Mythological Creations
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Этимология названия

Валькирия с древнеисландского можно дословно перевести как «выбирающая убитых».

Мифология

Валькирия в скандинавской мифологии — дочь славного воина или конунга, которая реет на крылатом коне над полем битвы и решает, кому из воинов выжить в битве, а кому − погибнуть. Погибшие отправляются в небесный чертог — Вальхаллу, которой правит бог Один. С гривы её коня (облака) капает оплодотворяющая роса, а от её меча исходит свет.

В Вальхалле умершие воины становятся эйнхерджарами (древнескандинавскими «одиночными (или однократными) бойцами»). Когда эйнхерджары не готовятся к событиям Рагнарёка, валькирии приносят им мед. Валькирии также появляются как любители героев и других смертных, где их иногда называют дочерьми королевской семьи, иногда сопровождаются воронами, а иногда связаны с лебедями или лошадьми.

В скандинавской мифологии

Девы-воительницы изображаются в доспехах, шлемах с рогами или крыльями, со щитами и копьями. От блеска их доспехов, согласно поверьям, на небе возникает северное сияние.

Миссия валькирий — сопровождать погибших героев в Вальхаллу. Кроме того, в Вальхалле валькирии прислуживают воинам за столом, разнося им мёд. Иногда им даруется право решать исход битвы, а иногда они лишь выполняют веления Одина. В мифах валькирии предстают дочерьми Одина.

В героических песнях «Старшей Эдды» валькирии приобретают черты женщин-богатырей. Они фигурируют в качестве возлюбленных героев Хельга и Велунда. Валькирию Сигрдриву, в последующей традиции отождествлённую с Брюнхильд, Один наказывает и погружает в сон (она больше не будет участвовать в битвах и выйдет замуж) за то, что она его ослушалась и в поединке между конунгами дала победу не Хьяльм-Гуннару (которому Один обещал победу), а Агнару; её пробуждает великий герой Зигфрид («Старшая Эдда», «Речи Сигрдривы»).

Валькирий, по различным источникам, насчитывается либо девять, либо тринадцать.

Археологическая запись

Женские фигуры, носители кубков и рогов

Viking Age stylized silver amulets depicting women wearing long gowns, their hair pulled back and knotted into a ponytail, sometimes bearing drinking horns, have been discovered throughout Scandinavia. These figures are commonly considered to represent valkyries or dísir. According to Mindy MacLeod and Bernard Mees, the amulets appear in Viking Age graves, and were presumably placed there because "they were thought to have protective powers".

The Tjängvide image stone from the Baltic island of Gotland, Sweden features a rider on an eight-legged horse, which may be Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir, being greeted by a female, which may be a valkyrie at Valhalla. The 11th century runestone U 1163 features a carving of a female bearing a horn that has been interpreted as the valkyrie Sigrdrífa handing the hero Sigurd (also depicted on the stone) a drinking horn.

In 2013, a small figure dated at around 800 AD was discovered in Hårby, Denmark by three amateur archaeologists. The figurine portrays a woman with long hair knotted into a ponytail who is wearing a long dress which is sleeveless and vest like at the top. Over the top of her dress she is wearing an embroidered apron. Her clothing keeps the woman's arms unobstructed so she can fight with the sword and shield she is holding. Commenting on the figure, archaeologist Mogens Bo Henriksen said that "there can hardly be any doubt that the figure depicts one of Odin's valkyries as we know them from the sagas as well as from Swedish picture stones from the time around AD700".

Рунические надписи

Specific valkyries are mentioned on two runestones; the early 9th century Rök Runestone in Östergötland, Sweden, and the 10th-century Karlevi Runestone on the island of Öland, Sweden, which mentions the valkyrie Þrúðr. On the Rök Runestone, a kenning is employed that involves a valkyrie riding a wolf as her steed:

That we tell the twelfth, where the horse of the Valkyrie [literally "the horse of Gunnr"] sees food on the battlefield, where twenty kings are lying.

