RMN Newsletter 15-16



For individual articles, click the titles below.


Editor’s Note: Transitions and Transformations 6


Towards a Phrasebook of Methodology in Viking Studies: A Perspective from the Study of Religion 7

Luke John Murphy

This article attempts to alleviate what it identifies as an ‘issue of communication and shared understanding’ in Viking Studies: the range of methodological concepts used in different discourses within the field. It proposes a set of approximate equivalences between a range of such methodological concepts, organised into two groups, intended to allow scholars to roughly but efficiently locate scholarship from outside their own speciality within more familiar systems of meaning.

Theonyms, Alignment and Social Stance-Taking: From Bronze-Age Borrowings to Baby Names 22


Names of gods and other mythic agents are commonly seen as emblematic of the respective religions with which they are associated, both for researchers and for people involved in religious encounters. This paper explicates the relationship between names, images of mythic agents and people’s social alignments with religious or cultural identities. These factors produce sociolinguistic perspectives on both theonym etymologies and on uses of the same names today.

The Mammoth Sonata 40

Julien d’Huy

Mammoths have long been extinct, yet they seem to have left traces in cultural memory of peoples in the northern half of the northern hemisphere. As the largest and most powerful land animal encountered in those parts of the world, there can be little doubt that mammoths were integrated into the mythologies of these peoples. The present study explores this possibility and what might be reconstructed of such mythology.

The Sea/Earth/Heaven Formula in Cracovian Mythology, in Master Vincent’s Chronica Polonorum, the Old Norse griðamál and Other Similar Formulas 50

Leszek Słupecki

The early 13th-century Chronica Polonorum contains a tripartite sea/earth/heaven formula unique for medieval Polish sources but paralleled by a Germanic earth/heaven/sea formula. The Polish source and example are introduced and the Germanic comparative material is surveyed, including the more widely recognized bipartite earth/heaven (Old Norse jǫrð/upphiminn) formula, with some currently unrecognized examples. The strongest parallel is found in the Old Norse griðamál, and the possibility of Scandinavian influence is considered.

The Motivation Behind the Norwegian Law of 1604: The Danish Translations of a 13th-Century Norwegian Law-Code 57

Helen F. Leslie-Jacobsen

In the 16th century, numerous translations into Danish were made of the 13th-century Old Norwegian law-code, the Landslov, which was still in force in Norway. This article argues that these translations were made not only due to the linguistic difficulties facing Danes working with a law-code in Old Norwegian, but also reflect an attempt to stop the Norwegian legal system fracturing as a consequence of a multitude of Danish versions of the law.


The Missing Factor: A Timely Reminder 66

Jill Bradley

Responding to an article published in a previous number of the journal, a perspective is offered here on our drive to interpret and understand features of cultures in the past, and how, in so doing, we can easily lose sight of the fact that cultures are made up of people, who are themselves thinking and interpreting from diverse and sometimes unexpected perspectives.

At the Origin of Flood Mythologies: Synthesis of Three Papers 70

Julien d’Huy

This is short article offers a survey of three statistically based phylogenetic studies of flood myths around the world. The three studies have been published in French. The results offer perspectives on the flood myths of the world having spread with population movements already in the Palaeolithic era. The purpose of this article is to make these results accessible to a wider readership with an added discussion of the collective findings.

Oppositions in Folktales and Myths: Textometric Approach 77

Julien d’Huy

This study introduces lexical proximity analysis applied to motif and tale-type summaries in order to identify structural oppositions, assess their relative prominence in a corpus and enable further analysis. Findings are presented and discussed from a pilot study to assess Claude Lévi-Strauss’s hypothesis that myths are characterized by ‘strong’ oppositions while folktales are not. The methodology of lexical analysis can, however, be applied with a variety of aims.


Austmarr Network Updates: Genius loci and European Connections 81

Kendra Willson

Methodology in Mythology: Aarhus Old Norse Mythology Conference 86

Konsta I. Kaikkonen & Jan A. Kozák

11th Annual Aarhus Student Symposium on Viking and Medieval Scandinavian Subjects 93

Amelia Herridge Ishak

Personal Names and Cultural Reconstructions 90

Jaakko Raunamaa


Guder og gudinder i nordisk mytologi [‘Gods and Goddesses in Norse Mythology’] 96

Karen Bek-Pedersen

Folklore and Old Norse Mythology 97

Frog and Joonas Ahola (eds.)


Outlanders? – Resource Colonisation, Raw Material Exploitation and Networks in Middle Iron Age Sweden 100

Andreas Hennius

The Perception of Thunder Gods in Scandinavian and Northern Baltic Cultural Milieus: Idiosyncrasies, Changes and Possible Parallels 103

Victor Hugo Sampaio Alves

Early Modern Finno-Karleian Healing Practices in the Light of Cognitive Science and Ritual Theories 107

Siria Kohonen

Poetry as Ritual in Pre-Christian Nordic Religion 109

Simon Nygaard

Kenning Variation and Lexical Selection in Early Skaldic Verse 113

Bianca Patria

Lost in Translation: Adapting Supernatural Concepts from Old French Chivalric Literature into the Old Norse riddarasǫgur 114

Felix Lummer


The God on the Windy Tree: Christian Origins of the Figure of Wodan in the Cross-Cultural Relations of Northern Europe 118

B.O.B. van Strijen

Artemis, Diana, and Skaði: A Comparative Study 119

Giulia Mancini

The Age of the Eddic Poems: Of/um-Particle as Criterium for Dating 120

Leiv Olsen

Die altwestnordischen Adaptionen des Nicodemusevangeliums (Gesta salvatoris): Übersetzung und Kommentar [‘The Old West Norse Adaptions of the Gospel of Nicodemus (Gesta Salvatoris): Translation and Commentary‘] 122

Tom Lorenz


Call for Editors of RMN Newsletter 124