, and the Norwegian County Road 55 was built on the other side of the mountains, closer to Hafslo, so Solvorn is no longer located along the main transportation route. Solvorn received a post office in 1841 and had that post office until 1995 when it was closed.


*Sowilō or *sæwelō is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic language name of the s-rune, meaning "sun". The name is attested for the same rune in all three Rune Poems. It appears as Old Norse sól, Old English sigel, and Gothic sugil.

Sun and Moon (Middle-earth)

The fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien of Middle-earth fame included Earth's sun and moon for the cosmology of his myths of Arda.

These astronomical bodies appear in various versions of The Silmarillion, a history of a world, called Middle-earth

populated by Elves and other fantastic creatures as well as Men. A version of The Silmarillion, edited by the author's son and literary executor Christopher Tolkien, was posthumously published in 1977. However the Sun and Moon already appear in the author's writings dating from the 1920s.

The sun and moon in Tolkien's legendarium were described in the Narsilion, the "Song of the Sun and Moon".


Sunna may refer to:

Sunna (band), a British rock band from the late 90's & 2000s

Sunna (Saxon chief), a Saxon chief

Kim Sunna, a Swedish professional ice hockey player

Sól (sun) (Sunna/Sunne), Germanic goddess/personification of the Sun in Old High German

Sunnah, record of the teachings, deeds and sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a source of Islamic law

Sunne, Sweden, a municipality in Sweden

Sunni Islam, a branch of Islam

Sunna Davíðsdóttir, an Icelandic mixed martial artist


Sól may refer to:

Sól (Sun), a goddess who personifies the sun in Germanic mythology

Sól, Lublin Voivodeship, east Poland

Sól, Masovian Voivodeship, east-central Poland

Sól, Silesian Voivodeship, south Poland

Sowilo rune or Sól

Trundholm sun chariot

The Trundholm sun chariot (Danish: Solvognen), is a Nordic Bronze Age artifact discovered in Denmark. It is a representation of the sun chariot, a bronze statue of a horse and a large bronze disk, which are placed on a device with spoked wheels.

The sculpture was discovered with no accompanying objects in 1902 in a peat bog on the Trundholm moor in Odsherred in the northwestern part of Zealand, (approximately 55°55′N 11°37′E). It is now in the collection of the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.

Younger Futhark

The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian runes, is a runic alphabet and a reduced form of the Elder Futhark, with only 16 characters, in use from about the 9th century, after a "transitional period" during the 7th and 8th centuries.

The reduction, somewhat paradoxically, happened at the same time as phonetic changes led to a greater number of different phonemes in the spoken language, when Proto-Norse evolved into Old Norse.

Thus, the language included distinct sounds and minimal pairs that were written the same.

The Younger Futhark is divided into long-branch (Danish) and short-twig (Swedish and Norwegian) runes; in the 10th century, it was further expanded by the "Hälsinge Runes" or staveless runes.

The lifetime of the Younger Futhark corresponds roughly to the Viking Age. Their use declined after the Christianization of Scandinavia; most writing in Scandinavia from the 12th century was in the Latin alphabet, but the runic scripts survived in marginal use in the form of the medieval runes (in use ca. 1100–1500) and the Latinised Dalecarlian runes (ca. 1500–1910).

Astronomical bodies
Water bodies
cyclic time,
and eschatology
Deities and
other figures
See also

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