The Poetic Edda is a collection of old Norse poems primarily contained in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius. The Poetic Edda is one of the largest source of information from Norse mythology, containing stories of Norse gods like Loki and Odin, creatures and mortal and Norse heroes. In 1971 the Codex Regius which contains most of the Poetic Edda was returned to Iceland.
Like most early poetry the Eddic poems were minstrel poems. This literature pieces passed orally from singer to singer and from poet to poet for centuries. None of the poems specify the names of their authors, and as the poems were told my numerous singers and poets it is almost impossible to identify their source. Scholars have speculations of possible authors for the poems, however conclusions on this matter have never been reached.
In Codex Regius
- Völuspá (Wise-woman's prophecy, The Prophecy of the Seeress, The Seeress's Prophecy)
- Hávamál (The Ballad of the High One, The Sayings of Hár, Sayings of the High One)
- Vafþrúðnismál (The Ballad of Vafthrúdnir, The Lay of Vafthrúdnir, Vafthrúdnir's Sayings)
- Grímnismál (The Ballad of Grímnir, The Lay of Grímnir, Grímnir's Sayings)
- Skírnismál (The Ballad of Skírnir, The Lay of Skírnir, Skírnir's Journey)
- Hárbarðsljóð (The Poem of Hárbard, The Lay of Hárbard, Hárbard's Song)
- Hymiskviða (The Lay of Hymir, Hymir's Poem)
- Lokasenna (Loki's Wrangling, The Flyting of Loki, Loki's Quarrel)
- Þrymskviða (The Lay of Thrym, Thrym's Poem)
- Völundarkviða (The Lay of Völund)
- Alvíssmál (The Ballad of Alvís, The Lay of Alvís, All-Wise's Sayings)
- Hrafnagaldur Óðins (Odins's Raven Song, Odin's Raven Chant). (A late work not included in most editions).
Not in Codex Regius
- Baldrs draumar (Baldr's Dreams)
- Rígsþula (The Song of Ríg, The Lay of Ríg, The List of Ríg)
- Hyndluljóð (The Poem of Hyndla, The Lay of Hyndla, The Song of Hyndla)
- Völuspá in skamma (The short Völuspá, The Short Seeress' Prophecy, Short Prophecy of the Seeress) - This poem is included as an interpolation in Hyndluljóð.
- Svipdagsmál (The Ballad of Svipdag, The Lay of Svipdag) - This title, originally suggested by Bugge, actually covers two separate poems:
- Grógaldr (Gróa's Spell, The Spell of Gróa)
- Fjölsvinnsmál (Ballad of Fjölsvid, The Lay of Fjölsvid)
- Gróttasöngr (The Mill's Song, The Song of Grotti) (Not included in many editions.)
After the mythological poems, the second section of the Codex Regius contains Heroic lays, which describe the deeds of mortal heroes.
The Heroic lays are classified in three sections or layers:
- Story of Helgi Hundingsbani (Scandinavian in origin)
- Story of the Nibelungs (of German origin)
- Story of of Jörmunrekkr (of Goth origin)
In Popular Culture
Poets that have based their work and have used the Poetic Edda as a source for their stories include Ezra Pound, Vilhelm Ekelund, August Strindberg, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Karin Boye.
The Lord of the Rings universe, created and developed by J.R.R. Tolkien and his son, was highly influenced by the Poetic Edda.