The majority of the characters come from the Völsunga Saga (Volsunga Saga) and from the Eddas. So for the full story, read Völsunga Saga.


  Volsungs   Giukings (Niflungs)   Other Characters
 
Sigi
Rerir
Volsung
 
Guttorm     
Niflung
Hamdir
Sorli
Erp
 
Siggeir
Atli (Attila)
Heimir
Jormunrek
Hreidmar      
Regin      
Fafnir      
Otter      
Rodingeir, see Rudiger


The articles on Dwarves has being moved to a new page, titled Of Dwarves and Elves.



Related Pages:
     Volsunga Saga
     Norse Heroes
     Valkyries
     German Heroes


Geneology: Houses of the Volsungs and the Giukings (Niflungs)






Atli (Attila)
 

King of the Huns. Atli was the son of Budli and brother of Brynhild and Bekkhild. In Gudrun's dream or vision, Atli was symbolised as a wolf-cub.

Atli married Gudrun, sister of Gunnar and Hogni. Atli had married her because he wanted the treasure of Sigurd and vengeance for his sister's death. He ambushed and captured Gudrun's two brothers. When neither Gunnar nor Hogni would reveal the location of treasure, they were killed.

Seeking to avenge her brother's death, Gudrun killed her own two sons, Erp and Eitil, to Atli, roasted their hearts. While Atli and other guests were intoxicated with wine mixed with his sons' blood, his wife served his sons' flesh. When Atli asked Gudrun where their sons were, she told him that he just ate their hearts. Taking up a sword, Gudrun then killed her husband. She then set Atli's house on fire, killing Atli's drunken guests.

Gudrun tried to kill herself, jumping off a cliff. Gudrun was however rescued by the King Jonakr. Gudrun married Jonakr and had three sons: Hamdir, Sorli, and Erp. When King Jormunrek killed her daughter, she ordered her sons to their half-sister's death. Erp was killed by his brothers, throught misunderstanding. Hamdir and Sorli were stoned to death after they mutilated Jormunrek.




In the Germanic literature (myth), Atli was identified as Etzel (particularly in the Nibelungenlied). Etzel was king of the Huns and had many vassals – Dietrich, Hildebrand and Rudiger.

In the German account, it was his wife Kriemhild (Gudrun), who killed her own brother Gunther (Gunnar), not Etzel. Disgusted by the murder of Hagen, Etzel ordered his champion Hildebrand, to kill Kriemhild.




Historically, Atli was known by the name: Attila the Huns (Attila means Scourge of God), who overran the Roman empire and died in AD 453. Attila ruled with his brother Bleda in 432, but murdered his brother in AD 445. Attila was known for the brutality of his rule and his greed for gold. The Huns were known for their skills in horsemanship and in archery; their lightning attacks swept aside all oppositions.

It probably shouldn't be told here, but how Attila died was very interesting. Attila, who had many wives, decided to marry his latest German (Visigoth) bride, Hildico or Ildico. On their wedding night, his followers had found him dead, apparently from bursted blood vessels (must be some wild bed play).

 
Related Information
Name
Atli Buðlason.
Atli (Norse).
Etzel (Germanic).

Attila (historically) - Scourge of the God.

House (Dynasty)
Budlungs (descendants of Budli).

Related Articles
See also Attila (Etzel).

Brynhild, Gudrun, Gunnar, Hogni.
Völsunga Saga.



Fafnir
 

Fafnir was the son of Hreidmar and brother of Otter and Regin. Once Hreidmar received the ransom (Andvari's treassure) from Loki, greed set in the entire family. Fafnir killed his father and drove Regin off, keeping the whole treasure for himself.

Fafnir' greed was so great that he was transformed into a great dragon, sometimes known as the Worm. He guarded the treasure of Andvari, until Sigurd killed him with the sword Gram, which was reforged by Fafnir's brother Regin, who was a smith and foster father of Sigurd. By eating a dragon's heart, Sigurd gained the strength and power over any man or woman, as well as understanding the language of the bird. From the birds Sigurd learned that Regin intend to kill him. Sigurd killed Regin and took the treasure and the cursed ring from Fafnir.


In the Norwegian epic, Thiðrekssaga, Fafnir does not appeared at all. In this account, the dragon was named Regin, and the smith who reared Sigurd was named Mimir. Like the Icelandic version, Sigurd killed the dragon, and then the smith. See Regin.

 
Related Information
Name
Fáfnir Hreiðmarsson.
Fafnir, Fáfnir.

