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26.10.2019

Litr

In Norse mythology Litr (often anglicized as Lit, confer Icelandic litur), which means "colour", is a name borne by a dwarf and a giant.

A giant

But in a stanza by Bragi Boddason quoted in Snorri's Skáldskaparmál (42) Litr is also mentioned in a kenning for Thor: "Lit's men's fight-challenger" ("Litar flotna fangboði"). Given that Thor is the enemy of giants, it is generally assumed that, in this kenning, Litr must refer to a giant. Litr is also a giant in one version of the poem about Thor by Þorbjörn dísarskáld, where the skald lists giants and giantesses killed by the god (but Litr only appears in one manuscript, the others mentioning Lútr instead).

This led John Lindow to suggest that there may have been originally only one Litr, a giant, for "it would not have been inappropriate for Thor to have killed a giant in some earlier version of the funeral of Baldr".

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