Brísingamen

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{god, call, give}
{son, year, death}
{mi², represent, 1st}

In Norse mythology, Brísingamen (from Old Norse brisinga "flaming, glowing" and men "jewelery, ornament")[1] is the necklace of the goddess Freyja.[2]

Contents

Attestations

Beowulf

Brísingamen is referred to in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf as Brosinga mene. The brief mention in Beowulf is as follows (trans. by Howell Chickering, 1977):

...since Hama bore off
to the shining city the Brosings' necklace,
Gem-figured filigree. He gained the hatred
Of Eormanric the Goth, chose eternal reward.

This seems to confuse two different stories as the Beowulf poet is clearly referring to the Dietrich Cycle. The Þiðrekssaga tells that the warrior Heime (Hama in Old English) takes sides against Eormanric, king of the Goths, and has to flee his kingdom after robbing him; later in life, Hama enters a monastery and gives them all his stolen treasure. However, this saga makes no mention of the great necklace. Possibly the Beowulf poet was confused, or invented the addition of the necklace to give him an excuse to drag in a mention of Eormanric. In any case, the necklace given to Beowulf in the story is not the Brísingamen itself; it's only being compared to it.

Poetic Edda

In the poem Þrymskviða of the Poetic Edda, Thrymr, the King of the Jötuns, steals Thor's Mjolnir. Freyja lends Loki her falcon cloak to search for it; but upon returning, Loki tells Freyja that Thrymr has hidden the hammer and demanded to marry her in return. Freyja is so wrathful that all the Æsir’s halls beneath her are shaken and the necklace Brísingamen breaks off from her neck. Later Thor borrows Brísingamen when he dresses up as Freyja to go to the wedding at Jötunheim.

This myth is also recorded in a Swedish folksong called the Thor song (18th Century), where Freyja is called Miss Frojenborg, "den väna solen" (the fair sun).[3]

Prose Edda

Húsdrápa, a skaldic poem partially preserved in the Prose Edda, relates the story of the theft of Brísingamen by Loki. One day when Freyja wakes up and finds Brísingamen missing, she enlists the help of Heimdall to help her search for it. Eventually they find the thief, who turns out to be Loki who has transformed himself into a seal. Heimdall turns into a seal as well and fights Loki. After a lengthy battle at Singasteinn, Heimdall wins and returns Brísingamen to Freyja.

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