‘The Trial of Loki’ was originally published in the Australian Odinist journal ‘Renewal’ in serial form, and it tells. Although it has been revised and expanded it is still, essentially, an essay rather than a book. It looks purely at the format of Lokasenna, the author’s focus solely on this one ‘chapter’ of the Eddas, and his theory is that Lokasenna is in fact a trial.
The author introduces us to Set from his earliest to latest depictions in Egyptian art, with each chapter exploring different periods of Egyptian history in chronological order. While, for the most part, this was useful in showing the evolution of Set over the years, it also led to a slightly disjointed narrative when exploring the themes associated with the God.
Chapter one explores the earliest images of Set, and it makes clear that even in the Naqada I era he was known as “the lord of the sedges”, establishing his importance as representative of Upper Egypt, alongside Horus as “lord of the papyrus country” (Lower Egypt). Set’s association was with the city of Naqada, his cult centre, where he became known as nbwty – “the golden one.” He is thus often referred to as “Lord of Nubt.”
Interestingly, in the Labels from King Scorpion’s tomb Set, though shown in his animal form, is not shown with the typical erect tail, yet on a detail from the same king’s mace head, he is. The author then goes on to comment on the canine-like appearance of Set in Djoser’s temples, and quotes Ken Moss’ theory that the Set animal may in fact be based on a breed of hunting dog called the Saluki. Their ears were often cropped, producing a squared tip, and when running these square-tipped ears and the tail stick up.
Anatoly Liberman uses his book to argue certain points of variation relating to the death of Balder in Saxo Grammaticus’s Gesta Danorum and Snorri Sturluson’s Eddas. His main points of exploration are:
-The use of the word Mistilteinn being interpreted as mistletoe.
-The character of Hoder and whether he really is blind.
-The true nature of Balder.
-Loki’s role in the story, since he does not appear in Saxo’s rendition.
-The funeral of Balder and its patchwork of different elements.