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The eddas were prose paraphrases of many of the songs (sagas) and legends of Elder generations written by the skalds.

The skalds were responsible for memorizing genealogies, legends and history. None of this was ever written down until the eddas appeared. The skalds were skilled poets but were forbidden from scorning a king in song. However they could break bad news, give advice, buy life and mock death. Their poetry was long and full of kennings, vivid descriptions and history. They held Odhinn in high regard and called poetry sacred mead.

Kennings are phrases were the meaning of something is conveyed in the image of something else. For example, “Tears of Freyja” might mean gold.

Drapas were poems or eulogies for a king or great man with a regular refrain (usually a set of stanzas). The flokkr has no refrain.

The skald Egil:

By sun and moon
I journeyed west,
My sea-borne tune
From Odin’s breast,
My song-ship packed
With poet’s art:
It’s word-keel cracked
The frozen heart.


Rage Of The Norsemen Odhinn_AllFather