Egeler (Matthias)

  • s. xx–xxi
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Egeler, Matthias, “Iceland and the Land of Women: the Norse Glæsisvellir and the Otherworld islands of early Irish literature”, in: Aisling Byrne, and Victoria Flood (eds), Crossing borders in the Insular Middle Ages, 30, Turnhout: Brepols, 2019. 227–247.
Egeler, Matthias, “Landscape meditations on death: the place-lore of the Hvanndalur valley in northern Iceland”, in: Matthias Egeler (ed.), Landscape and myth in northwestern Europe, 2, Turnhout: Brepols, 2019. 63–78.
Egeler, Matthias (ed.), Landscape and myth in northwestern Europe, Borders, Boundaries, Landscapes, 2, Turnhout: Brepols, 2019.  
This volume explores the intersection of landscape and myth in the context of northwestern Atlantic Europe. From the landscapes of literature to the landscape as a lived environment, and from myths about supernatural beings to tales about the mythical roots of kingship, the contributions gathered here each develop their own take on the meanings behind ‘landscape’ and ‘myth’, and thus provide a broad cross-section of how these widely discussed concepts might be understood. Arising from papers delivered at the conference Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe, held in Munich in April 2016, the volume draws together a wide selection of material ranging from texts and toponyms to maps and archaeological data, and it uses this diversity in method and material to explore the meaning of these terms in medieval Ireland, Wales, and Iceland. In doing so, it provides a broadly inclusive and yet carefully focused discussion of the inescapable and productive intertwining of landscape and myth.
Egeler, Matthias, Atlantic outlooks on being at home: Gaelic place-lore and the construction of a sense of place in medieval Iceland, Folklore Fellows' Communications, 314, Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 2018.
Egeler, Matthias, Islands in the West: classical myth and the medieval Norse and Irish geographical imagination, Medieval Voyaging, 4, Turnhout: Brepols, 2017.  

This monograph traces the history of one of the most prominent types of geographical myths of the North-West Atlantic Ocean: transmarine otherworlds of blessedness and immortality. Taking the mythologization of the Viking Age discovery of North America in the earliest extant account of Vínland (‘Wine-Land’) and the Norse transmarine otherworlds of Hvítramannaland (‘The Land of White Men’) and the Ódáinsakr/Glæsisvellir (‘Field of the Not-Dead’/‘Shining Fields’) as its starting point, the book explores the historical entanglements of these imaginative places in a wider European context. It follows how these Norse otherworld myths adopt, adapt, and transform concepts from early Irish vernacular tradition and Medieval Latin geographical literature, and pursues their connection to the geographical mythology of classical antiquity. In doing so, it shows how myths as far distant in time and space as Homer’s Elysian Plain and the transmarine otherworlds of the Norse are connected by a continuous history of creative processes of adaptation and reinterpretation. Furthermore, viewing this material as a whole, the question arises as to whether the Norse mythologization of the North Atlantic might not only have accompanied the Norse westward expansion that led to the discovery of North America, but might even have been among the factors that induced it.

Egeler, Matthias, “Recent work on ‘Celtic religion’”, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 74 (2017): 83–91.
Egeler, Matthias, Celtic influences in Germanic religion: a survey, Münchner Nordistische Studien, 15, Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag, 2013. 156 pp.  
It has frequently been argued that there are significant parallels between elements of ‘Germanic’ and ‘Celtic’ religious history, stretching from antiquity to the Middle Ages, which indicate Celtic influences within Germanic religion. Elements of Germanic religion and mythology for which such influence has been proposed range from the Batavian seer Veleda to the Valkyries, from the cult of the Matres to the figure of Heimdall, from the myth of the death of Balder to the motif of the Everlasting Battle; the connecting lines that have been drawn extend to central aspects of Germanic religion in antiquity and nearly the whole of medieval Norse mythology. Yet few such proposals have ever been critically discussed, and even fewer attempts have been made to come to grips with the methodological problems raised by cultural contact research in Germanic religious history more generally. The present book is an attempt to address this situation: placing a strong focus on questions of methodology, it offers not only the first detailed summary, but also the first critical analysis of the state of scholarship on the question of Celtic influences in Germanic religious history.
Egeler, Matthias, “Some thoughts on ‘Goddess Medb’ and her typological context”, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie 59 (2012): 67–96.
Egeler, Matthias, Walküren, Bodbs, Sirenen. Gedanken zur religionsgeschichtlichen Anbindung Nordwesteuropas an den mediterranen Raum, Ergänzungsbände zum Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, 71, Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2011.  
From the publisher: “This work considers Valkyries in the medieval Scandinavian mythology and literature and places them in the context of the early history of European religion. Drawing on textual and archaeological sources, a detailed review of Celtic, Etruscan and Graeco-Roman female demons of the battlefield and of death is presented, and their remarkable similarity with the Valkyries analysed against the background of Mediterranean-transalpine cultural contacts.”
Egeler, Matthias, “Death, wings, and divine devouring: possible Mediterranean affinities of Irish battlefield demons and Norse valkyries”, Studia Celtica Fennica 5 (2008): 3–24.
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Dennis Groenewegen
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March 2018