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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sigurd

Mythopedia - A Wikipedia Research

Sigurd (Old Norse: Sigurðr, German: Siegfried) was a legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. As Siegfried, he is the hero in the German Nibelungenlied, and Richard Wagner's operas Siegfried and Gotterdammerung.
The Volsunga SagaIn the Volsung Saga, Sigurd is the posthumous son of Sigmund and his second wife, Hiordis. Sigmund dies in battle when he attacks Odin, and Odin shatters Sigmund's sword. Dying, Sigmund tells Hjordis of her pregnancy and bequeaths the fragments of his sword to his unborn son. Hiordis marries King Alf, and Alf sends Sigurd to Regin as a fosterling. Regin tempts Sigurd to greed and violence by first asking Sigurd if he has control over Sigmund's gold. When Sigurd says that Alf and his family control the gold and will give him anything he desires, Regin asks Sigurd why he consents to a lowly position at court. Sigurd replies that he is treated as an equal by the kings and can get anything he desires. Then Regin asks Sigurd why he acts as stableboy to the kings and has no horse of his own. Sigurd then goes to get a horse. An old man (Odin in disguise) advises Sigurd on choice of horse, and in this way Sigurd gets Grani, a horse derived from Odin's own Sleipnir. Finally, Regin tempts Sigurd by telling him the story of the Otter's Gold. Regin's father was Hreidmar, and his brothers were Fafnir and Ótr. Regin was a natural at smithing, and Otr was natural at swimming. Otr used to swim at Andvari's waterfall, where the dwarf Andvari lived. Andvari often assumed the form of a pike and swam in the pool. One day, the Æsir saw Otr with a fish on the banks, thought him an otter, and Loki killed him. They took the carcass to the nearby home of Hreidmar to display their catch. Hreidmar, Fafnir, and Regin seized the Æsir and demanded compensation for the death of Otr. The compensation was to stuff the body with gold and cover the skin with gold. Loki got the net from the sea giantess Rán, caught Andvari (as a pike), and demanded all of the dwarf's gold. Andvari gave the gold, except for a ring. Loki took this ring, too, although it carried a curse of death on its bearer. The Æsir stuffed Otr's body with gold and covered its skin in gold and covered the last exposed place (a whisker) with the ring of Andvari. Afterward, Fafnir killed Hreidmar and took the gold. Sigurd agrees to kill Fafnir, who has turned himself into a dragon in order to be better able to guard the gold. Sigurd has Regin make him a sword, which he tests by striking the anvil. The sword shatters, so he has Regin make another. This also shatters. Finally, Sigurd has Regin make a sword out of the fragments that had been left to him by Sigmund. The resulting sword, Gram, cuts through the anvil. To kill Fafnir the dragon, Regin advises him to dig a pit, wait for Fafnir to walk over it, and then stab the dragon. An old man (Odin) advises Sigurd to dig several trenches also to drain the blood, and to bathe in it after killing the dragon; bathing in Fafnir's blood confers invulnerability. Sigurd does so and kills Fafnir; Sigurd then bathes in the dragon's blood, which touches all of his body except part of his shoulder where a leaf has stuck. Regin then asks Sigurd to give him Fafnir's heart. Sigurd tastes Fafnir's blood and gains the power to understand the language of birds. Birds advise him to kill Regin, since Regin is plotting Sigurd's death. Sigurd beheads Regin, roasts Fafnir's heart, and consumes part of it. This gives him the gift of "wisdom" (prophecy). Sigurd met Brynhildr, a "shieldmaiden," after killing Fafnir. She pledges herself to him but also prophecies his doom and marriage to another. (In Volsung saga, it is not clear that Brynhild is a Valkyrie or in any way supernatural.) Sigurd went to the court of Heimar, who was married to Bekkhild, sister of Brynhild, and then to the court of Gjúki, where he came to live. Gjuki had three sons and one daughter by his wife, Grimhild. The sons were Gunnar, Hogni and Guttorm, and the daughter was Gudrun. Grimhild made an "Ale of Forgetfulness" to make Sigurd forget Brynhild, and he then married Gudrun. Later, Gunnar wanted to court Brynhild. Brynhild's bower was surrounded by flames, and she promised herself only to the man daring enough to go through them. Only Grani, Sigurd's horse, would do it, and only with Sigurd on it. Sigurd exchanged shapes with Gunnar, rode through the flames, and won Brynhild for Gunnar. Some time later, Brynhild taunted Gudrun for having a better husband, and Gudrun explained all that had passed to Brynhild and explained the deception. For having been deceived and cheated of the husband she had desired, Brynhild plots revenge. First, she refuses to speak to anyone and withdraws. Eventually, Sigurd was sent by Gunnar to see what was wrong, and Brynhild accuses Sigurd of taking liberties with her. Gunnar and Hogni plot Sigurd's death and enchant their brother, Guttorm, to a frenzy to accomplish the deed. Guttorm kills Sigurd in bed, and Brynhild kills Sigurd's three year old son. Brynhild then wills herself to die, and a funeral pyre is built for Guttorm (killed by Sigurd), Sigurd, Brynhild, and Sigurd's son. Sigurd and Brynhild had the daughter Aslaug who married Ragnar Lodbrok.