Worm (dragon).

Related Articles
Hreidmar, Otter, Regin, Sigurd, Andvari.
Völsunga Saga.



Guttorm
 

A Giuking and murderer of Sigurd. According to the Volsunga Saga and the poems from the Poetic Edda, Guttorm was the son of Giuki and Grimhild. He was the brother of Gunnar, Hogni and Gudrun. But in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, Guttorm was only Guiki's stepson, thus the half-brother of Gunnar, Hogni and Gudrun (also in The Song of Hyndla 27).

Gunnar and Hogni persuaded Guttorm to kill Sigurd, promising him wealth and power. Guttorm came upon Sigurd while the hero was sleeping with Gudrun. Guttorm mortally wounded Sigurd with his sword, but Sigurd killed Guttorm, when he tried to flee. Sigurd had thrown his sword at Guttorm's back.

 
Related Information
Name
Guttormr Gjúkason.
Guttorm, Guttormr, Gutthorm.

House (Dynasty)
Burgundy:
Niflungs (descendants of Nefir or Niflung),
Nibelungs (German descendants of Nibelung).
Giukings (children of Guiki).

Related Articles
Sigurd, Gudrun, Gunnar, Hogni, Grimhild, Brynhild. Völsunga Saga.



Heimir
 

A chieftain in Hlymdale. Heimir married Bekkhild, sister of Brynhild. They had a son named Alswid. Heimir became the foster father of Brynhild.

Sigurd was a guest of Alswid, whom he shared some of his treasure.

 
Related Information
Related Articles
Brynhild.



Hreidmar
 

According to the Volsunga Saga, Hreidmar was a father to four sons - Otter, Fafnir and Regin. In the Reginsmal, an Eddaic poem from the Poetic Edda, however, Hreidmar was also father of two daughters - Lofnheid and Lyngheid.

Hreidmar was host to 3 Aesir gods - Odin, Hoenir and Loki, but they became his prisoners when he discovered that Loki had murdered his son, Otter. Otter had shapeshifting skill that enabled him to transform into an otter. Loki had killed Otter, skinned him and fashioned himself a bag, made out of otter hide.

Hreidmar refused to release them unless Loki filled the otter-hide bag with gold, hence this is known as Ottergild, or "Otter Ransom". Loki stole the red gold from Andvari, and filled the otter's skin with this loot, including the beautiful gold ring, known as Andvaranaut. Andvari, however, cursed this ring, that would bring about downfall upon any wearer and the wearer's family. The whole treasure is sometimes known as

Hreidmar released his prisoners upon receiving the gold, but he did not enjoy his treasure for very long, because the curse began working immediately. Hreidmar didn't want to share his treasure with his two surviving sons. So Fafnir murdered his father and took the whole treasure for himself, driving away his brother, Regin. Fafnir had transformed himself into a dragon, and guarded the treasure, until he was eventually killed by the Volsung hero Sigurd, Regin's foster-son. The cursed Andvaranaut would eventually bring the downfall upon Sigurd and his wife's family in a chain of events.

For the full story about Hreidmar and his family see Ottergild in the Volsunga Saga page.

 
Related Information
Name
Hreidmar, Hridmar

Related Articles
Otter, Fafnir, Regin, Sigurd, Andvari, Odin, Hoenir, Loki.

Volsunga Saga.



Hunding
 

A sea-king (Viking lord).

Hunding was killed in battle, by Helgi, son of Sigmund. Helgi was only

Hunding was a father of many sons - Alf, Eyjolf, Hervard and Hagbard; and they were thought they could avenge their father, by waging war aginst Hunding; but they were all killed by Helgi, thereby Helgi earned the epithet of Helgi Hundingsbani - the Bane of Hundings. His other sons were Lyngvi

 
Related Information
Name
Hunding, Hundingr.

Related Articles
Lyngvi, Helgi.



Jormunrek
 

King of the Goths. In the Icelandic legend, Jormunrek was the aged king who fell love with the beauty of Svanhild (Svanhild), daughter of Sigurd and Gudrun. Gudrun reluctantly agreed to the marriage. Before the wedding, Randver, Jormunrek's son, also fell in love with Svanhild. Jormunrek's treacherous adviser, Bikki, encouraged Randver to make feeling known to Svanhild. Svanhild seemed to return the affection.

Bikki falsely accused Randver and Svanhild were lovers, advising Jormunrek to kill the pairs.




