Odin and frigg

Discussion in 'Norse Mythology' started by eirine hatsumi, May 18, 2011.

  1. have any idea, guys, on how odin got to know frigg (or vice versa) ?

    i really find it hard to research on this one, unlike zeus and hera (from greek myth), info regarding this greek couple is widely known on how they met and how they got married, but info regarding odin and frigg, i think, is really hard to find.

    hope to read some replies :cool:
  2. Alexia

    Alexia Member

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  3. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    This is probably because the accounts of Frigg's origin are sorta problematic. Frigg is called the daughter of a certain Fjörgynn, of which character the only thing we know for sure is that the name's owner must be male, since it is a masculine form of Fjörgyn, "Earth." Fjörgyn [feminine] is used as a by-name for the earth-goddess Jörð, who is personified as a giantess described as a wife of Óðinn and the mother of his eldest son Thórr. There are two major problems I perceive with this, the one being what we're supposed to make of the male Fjörgynn in relation to the female Fjörgyn. Just who and what is he? Wikipedia cites Hilda Ellis Davidson as theorising "that Fjörgyn and Fjörgynn may have represented a divine pair of which little information has survived, along with figures such as the theorized Ullr and Ullin, Njörðr and Nerthus, and the attested Freyr and Freyja." If this is correct, maybe Fjörgynn was a male personification of the Earth, perhaps the Giant twin husband of Fjörgyn, in the same way the members of the aforementioned pairs are often called each other's twin consorts.


    But my conclusion from thisthat Frigg was the daughter of a Giant earth-god Fjörgynn and of the earth-goddess Fjörgynn = the giantess Jörðleads us to the other major problem I perceive with what we are told of Frigg's origin. Firstly, it means that Óðinn is married to mother and daughter, and that Frigg is both stepmother and half-sister to Thórr. Secondly, there are certain references stating that Jörð herself is a daughter of Óðinn (even though in this instance he goes by the alias Annar)! Thus Óðinn's wife Frigg and son Thórr are also his own grandchildren, and Frigg and her stepson Thórr are each other's half-siblings and cousins too... :eek:

    Notwithstanding all that, with regard to how Óðinn met Frigg, I'm sure I've read a reconstructed version of all this jumble which says that Frigg was originally one of the Vanir, and that part of the ratification of the contract combining this race of gods with that of the Æsir was the wedding between Óðinn and Frigg. I've just cooked up another theory of my own to go with that>> Maybe the Æsir and Vanir groups sprang off two distinct branches of Ymir's monstrous Giant family. We know that the Vanir were originally more peaceable than the Æsir and quite a few of them are described as gigantic. Maybe, unlike the Æsir, who slew their own ancestor Ymir and waged war on their mother's people, the Vana-gods lived harmoniously with their gigantic parents/forebears so much so that they made no distinction between themselves and their Giant relatives. This [inventively speculative ;)] notion might help explain the almost automatic hostility the Æsir extended towards the Vanir upon first meeting. Anyway, all that just to make my point that perhaps the Fjörgynn and Fjörgyn mentioned by Ellis above may have been Vanir.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
    eirine hatsumi likes this.
  4. hmmm, so maybe it means that the wedding of Frigg and Odin is some sort of like a contract? But even though Odin had mistresses Frigg just shrugged her shoulders, I mean, unlike Hera who turns her wrath to Zeus' lovers.
  5. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    Hmmm... I don't know if I'd go that far... I think I've also read that Frigg was jealous of her husband's other women, who are sometimes referred to as her rivals. But if we believe Loki's accusation against her in Lokasenna, we know that she also was not the most faithful wife, and at some point had a "thing" with both of Óðinn's brothers. Saxo Grammaticus seems to confirm this in his Gesta Danorum. But even if we don't take Frigg's own infidelity into account, a sentiment stemming from Norse culture is that Óðinn sired his many sons especially upon giantesses because the Æsir needed powerful members in order to fight against the forces of "evil" at the Ragnarök. The Norsemen valued powerful sons who could become warriors because their ideal for death was that they went down fighting so that afterwards they would join the gods in Valhalla and eventually support the Æsir against the Giants in the Last Battle. (At least this is how some extramarital affairs were justified, I think.)

    Óðinn's choice of women is more strategic than Zeus's, and also for him it represents an underhanded means of emasculating the Giants: not only do he and his fellow Æsir take their women but the only way in which they return the "favour" is by using the children engendered by these unions against the same race from which they came. I don't think we ever hear of Óðinn having an affair with a woman because he is "in love" with her: for him it is, like the sorcery he practised, just another means of waging war on his enemies, unlike Zeus, for whom it is almost always purely for the sake of pleasure. That might also be the reason that almost all of Óðinn's mistresses were admitted into the pantheon as minor goddesses, and were afforded the status of concubine or secondary wife to him, rather than mistress.

    In the most conventional versions of Greek myth, Hera, unlike Frigg, is never unfaithful to her husband, though there are some interesting, obscure references to a myth about her once having been raped by the Gigantos Eurymedon, and become the mother by him of the Gigantos dragon Typhon and the Titan Prometheus. Typhon was slain, together with Eurymedon and the other Gigantes, in the Gigantomachy, while here the reason that Zeus hates Prometheus and deals him so severely is that he is the god's stepson.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  6. I never thought that way, hmmm now it gets more and more interesting!
    Regarding the Lokasenna, I've read that it happened during Odin's "long" absence that his two brothers took on his throne/seat, divide Odin's "property" (if that's the correct term) as well as Odin's wife, Frigg. But when Odin returned he gained back what was rightfully his, though I'm not sure there's a war between them or what.