Illustration

The Ramsund carving in SwedenThe Ramsund carving depicts
how Sigurd is sitting naked in front of the fire preparing the dragon heart, from Fafnir, for his foster-father Regin, who is Fafnir's brother. The heart is not finished yet, and when Sigurd touches it, he burns himself and sticks his finger into his mouth. As he has tasted dragon blood, he starts to understand the birds' song.
The birds say that Regin will not keep his promise of reconciliation and will try to kill Sigurd, which causes Sigurd to cut off Regin's head.
Regin is dead beside his own head, his smithing tools with which he reforged Sigurd's sword Gram are scattered around him, and
Regin's horse is laden will the dragon's treasure.
is the previous event when Sigurd killed Fafnir, and
shows Otr from the saga's beginning.
Parallels in other legendsThere are parallels in several European myths and legends. The sword Sigmund draws from Branstock is similar to the sword drawn by King Arthur from the stone. The story of Sigurd eating the heart of the dragon is very similar to the Irish story of Fionn mac Cumhail eating the salmon of knowledge. Sigurd's invulnerability and his weak point are similar to those of the Greek hero Achilles , the Persian hero Esfandyar, and the Duryodhana story of India's Mahabharata epic.

Cultural impact
The Norwegian royal family claimed descent from Sigurd and the Volsungs. Furthermore, because dragons were seen as symbols of Satan in medieval typologies, the story of Sigurd slaying Fafnir was often depicted in Christian churches in Scandinavia.
Adaptations of the legendThe best-known adaptation of the Sigurd legend is Richard Wagner's opera cycle Ring of the Nibelung, where the Sigurd legend provides the basis of the plots to The Valkyrie, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. In 1884 the French composer Ernest Reyer wrote the lesser-known opera "Sigurd," which has the benefit of condensing the story into one evening, with equally stirring music. The illustrator Arthur Rackham drew 70 vibrant renderings of the story for the book "Siegfried & The Twilight of the Gods," translated by Margaret Armour (1910). William Morris's epic poem "Sigurd the Volsung" is a major retelling of the story in English verse. Modern retellings/distillations of the legend are found in James Baldwin's Story of Siegfried and the Sci Fi Channel's . While not straight adaptations, elements of the legend were likely borrowed by J. R. R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings (a special golden ring and a shattered sword which is reforged), as well as in the story of Túrin Turambar from The Silmarillion (specifically in the slaying of Glaurung the dragon). Namco adapted the legend for the game Soul Calibur in which Siegfried, a German knight who murdered his own father, wields the unholy sword Soul Edge, and transforms into 'Nightmare' Nightmare's right arm resembles that of a dragon. Sigfried is also the name of a minor villain character of the anime Saint Seiya. In the second story-arc of the series, Seiya and the other Saints of Athena must battle against the God warriors of Odin whose most powerful warrior is named Siegfried.
See also
Ramsund carving
Ring cycle
The Völsung Cycle is the name of a series of Germanic legends based on the same matter as Niebelungenlied, and which were recorded in medieval Iceland...... Click the link for more information.
