Svartálfr (Old Norse for "black elves", "swarthy elves", plural Svartálfar), also called Myrkálfr ("dark elves", "dusky elves", "murky elves", plural Myrkálfar) is a being who dwell in Svartálfaheimr.

Background

In Norse mythology, both the svartálfar and Svartálfaheimr are primarily attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. Scholars have noted that the svartálfar appear to be synonymous with the dvergar and potentially also the dökkálfar ("dark elves"). As dvergar, the home of the svartálfar could possibly be another description for Niðavellir ("dark fields").

Attestations

The svartálfar are almost only attested in the Prose Edda (the word does appear in Ektors saga ok kappa hans, but is presumably borrowed from the Prose Edda). The svartálfar mentioned in Skáldskaparmál 35 are the Sons of Ívaldi, whom Loki engages to craft replacement hair for Sif, wife of the god Þórr, after Loki mischievously sheared off her golden tresses. Ívaldi is often glossed as being a dvergr.

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