I read a story where Odin gave all his possessions to his brother Villi and Ve and made them the rulers of the Universe. One of Odin's possessions is his wife, Frigg. Hence, while Odin is away, his brothers "took possession" of Frigg. How true is this myth and why did Frigg, a goddess of marriage, willing go to her brothers in law?

2 Answers 2


Well, your telling is pretty distorted, but there is a story of Odin's brothers taking possession of his wife, Frigg. From the Ynglinga Saga, Chapter 3:

Odin had two brothers, the one called Ve, the other Vilje, and
they governed the kingdom when he was absent. It happened once
when Odin had gone to a great distance, and had been so long away
that the people Of Asia doubted if he would ever return home,
that his two brothers took it upon themselves to divide his
estate; but both of them took his wife Frigg to themselves. Odin
soon after returned home, and took his wife back.

Note, however, that no statement is made villifying Ve and Vilje, accusing them of violating Frigg or of them cuckolding Odin, nor is any mention made of reprisals for their transgressions. Odin simply returns, and takes his wife back.

Rather than a story of bad behavior, this seems to be a model for right behavior. If a man is lost, it may fall to their brother to take possession of their widow, as their own wife or mistress, and see to her care.

In fact, sometimes immediately after the death of their husbands, Icelandic women became the wives of relatives-in-law through inheritance; this came about, as a rule, through a man's falling heir to a deceased brother's widow along with his movable goods and this land. And even at present day in Scandinavia it is very customary for a man to marry the wife or betrothed of his brother, in the event of the latter's death.

Social Scandinavia in the Viking Age by Mary Wilhelmine Williams, page 104

So, to answer the title question directly "Did Frigg cheat?" No, she did not.

  • 1
    I hadn't thought of it that way. I always assumed that the story of Odin's brothers was the basis for Loki's insult to Frigg in Lokasenna. (Which it might be - he twists everything the gods did to make it discreditable.) But it's an Old Norse version of Deut. 25.5
    – solsdottir
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 18:52
  • "both of them took his wife Frigg to themselves" is suspiciously awkward phrasing. That's often a red flag that they are trying to say something without actually coming out and saying it. So in this case, not being an expert on this particular passage, I'd assume sex was in fact being implied, until convinced otherwise.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 18:06
  • @T.E.D. - Well, I would point that it is stated in alongside their taking possession of the rest of his estate. As far as whether this would be some sort of celibate relationship, of course not. If she is taken as a wife, sex (and bearing children) would certainly be expected. No question there. The point I'm making is that, as a legitimate wife, the coupling would not be cheating.
    – femtoRgon
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 18:40
  • 1
    @femtoRgon - Agreed. Not only would it not be cheating, it could be considered their responsibility. However, the "both of them" part I think is highly irregular, and at the least implies they didn't consider this "responsibility" much of a burden.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 20:03
  • Error in transmission? I would expect they took her as herself, as both taking her for themselves is a paradox if they but shared the rest; unless menage a trois is contrasted, which I would not expect. lulz
    – vectory
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 17:06

Frigg cheated on Odin several times in the mythology. Also she could see the future so she knew that he would come back home. So it was not a mistake.

  • Needs references.
    – Mary
    Commented Oct 30, 2021 at 0:10
  • Mary: When Loki tells about it in the Lokasenna (in the Edda Poems). After Frigg defends her husband, Loki makes fun of how she had sex with Odin's brothers. In the next verse Freya says that Frigg knows everything even though she doesn't say it. Also Frigg is told specifically in Völuspá about when and how Odin will die. So she know that in particular wouldn't happen yet. Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 12:07
  • Also in Ynglinga saga is was recounted in detail what happened. And Frigg knew very well that nothing happened to Odin. But then again, Odin had sex with other women, trolls and other æsir. Both with and against their will. It wasn't seen as serious as in Abrahamic morality. Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 12:09
  • Hi, Johan. Welcome to Mythology StackExchange. Please incorporate this information in the actual text of your Answer.
    – Adinkra
    Commented Oct 31, 2021 at 14:43

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