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Introduction to Norse Mythology
Transcript of Introduction to Norse Mythology
The Norse mythology is the mythology of the North Germanic tribes (who are more commonly known as the Vikings), that was created around 9th century AD. The stories of the North Germanic were passed down until about the 11th to 18th centuries when the Poetic Edda, Prose Edda and other Middle Ages text were written. It is comprised of the pre-Christian beliefs of the Scandinavian people, including those who settled down on Iceland which is where most of the written sources of Norse mythology were put together. This presentation is designed to help you understand the family tree of the gods that the North Germanic people once believed in before turning to Christianity.
Ginnungagap, Niflheim, Muspell
To understand the family tree of the gods, you have to know how it all came to be. According to the North Germanic, in the beginning Ginnungagap was the great emptiness. To the far south of Ginnungagap was the fiery realm of the Muspell. To the north, the cold and dark realm of Niflheim. Over time the fiery sparks of Muspell began to melt the ice of Niflheim, and from the ice two creatures emerged. One was Ymir and the other was Audhumla who emerge from the melting ice.
Ymir and Audhumla
Ymir and Adhumla were the first beings of the vast Ginnungagap. Audhumla is the prehistoric cow of Norse mythology. She is testified to be true in Gylfaginning, a part of the Prose Edda. The cow licked the salt from ice mountains of Niflheim and Ymir drank the milk, becoming larger and larger. Audhumla licked the entire ice mountains exposing two more beings. The beings were the god Buri and his goddess wife.
Buri had a son named Bor. Bor had three sons who were Odin, Vili, and Ve who Bor all had with his wife Bestla.
Family Tree of Norse Mythology
Midgard, Ask, Embla
Did you wonder how the Vikings believed humans and the earth were created? Well the Vikings have an answer for that, too. Let's go back to that talk about Ymir. As Ymir started to grow larger and larger from drinking Adhumla's cow milk, he started to do some evil acts. After a while of Ymir's vile behavior, Odin and the other gods had it. They assembled and killed him. Ymir's mammoth body formed the earth, his blood the sea. His flesh became the land, hair the trees, and bones the mountains. The gods created the sky with Ymir's skull held up by four tall pillars. Odin gathered sparks from the fiery Muspell, and created the sun and moon which both shone in the sky. The sun and moon eventually melted what was left of the icy Niflheim and plants and trees began to grow. Odin was happy with the new world and named it Midgard (The Middle Land), but Odin felt it needed people. On one of his strolls Odin came upon two fallen trees, a ash and elm. He lifted them from the mud, and gave them breath, reason, feelings, hearing and sight. He named the man Ask and the woman Embla and gave them the task of looking after Midgard while the gods acsended to Asgard, their realm in heaven. All humas came from Ask and Embla.
Odin had many sons. He had Baldr, Hod, Hermod, and Tyr with one of his wives Frigg. He also fathered Thor who was birthed by the goddess Jord and Vidar by the giantess Grid. Additionally, he fathered Skjoldr with Rind and Yngvi, Saemingr, Sigrlami, Wecta, Beldeg, Casere, Weothulgeo, Winta, Seaxneat, and Froger by human mothers. Plus, Odin was the father to Nephr who was birthed from an unknown person.
A Little More Information On:
Frigga- Frigga was the highest ranked of all the goddesses.
Jord- Jord was the giantess mistress of Odin (meaning Odin and Jord never married and she was his partner while Odin and Frigga were married but they mantained a stable relationship having Thor.
Grid- The friendly giantess of Peace gave Thor his magic-belt and iron gloves and alerted him about Loki and Geirrod
A picture of Frigga, one of Odin's wives who bore him Baldr, Hod, Hermod, and Tyr.
Adhumla, the Norse cow licking away the ice to expose Buri's goddess wife.
Forseti (or Forsete) is the son of the Norse god Baldr. Forseti was was birthed by the goddess Nanna (Baldr's wife).
Magni and Modi were the two sons of Thor whom he had with the giantess Jarnsaxa. Thrud was the daughter of Thor, again being birthed by the giantess Jarnsaxa.
A picture of Odin, the allfather of the Norse gods.
A picture of Thor (father of Magni, Modi, and Thrud) in battle fighting with his magic hammer, Mjollnir.
As there was the family tree of the Norse gods, there is also a family tree for the Norse giants. Lets go way back with the talk about Ymir. After Ymir was formed from the melting at Niflheim, he took a deep sleep. As he was sleeping,
two beings formed within his armpits. Out of his two feet, Ymir gave birth to a six headed monster. All of the creatures were frost giants who settled in Niflheim. The giants conceived many other giants starting with Grid (Vidar's mother), Gerd, Jarnsaxa (Thrud, Magni, and Modi's mother), Skadi, Loki (father of Hel, Jormungand, and Fenrir), and Angrboda (mother of Hel, Jormungand, and Fenrir).
Hopefully, now you have more insight on the family of gods that is the heart of Norse mythology.