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02.10.2019

Gerdr

In Norse mythology, Gerdr (Old Norse "fenced-in") is a jötunn, goddess, and the wife of the god Freyr. Gerdr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson; and in the poetry of skalds. Gerdr is sometimes modernly anglicized as Gerd or Gerth.

In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Freyr sees Gerdr from a distance, becomes deeply lovesick at the sight of her shimmering beauty, and has his servant Skírnir go to Jötunheimr (where Gerdr and her father Gymir reside) to gain her love. In the Poetic Edda Gerðr initially refuses, yet after a series of threats by Skírnir she finally agrees. In the Prose Edda, no mention of threats are made. In both sources, Gerdr agrees to meet Freyr at a fixed time at the location of Barri and, after Skírnir returns with Gerdr's response, Freyr laments that the meeting could not occur sooner. In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Gerdr is described as the daughter of Gymir and the jötunn Aurboða.

In Heimskringla, Gerdr is recorded as the wife of Freyr, euhemerized as having been a beloved king of Sweden. In the same source, the couple are the founders of the Yngling dynasty and produced a son, Fjölnir, who rose to kinghood after Freyr's passing and continued their line. Gerdr is commonly theorized to be a goddess associated with the earth. Gerdr inspired works of art and literature.

 

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