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Transcript of Norse Mythology
Today's days of the week are named after the Norse gods of old and other important figures.
Wednesday-Wodin's Day (Odin)
Friday-Freya's Day (or Frigga's)
Saturday-Saturn's Day (Greek)
The Norse Gods
There are six main gods in Norse mythology, Odin, the king or "All Father" of the gods being the most important. He ruled over Asgard, the home of the gods, and protected the universe from dark forces. He never ate anything from the bountiful tables of his court, so lost was he in thought and memory of all things of the world. His birds Hugin and Munin (thought and memory) constantly whispered in his ear all the comings and goings of the universe.
Odin, King of the Gods
Odin - The ruler of the gods. Has two ravens named Thought and Memory who tell him news from the world. Is very thoughtful and solemn. Never eats anything.
Frigga - Odin's wife. Very quiet and seclusive, not very important.
Thor - The son of Odin and the god of thunder. Wields the powerful hammer Mjolnir.
Freya - The goddess of love and beauty.
Tyr - The god of war.
Freyr - Cares for the fruits of the Earth
Heimdall - the guarder of the Bifröst, the rainbow bridge which leads to Asgard. Can see really far.
Hela - Goddess of the Underworld and the dead.
Balder - The most beloved of the gods, whom nothing could hurt, except mistletoe.
Valkyries - Not gods, but still important. They were Odin's attendants who kept the drinking horns full, but their main task was to go to the battlefield and, at Odin's bidding, decide the victor. Afterward, they would carry the brave dead to Valhalla.
The hammer Mjolnir, as seen in
"Odin the Wanderer" by Georg von Rosen
Myths about Odin
Since Odin was very wise, tales of him often focus on sacrifices he made to gain that wisdom. He persuaded Mimir the Wise, the guarder of the Well of Wisdom, to let him drink from it - only if Odin would lose an eye. Odin agreed and drank from the well. He also suffered to learn of the Runes, incredibly powerful inscriptions. He hung from the Yggdrasil for nine days, wounded by a spear, in order to gain this knowledge.
By Anthony Cinquemani, Ally Kerl, Mary Christenbury, and Josh Powers
In the beginning, there was Muspelheim, the region of fire, Niflheim, the cold region of death, and an abyss in between the two.
Nine rivers from Niflheim flowed into the abyss and froze. Fiery clouds from Muspelheim came and turned the ice into mist, which created the first giant, Ymir.
Ymir's grandsons were Odin and his two brothers, Ve and Vili. Odin and his brothers killed Ymir and made the world out of him. The earth was made from his body, the heavens from his skull, and the sea out of his blood. Sparks from Muspelheim made the moon and the stars, and Ymir's eyebrows were used as walls to protect where humans were supposed to live. The universe was supported by a giant ash tree called the Yggdrasil.
The Death of Balder
The apocalypse of Norse mythology. Ragnarok is the time when the forces of evil will win over the gods, and the world as we know it will be destroyed. Odin is prophesied to be swallowed by the sinister Fenrir wolf on that day. However, after the destruction, there are hints of a new being much more powerful and good than Odin arising.
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Gods
The Norse gods, unlike in other mythologies, were not entirely immortal. They knew that there would come a day when they would all be destroyed by the the forces of evil. It was also a common thing among the gods that nothing worth achieving could be achieved without suffering of some sort.
Yet, because of the gods vague mortality they were somewhat more human than those of Greek mythology. The gods are capable of fear, love, and most of all bravery. The gods are also wise and solemn, and they are sworn protectors of the world of men.
Norse Culture / Beliefs
Inspired by the bravery of the gods, Norsemen believed that in order to reach Valhalla (the hall of heroes) they must die undefeated, without fear in their hearts at the time of death. As a result the Norse religion is a somber one, in which the Norseman's only consolation is that if they die a hero, they may fight alongside the gods on the day of destruction. This bleak attitude is somewhat understandable if one looks at the world they live in: cold, icy, and dark Scandinavia. Like the Greeks and Romans, they gave offerings to the gods and probably created art that was tribute to the gods.
The Myth of Sigurd
A Valkyrie named Brinhyld is put to sleep for disobeying Odin, and a ring of fire is put around her so only a hero would awake her. A man named Sigurd braves the fire and saves her, and they fall in love. A king named Gunnar gives Sigurd a potion that makes him forget Brinhyld and fall in love with Gunnar's daughter, Gudrun. Brinhyld eventually figures out what has happened and gets Gunnar's brother to kill Sigurd in his sleep. Then, after Sigurd dies, Brynhild kills herself.
There are many similarities between myths of different religions. An example of these myths would be the Greek myth of the dethroning of Cronus and the Nordic myth of the slaying of Ymir. Both have elder gods being slain by three brothers. In the case of the Greeks, it was Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. For the Norse it was Odin, Ve, and Vili. The difference between the two myths is that Cronus was just sliced up and thrown into Tartarus. Ymir's remains were used to create the entire world. Another big difference between Norse creation and Greek creation was that the Norse believed that there were places and things (Muspelheim and Nilfheim) in the beginning, while the Greeks believed that there was only chaos.
Heimdall, as seen in Marvel's
Frigga, as seen in Marvel's
Our god's name is Hǫldr, which means hero in Ancient Norse. He is the god of heroic deeds. He's very courageous, strong, a good warrior, and obviously, very heroic. His flaws are that he is proud, reckless, and embodies a somewhat negative value of the Norse; he can't be defeated. He doesn't know how.
Thor, as seen in
Odin, as seen in
Loki, as seen in
"Family Tree of the Norse Gods." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 6 May 2013. Web. 20 Sept. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_tree_of_the_Norse_gods>.
Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Boston: Little, Brown, 1942. Print.