AskDefine | Define Frigg

Dictionary Definition

Frigg n : goddess of the heavens and married love; wife of Odin [syn: Frigga]

Extensive Definition

Frigg (or Frigga) is a major goddess in Norse paganism, a subset of Germanic paganism. She is said to be the wife of Odin, and is the "foremost among the goddesses". Frigg appears primarily in Norse mythological stories as a wife and a mother. She is also described as having the power of prophecy yet she does not reveal what she knows. Frigg is described as the only one other than Odin who is permitted to sit on his high seat Hlidskjalf and look out over the universe. The English term Friday derives from the Anglo-Saxon name for Frigg, Frigga.
Frigg's children are Baldr and Höðr, her stepchildren are Hermóðr, Heimdall, Tyr, Vidar, Váli, and Skjoldr. Thor is either her brother or a stepson. Frigg's companion is Eir, a goddess associated with medical skills. Frigg's attendants are Hlín, Gná, and Fulla.
In the Poetic Edda poem Lokasenna 26, Frigg is said to be Fjörgyns mær (etymologically "Fjörgynn's maiden"). The problem is that in Old Norse mær means both "daughter" and "wife", so it's not fully clear if Fjörgynn is Frigg's father or another name for her husband Odin, but Snorri Sturluson interprets the line as meaning Frigg is Fjörgynn's daughter (Skáldskaparmál 27), and most modern translators of the Poetic Edda follow Snorri. The original meaning of fjörgynn was the earth, cf. feminine version Fjorgyn, a byname for Jörð, the earth.

Etymology

Old Norse Frigg (genitive Friggjar), Old Saxon Fri, and Old English Frig are derived from Common Germanic Frijō. Frigg is cognate with Sanskrit prīyā́ which means "wife".. Some have pointed out that the constellation is on the celestial equator and have suggested that the stars rotating in the night sky may have been associated with Frigg's spinning wheel.
Frigg's name means "love" or "beloved one" (Proto-Germanic *frijjō, cf. Sanskrit priyā "dear woman") and was known among many northern European cultures with slight name variations over time: e.g. Friggja in Sweden, Frīg (genitive Frīge) in Old English, and Frika in Wagner's operas. Modern English translations have sometimes altered Frigg to Frigga. It has been suggested that "Frau Holle" of German folklore is a survival of Frigg.
Frigg's hall in Asgard is Fensalir, which means "Marsh Halls." This may mean that marshy or boggy land was considered especially sacred to her but nothing definitive is known. The goddess Saga, who was described as drinking with Odin from golden cups in her hall "Sunken Benches," may be Frigg by a different name.
Frigg was a goddess associated with married women. She was called up by women to assist in giving birth to children, and Scandinavians used the plant Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum) as a sedative, they called it Frigg's grass)
Immediately after Frigg revealed this, the woman vanished. Loki then took hold of the mistletoe, broke it off and went to the thing.
There, Höðr, since he was blind, stood at the edge of the circle of people. Loki offered to help Höðr in honoring Baldr by shooting things at him. Höðr took the mistletoe from Loki and, following Loki's directions, shot at Baldr. The mistletoe went directly through Baldr and he fell to the ground. Baldr was dead.
The gods were speechless and devastated, unable to react due to their grief. After the gods gathered their wits from the immense shock and grief of Baldr's death, Frigg asked the Æsir who amongst them wished "to gain all of her love and favor"
The same story is referenced in one stanza of the poem, Lokasenna, in which Loki insults Frigg by accusing her of infidelity with Odin's brothers:
Hush thee, Frigg, who art Fjorgyn's daughter: Thou hast ever been mad after men. Vili and Ve, thou, Vithrir's spouse, [Vithrir=Odin] Didst fold to thy bosom both.
Modern scholars such as Lee Hollander explain that Lokasenna was intended to be humorous and that the accusations thrown by Loki in the poem are not necessarily to be taken as "generally accepted lore" at the time it was composed. Rather they are charges that are easy for Loki to make and difficult for his targets to disprove, or which they do not care to refute.
Comparisons have been proposed regarding Frigg's role in this story to that of sacred queens during certain periods in ancient Egypt, when a king was king by virtue of being the queen's husband.Gundarsson, Kveldulf Hagan, ed. Our Troth, Volume 1 (Second Edition), Chapter 17, "Frigg," page 327-328. The Troth, 2006. See also http://witcombe.sbc.edu/menkaure/menkaurequeen.html for Egyptian heiress theory.

