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The Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda

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“But if you look at the Poetic Edda, the cultural impact of that book is greater than the Mona Lisa. It’s not like we have a Marvel Comics movie every other year about Mona Lisa. It’s not like we have Norwegian death rock bands based on stories about the Mona Lisa. So we have this amazing source right here. Humans throughout the last 10,000 years have left fragments of worldviews, mythologies, complete image ideas of origin stories, gods, their battles and deeds. We have maybe seven or 10 intact, big mythologies in the world — one of them is Norse mythology and it so happens that the source of Norse mythology is in Reykjavík in the Poetic Edda, in the Prose Edda.” 

Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason in this 2024 interview with The Reykjavík Grapevine on the Icelandic medieval manuscripts. 

The Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda

The Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda, GKS 2365 4to, is widely regarded as the most remarkable of all old Icelandic manuscripts.

It includes mythological poems that are important sources for the world view and religious beliefs of the Scandinavians prior to their conversion to Christianity; and also poems on heroes who were famous among all the Germanic peoples during the Viking Age and even earlier. Many of the poems in the book are not preserved in any other medieval source, and not one of them is preserved in a manuscript of the same age or older.

The present edition consists of a diplomatic transcription of the Codex Regius text, and three essays on important aspects of the manuscript. It also features an online electronic edition in the Editiones Arnamagnæanæ Series Electronicæ, with digital photographs (both black-and-white and in color), an XML-tagged electronic text, and a lemmatized concordance based on the electronic text.

Editors are: Guðvarður Már Gunnlaugsson, Haraldur Bernharðsson and Vésteinn Ólason.