Bragi | Norse Mythology


Bragi is the god of poetry in Norse mythology.

He appears in Snorri Sturluson's presentation of the Aesir in the Gylfaginning (26). "He is renowned for his wisdom and above all for his eloquence and verve," he writes, adding that he is "particularly gifted in poetry". As the "inventor of poetry" (Skáldskaparmál, 10), he is Ægir's interlocutor at the banquet that serves as the setting for the Skáldskaparmál.

Snorri also indicates that it is from Bragi that the word bragr is derived, which in Old Norse means "poetry" and "chief " (Gylfaginning, 26); that he is the husband of Idunn, the keeper of the apples of youth (idem) and that he can be referred to as "the long-bearded Ase" (Skáldskaparmál, 10).

The existence of Bragi is however little attested outside Snorri. He appears mainly in the Lokasenna, where he is among the Aesir present at the banquet given by Ægir. Loki mocks his cowardice (13, 15), which is not confirmed elsewhere. Bragi is presented in this poem as Idunn's husband, but not as the god of poetry.

Bragi also appears in the Grímnismál (44), where he is described as the greatest of the scaldes. He also appears in the Eiríksmál (3-4) and the Hákonarmál (14, 16), where he is present at the arrival at Valhalla of two kings who have just died (respectively Eril Bloodaxe and Hákon the Good). In these three texts, however, it is possible that reference is made to the scalde Bragi Boddason rather than to the god.