Historia gentis Langobardorum

The Langobard historian Paul the Deacon, who died in southern Italy in the 790s, was proud of his tribal origins and related how his people once had migrated from southern Scandinavia. In his work Historia gentis Langobardorum, Paul relates how Odin's wife Frea (Frigg/Freyja) had given victory to the Langobards in a war against the Vandals.
In Saxo's Gesta Danorum, however, the gods and goddesses are heavily euhemerized, and Saxo's view on pagan deities is extremely biased, therefore most stories related to pagan gods written in it might not exist in ancient lore. Georges Dumézil linked Saxo's account of Frigg's infidelity and the stolen gold with the burning of Gullveig.

Connection between Frigg and Freyja

Frigg is the highest goddess of the Æsir, while Freyja is the highest goddess of the Vanir. Many arguments have been made both for and against the idea that Frigg and Freyja are really the same goddess, avatars of one another. Some arguments are based on linguistic analysis, others on the fact that Freyja wasn't known in southern Germany, only in the north, and in some places the two goddesses were considered to be the same, while in others they were considered to be different. There are clearly many similarities between the two: both had flying cloaks of falcon feathers and engaged in shape-shifting, Frigg was married to Odin while Freyja was married to Óðr, both had special necklaces, both had a personification of the Earth as a parent, both were called upon for assistance in childbirth, etc.
There is also an argument that Frigg and Freyja are part of a triad of goddesses (together with a third goddess such as Hnoss or Iðunn) associated with the different ages of womankind. The areas of influence of Frigg and Freyja don't quite match up with the areas of influence often seen in other goddess triads. This may mean that the argument isn't a good one, or it may show something interesting about northern European culture as compared to Celtic and southern European culture.
Finally, there is an argument is that Frigg and Freyja are similar goddesses from different pantheons who were first conflated into each other and then later seen as separate goddesses again (see also Frige). This is consistent with the theological treatment of some Greek, Roman, and Egyptian deities in the late classical period.

Toponyms

In Västergötland, Sweden, there is a place called Friggeråker. The cities of Froyle ("Frigg's Hill") and Freefolk ("Frigg's People") in Hampshire, England may be named after Frigg.

Referencess

Frigg in Tosk Albanian: Frija
Frigg in Catalan: Frigg
Frigg in Czech: Frigg
Frigg in Danish: Frigg
Frigg in German: Frigg
Frigg in Estonian: Frigg
Frigg in Modern Greek (1453-): Φρίγκα
Frigg in Spanish: Frigg
Frigg in Esperanto: Frigg
Frigg in French: Frigg
Frigg in Galician: Frigg
Frigg in Korean: 프리그
Frigg in Croatian: Frigg
Frigg in Indonesian: Frigg
Frigg in Icelandic: Frigg Fjörgynsdóttir
Frigg in Italian: Frigg
Frigg in Latvian: Friga
Frigg in Lithuanian: Frigė
Frigg in Dutch: Frigg
Frigg in Japanese: フリッグ
Frigg in Norwegian: Frigg (gudinne)
Frigg in Norwegian Nynorsk: Frigg
Frigg in Polish: Frigg
Frigg in Portuguese: Frigga
Frigg in Romanian: Frigg
Frigg in Russian: Фригг
Frigg in Simple English: Frigg
Frigg in Serbo-Croatian: Frigg
Frigg in Finnish: Frigg
Frigg in Swedish: Frigg
Frigg in Vietnamese: Frigg
Frigg in Turkish: Frigg
Frigg in Vlaams: Frigg
Frigg in Chinese: 弗丽嘉

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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