THE SAGA OF HRAERIK ‘BRAGI’ HRAEGUNARSON GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Abbasid Caliphate–Arab dynasty that overthrew Ommayad dynasty in 750 A.D.
Aesir–group of northern gods of the Scandinavian pagan religion, including Odin, Tyr and Thor, in constant conflict with the Vanir, southern gods.
aett–the extended family, including those predeceased and those members yet to be.
althing–annual meeting, during pagan times, in which law was practiced and elections held.
Aurvandil–Thor carried him out of Giantland in a basket, but Aurvandil’s exposed toe froze, so Thor broke it off and threw it up into the sky, where it became a star.
arvel–funeral feast; also, possibly arval.
atheling–warrior or noble.
At-Khazars–White Khazars, a tribe of the Khazar Empire of possible Roman origins, their leaders said to be Porphyrogeniti, born of the purple, a blood-line of the Roman Caesars. They were Jewish in religion and may have finally settled in Poland.
Balder–Aesir god; son of Odin.
banesman–slayer; ie: Hundingsbane = Hunding’s slayer.
barrow–burial mound; also, howe.
berserk–warrior capable of attaining a manic fury in battle in which he is impervious to weapons but is overcome with weakness once the fit is through; also, berserker, shape-changer.
Biarmians–Finno-Ugric tribe of Northern Asia.
bireme–ship having two banks of oars each side.
bragarful–celebration filled with lively speech and brave boasts.
Bragi–Aesir god of poetry; also name of first Scandinavian poet; may also signify one eloquent in speech.
brand–sword; also, blood snake.
Branliv–Slavic byname meaning quarrelsome; possibly eloquent in speech.
buckler–shield; also, targe, leaf of leafy-land(sea).
Bulgars–Turkic tribe that migrated from western China to the Volga River with a second group moving on to Bulgaria; also, Volga Bulgars.
bulwarks–the side strakes of a ship; also, gunwales.
Burtas–Turkic tribe of the middle Volga River.
byrnie–coat of mail armour.
Byzant–gold coin of the Roman Empire.
Byzantine Empire–formed of the Eastern Roman Empire, following the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D., by mostly Greek citizens. Fell to the Turks in 1453 A.D.
Disertus–byname of Hraerik in Saxo’s Fifth Book of Danish History, Latin for eloquent in speech.
disir–female guardian spirits.
drapa–Norse poem of twenty stanzas.
Dregovichi–Slav people of the upper Dniepr River.
Drevjane–Slav people of the middle Dniepr river.
Fafnir–dragon who guarded the Rhinegold treasure; slain by Sigurd the Volsung.
fey–doomed to die.
fleer–to mock or make fun of.
flygting–argumentive or abusive poetry.
Freya–Vanir goddess of fertility.
Freyr–Vanir god of fertility.
Fridleif–early king of Denmark; King Frodi III’s father.
Frigg–Aesir goddess; wife of Odin.
Frodi III–legendary king of Denmark; conqueror of Russia, according to Saxo.
fylgja–female spirit that accompanies each person.
ginungagap–the great abyss into which everything was created.
Greek fire–an incendiary mixture of petroleum spirits and chemicals that bursts into flame, possibly on contact with air. A secret weapon of the Byzantines.
Ghuzz Turks–Turkic tribe found between the Aral and Caspian Seas.
hamingja–fortune or luck.
Havamal–poem telling the words of the high one (Odin); Possibly written by Bragi the Old.
Huns–Turkic tribe migrated from Western China into Europe(c.370 A.D.), attacking the Gothic Empire of Eormanrik and threatening the Roman Empire. Their leader, Attila, was poisoned by the Roman Emperor and the Huns moved on to Gaul. They were defeated at Chalons(451 A.D.) and retired back into Asia, apparently joining the Khazar Empire and settling north of the Caucasus Mountains.
Hymir–sea giant with whom Thor fished for the Midgard serpent.
Ibn Fadlan, Ahmad–Arab geographer and diplomat of the tenth century who recorded a trip up the Volga in which he met Varangian settlers.
Iconoclast–anyone against the veneration of religious pictures or icons.
Kara-Khazars–Black Khazars of the Khazar Empire.
kenning–metaphor or metaphorical rhyme.
