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In Norse legend Valland is the name the part of Europe which is inhabited by Celtic and Romance speaking peoples.[1] The element Val- is derived from Walha, originally believed to have been the Germanic name for the Celtic Volcae.

Mythological context

In the genealogy section of Flateyjarbók, there are two kings of Valland named Auði and Kjárr, who may have been a late reflection of Julius Caesar and the Roman Emperors in Norse mythology[2]:

Auði hafði Valland ok var faðir Fróða, föður Kjárs, föður Ölrúnar.[3]

Auði ruled Valland and was the father of Fróði, the father of Kjár, the father of Ölrún.[4]

Kjárr and his daughter Ölrún also appear in the Völundarkviða, where she is a Valkyrie who marries the hero Egil:

Þar váru tvær dætr Hlöðvés konungs, Hlaðguðr svanhvít ok Hervör alvitr, in þriðja var Ölrún Kjársdóttir af Vallandi.[5]

Two of them were daughters of King Hlothver, Hlathguth the Swan-White and Hervor the All-Wise, and the third was Olrun, daughter of Kjar from Valland.[6]

Legendary and historical context

In the Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson, Valland is mentioned several times as the Old Norse name for Gaul. It was the country where Rollo carved out Normandy:

Rolf Ganger went afterwards over sea to the West to the Hebrides, or Sudreys; and at last farther west to Valland, where he plundered and subdued for himself a great earldom, which he peopled with Northmen, from which that land is called Normandy.[7]

In Hrómundar saga Gripssonar, the hero Hrómund slays an undead witch-king named Þráinn who had been the king of Valland.

Notes and references

  1. ^ The entry Valnöt in Svensk etymologisk ordbok by Elof Hellquist (1922).
  2. ^ Anderson, Carl Edlund. (1999). Formation and Resolution of Ideological Contrast in the Early History of Scandinavia. Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic (Faculty of English). p. 44.
  3. ^ Ættartölur, a section of Flateyjarbók at «Norrøne Tekster og Kvad», Norway.
  4. ^ Translation provided by Wikipedia editors.
  5. ^ Völundarkviða at «Norrøne Tekster og Kvad», Norway.
  6. ^ Henry A. Bellows' translation of The Lay of Völund.
  7. ^ Harald Harfager's Saga at Northvegr.
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