Among the Bryggen inscriptions found in Bergen, Norway, is the "valkyrie stick" from the late 14th century. The stick features a runic inscription intended as a charm. The inscription says that "I cut cure-runes", and also "help-runes", once against elves, twice against trolls, thrice against thurs and then a mention of a valkyrie occurs:

Against the harmful skag-valkyrie,
so that she never shall, though she never would –
evil woman! – injure (?) your life.

This is followed by "I send you, I look at you, wolfish perversion, and unbearable desire, may distress descend on you and jöluns wrath. Never shall you sit, never shall you sleep ... (that you) love me as yourself." According to Mindy MacLeod and Bernard Mees, the inscription "seems to begin as a benevolent formulation before abruptly switching to the infliction of distress and misery, presumably upon the recipient of the charm rather than the baleful valkyrie", and they posit the final line appears "to constitute a rather spiteful kind of charm aimed at securing the love of a woman".

MacLeod and Mees state that the opening lines of the charm correspond to the Poetic Edda poem Sigrdrífumál, where the valkyrie Sigrdrífa provides runic advice, and that the meaning of the term skag is unclear, but a cognate exists in Helgakviða Hundingsbana I where Sinfjötli accuses Guðmundr of having once been a "skass-valkyrie". MacLeod and Mees believe the word means something like "supernatural sending", and that this points to a connection to the Ragnhild Tregagás charm, where a valkyrie is also "sent forth".

Происхождение и развитие

Various theories have been proposed about the origins and development of the valkyries from Germanic paganism to later Norse mythology. Rudolf Simek suggests valkyries were probably originally viewed as "demons of the dead to whom warriors slain on the battlefield belonged", and that a shift in interpretation of the valkyries may have occurred "when the concept of Valhalla changed from a battlefield to a warrior's paradise". Simek says that this original concept was "superseded by the shield girls—Irish female warriors who lived on like the einherjar in Valhall." Simek says that the valkyries were closely associated with Odin, and that this connection existed in an earlier role as "demons of death". Simek states that due to the shift of concept, the valkyries became popular figures in heroic poetry, and during this transition were stripped of their "demonic characteristics and became more human, and therefore become capable of falling in love with mortals [...]." Simek says that the majority of the names of the valkyries point to a warlike function, that most of valkyrie names do not appear to be very old, and that the names "mostly come from poetic creativity rather than from real folk-belief."

MacLeod and Mees theorise that "the role of the corpse-choosing valkyries became increasingly confused in later Norse mythology with that of the Norns, the supernatural females responsible for determining human destiny [...]."

Hilda Ellis Davidson says that, regarding valkyries, "evidently an elaborate literary picture has been built up by generations of poets and storytellers, in which several conceptions can be discerned. We recognise something akin to Norns, spirits who decide destinies of men; to the seeresses, who could protect men in battle with their spells; to the powerful female guardian spirits attached to certain families, bringing luck to youth under their protection; even to certain women who armed themselves and fought like men, for whom there is some historical evidence from the regions round the Black Sea". She adds that there may also be a memory in this of a "priestess of the god of war, women who officiated at the sacrificial rites when captives were put to death after battle."

Davidson places emphasis on the fact that valkyrie literally means "chooser of the slain". She compares Wulfstan's mention of a "chooser of the slain" in his Sermo Lupi ad Anglos sermon, which appears among "a blacklist of sinners, witches and evildoers", to "all the other classes whom he [Wulfstan] mentions", and concludes as those "are human ones, it seems unlikely that he has introduced mythological figures as well." Davidson points out that Arab traveller Ibn Fadlan's detailed account of a 10th-century Rus ship funeral on the Volga River features an "old Hunnish woman, massive and grim to look upon" (who Fadlan refers to as the "Angel of Death") who organises the killing of the slave girl, and has two other women with her that Fadlan refers to as her daughters. Davidson says that "it would hardly be surprising if strange legends grew up about such women, who must have been kept apart from their kind due to their gruesome duties. Since it was often decided by lot which prisoners should be killed, the idea that the god "chose" his victims, through the instrument of the priestesses, must have been a familiar one, apart from the obvious assumption that some were chosen to fall in war." Davidson says that it appears that from "early times" the Germanic peoples "believed in fierce female spirits doing the command of the war god, stirring up disorder, taking part in battle, seizing and perhaps devouring the slain."

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