Jormunrek was identified with the historical figure Ermanaric, king of the Goths (Ostrogoths) in the Ukraine, who was killed in AD 375.

When a subject tribe Rosomoni, deserted him in the war against the Huns, Ermanaric captured the wife of Rosomoni chieftain, named Sunilda (Svanhild), and had her torn to pieces, by tying her to two wild horses.

Sunilda's brothers tried to avenge her death, but only managed to severely wounded the king. The Huns later destroyed his kingdom. Then, Ermanaric committed suicide.




In the German legend and the Norwegian Thiðrekssaga it was completely different to the Icelandic legend and the historical figure. Jormunrek was called either Ermanaric or Erminrek (Thiðrekssaga), where was he was responsible for banishing the hero Dietrich (or Thiðrek) from his kingdom of Bern. According to the Thiðrekssaga, Erminrek (Jormunrek) was the uncle of Thidrek. See Ermanaric in the German Heroes.

 
Related Information
Name
Jormunrek, Jormunrekr, Jormunrekk (Norse - Icelandic).
Erminrek (Norse - Norwegian).
Ermenrich, Ermanrik (German).
Ermanaric, Hermanaric (historical).

Related Articles
See also Ermanaric.

Gudrun, Svanhild.
Völsunga Saga.



Lyngvi
 

Rival of Sigmund.

Lyngvi was one of the sons of Hunding.

 
Related Information
Name
Lyngvi
Lyngvi Hundingsson.

Related Articles
Hunding, Sigmund, Hjordis.



Mimir
 

In the Norwegian epic called Thiðrekssaga, Mimir was the great smith who was the first master to teach Velent (Wayland), as well as being the foster father of the hero Sigurd.

Mimir was the brother of Regin, who was an evil man that had turned into a dragon. (In the Icelandic version, Mimir's name doesn't appear in the legend, while Regin was the foster father of Sigurd and the smith who reforged Sigmund's broken sword and Regin's brother, Fafnir was the dragon.)

While Mimir was in forest looking for charcoal for his forge, he found a child reared by a hind for over a year. Mimir saw that the child was only a year old, the boy was as large as a three-year-old, but hasn't learned how to speak, yet. Though married, Mimir has no children, so he took the child home and became the boy's foster father. Mimir named the boy Sigurd.

Mimir had twelve apprentices, but none of them were stronger than Sigurd, who was now nine. One of Mimir's apprentices was Velent (Wayland). Velent had only stayed for three years before his father took him home, fearing that Sigurd would hurt his son.

One day, while Sigurd was in the smithy, Ekkihard struck Sigurd in the ear with his tongs. Sigurd knocked the apprentice to the ground and dragged Ekkihard by the hair to Mimir.

Mimir rebuked Sigurd for bullying his apprentices when he doesn't do any work in the smithy. Mimir thought to teach Sigurd his trade.

In his smithy, Mimir held a glowing iron to the anvil, and asked Sigurd to beat the iron with the hammer. With a single blow, Sigurd had split the anvil into two, sinking the entire to the ground, while the iron flew away from the tongs. The tongs had also broke from the impact. Mimir was stunned by Sigurd's physical strength and knew that the boy would be useless as a craftsman.

Mimir also realised that his foster son was dangerous, so he conspired to have Sigurd killed. Mimir decided to send Sigurd into the forest to fetch charcoal for him. In the forest, lived his brother, Regin, who was now the most feearsome dragon in the world. Mimir hoped that he would be sending his foster son to his death.

Sigurd set out into the forest, unsuspecting of any plot. Mimir had provided Sigurd with an axe, as well as food and wine for nine days. But Sigurd consumed all the food on his first day. Sigurd set camp with a huge fire.

As Sigurd sat there, the dragon (Regin) came out of the woods, towards his camp. Sigurd immediately reacted. Sigurd picked up a large burning piece of wood, and struck a mighty blow to the dragon's head. Regin's soul immediately left the dragon's body to Hel. Then Sigurd used the axe and lopped off the large head.

Sigurd was still feeling hungry, cut off a large slice of dragon flesh and placed it in the kettle. When Sigurd went to see if his meal was ready, some of dragon's blood burned his finger. When stuck his finger into his mouth, he was given the ability to understand the speech of the bird.

Two birds were talking how Sigurd should kill his foster father, since Mimir had sent him to die in the forest. Hearing this, Sigurd bathed himself in the blood of the dragon, which made his skin hard and invulnerable to all weapons, except for the small part of his back between his shoulders that he could reach.

