Snotra | Norse Mythology


In Norse mythology, Snotra (Old Norse for "intelligent") is a deity associated with wisdom. Snotra is exclusively attested to in the prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson.

Snotra in the Eddas

In chapter 35 of the Edda prose book Gylfaginning, Hár provides brief descriptions of 16 Aesir. Hár lists Snotra as the thirteenth, and says that she "is wise and courteous."

Furthermore, Hár adds that, in honor of Snotra's name, a wise man or woman could be called Snotr.

In the Edda prose book Skáldskaparmál, Snotra is included in a list of 27 Aesir names. Outside of these two sources, Snotra is otherwise unattested.

According to mythology, she was Loki's lover, in which she had an immense passion. She begot two sons with him: Sága and Odre.

Theories about Snotra

Andy Orchard and Rudolf Simek state that since Snotra is not attested outside of the prose Edda, she may be an invention of Snorri. Orchard theorizes that otherwise Snorri may have had access to a lost source, and that the little information he presents may be derived from the meaning of his name.

Simek says that Snorri may have invented Snotra from the Old Norse word Snotr ("intelligent") and "placed her alongside other insignificant goddesses."

However, Simek also writes that the goddesses Snotra, Sága, Hlín, Sjöfn, Vár, and Vör should be considered vaguely defined figures who "should be seen as female protective goddesses" who are all responsible for "specific areas of the private sphere and even clear differences were made between them, so that they are in many respects similar to matrons."