Bragi: The God Of Poetry

Bragi is the god of poetry and wit. Son of Odin and Frigga, he is one of the central gods …

Bragi is the god of poetry and wit. Son of Odin and Frigga, he is one of the central gods of the Norse pantheon.

Short Facts

Tribe: Aesir

God of: Amusement, arts, cheer, eloquence, entertainment, melody, music, verse, performance, poetry, rhyme, song and wit

Son of: Odin and Frigga or Gunnlod

Husband of: Idunn

Brother of: Baldur, Heimdall, Hodr, Thor, Tyr, Vali and Vidarr

Other names: Bragur, Bragnar

Bragi responsibilities

Entertainment of the gods and Einherjar (fallen warriors) in Valhalla, greet the dead kings and heroes to Odin’s hall, articulacy, performance, poetry, rhyme, music, arts and intellect

Associated Animals with Bragi

Nine different songbirds; a black-capped chickadee, a boreal chickadee, a purple finch, a snow bunting, a pine grosbeak, three different northern wood-warblers, and a hermit thrush.

Bragi weapon/domain of power

Fluency of words, skill with speech, power of entertainment and dynamic dialogue

The court poet of Valhalla

Bragi is the god of poetry and skaldship. He is without doubt the son of Odin Allfather, but the ancient texts differ as to who is Bragi’s mother. While it is unclear if Frigga has given birth to him, some sources suggest that the giantess Gunnlod is more likely to be his mother.

Bragi sitting on a chair facing downward.
Carl Wahlbom, via Wikimedia Commons

Although Bragi is not an energetic god like Thor or Tyr, his importance in Norse mythology is considered vital. He is the greeter of fallen heroes and kings in the halls of Valhalla and entertainer of the Einherjar. Bragi is set by Odin to sing and praise his warriors’ exploits until the time of Ragnarok is at hand.

Bragi’s wife is Idunn, the goddess of youth, spring, immortality and rejuvenation. Together they have a daughter named Asha, who like her father is the goddess of celebration, visual art, pottery and creative design.

In Sigrdrifumal, it is mentioned that runes are carved on Bragi’s tongue asserting his strength of words.

The conflict with Loki

In Lokasenna, one of the poems of the Poetic Edda, Bragi has a quarrel with Loki, the god of mischief. As Bragi forbids Loki from entering the hall of Aegir the two gods oppose one another. Loki is known for his sharp tongue, but Bragi proves to be a god of action and not only of words. Odin allows Loki to enter Aegir’s hall and Bragi offers his sword, an arm ring, and his horse as a gift to make amends. Loki however denies the offering and accuses Bragi of being a coward, and not strong enough to oppose any of the Aesir gods in the hall. Bragi replies that if they were to cross swords, Bragi would easily have Loki’s head. Loki taunts him and calls him a coward for a second time. In the end Idunn steps in the way to calm her husband. In that way, an unnecessary fight is avoided and tranquility prevails.

Learner and storyteller

In Skaldskaparmal, Snorri Sturluson provides us with a dialogue between Aegir and Bragi. The two deities discuss the nature of skaldic poetry. Bragi narrates the tale of how Odin obtained the famous mead of poetry from the giant Suttungr. Also sharing how the mead was made from the blood of Kvasir.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Was Bragi actually a Norse deity?

A. There is evidence that suggests Bragi the god of poetry is an actual historical person. His name was Bragi Boddason, a skald who lived in the 9th century. He was a court poet for many Swedish rulers and by all accounts, he was considered the first-ever skaldic poet. Many later authors are moved by Bragi Boddason’s remarkable art of poetry that they put him in the Norse Pantheon. Specifically, Odin admired him so much for his skill that he made him into a god after his death. Also he appointed him the great court poet of Valhalla. There aren’t any clues that speak of Bragi ever being worshipped as a god before the rise of Christianity.

Q. Does Bragi survive Ragnarok?

A. One might assume that Bragi, as a god of artful words and wisdom, would just sit aside and watch Ragnarok. Possibly just taking notes for his future poems, but no. The god of poetry knows that there is no future for him hence he joins in the battle against the jotunns and dies a valiant death.

Q. Is Bragi wiser than Odin?

A. Is the moon brighter than the sun? The answer is no. Bragi may pose as the master of rhyme and verse, but there is no one wiser than Odin Allfather. Odin pursued knowledge like no other. Losing an eye in the process and sacrificing himself to himself, in order to become the wisest being of all.

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Vasilis Megas

Vasilis Megas (a.k.a. Vasil Meg) lives in Athens, Greece. He is a Greek- and Norse Mythology enthusiast. Vasilis has written and published 16 books - mostly fantasy and science fiction - and he is now working as a content writer, journalist, photographer and translator.