World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Elli

Article Id: WHEBN0000088010
Reproduction Date:

Title: Elli  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Jötunheimr, Personifications in Norse mythology, Útgarða-Loki, Crone, Árvakr and Alsviðr
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Elli

A depiction of Elli wrestling Thor (1919) by Robert Engels.

In Norse mythology (a subset of Germanic mythology), Elli (Old Norse "old age"[1]) is a personification of old age who, in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, defeats Thor in a wrestling match.

Gylfaginning

In Gylfaginning, Thor and his companions Loki and Þjálfi are in the hall of the giant Útgarða-Loki where they meet difficult challenges testing their strength and skill. Thor has just been humiliated in a drinking challenge and wants to get even.

Then said Thor: 'Little as ye call me, let any one come up now and wrestle with me; now I am angry.' Then Útgarda-Loki answered, looking about him on the benches, and spake: 'I see no such man here within, who would not hold it a disgrace to wrestle with thee;' and yet he said: 'Let us see first; let the old woman my nurse be called hither, Elli, and let Thor wrestle with her if he will. She has thrown such men as have seemed to me no less strong than Thor.' Straightway there came into the hall an old woman, stricken in years. Then Útgarda-Loki said that she should grapple with Ása-Thor. There is no need to make a long matter of it: that struggle went in such wise that the harder Thor strove in gripping, the faster she stood; then the old woman attempted a hold, and then Thor became totty on his feet, and their tuggings were very hard. Yet it was not long before Thor fell to his knee, on one foot. Then Útgarda-Loki went up and bade them cease the wrestling, saying that Thor should not need to challenge more men of his body-guard to wrestling.[2]

Later, when Thor and his company are safely out of Útgarða-Loki's hall the giant explains that Thor's opponent was much more formidable than she appeared to be and that Thor's prowess was, in fact, astonishing.

It was also a great marvel concerning the wrestling-match, when thou didst withstand so long; and didst not fall more than on one knee, wrestling with Elli; since none such has ever been and none shall be, if he become so old as to abide "Old Age," that she shall not cause him to fall.[2]

The story of Thor's visit to Útgarða-Loki is only related in the Prose Edda and, unusually, Snorri does not quote any old poems to support it. His sources for the story are unknown and it has been suggested that he largely composed it himself.

Elli is not mentioned in any other extant source but the notion that not even the gods are immune to the effects of aging is supported by the fact that they must consume the apples of Iðunn on a regular basis in order to remain young.

Notes

  1. ^ Orchard (1997:38).
  2. ^ a b Brodeur (1916).

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.