Forseti

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{law, state, case}
{island, water, area}
{government, party, election}
{language, word, form}
{area, part, region}
{land, century, early}
{war, force, army}
{water, park, boat}

Forseti (Old Norse "the presiding one," actually "president" in Modern Icelandic and Faroese) is an Æsir god of justice and reconciliation in Norse mythology. He is generally identified with Fosite, a god of the Frisians. Jacob Grimm noted that if, as Adam of Bremen states, Fosite's sacred island was Heligoland, that would make him an ideal candidate for a deity known to both Frisians and Scandinavians, but that it is surprising he is never mentioned by Saxo Grammaticus.[1]

Grimm took Forseti, "praeses", to be the older form of the name, postulating an (unattested) Old High German equivalent forasizo (cf. modern German Vorsitzender "one who presides").[2] However, he later came to prefer a derivation from fors, a "whirling stream" or "cataract," connected to the spring and the god's veneration by seagoing peoples.[3] However, in other Old Norse words, for example forboð, "forbidding, ban," the prefix for- has a pejorative sense. So it is more plausible that Fosite is the older name and Forseti a folk etymology.[4]

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Norse Forseti

According to Snorri Sturluson in the Prose Edda,[5] Forseti is the son of Baldr and Nanna. His home is Glitnir, its name, meaning "shining," referring to its silver ceiling and golden pillars, which radiated light that could be seen from a great distance. His is the best of courts; all those who come before him leave reconciled. This suggests skill in mediation and is in contrast to his fellow god Týr, who "is not called a reconciler of men."[6] However, as de Vries points out, the only basis for associating Forseti with justice seems to have been his name; there is no corroborating evidence in Norse mythology.[7] "Puts to sleep all suits" or "stills all strifes" may have been a late addition to the strophe Snorri cites, from which he derives the information.[8]

The first element in the name Forsetlund (Old Norse Forsetalundr), a farm in the parish of Onsøy ('Odins island'), in eastern Norway, seem to be the genitive case of Forseti, offering evidence he was worshipped there.[8][9]

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