Monday, April 4, 2016

Boars in the North (Kovarova, 2011)

Here's a few dog ears in a 2011 paper about the boar in European mythology by Lenka Kovárová.
The paper is Norse-centric in its focus, but it offers a detailed account of the history's history of boar in mythology.

With Northern Europe facing an explosive return of the wild boar [here], [here], [here], [here], the boar's ultra-fecundity is once again getting the attention of Europeans as it rapidly enters the exponentiation phase.    Europe's angry peasants are no longer a threat, competition is scarce, food sources are abundant.  Life is great for boars!
It's easy to see why wild boars would both be reviled as destructive force and esteemed as proliferous one.  This duality is a common theme in Europe at this time.  The boar is again a subject of this duality in the brother-sister, night and day gods who are associated with it: Freyr and Freyja or Apollo and Selene. 

I've picked out several sections from this thesis that are especially interesting:

Section 2.1.4. "The Warrior’s Equipment"

Section 3.2.2  "The Boar as the Sun Symbol"

Section 7.2    "Shape-changing"

Section 7.3.2  "Identification with a Boar: The Boar Warrior"  AKA the úlfheðnar or berserkir

See also [here], [here], [here], [here], [here], [here], [here], [here]

Kovárová, Lenka, 1980- "The Swine in Old Nordic Religion and Worldview" (2011)


  1. Not entirely on topic, but you can now buy salami made with wild boar at my local ordinary grocery store right next to the fancy cheeses.

    1. Wild boar (alive) usually sells around .33 cents a lb in most of the U.S. It has to be bought by someone with a license to do this, and then I guess it's hotdogs after this.

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  3. I can't seem to find a link to the Kovarova paper that you reference.

  4. Twrch Trwyth - in the Mabinogion

    1. Interesting comments. I'll have to do some reading.