Taking the dragon's head with him, he returned to his foster father. The apprentices had all fled upon seeing the boy.

Mimir tried to appease his young charge by offering armour, weapon and gold. Mimir also told Sigurd that he has wonderful horse, Grani, which was stable in Brynhild's castle. Mimir provided armour and helmet, which Sigurd immediately put on. When Mimir gave teh unbreakable sword, Gram, into the boy's hand, Sigurd delivered a deathblow to Mimir.

Sigurd took all the gold from his foster father and then left home, seeking the home of Brynhild. Brynhild, who was wise, immediately recognised Sigurd. Brynhild freely allowed the boy to take the horse (Grani). It was Brynhild who revealed his identity as the son of Sigmund and Sisibe (Hjordis).

 
Related Information
Name
Mimir, Mimi.

Sources
Thiðrekssaga was Norwegian epic of 1200.

Related Articles
Regin, Velent (Wayland), Sigurd, Brynhild.




Otter
 

Otter was the son of Hreidmar and brother of Fafnir and Regin.

Otter had the ability to transform himself into an otter. Loki, seeing how beautiful the hide was, killed and skinned Otter. Loki wrapped the Otter's hide over his shoulders. When Odin, Hoenir and Loki came to Hreidmar's house, Hreidmar immediately realised that Loki had killed his son. Hreidmar bounded the three gods.

Hreidmar told them that he would only released the two other gods, if Loki can pay a ransom for the gods' freedom. Loki stole the treasure from a dwarf named Andvari. When Hreidmar saw the treasure, his greed made him forgot about the grief over the loss of his son. Fafnir killed his father and seized the treasure for himself.

 
Related Information
Name
Otter, Otr.
Otr Hreiðmarsson.

Related Articles
Hreidmar, Fafnir, Regin, Loki, Andvari. Völsunga Saga.



Regin
 

In the Icelandic legend, Regin was the son of Hreidmar and brother of Fafnir and Otter.

When Fafnir killed their father, Fafnir wanted the entire treasure for himself, so he drove Regin away. Not long after that, Fafnir was turned into a fearsome dragon.

Regin became Sigurd's foster father and tutor in Hjalprek's court in Denmark. He told Sigurd's story about his family and the treasure. Sigurd decided to help Regin in gaining the treasure. It was Regin who reforged Sigmund's shatter sword. Sigurd called this sword, Gram. With this sword, Sigurd killed the dragon.

Regin hoped to keep all the treasure, tricked Sigurd that he would not seek vengeance upon the young hero, if he cooked Fafnir's heart for him to eat. By eating the dragon's heart, Regin would become stronger than Sigurd. However, Sigurd discovered the deception when he tasted the dragon's blood and could understand the speech of the bird. The birds revealed the truth of Regin's intention, so Sigurd killed Regin and took all the treasure.


In the Norwegian Thiðrekssaga, Regin was the brother of the smith Mimir. Here, Regin had been tranformed into a dragon, while it was Mimir who was foster father of Sigurd and made the sword Gram for Sigurd. However, Sigurd did not used the Gram to kill the dragon (Regin); Sigurd had used a large log that he had used to build a fire. With this wood, Sigurd struck dragon's head that killed Regin. Then Sigurd used his axe to off the dragon's head.

Sigurd feeling hungry, cooked a bit of meat of the dragon in his kettle. Like in the Volsunga Saga, some of the juice (blood) of the dragon burned his finger. Sigurd immediately could understand the speech of the birds. Sigurd learned that Mimir had send him into the forest to die. Sigurd ate the dragon's meat. Then Sigurd bathed in the dragon's blood, which made his skin, hard and horny, invulnerable to all weapons, except the small part of his back which he could not reach.

Sigurd returned to his foster father with the dragon's head. Mimir knew the hero's intention to kill him for betrayal. Mimir promised to give him treasure and invincible weapon to ransom his life. Mimir also revealed the wonderful horse at the castle of Brynhild. Mimir gave him armour, helmet and the sword Gram. With the sword in his hand, Sigurd's lopped off Mimir's head. Sigurd took all the treasure within the smithy and left.

 
Related Information
Name
Regin, Reginn.

Reginn Hreiðmarsson.

Related Articles
Hreidmar, Otter, Fafnir, Sigurd. Völsunga Saga.



Rerir
 

Rerir was the son of Sigi and grandson of Odin. He avenged his father's death. Rerir succeeded his father and became king of Hunland (or the Huns).