Völsunga saga is a late 13th century Icelandic prose rendition of the origin and decline of the Volsung clan (including the story of Sigurd and Brynhild..... Click the link for more information.
The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius...... Click the link for more information.
Norna-Gests þáttr or the Story of Norna-Gest is a legendary saga about the Norse hero Norna-Gest...... Click the link for more information.
Andvarinaut was a magical ring, first owned by Andvari.The ring was acquired deceitfully from Andvari by Loki...... Click the link for more information.
Gram was the name of the sword that Sigurd (Siegfried) used to kill the dragon Fafnir. It was forged by Weyland The Smith and originally belonged to his father,..... Click the link for more information.
Andvari was a dwarf who lived underneath a waterfall and had the power to change himself into a fish at will...... Click the link for more information.
Hreidmar was the avaricious king of the dwarf folk, who captured three gods with his unbreakable chains. He was father of Fafnir, Ótr and Regin...... Click the link for more information.
OTR and Otr may refer to:
Off-the-record messaging, an instant messenger encryption technology
Ótr, a dwarf in Norse mythology
..... Click the link for more information.
Regin was the son of Hreidmar and foster father of Sigurd. Regin had all wisdom and deftness of hand...... Click the link for more information.
Fáfnir (Old Norse) or Frænir (Faroese) was a son of the dwarf king Hreidmar and brother of Regin and Ótr...... Click the link for more information.
Vǫlsung was murdered by the Geatish king Siggeir and avenged by one of his sons, Sigmund. Vǫlsung was the common ancestor of the ill-fortuned clan of..... Click the link for more information.
Sigmund was a hero whose story is told in Volsunga saga. He and his sister, Signy, are the children of Volsung...... Click the link for more information.
Signy is the name of two heroines in two connected legends from Scandinavian mythology which were very popular in medieval Scandinavia...... Click the link for more information.
Sinfjötli (in Old Norse) or Fitela (in Anglo-Saxon) in Norse mythology was born out of the incestuous relationship between Sigmund and his sister Signy...... Click the link for more information.
Helgi Hundingsbane was a hero in the Norse sagas, who appears in the Volsunga saga and in two lays in the Poetic Edda named ..... Click the link for more information.
Gudrun, who is called Kriemhild in the Nibelungenlied, was the sister of Gunnar. She was also one of the valkyries...... Click the link for more information.
Hunaland and its people are mentioned several times in the Poetic Edda, and in the Fornaldarsagas...... Click the link for more information.
The Nibelungenlied is an epic poem in Middle High German. It tells the story of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, and of his wife's..... Click the link for more information.
Hagbard and Signy (Signe) (the Viking Age) or Habor and Sign(h)ild..... Click the link for more information.
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. See IPA chart for English for an English-​based pronunciation key...... Click the link for more information.
Norse, Scandinavian or Germanic mythology comprises the pre-Christian religion, beliefs and legends of the Scandinavian people, including those who..... Click the link for more information.
Völsunga saga is a late 13th century Icelandic prose rendition of the origin and decline of the Volsung clan (including the story of Sigurd and Brynhild..... Click the link for more information.
The Nibelungenlied is an epic poem in Middle High German. It tells the story of dragon-slayer Siegfried at the court of the Burgundians, and of his wife's..... Click the link for more information.
Birth name Wilhelm Richard WagnerBorn December 17, 1770Origin Leipzig, GermanyDied February 13, 1883Venice, Italy..... Click the link for more information.
Siegfried is the third of the four operas that comprise Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), by Richard Wagner...... Click the link for more information.
Sigmund was a hero whose story is told in Volsunga saga. He and his sister, Signy, are the children of Volsung...... Click the link for more information.
Odin (Old Norse Óðinn) is considered the chief god in Norse mythology and Norse paganism, like the Anglo-Saxon Woden..... Click the link for more information.
Yngvi and Alf were two legendary Swedish kings of the House of Yngling.According to Ynglingatal, Historia Norwegiae and ..... Click the link for more information.
Regin was the son of Hreidmar and foster father of Sigurd. Regin had all wisdom and deftness of hand...... Click the link for more information.
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