Hama (Heimdallr)

Hama the watchman of the rainbow bridge (Bifrost) is one of the most often mentioned Gods in the Eddas.  He is also one of the few Gods listed with several names, a trait scholars believe reflected the importance of a God or Goddess. In the Eddas, he is called Hallinskísði, Gullintani "gold toothed," and seems to be the mysterious Rígr of the Rigsthula.  He is also called in some of the texts, Heimdali which means "ram" and may be a cleaver play on words. Finally, he is refered to in the Þrymskviða as the "whitest of the Ése" due to his purity, and Snorri in the Prose Edda too calls him the "White God.". His hall in *Ésageard (Asgard) is called *Heofonberg (in Norse, Himinbjorg) which means "Heaven Mountain."  And he bears the *Giellerhyrn (Gjallarhorn) a horn with which to alert the Gods to attack on Ésegeard.

His Norse name HeimdallR corrensponds to one of Freo's (Freya's) other names Mardoll.  The heim in Heimdall means "home" or "earth" while "mar" means "mare" or "sea." This is only one link between the Goddess Freo and and the God Hama. In the Þrymskviða it is Hama that advises Þunor disguise himself as Freo. He is also said to have done battle with Loki, both as seals, for the Goddesses' necklace Brísingamen. His connection with the necklace also appears in Beowulf.

Nænigne ic under swegle selran hyrde
hordmaðum hæleþa, syþðan Hama ætwæg
to þære byrhtan byrig Brosinga mene,
sigle ond sincfæt,--- searoniðas fleah
Eormenrices, geceas ecne ræd.

Ne'er heard I so mighty, 'neath heaven's dome,
a hoard-gem of heroes, since Hama bore
to his bright-built burg the Brisings' necklace,
jewel and gem casket. -- Jealousy fled he,
Eormenric's hate: chose help eternal.

This connection is strong enough to make one wonder if the mysterious Oðr who is said to be Freo's husband is not one and the same as Hama, who as Rígr roamed Middangeard.

Snorri references the lost Heimdallargaldr which says Hama was born of nine mothers.  They are named  in the Hyndluljóð, "Gjálp bore him, Greip bore him, Eistla and Eyrgjafa bore him, Úlfrún and Angeyja bore him, Imðr and Atla and Járnsaxa. He was made greater with the main of the earth, the spray-cold sea and holy boar's blood".  Some connect these with the nine daughters of  Ægir and Ran despite the difference in names. Snorri also states that he "needs less sleep than a bird, and can see a hundred leagues in front of him as well by night as by day. He can hear the grass growing on the earth and the wool on sheep, and every-thing that makes more noise."  These abilities are needed of course for his duties as watchman for the Gods. We are told in the Voluspa  his hearing his hidden beneath the World Tree.

There is one extant lay about Hama, and it is the Rígsþula of the Poetic Edda.  In it he roams the earth as Rígr and stays with three couples.  First he stays with a couple known as "Great-Grandfather" and "Great-Grandmother" and begats on "Great-Grandmother" the child known as thrall.  Next he stays with  "Grandfather" and "Grandmother" and begats with "Grandmother" the child known as Karl.  Finally he stays with "Father" and "Mother" and begats Jarl.  Thus according to the lay the three classes of men were born. He later returns to teach Kon, son of Jarl runelore and how to rule.



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