Rerir and his wife were having difficulties having a son, Rerir prayed to the gods. Odin heard his prayer, and asked his wife Frigg to help him. Frigg had an apple from Hrimnir, and had Hrimnir's daughter, Hljod, delivered to Rerir by a crow. Once Rerir and his wife ate the apple, his wife became pregnant. However, the pregnancy lasted six years. Rerir died from illness during a war. His wife died giving birth to Volsung.

 
Related Information
Name
Rerir Sigason.

Related Articles
Sigi, Hljod, Volsung.
Völsunga Saga.



Siggeir
 

King of the Goths. Siggeir induced Volsung to allow him to marry Signy. Signy, however was not happy with it. When an old man, stuck a beautiful magic sword in a great oak tree Branstock, noone could draw the sword out except Sigmund, Volsung's young son. When Siggeir asked Sigmund if he could buy the sword of him, the youth refused.

Jealous of Sigmund's prowess and obssessed with sword, Siggeir was determined to destroy his in-laws. When he invited Volsung and his sons to his kingdom, he had ambushed in-laws, killing Volsung and capturing his sons. He had Volsung's sons chained to trees in the wood. Each night, one of Signy's brother was killed by a she-wolf. Only Sigmund survived. His wife and Sigmund plotted to avenged their father's and brothers' death. Signy two eldest sons to Siggeir were send to Sigmund, when they turned eleven years old. But each of them was too weak and frightened; Signy ordered Sigmund to killed her sons. Knowing that none of her sons to Siggeir would be strong enough to help her brother exact revenge upon her husband. Signy secretly slept with her brother, and became mother of Sinfjotli.

Siggeir's last two children were killed by Sinfjotli. Sigmund and Sinfjotli later killed Siggeir and his men, by burning his palace down. Signy died with her hated husband, after revealing to her brother that Sinfjotli was his real son.

 
Related Information
Name
Siggeir, Siggeirr.

House (Dynasty)
Siklings (descendants of Sigar).

Related Articles
Volsung, Signy, Sigmund, Sinfjotli.
Völsunga Saga.



Sigi
 

Sigi was the son of Odin. He had murdered another hunter and thrall named Bredi, who out-performed him. He left the body in the snowdrift.

Sigi later had become king of the Huns, and ruled in the kingdom, called Hunland. He married and had a son named Rerir. As he grew old, Sigi made many enemies, including his brother-in-laws. His brother-in-laws and other enemies ambushed him and killed him. His son succeeded him to the throne and became king of Hunland.

In the prologue of Snorri Sturluson, Siggi was one of the three sons of Odin. Sigi's grandson, Volsung, was said to ruled over what it is now called France. The other sons of Odin were Veggdegg, who over East Saxony, and whose descendant Hengest (Hengist) played an important role in Britain in the Welsh and Arthurian legend; Odin's other son, Beldegg, also called Baldr (Balder), ruled in Westphalia.

 
Related Information
Name
Sigi Óðinsson.
Sigi, Siggi.

Related Articles
Rerir.
Völsunga Saga.



Volsung
 

King of the Huns. Volsung was the son of Rerir.

Volsung's mother died giving birth to Volsung. Volsung experienced no infancy because his mother pregnancy lasted for six years. Volsung could already talk, when he was born. His childhood was short; he rapidly grew huge and strong as any man. Volsung succeeded his father, and became king of the Huns.

Volsung married Ljod (Hljod, Hljóð), daughter of the giantess Hrimnir. Ljod was probably a Valkyrie ("wish-maiden"). Volsung became father of the twins, Sigmund and Signy, and nine other sons. By the time, Signy was old enough to marry, Volsung had incredibly fought in six score battles (120 battles) during his reign as king, and had never being defeated. But this was soon to change.

Volsung agreed to marry Signy to the Siggeir, king of the Goths. He did not believed his daughter's premonition that Siggeir was treacherous (or he believe her but chose not to let fear to make him to make him a coward), ignoring her pleads not to come and visit her in Gothland. As Volsung and his sons reached Siggeir's territory, they were ambushed. Volsung died in the fighting while all his sons were captured. Only Sigmund survived to avenge him and his sons.

 
Related Information
Name
Völsungr Rerisson.
Volsung, Völsung, Völsungr.

House (Dynasty)
Volsungs (descendants of Volsung).

Related Articles
Rerir, Hljod, Sigmund, Signy, Siggeir.
Völsunga Saga.









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