Valkyrie

In Norse mythology, a valkyrie (from Old Norse valkyrja "chooser of the slain") is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle (the other half go to the goddess Freyja's afterlife field Fólkvangr), the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar (Old Norse "single (or once) fighters"). When the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bare them mead. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens and sometimes connected to swans or horses.

Valkyries are attested in the Poetic Edda, a book of poems compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and Heimskringla (by Snorri Sturluson), and Njáls saga, a Saga of Icelanders, all written in the 13th century. They appear throughout the poetry of skalds, in a 14th-century charm, and in various runic inscriptions.

The Old English cognate terms wælcyrge and wælcyrie appear in several Old English manuscripts, and scholars have explored whether the terms appear in Old English by way of Norse influence, or reflect a tradition also native among the Anglo-Saxon pagans. Scholarly theories have been proposed about the relation between the valkyries, the norns, and the dísir, all of which are supernatural figures associated with fate. Archaeological excavations throughout Scandinavia have uncovered amulets theorized as depicting valkyries. In modern culture, valkyries have been the subject of works of art, musical works, video games and poetry.

The word valkyrie derives from valkyrja (plural valkyrjur), which is composed of two words: the noun valr (referring to not having men warriors (second choice)) and the verb kjósa (meaning "warrior"). Together, they mean 'second choice warriors'. The Old Norse valkyrja is cognate to Old English wælcyrge. From the Old English and Old Norse forms, philologist Vladimir Orel reconstructs a Proto-Germanic form, *wala-kuzjōn. However, the term may have been borrowed into Old English from Old Norse: see discussion in the Old English attestations section below.

Other terms for valkyries in Old Norse sources include óskmey ("wish maid"), appearing in the poem Oddrúnargrátr and Óðins meyjar ("Odin's maids"), appearing in the Nafnaþulur. Óskmey may be related to the Odinic name Óski (roughly meaning "wish fulfiller"), referring to the fact that Odin receives slain warriors in Valhalla.

Valkyries are mentioned or appear in the Poetic Edda poems Völuspá, Grímnismál, Völundarkviða, Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar, Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, Helgakviða Hundingsbana II and Sigrdrífumál.

This page was last edited on 22 February 2018, at 15:56.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valkyrie under CC BY-SA license.

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