8 legged horse sleipnir in norse mythology

Sleipnir was the mount of Odin in Norse mythology. It was an eight-foot horse as white as snow and the best horse in the world. 。The name “Sleipnir” means “smooth” or “gliding”. The only god who had rid it beside Odin was his son Hermod. And Grani was descendent of Sleipnir.

Vikings believed that Odin rode Sleipnir and traveled around the world. Sleipnir appears in the section Grímnismál, Sigrdrífumál and Baldrs draumar of the Poetic Edda. In Grímnismál, Grímnir (one of Odin’s names) told a young kid that Sleipnir was the best horse in the world. In Sigrdrífumál, Skirnir told Sigurd that the runes had to be carved on Sleipnir’s teeth. And Baldrs draumar describes that Odin saddled up Sleipnir and rode it to Helheim. Sleipnir was actually the child of Loki and a mythic horse Svadilfari.

The life of Sleipnir

Sleipnir was born when Loki shape-shifted into a mare and became pregnant by another mythic horse Svadilfari.  Svadilfari originally belonged to a nameless giant who wanted to marry goddess Freya with the condition that he finished building the wall surrounding Asgard within the given time. The deities had thought it was impossible for the giant to do so in so short time, but they soon began to panic when they found the wall about to be finished. Thereupon, Loki shape-shifted into a mare and seduced Svadilfari, the horse assisting the giant. Without his horse, the giant failed to finish the wall on time. Soon after, the mare incarnated by Loki gave birth to Sleipnir, who was later turned over to Odin.

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The characteristics of Sleipnir

Sleipnir was a grey-colored and eight-foot horse whose teeth were carved with runes. It was the fastest animal in the world, able to run on the sea or in the air, and could even go to the Helheim.

The influence of Sleipnir

The horseshoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon. According to Icelandic legends, the horseshoe-shaped Asbyrgi canyon was created by Sleipnir. There is a woodcarving of “Odin and Sleipnir” on the exterior wall of Oslo city hall in Norway. In the Nordic region, many ships are named after Sleipnir. Wednesbury, an English city, was named after Woden (the name of Odin in ancient English), and therefore a Statue of Sleipnir was set up. A Japanese web browser is also named Sleipnir.

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