Poetic Edda: Tales of Heroes and Legends by Anonymous

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Poetic Edda: Tales of Heroes and Legends by Anonymous 

There are many sources that contribute to our knowledge about the Viking and Norse mythology. They might be the runestone, picture stones dating back to the Viking age or the textual materials. Among the most famous textual materials was the Poetic Edda. 

What is the Poetic Edda? 

I bet you must hear of names like Thor, Odin, or Loki even once in your life. They are gods from Norse mythology which many modern moviemakers adapt into their work. The successful movies make them well-known globally. 

Poetic Edda was originally Icelandic

Poetic Edda was Icelandic

But have you ever wondered from which source that we got the tales about these gods? The answer is Poetic Edda which is one of the main sources. 

There was no specific author for the Poetic Edda. Because most of its poems were passed down orally from generation to generation. 

The discovery of the Poetic Edda

The Scandinavian people in the 17th century was curious about their past and their ancestors. So Danish King Frederic III asked Bishop Brynjólfur Sveinsson to start collecting the manuscripts about the past as many as possible. He discovered the Younger Edda which we commonly call "Prose Edda" now. The 
Prose Edda" was compiled by Snorri Sturluson in the 12th century. 

Learning of the texts no longer existing in his society, the Bishop was extremely excited. Like the Edda of Snorri, the Poetic Edda was Icelandic. And as what we mentioned, nothing was known about the authors. 

What was the difference between Prose Edda and Poetic Edda?

The Edda of Snorri Sturluson tried to show the readers the way to make a skaldic poetry. Snorri did this by telling the Norse mythology and the legends in prose. Later, he exemplified how the previous skalds told the tales in legendary skaldic form. 

Meanwhile, the Poetic Edda was a series of Norse mythology and legends. The poetry style in the Poetic Edda was different from the Skaldic form. The Poetic Edda followed a more simple way of writing and the author was anonymous. 

According to many people who learnt Norse mythology, Prose Edda is a better starting point for the newbies. Because the collection of tales in Poetic Edda was random which the readers might find it hard to understand without any knowledge of the Norse mythology. 

Prose Edda chapter

What is the Poetic Edda about?

The Poetic Edda is the series of retelling stories and legends of heroes like Niflungar the treasure-hoarding dwarf or Sigurdr, etc. 

The Edda began with the tale of the prophecy of the seer or the Wise-woman prophecy about the end of the world. The Poetic Edda also showed us the myth about Odin the Allfather, Freyr god of Fertility, and Thor God of lightning and thunder. 

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