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24.09.2019

Farbauti

In Norse mythology, Farbauti (Old Norse: "cruel striker") is the jotunn husband of Laufey and the father of Loki, and possibly also of Helblindi and Byleistr. He is attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in the poetry of Viking Age skalds. Farbauti's name and character are thought to have been inspired by the observation of the natural phenomena surrounding the appearance of wildfire.

In the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, the enthroned figure of High says Loki is the son of the jötunn Fárbauti and that "Laufey or Nál is his mother". In Skaldskaparmal, Farbauti receives another three mentions. In chapter 16, Lokakenningar or "ways of referring to Loki" are provided, one of which reads "son of Farbauti and Laufey, or Nal". In chapter 17, a work by the 10th century skald Ulfr Uggason is quoted referring to Loki as "Farbauti's terribly sly son". In chapter 22, Farbauti is referenced in the Haustlong of 10th century skald pjodolfr of Hvinir, where Loki is referred to as "Farbauti's son".

If, as according to Axel Kock, Farbauti as "dangerous striker" refers to "lightning", the figure would appear to be part of an early nature myth alluding to wildfire (Loki) being produced by lightning (Farbauti) striking dry tinder such as leaves (Laufey) or pine needles (Nal). Though not directly attested in any original source, scholars have considered Loki's brothers Helblindi and Byleistr to also be sons of Farbauti. However, their exact role in the presumably ancient mythic complex surrounding Loki's family remains largely unclear.

 

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