Norse Mythology

Snorri and the Eddas

What was the Prose Edda?

Snorri Sturluson composed the Prose Edda in about 1220 C.E. in elegant Icelandic prose. The Prose Edda begins with the Gylfaginning (the “Deluding of Gylfi”), in which a legendary Swedish king, Gylfi, disguised as a beggar called Gangleri, visits Asgard, the home of the gods, and questions Odin, who is also disguised, and two other mysterious figures, about mythological history. This section owes much to the Poetic Edda and its mythological content. The second section is the Skaldskaparmal (“Poetic Diction”), which supplies rules for traditional poetry and many myths as well. The final section is Hattatal (“Verse Form List”).

The Eddas contain essentially all of what we know about Norse mythology, not only the Norse pantheon, but such myths as the creation, the end of the world (Ragnorak), the hanging of Odin, the death of Baldr, and the world tree (Yggdrasill), to mention only a few.

A 1666 edition of the Prose Edda, originally composed in 1220 by Snorri Sturluson.


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