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Dec 9, 2021

In Norse mythology, Lævateinn is a weapon crafted by Loki mentioned in the Poetic Edda poem Fjölsvinnsmál. The name Lævateinn does not appear in the original manuscript reading, but is an emendation from Hævateinn made by Sophus Bugge and others.

Sword of Loki.
“Laevatein” redirects here. For the videogame, see Hero’s Saga Laevatein Tactics.

The weapon is needed to slay the rooster Viðofnir atop the Mímameiðr tree in order for the seeker to achieve his quest, or so replies the wise porter Fjölsviðr, the title character of the poem.

Lævateinn has variously been asserted to be a dart (or some projectile weapon), or a sword, or a wand, by different commentators and translators. It is glossed as literally meaning a “wand” causing damage by several sources, yet some of these same sources claim simultaneously that the name is a kenning for sword. Others prefer to regard it as a magic wand (seiðr staff).

. . . Lævateinn . . .

Lævateinn is the only weapon capable of defeating the cockerel Viðofnir, as explained by Fiölsvith “the very wise” porter in the poem Fjölsvinnsmál.[1][2][3]Lopt, the sword’s maker, refers to Loki.[4]

Hævateinn, the untampered form of the weapon’s name as occurs in manuscript, has been glossed as “sure-striking dart/arrow” by Árni Magnússon in 1787,[lower-alpha 1][5] and rendered “an arrow’s name /That never disappoints the aim” by A. S. Cottle in 1797.[6]

Lævateinn, the emendation made by changing the first letter from H to L, was proposed by Sophus Bugge in 1860/1861,[7] later printed in Bugge’s edition of the Poetic Edda (1867 ),[8] and construed to mean ‘Wounding Wand’,[4] or ‘damage twig’, [9] or “Wand-of-Destruction”.[10]

To be fair, Lævateinn or -wand can have three possible senses of meaning,[11] and the latter three English glosses exploit only one of them. The three meanings of (the nominative case of læva) are: “cunning”, “deception”, and “injury”.[12][13] The weapon’s name is glossed as “wand of non deceit” in passing without further explanation by Einar Ólafur Sveinsson.[1][14]

. . . Lævateinn . . .

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. . . Lævateinn . . .