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gul

Skögul

Skögul or Geirskögul is a valkyrie in Norse mythology. She is attested in Völuspá and occurs as a minor character in Hákonarmál. Her name is commonly found in kennings. Aside from this the character is unknown, but her mention on a 13th century runic inscription from Bergen indicates that she may have once been a major character in Norse mythology.

Völuspá

In Völuspá, both the names Skögul and Geirskögul (Spear-Skögul) occur in a list of valkyrie names, apparently for separate beings.

Sá hon valkyrjur
vítt um komnar
görvar at ríða
til Goðþjóðar.
Skuld helt skildi,
en Skögul önnur,
Gunnr, Hildr, Göndul
ok Geirskögul.
Nú eru talðar
nönnur Herjans,
görvar at ríða
grund, valkyrjur.
She saw valkyries
come from far and wide,
ready to ride
to the ranks of the gods;
Skuld held a shield,
and Skögul was another,
Gunnr, Hildr, Göndul,
and Geirskögul.
Now Herjann’s (i.e. Odin's) maidens
have been counted,
valkyries ready
to ride over the land.

Hákonarmál

In Hákonarmál, Odin sends forth Göndul and Skögul to choose which king should be taken to Odin's halls. In this poem the names Skögul and Geir-Skögul refer to the same being.

1. Göndul ok Skögul
sendi Gauta-týr
at kjósa of konunga,
hverr Yngva ættar
skyldi með Óðni fara
ok í Valhöll vesa.

...

10. Göndul þat mælti,
studdisk geirskapti:
vex nú gengi goða,
es Hákoni hafa
með her mikinn
heim bönd of boðit.

11. Vísi þat heyrði,
hvat valkyrjur mæltu
mærar af mars baki,
hyggiliga létu
ok hjalmaðar sátu
ok höfðusk hlífar fyrir.

12. Hví þú svá gunni
skiptir, Geir-Skögul,
órum þó verðir gagns frá goðum?
Vér því völdum.
es velli helt
en þínir fíandr flugu.

13. Ríða vit skulum,
kvað en ríkja Skögul,
grœnna heima goða,
Óðni at segja,
at nú mun allvaldr koma
á hann sjalfan at séa.
1. Göndul and Skögul
were sent by Gauta-Týr (i.e. Odin)
to chose among kings
who of the House of Yngling,
should go to Odin
and dwell in Valhalla.

...

10. Göndul spoke this
supported by the shaft of a spear:
"Now the power of the gods grows
since the bonds (i.e. gods) have invited
Hákon to their home
with a great army."

11. The king heard
what the noble valkyries spoke
from horseback.
They seemed wise
and sat with helmets
and had shields before them.

12. "Why did you, Spear-Skögul,
decide the battle like that?
Weren't we worthy of victory from the gods?"
"We have caused
that you held the field
and your enemies ran."

13. "We shall ride,"
said the powerful Skögul,
"to the green lands of the gods,
to tell Odin
that now a king will come
to look at him."

Kennings

The name Skögul is common as a valkyrie name in kennings. Examples follow.
borð Sköglar "board of Skögul" (shield)
dynr Sköglar "din of Skögul" (battle, e.g. in Glymdrápa)
eldr Sköglar "fire of Skögul" (sword)
gagl Sköglar "gosling of Skögul" (raven)
kápa Sköglar "cape of Skögul" (byrnie)
veðr Sköglar "wind of Skögul" (battle, e.g. in Hákonarmál)

The name Geirskögul does not appear in kennings, perhaps because trisyllabic names are somewhat difficult to handle in the dróttkvætt meter.

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