World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ginnungagap

Article Id: WHEBN0000012458
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ginnungagap  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Norse cosmology, Norse religion, Norse rituals, Álfheimr, Jötunheimr
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Ginnungagap

In Norse Myth, Ginnungagap ("mighty gap") is the vast, primordial void that existed prior to the creation of the manifest universe. In alternative etymology, linking the ginn- prefix in Ginnungagap with that found in terms with a sacral meaning, such as ginn-heilagr, ginn-regin (both referring to the gods) and ginn-runa (referring to the runes), interprets Ginnungagap as signifying a "magical (and creative) power-filled space".[1]

Creation myth

Ginnungagap appears as the primordial void in the Norse creation account, the Gylfaginning states:

Ginnungagap, the Yawning Void ... which faced toward the northern quarter, became filled with heaviness, and masses of ice and rime, and from within, drizzling rain and gusts; but the southern part of the Yawning Void was lighted by those sparks and glowing masses which flew out of Múspellheim[2]

In the northern part of Ginnungagap lay the intense cold of Niflheim, and to the southern part lay the equally intense heat of Muspelheim. The cosmogonic process began when the effulgence of the two met in the middle of Ginnungagap.

Geographic rationalization

Scandinavian cartographers from the early 15th century attempted to localise or identify Ginnungagap as a real geographic location from which the creation myth derived. A fragment from a 15th-century (pre-Columbus) Old Norse encyclopedic text entitled Gripla (‘‘Little Compendium’’) places Ginnungagap between Greenland and Vinland:

Now is to be told what lies opposite Greenland, out from the bay, which was before named: Furdustrandir hight a land; there are so strong frosts that it is not habitable, so far as one knows; south from thence is Helluland, which is called Skrellingsland; from thence it is not far to Vinland the Good, which some think goes out from Africa; between Vinland and Greenland is Ginnungagap, which flows from the sea called Mare oceanum, and surrounds the whole earth.[3]

Later the 17th century Icelandic bishop Guðbrandur Thorlaksson, also used the name Ginnungegap to refer to a narrow body of water, possibly the Davis Strait, separating the southern tip of Greenland from Estotelandia, pars America extrema, probably Baffin Island.[4]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ De Vries (1977:167); cf. also Dillmann (1998:118-123).
  2. ^ The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, 1916, p. 17.
  3. ^ Gripla, Codex No. 115 translated in The Norse Discovery of America, A.M Reeves, N.L. Beamish and R.B. Anderson, 1906, p. 238.
  4. ^ Seaver, Kirsten "Maps, Myths and Men" Stanford University Press (2004) pp. 247-253.

References

  • Dillmann, F. X. (1998). "Ginnungagap" in: Beck, H., Steuer, H. & Timpe, D. (Eds.) Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, Volume 12. Berlin: de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-016227-X.
  •  
  •  

External links

  • Guðbrandur Thorlaksson's 1606 map of the North Atlantic [1]
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.