Arvak and Alsvid

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In Norse mythology, Arvak ("early-riser") and Alsvid ("all-swift") were the horses that pulled Sol's chariot (i.e. the Sun). The horses' mane gave off the light; the Sun herself gave off the heat.

Explanatory Quotes

From "Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings" re-told by Kevin Crossley-Hollands (Penguin, 1982):

From Gylfaginning
"Sun follows behind [the moon]. One of her horses is called Arvak because he rises so early, and the other Alsvid because he is immensely strong. The Aesir inserted iron-cold bellows under their shoulder blades to keep them cool. Sun always seems to be in a great hurry, and that is because she is being chased by Skoll, the wolf who is always snapping and growling close behind her."

From Grimnismál
"Arvak the Early Waker and Alsvid, All Swift, are the names of the steeds whose wearisome work is to drag the sun across the sky. Long ago the gods took pity on them, and put bellows under their yokes. And in front of the sun, like a shield, stands Svalin. Should he let his guard slip, the mountains and the sea would burst into flames. Skoll is the wolf on the tail of the sun, and he will chase her until at last he runs her down in Iron Wood."


See also

Image:Mjollnir icon.png

Norse mythology

List of Norse gods | Æsir | Vanir | Giants | Elves | Dwarves | Valkyries | Einherjar | Norns
Odin | Thor | Freyr | Freya | Loki | Balder | Tyr | Yggdrasil | Ginnungagap | Ragnarök
Sources:
Poetic Edda | Prose Edda | The Sagas | Volsung Cycle | Tyrfing Cycle
Rune stones | Old Norse language | Orthography | Later influence
Society:
Viking Age | Skald | Kenning | Blót | Seid | Numbers
The nine worlds of Norse mythology | People, places and things

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