Krivichi–Slav people of the upper Moskva River.
Kufa–silver coin of the Arab Caliphate.
Kvasir–god who invented mead.
Loki–Aesir god of mischief.
Magyars–Turkic tribe migrated from Western China to present day Hungary circa 830 to 890 A.D.; also, Turkoi; members of the Khazar Empire.
mead–alcoholic drink made from fermented honey.
Midgard Serpent(Worm)–snake that encircles the world, deep within the sea.
monoxyla–dugout bottomed ship with built up side strakes.
ness–headland or promontory.
nith-song–curse casting or derogatory poem.
norns–three female spirits representing the past, present and future, and controlling the fates of men.
Odin–chief god of the Aesir; god of hosts and battle.
Onogur–Turkic tribe of the Khazar Empire.
Permians–Finno-Ugric tribe of Northern Asia.
Poljane–Slav people of the middle Dniepr River.
pyre–bonfire used to cremate the dead.
Raes, Hraes–theoretical nickname of Hraerik Bragi, from which the names Rus and Rhos may have been derived.
Radimichi–Slav people between the Dniepr and Desna Rivers.
Ragnar Lothbrok–early king of the Danes who slew a dragon in the east; his sons attacked England.
Ragnarsdrapa–ninth century poem by Bragi Boddason dedicated to Ragnar Lothbrok (or possibly Hraegunar Sigurdson?).
Regin–blacksmith who helped Sigurd attack Fafnir.
ran–large Scandinavian house.
Rhinegold hoard–treasure robbed from the dragon Fafnir by Sigurd, who slew the dragon on the advice of Regin. It is an eastern tale with a possible Black Sea locale, but the name of the treasure is, oddly, Germanic.
Rhos–early Greek name for Norsemen and Slavs of Russia.
ring-giver–king or prince.
runes–alphabetic characters of early Germanic writing.
Rus or Rus’–early Slavic name of Norsemen, from which is derived the names Ruthenians and Russians.
sark–shirt or kirtle.
Saxo-Grammaticus–Danish historian of the twelfth century who wrote The First Nine Books of Danish History aka Gesta Danorum; Hraerik’s Saga Bragi is based primarily on the fifth book about King Frodi III and Erik Disertus. Books three and four of his History also contain the tale of Amleth, the earliest form of Hamlet.
Scald or skald–poet; also, thul.
scorn pole–pole carved with runes and topped with the head or skull of a horse meant to cast a curse.
shaman–priest or mystic of Shamanism, the spiritual religion of Northeast Asia and native America.
Sigurd the Volsung–slayer of Fafnir the Dragon for which he won the Rhinegold treasure.
Skaldskaparmal–Snorri Sturluson’s `Words of the Skalds’, a collection of ancient poems demonstrating kennings; second half of the Prose Edda.
skerries–reefs or sandbars.
Snorri Sturlason–twelfth Century Icelandic author of the Prose Edda and possibly Egil’s Saga.
sound–marine passage connecting two bodies of water.
Sovar–Turkic tribe of the Khazar Empire.
strait–narrow passage between two bodies of water.
strake–a row of planks running the length and forming the sides of a ship.
strand–seashore or sandbar off a coast.
thing–assembly (see althing).
Thor–Aesir god of thunder; possible son of Odin.
trireme–ship having three banks of oars on each side.
troll–giant; also, etin.
Tyr–Aesir god of justice.
valkyries–handmaidens of Odin who selected those to die in battle. Also, may have been women who fought in early Germanic battles or worked behind the battle lines slaying the wounded enemy.
Valhall–dwelling place of Odin, where those slain in battle are rewarded.
Vanir–southern gods in constant conflict with the northern Aesir.
Varangians–early Greek and Slavic name for Norsemen in Russia. May have been derived from varanger, possibly meaning way-ranger or way-wanderer.
Viatichi–Slav people of the upper Don River.
Vik–bay area of present-day Oslo.
Vikar–legendary Norwegian king who was sacrificed to Odin by the warrior giant Starkad.
Wends–a main branch of the Slavic peoples; also Poles.
withy–plaited willow twigs used as rope.
worm–dragon or snake.
Ygg–nickname of Odin.