Was Guðmundr á Glasisvǫllum Irish?

  • Felix Lummer University of Iceland

Abstract

This article tackles the question of a possible Irish origin for the Old Norse literary figure Guðmundr á Glasisvǫllum. The images of Guðmundr, his realm Glasisvellir, and the sometimes associated territory of Ódáinsakr fluctuate in various ways in the different saga narratives in which they occur. The variability of the Guðmundr á Glasisvǫllum narrative has caused scholars to debate its possible origin for over a century. The more widely supported notion is that a mythological compound around Guðmundr must have originated in Irish mythology and folklore rather than being an indigenous, Nordic construct. The present article aims to follow up on this discussion, comparing the original Old Norse source material and that found in Gesta Danorum to Irish accounts that might have influenced them. By highlighting the differences between the Guðmundr á Glasisvǫllum complex and the suggested Irish sources, the degree to which it seems likely the motif could actually have originated in Irish thought will be assessed. Norwegian folk tales about the magical island Utrøst will then be considered to highlight the possibility of a more local background for Guðmundr and his realm.

Published
2019-06-29
How to Cite
Lummer, F. (2019). Was Guðmundr á Glasisvǫllum Irish?. Temenos - Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion, 55(1), 75-95. Retrieved from https://journal.fi/temenos/article/view/83426