Scandinavian Mythology

Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda

13th century, Icelandic: numerous copies in Iceland, Copenhagen.

King Gylfi disguises himself as an old man, gives himself the name Gangleri and enters Odin’s hall.

A major section of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda is called Gylfaginning or the Deluding of Gylfi. Gylfi is a king of Sweden who, impressed by the wisdom and foresight of the Asiatic gods of Asgard – of Odin, Loki and Thor and all the rest – determines to travel to Asgard to question them. So he disguises himself as an old man, gives himself the name Gangleri and enters Odin’s hall.

But it seems that Odin has pre-empted him. During the long succession of questions that Gylfi, disguised as Gangleri, asks, concerning the nature of the universe and of the gods, Snorri lets the trinity of High, Just-As-High and Third (whom Gangleri is addressing and whom one cannot help but suspect is a manifestation of Odin himself, since it is Odin whom Gylfi has come to see and Odin, anyway, who is the chief god of Asgard) – but Snorri lets this high trinity of gods remind Gylfi-disguised-as-Gangleri of a verse from Grimnir’s Sayings in the Poetic Edda in which Odin lists his many names:

‘I am called Grim,' he said,
And Gangleri...’ [!]

Story fragment retold from: Byock, Jesse L, 2005. Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda, Norse Mythology, translated from Old Norse with an introduction. Penguin Books Limited. Gylfaginning, 20. Odin the All-Father, pp 30–2. 'I call myself Grim and Gangleri...' p 31.

Grimnir's Sayings in: Larrington, Carolyne, 1996. The Poetic Edda: a new translation by Carolyne Larrington. Oxford University Press. Grimnir's Sayings, pp 50–60. 'I am called Mask, I am called Wanderer...' p 58.

See for yourself

Snorri Sturluson – Wikipedia

Prose Edda (Younger Edda) – Wikipedia

Poetic Edda (Elder Edda) – Wikipedia

Elder Edda and Younger Edda – Project Gutenberg; free out-of-copyright editions, ebooks

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