Difference Between a Gnome and a Dwarf
Gnome vs Dwarf
Gnomes and dwarfs are both mythical characters, unless we are referring to “dwarfism” which is a medical condition of a real person suffering from dwarfism. In this article, we will be discussing not the medical condition of dwarfism but the differences between gnomes who are mythical, small creatures which originated in the Renaissance period and dwarfs who are mythical characters originating from Norse mythology.
Gnomes are, as per the mythologies of Renaissance period and later adopted by authors of modern literature, small, human-like creatures or humanoids who typically live underground. The term “gnomes” was first introduced by a Renaissance physician who was German-Swiss and also an astrologer, botanist, and alchemist named Paracelsus. The word “gnome” comes from Renaissance Latin meaning “earth dweller.” Paracelsus used the word “gnomi” and described them as creatures that were very reluctant to interact with humans. As they were earth dwellers, they could easily move through the earth as humans moved through the air.
In modern fairy tales they have been described as small creatures that resemble the dwarfs of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This adaptation of the creatures came into being after the first Disney movie released in 1937. In the 1960s and 1970s, the gnomes resembling the Disney movie dwarfs started being introduced on the market as plastic garden decorations. Since then the image of the gnome has undergone very few changes.
The word “dwarf” has originated from Old Norse “dvegr,” Old English “dweorg” and Old German “gitwerc” and “zwerc.” In German mythology, dwarfs were small creatures who lived in mountains and also in the earth and were very wise. They were also associated with crafting, mining, and smithing. Dwarfs were described as small and ugly, but scholars hint that these descriptions originated only after the comic version of dwarfs was introduced in modern literature and movies.
The word “dwarf” and these creatures were first introduced in Norse mythology in the Prose Edda which was written by Snorri Sturluson, and the Poetic Edda, which was a compilation of poems from traditional older sources. As per these literature, dwarfs were creatures similar to maggots that lived in the flesh of “Ymir” who was a primal being. Later these creatures were gifted reason by gods. According to the mythologies, dwarfs may have formed humans, and three mythological gods gave them life.
- Gnomes are mythical, small creatures that originated in the Renaissance period; dwarfs are mythical characters originating from Norse mythology.
- The term “gnomes” was first introduced by a Renaissance physician named Paracelsus; the word “dwarf” was first introduced in Norse mythology in the Prose Edda which was written by Snorri Sturluson and the Poetic Edda.
- As per mythology, gnomes were creatures that were very reluctant in interacting with humans; they were earth dwellers and could easily move through the earth as humans moved through the air. In the German mythology, dwarfs were small creatures who lived in mountains and earth and were very wise. They were also associated with crafting, mining, and smithing.
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