Bragi

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{god, call, give}
{son, year, death}
{land, century, early}
{group, member, jewish}

Bragi is the skaldic god of poetry in Norse mythology.

Contents

Etymology

Bragi is generally associated with bragr, the Norse word for poetry. The name of the god may have been derived from bragr, or the term bragr may have been formed to describe 'what Bragi does'. A connection between the name Bragi and English brego 'chieftain' has been suggested but is generally now discounted. A connection between Bragi and the bragarfull 'promise cup' is sometimes suggested, as bragafull, an alternate form of the word, might be translated as 'Bragi's cup'. See Bragarfull.

Attestations

Snorri Sturluson writes in the Gylfaginning after describing Odin, Thor, and Baldr:

In Skáldskaparmál Snorri writes:

That Bragi is Odin's son is clearly mentioned only here and in some versions of a list of the sons of Odin (see Sons of Odin). But "wish-son" in stanza 16 of the Lokasenna could mean "Odin's son" and is translated by Hollander as Odin's kin. Bragi's mother is never named. If Bragi's mother is Frigg, then Frigg is somewhat dismissive of Bragi in the Lokasenna in stanza 27 when Frigg complains that if she had a son in Ægir's hall as brave as Baldr then Loki would have to fight for his life.

In that poem Bragi at first forbids Loki to enter the hall but is overruled by Odin. Loki then gives a greeting to all gods and goddesses who are in the hall save to Bragi. Bragi generously offers his sword, horse, and an arm ring as peace gift but Loki only responds by accusing Bragi of cowardice, of being the most afraid to fight of any of the Æsir and Elves within the hall. Bragi responds that if they were outside the hall, he would have Loki's head, but Loki only repeats the accusation. When Bragi's wife Iðunn attempts to calm Bragi, Loki accuses her of embracing her brother's slayer, a reference to matters that have not survived. It may be that Bragi had slain Iðunn's brother.

A passage in the Poetic Edda poem Sigrdrífumál describes runes being graven on the sun, on the ear of one of the sun-horses and on the hoofs of the other, on Sleipnir's teeth, on bear's paw, on eagle's beak, on wolf's claw, and on several other things including on Bragi's tongue. Then the runes are shaved off and the shavings are mixed with mead and sent abroad so that Æsir have some, Elves have some, Vanir have some, and Men have some, these being beech runes and birth runes, ale runes, and magic runes. The meaning of this is obscure.

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