Did Frigg cheat on Odin?

  • I read a story where Odin gave all his possessions to his brother Villi and Ve and made them the rulers of the Universe. One of Odin's possessions is his wife, Frigg. Hence, while Odin is away, his brothers "took possession" of Frigg. How true is this myth and why did Frigg, a goddess of marriage, willing go to her brothers in law?

  • femtoRgon

    femtoRgon Correct answer

    6 years ago

    Well, your telling is pretty distorted, but there is a story of Odin's brothers taking possession of his wife, Frigg. From the Ynglinga Saga, Chapter 3:

    Odin had two brothers, the one called Ve, the other Vilje, and
    they governed the kingdom when he was absent. It happened once
    when Odin had gone to a great distance, and had been so long away
    that the people Of Asia doubted if he would ever return home,
    that his two brothers took it upon themselves to divide his
    estate; but both of them took his wife Frigg to themselves. Odin
    soon after returned home, and took his wife back.

    Note, however, that no statement is made villifying Ve and Vilje, accusing them of violating Frigg or of them cuckolding Odin, nor is any mention made of reprisals for their transgressions. Odin simply returns, and takes his wife back.

    Rather than a story of bad behavior, this seems to be a model for right behavior. If a man is lost, it may fall to their brother to take possession of their widow, as their own wife or mistress, and see to her care.

    In fact, sometimes immediately after the death of their husbands, Icelandic women became the wives of relatives-in-law through inheritance; this came about, as a rule, through a man's falling heir to a deceased brother's widow along with his movable goods and this land. And even at present day in Scandinavia it is very customary for a man to marry the wife or betrothed of his brother, in the event of the latter's death.

    Social Scandinavia in the Viking Age by Mary Wilhelmine Williams, page 104

    So, to answer the title question directly "Did Frigg cheat?" No, she did not.

    I hadn't thought of it that way. I always assumed that the story of Odin's brothers was the basis for Loki's insult to Frigg in Lokasenna. (Which it might be - he twists everything the gods did to make it discreditable.) But it's an Old Norse version of Deut. 25.5

    "both of them took his wife Frigg to themselves" is suspiciously awkward phrasing. That's often a red flag that they are trying to say something without actually coming out and saying it. So in this case, not being an expert on this particular passage, I'd assume sex was in fact being implied, until convinced otherwise.

    @T.E.D. - Well, I would point that it is stated in alongside their taking possession of the rest of his estate. As far as whether this would be some sort of celibate relationship, of course not. If she is taken as a wife, sex (and bearing children) would *certainly* be expected. No question there. The point I'm making is that, as a legitimate wife, the coupling would not be *cheating*.

    @femtoRgon - Agreed. Not only would it not be cheating, it could be considered their responsibility. However, the "both of them" part I think is highly irregular, and at the least implies they didn't consider this "responsibility" much of a burden.

    Error in transmission? I would expect they *took her as herself*, as both taking her for themselves is a paradox if they *but* shared the rest; unless menage a trois is contrasted, which I would not expect. lulz

    So she didn't chose to be with Odin's brothers(really weird that she was with both) but she did sleep(have sex) with them? So how is that not infidelity? Let's spin this to a real life situation you are Bjorn and on a business trip your plane crashes in the south pacific sort of reminiscent to what happened in Castaway. You are presumed dead due to how long you were missing so your wife Helga ends up becoming the wife of both of your brothers smh wth. I understand/am aware of the old practice where you would essentially inherit/marry your brother's wife upon his passing as both a way to honor

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