The mythological Norse ravens Huginn and Muninn: Interrogators of the newly slain

William Sayers


In preference to the common assumption that Óðinn’s ravens daily gather general in­formation from around the world and report back to their master, this study identifies their principal informants as the newly dead (recently slain warriors and hanged men), and the information gathered not simply wisdom but tactical intelligence needed for the eventual cataclysmic battle of Ragnarǫk, in which Óðinn’s troop of fallen warriors, the Einherjar of Valhǫll (named in Gylfaginning in the same context as the ravens), will also participate. The study addresses the central questions of chthonic wisdom, of how the dead (are presumed to) know what is hidden from the living, and why Snorri, in contrast to the skalds, paints an innocuous picture of the ravens.

Słowa kluczowe: Óðinn, ravens, death, Ragnarǫk, religious conversion

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