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Dellingr

Dellingr

Dellingr (Old Norse, possibly, "the dawn" or "the shining one") is a god in Norse mythology. Dellingr is mentioned in the poetic edda, compiled in the 13th century by early traditional sources, and in the prosaic edda, written in the same century by Snorri Sturluson.

In both sources, he is described as the father of Dag, the personification of the day. The Prosaic Edda adds that he is the third husband of Nótt, the personification of night. He is also mentioned in the legendary Hervararar saga ok Heiðreks. Scholars have proposed that Dellingr is the personification of twilight, and his name may appear in both a surname and an English place name.

Testimonials

Poetic Edda

Dellingr is referenced in the poetic edda in the poems of Vafþrúðnismál and Hávamál. In stanza 24 of Vafþrúðnismá, the god Odín (disguised as "Gagnráðr") asks the jötunn Vafþrúðnir where the days, nights, and their moons come from. In stanza 25, Vafþrúðnir answers him:

Dellingr hight he who the day's father is,
but night was of Nörvi born;
the new and waning moons the beneficient powers created,
to count the years for men.

In Hávamál, the dwarf Þjóðrœrir is mentioned performing an unnamed spell "at the gates of Dellingr":

For the fifteenth I know what the dwarf Thiodreyrir
sang before Dellingr's doors.
Strength he sang to the Æsir, and to the Alfar prosperity,
wisdom to Hroptatyr.

In the poem Fjölsvinnsmál, Svipdagr asks him "What is it that a god has made for this great hall I see in here?" Fjölsviðr answers him with a list of names, including Dellingr. In a stanza of the poem Hrafnagaldr Óðins, the appearance of Dag, a horse, and a chariot are described, and Dag himself is described as "the son of Dellingr."

Prosaic Edda

In chapter 10 of the Edda Prosaica in the book Gylfaginning, the hallowed figure of the Most High, one of Odin's many names, mentions that Dellingr is a god and the third husband of Nótt. The couple gave birth to Dag, who also inherited his father's features and was described by many people as "bright and beautiful". Odin placed Dellingr's son, Dag, and his wife, Nótt, in heaven, so that in this way they could travel through it with their horses and chariots every 24 hours.

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Hervararar Saga and Heiðreks

According to scholars, there are five riddles in the poem Heiðreks gátur that are also found in the legendary Hervararar saga saga ok Heiðreks whenever the phrase "gates of Dellingr" (Old Norse Dellings durum) is used. As an example, in one stanza where the phrase is used Gestumblindi (Odin in disguise) poses the following riddle:

What strange marvel,
did I see without,
in front of Dellingr's door;
its head turning
to Hel downward,
but its feet ever seek the sun?
This riddle ponder,
O prince Heidrek!

'Your riddle is good,
Gestumblindi,' said the king;
'I have guessed it.
It is the leek;
its head is fast in the ground,
but it forks as it grows up.'

Theories

Jacob Grimm mentions that Dellingr is the assimilated form of Deglingr, which includes the name of Dellingr's son Dag. Grimm mentioned that if the "-ling" ending refers to ancestry, Dellingr may well have been the "progenitor in the presence of him" or refer to the successive order having been reversed, which Grimm concluded happened very often in ancient genealogies. Benjamin Thorpe says that Dellingr may have been the personification of twilight, similar to his son Dagr, personification of day.

Regarding references to the "gates of Dellingr" as their use in Hervararar saga ok Heiðreks, Christopher Tolkien argues that:

It is impossible to mention the originator of these riddles. In chapter 160 of Hávamál it is mentioned that the dwarf Thjódrørir sang at the gates of Dellingr, which (taking into account the fact that Dellingr is the father of Dag (day) in chapter 25 of Vafþrúðnismál) may mean that he was giving a warning to his people that the sun was rising, and that they should return to their dark houses; the phrase would literally mean to an 'ortho'. Concerning dǫglings for Dellings in H, and Dǫglingar were the ancestors of Dag (according to SnE. 183).
John Lindow says that there is confusion regarding the Dellingr reference in Hávamál. Lindow says that the "gates of Dellingr" was either a metaphor for ortho or the reference refers to a dwarf of the same name.

The English surname of Dallinger has been considered a derivation of Dellingr. The English place name of Dalbury (south Derbyshire) derives from Dellingeberie, which in turn derives from Dellingr.