In Norse mythology, Ýdalir ("yew-dales") is a place where the god Ullr lives. This information comes from the Poetic Edda, a collection of old Norse stories and poems written down in the 13th century. Scholars have different ideas about what Ýdalir might mean in the mythology.
Attestations[change | change source]
Ýdalir is mentioned only in stanza 5 of the poem Grímnismál, found in the Poetic Edda. In this stanza, Odin (disguised as Grímnir) informs young Agnar that Ullr has a home in Ýdalir. Here's a translation of the stanza (Ýdalir is translated as Ydalir):
Theories[change | change source]
Talking about Ýdalir, Henry Adams Bellows says that "the wood of the yew-tree was used for bows in the North just as it was long afterwards for England". Rudolf Simek also says that "this connexion of the god with the yew-tree, of whose wood bows were made, has led to Ullr being seen as a bow-god". Andy Orchard suggests that Ýdalir is a fitting home for the archer-god, Ull. Hilda Ellis Davidson mentions that while Valhalla is well-known in Norse mythology for its association with warfare and death, the significance of other halls like Ýdalir and the goddess Freyja's afterlife realm, Fólkvangr, has been largely forgotten.
Udale in Cromarty, Scotland, was first recorded in 1578, which is believed to have its roots in the Old Norse word "y-dalr". Robert Bevan-Jones suggests a connection between the veneration of Ullr and Ýdalir among the Norse settlers in Scotland, possibly influencing the naming of the location as "ydalr".
Notes[change | change source]
- Orchard (1997:185).
- Thorpe (1907:21).
- Bellows (2004:88).
- Simek (2007:375).
- Davidson (1993:67).
- Bevan-Jones (2002:134).
References[change | change source]
- Bellows, Henry Adams (Trans.) (2004). The Poetic Edda: The Mythological Poems. Courier Dover Publicans. ISBN 0-486-43710-8
- Bevan-Jones, Robert (2002). The Ancient Yew: A History of Taxus baccata. Windgather Press. ISBN 0-9538630-4-2
- Davidson, Hilda Roderick Ellis (1993). The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe (illustrated edition). Routledge. ISBN 0-415-04937-7
- Thorpe, Benjamin (Trans.) (1907). The Elder Edda of Saemund Sigfusson. Norrœna Society.
- Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34520-2
- Simek, Rudolf (2007) translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 0-85991-513-1