Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/12863
Skaði as a goddess of darkness and death, Skaði as the female by-product of the god Ullr, Skaði as a jǫtunn woman, Skaði as a fairy-tale-princess, Skaði as the representation of the Sami women...
Many ideas have been brought forth about this mysterious figure that is the mythological female Skaði. This is mostly due to the fact that the information about her is quite limited but so rich in details that it gives us many possibilities to interpret her character and discuss her origins. Skaði is such an interesting figure in Norse mythology because she herself is so ambiguous and consequently causes the development of many ambiguous opinions on her.
This paper will be an attempt to assemble information on Skaði's character and to illustrate the ideas about her that have been brought forth based on literary as well as archaeological sources in order to give a better understanding of how the figure of Skaði could have been viewed throughout the Viking Age. In my work I shall address a variety of ideas that scholars have written about and that are connected to Skaði and I will try to outline an idea of her origin and character.
My focus will lie on her classification as both a goddess and a jǫtunn-woman and further on her position of power in both the mythological world and the physical world that are inherently linked. The question of whether Skaði belongs to the deities or to the opposed inhabitants of Jǫtunheimr has been the topic of many discussions and I shall elaborate on this matter and give information on the two ideas throughout my thesis in accordance with the appearance of corresponding evidence.
The sources I will use are literary works from medieval times, place name evidence and archaeological findings, and based on these I will try to define her importance in and influence on both the mythological as well as the physical sphere. Therefore I shall closely examine her interaction with other powerful mythological beings as well as her possible status as a goddess. In connection to this I will also have a close look on evidence that suggests a ritual worship of the figure Skaði.
I will also try to mark out the way in which Skaði's story spread, as it can be seen to be proof of her importance.
I shall furthermore trace different ideas of her origins that are connected to fairy tales from Middle-Europe and also the Sami-society of the North as well as parallels that link her to Roman and Greek mythology.
It shall become clear that the matter of determining Skaði's character will always stay an ambiguous one in almost every aspect and that, in many cases, an idea can neither be dismissed nor be supported extensively. But as I come to the end of my thesis I shall mark out the ideas which I have made out to be supported best by the current literary and archaeological evidence.