Sleipnir

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Ardre_Odin_Sleipnir.jpg
The Ardre image stone is thought to show Odin entering Valhalla riding on Sleipnir

In Norse mythology, Sleipnir is Odin's magical eight-legged steed, and the greatest of all horses. His name means smooth or gliding, and is related to the English word, "slippery".

Contents

The Eddas

According to the Prose Edda, Loki, in the guise of a mare, gave birth to Sleipnir by Svailfari. Loki returned to Asgard and gave the eight-legged gray colt to Odin, telling him that the horse was the swiftest on earth, and could bear Odin over sea, through the air, and to and from the land of the dead. According to Sigrdrfuml in the Poetic Edda Sleipnir had runes carved on his teeth.

Missing image
Treated_NKS_sleipnir.jpg
Odin rides Sleipnir in this drawing from an 18th century Icelandic manuscript.

Origin and interpretation

It has been suggested that Sleipnir having eight legs is symbolic of the four men who carry a coffin, i.e. a steed to carry the rider into the underworld. It might also be a reference to a real horse with three toes, a genetic manifestation that occasionally happens on the front or rear legs of a horse, usually without harm to the animal. Though rare, it has been seen, (Julius Caesar rode just such a horse in a number of battles) and this might have worked its way into the myth.

Later ideas

sbyrgi, literally "Fort of the sir", in the northeast of Iceland, is said to have been created when Sleipnir's hoof touched down.

A stainless steel statue of Sleipnir is a prominent feature in the United Kingdom Midlands town of Wednesbury (which means Odin's fort).

Familiar forms

The name of Sleipnir is sometimes anglicized as "Sleipner", especially in old popular works.

Template:NorseMythologyca:Sleipnir da:Sleipner de:Sleipnir es:Sleipnir fr:Sleipnir nl:Sleipnir ja:スレイプニル nb:Sleipner nn:Sleipner pl:Sleipnir sv:Sleipner

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