    I agree with the difference you explained about Zeus and Odin, but Zeus' children also became important deities, say Herakles ans some of the Olympians. I never heard of Hera raped by Eurymedon before.

    But do you know other account wherein Frigg tried to 'punish' her rivals? Or she just let it be?
  7. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    Yeah, the incident with Óðinn's brothers dividing his property is based on Saxo's Gesta Danorum, in which there are a few power wrangles over the throne, although Saxo's characters are actually human versions of these gods, who by that time were no longer in vogue. About Eurymedon and Hera, like I said, it's a pretty obscure myth, far from the mainstream. I don't recall any account of Frigg entering into a conflict with any of her rivals or their offspring.

    My point about the difference between Óðinn's and Zeus' women and children is that Óðinn consorts deliberately with giantesses in order to beget powerful sons, while Zeus more often than not just happens to be chasing a random skirt (immortal or not, doesn't matter) and accidentally begets a child who, simply by virtue of being his offspring, is powerful. Herakles and Dionysos seem to be the only children Zeus ever sets out to create deliberately (or who are born mortal and then become gods). Nonnos, the writer of the Dionysiaka, seems to believe that Dionysos was created to be a reincarnation of Zeus' ancient beloved son Zagreus, who was dismembered by the Titans centuries before. (Zagreus was himself was merely the result of Zeus' lust for his own daughter Kore.)

    Herakles represents the closest Greek parallel of a child of the chief god being created in order to defeat the Giants, because this is exactly why Zeus begot Herakles. Zeus did not necessarily have "feelings" for Herakles' mother Alkmene: he needed a child more powerful than any he had ever had before, and who would just as easily have been an immortal from birth, except that there was an oracle declaring that the Gigantes could be conquered by the gods only with the help of a mortal. So, yes, Herakles did become a god in his own right eventually, and he was always fated to do so, but first he had to be mortal. Zeus' primary purpose for his life was that he help the gods in their conflict with their enemies. And yes, Dionysos' mortal mother Semele did also become a minor Olympian goddess, but she is one of the few exceptions to the rule, which is that if Zeus' mistress was a goddess, it's because she had always been one. And naturally their offspring would've become a deity him\herself.
  8. Misa

    Misa Member

    I have looked into Hera and her children, besides Typhon and Prometheus (I've never come across the Prometheus bit:oops: - but I have seen Hephaestus as Hera's son alone, what's your obscure source Alejandro?)

    There is Hera's care of the Kharites, and one in particular Pasithea, is mentioned to have Dionysus as a father and Hera as a mother. Her gives her to Hypnos to marry.

    Nonnus, Dionysiaca:
    "[In the war of Dionysos against the Indians:] While the Indians were running drunken on the hills, just then sweet Hypnos (Sleep) plying his vigorous wing, assaulted the wavering eyes of the persistent Indians, and put them to bed, tormented in mind by immoderate wine, doing grace to Pasithea's father, Dionysos."

    Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 103 ff :
    "[Hera commands Iris summon the god of sleep Hypnos:] ‘Promise him Pasithea for his bride, and let him do my need from desire of her beauty. I need not tell you that one lovesick will do anything for hope.’
    At these words, Iris goldenwing flew away peering through the air . . . seeking the wandering track of vagrant Hypnos (Sleep). She found him on the slopes of nuptial Orkhomenos (Orchomenus) [i.e. the home of the Kharites]; for there he delayed again and trailed his distracted foot, a frequent visitor at the door of his beloved Pasithea . . . [Iris disguised as Nyx, Hypnos' mother, spoke to the god:] ‘I have heard that you want one of the Kharites (Charites, Graces); then if you have in your heart an itch for her bedchamber, have a care! Do not provoke Pasithea's mother, Hera the handmaid of wedded love!’"

    Also there is this:

    Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 7 :
    "Those who dive from the top of the rock [of Leukade on the island of Leukos in Western Greece] were, it is said, freed from their love and for this reason: after the death of Adonis, Aphrodite, it is said, wandered around searching for this. She found it in Argos, a town of Kypros, in the sanctuary of Apollon Erithios and ‘l'emporta’ after having told Apollon in confidence the secret of her love for Adonis. And Apollon brought her to the rock of Leukade and ordered her to throw herself from the top of the rock; she did so and was freed from her love. When she sought the reason of this, Apollon told her, it is said, in his capacity as a soothsayer, he knew that Zeus, always enamoured of Hera, had sat on this rock and been delivered from his love."
  9. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    John Potter, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1700s, wrote a commentary on Lykophronos' poem which is entitled either Alexandra or Kassandra while a more ancient bishop, from Thessalonike, namely Eustathios, in the 1100s wrote commentaries on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. According to William Smith's late-1800s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, somewhere in these works Potter and/or Eustathios make mention of the story of Eurymedon succeeding in raping Hera and becoming by her the father of Prometheus [and Typhon]. (In the mainstream version of the myth Eurymedon merely threatens to commit the rape but is killed before he can try.)
  10. Misa

    Misa Member

    This Alexandra/Kassandra of (Lykophron(os) of Khalkis)? : http://www.theoi.com/Text/LycophronAlexandra.html

    Seeing that confused riddle of prophesying, I wish someone would translate Tzetzes's essays into English. Still it is good to have something, if it is the Kassandra/Alexandra you meant.
  11. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016

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