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RMN Newsletter 17

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Editor’s Note: Rounding the Turn 5


Vǫluspá in a Holistic Reading 6

            Henning Haglskær Kure

In broad lines and select details, this reading of Vǫluspá sketches out the poem as a meaningful whole by making use of a structural story model for textual analysis. The poem is thereby seen to express the grand existential scheme of a heathen worldview, giving rise along the way to new thoughts, suggestions, and speculations on issues of translation and interpretation that have engaged commentators for ages.

From Proto-Germanic *þur(i)saz to Karelian Iku Turso: A Case of Mythology, Language and the Lived Environment I: Proto-Germanic *þur(i)saz as Noun and Theonym 20


This article is the first in a three-part series that explores the borrowing of Proto-Germanic *þur(i)saz into Middle Proto-Finnic as *tur(i)sas, which designated a water monster and in Karelian epic parallels Þórr’s fishing for the World Serpent. The article series argues that framing *þur(i)saz in terms of ‘mythology’ is anachronistic and obfuscates the word’s background. This instalment provides foundations for comparison with a study of Proto-Germanic *þur(i)saz.

Mímir’s Head as Skull Cup, the Conclusion of the Æsir-Vanir War and the Drink of Sovereignty 44

            Emily Lyle

The proposal offered here goes some way towards reconciling the main divergent accounts centred on Mímir, the one concerning his well and the other concerning his severed head (Simpson 1962–65). The missing link is the assumed preservation of the head by removing flesh from the skull rather than by mummifying it. A form of the Mímir story in the Æsir-Vanir war is posited in which Mímir’s head was preserved as a skull cup and interaction with it was through drinking from it. This in turn offers fresh insights on the drink it contained both in myth and in the ritual of inauguration.

Binding Monsters in Swedish-Speaking Finland, Scandinavia, Finland, and Karelia: A Case Study from Åland 55

            Jesse Barber

Scholars have widely debated whether mythological motifs move through inheritance within language families or through diffusion within geographic areas. This debate has been especially central to the comparison of Scandinavian and Finno-Karelian mythology and folklore. This article gives an example of a mythic motif crossing linguistic boundaries, namely through an Ålandic legend about a ritual specialist binding a sea monster through the use of magic.


Conference Announcement: Austmarr XI 65

          Gwendolyne Knight and Frog

Hybrids and Metamorphoses: Aarhus Old Norse Mythology Conference 66

          Adèle Kreager

18th International Saga Conference: Sagas and the Circum-Baltic Arena 70

         Clare Mulley and Gwendolyne Knight


Myth and History in Celtic and Scandinavian Traditions 73

          Emily Lyle

Weathered Words: Formulaic Language and Verbal Art 75

         Frog and William Lamb (eds.)


Research Projects

Materiality, Verbal Art, Mythic Knowledge and the Lived Environment – Aineellisuus, suullinen runous, myyttinen tieto ja eletty ympäristö (ASME) 80

      Frog, Joonas Ahola, Jesse Barber, Heidi Henrikka Mäkelä,

      Tuukka Karlsson, Siria Kohonen & Karina Lukin