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Vé (shrine): Wikis


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In Norse paganism, a is a type of shrine or sacred enclosure. The term appears in skaldic poetry and in place names in Scandinavia (with the exception of Iceland), often in connection with a Norse deity or a geographic feature. The name of the Norse god , refers to the practice.[1] Andy Orchard says that a vé may have surrounded a temple or have been simply a marked, open place where worship occurred. Orchard points out that Tacitus, in his 1st century CE work Germania, says that the Germanic peoples, unlike the Romans, "did not seek to contain their deities within temple walls."[2]



Vé derives from a Common Germanic word meaning sacred or holy, cf. Gothic weihs (holy), Old English wéoh, wig (idol), German weihen (consecrate, sanctify), German Weihnachten (christmas).

References in Norse literature

References to a vé are made in Old Norse literature without emphasis. For example, the Prose Edda quotes a verse of the Skáldskaparmál of Skúli Þórsteinsson and mentions a vé:

Glens beðja veðr gyðju
goðblíð í vé, síðan
ljós kømr gótt, með geislum,
gránserks ofan Mána.[3]
God-blithe bedfellow of Glen
steps to her divine sanctuary
with brightness; then descends the good
light of grey-clad moon.[4]


Odensvi, meaning "Odin's shrine", is one of numerous toponyms named after Odin.

Examples of - appearing in toponyms after the names of Norse gods and goddesses:


  1. ^ Simek (2007:355) and Orchard (1997:173).
  2. ^ Orchard (1997:173–174).
  3. ^ From Finnur Jónsson's edition, here taken from
  4. ^ From Faulkes' translation of the Prose Edda, here divided into four lines for convenience. Snorri Sturluson 1995:93.
  5. ^ Hellquist (1922:93)
  6. ^ The article Härnevi in Nationalencyklopedin.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Hellquist (1922:1116)
  8. ^ Hellquist (1922:519)
  9. ^ Simek (2007:355).
  10. ^ Hellquist (1922:780)
  11. ^ Hellquist (1922:1057)


See also

External links

  • Diagram showing a Vé at Jelling from Jones & Pennick, A History of Pagan Europe, p. 120.


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