From Nordic Names - www.nordicnames.de - All rights reserved.

Élivágar (Old Norse él = 'bad weather, storm' and vágr = 'sea) are rivers which flow from the spring Hvergelmir into the primeval chasm Ginnungagap, according to Gylfaginning. When their poisonous drops of hoar frost meet with the heat from Muspellsheimr, the first life began in the melting ice: the giant Ymir.

The names of the rivers are:

  • Svǫl
  • Gunnþrá
  • Fjǫrm
  • Fimbulþul
  • Slíðr
  • Hríð
  • Sylgr
  • Ylgr
  • Víð
  • Leiptr
  • Gjǫll

However, in Skáldskaparmál (Hymiskviða) Élivágar is only one river which forms the border to Jǫtunheimr. Hymir lives at the edge of the skies to the east of the river. It can also be understood to be a name for the proto-sea surrounding the world.



  1. Rudolf Simek: Dictionary of Northern Mythology (1993)