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A Brief History Of Norse Mythology
Scandinavian or Norse mythology encompasses the legends and beliefs of Scandinavian people and is a type of older Germanic mythology. It was eventually mostly superseded by Christian beliefs, but it still has a place in today’s world - such as on our purple Georgian Sun Wheel Borjgali T-shirt or our blue Ring-spun Cotton Triskele T-shirt, associated with the Norse Horn Triskelion symbol.
Norse mythology is made up of stories and beliefs shared among Northern Germanic tribes and was passed on through generations instead of being handed down to mortals from gods or being based on scriptures. It was passed down through the era of the Vikings, and much of our modern knowledge is based on medieval texts written after many writers turned to Christianity, along with the Eddas, which are stories focusing on Viking deities.
It is said that Norse mythology is the most well-preserved version of the older version of common Germanic paganism, which also includes the related Anglo-Saxon mythology.
These mythological characters started out in stories originally shared among the northern Germanic tribes that lived in the 9th century AD. These tales were passed down through the generations as forms of poetry. This happened until the period between the 11th and 18th centuries, when medieval texts and the Eddas were written.
The Poetic Edda, or Elder Edda, contains 29 poems, 11 of which deal with the existence of German deities. The rest of the poems focus on legendary heroes, such as Sigurd the Volsung, or Siegfried in the German Nibelungenlied.
In addition to these sources. legends survive in Scandinavian folklore. Some of these also appear in Germanic literature. There are also hundreds of areas in Scandinavia with names derived from the gods.
The Vikings who originally heralded from the north of Scandinavia worshipped the goddesses and gods of Norse mythology.
Some important deities
Much of Norse mythology focuses on the actions of important gods and goddesses. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Norse gods were part of two main groups, the Vanir and the Aesir. Odin was part of the Aesir clan and was also renowned as the father of the gods. He was often pictured as a bearded, one-eyed old man with a cloak and a hat sitting upon Sleipnir, an eight-legged horse who could fly.
Odin was seen as the most powerful of all the gods and is still linked with such themes as war, death, healing, knowledge and wisdom. He was the ruler of Valhalla, or the hall of the slain, as it was otherwise known.
Odin was also responsible for our Wednesdays. It is said that the day is named after Woden, which is a variation of the god’s name.
She was the wife of Odin and is said to be one of the most important Norse goddesses. She stuck with Odin despite many extramarital affairs and was the only person who could sit beside her husband, according to myth.
Frigg is said to be the goddess of the sky and is also associated with fertility, family, marriage and wisdom. She is also said to have divine powers and have experienced visions. It is said that the name Friday derives from Frigg.
Thanks to Marvel, Thor is perhaps the most recognizable of the Norse gods in the modern world. He was known as the thunder and lightning god and has a famous sidekick, Mjolnir, a hammer capable of destroying everything from mountains to giants. Thor is said to have ridden in a goat-drawn chariot with two giant animals at the helm called Tanngrisnir and Tanngniost.
Thor was Odin’s son and was responsible for protecting the Aesir’s stronghold of Asgard. The day Thursday is said to be named after "Thor’s Day".
Once again, we have Marvel to thank for many people’s knowledge of Loki. It may be surprising to note, however, that in Norse mythology, he was neither Odin’s son nor Thor’s brother. Instead, his original incarnation was said to be Odin’s "blood brother".
He was, however, always known as a trickster and was said to be able to shapeshift into different forms. He was depicted as being very mischievous, and there were times when he caused significant harm, such as in the death of Balder, another god.
She was the goddess of fertility, war, gold, beauty, love and fate and was a Vanir clan member. Half of the Vikings who died in combat were said to go to her heavenly meadow, known as Folkvangr. The rest went to Valhalla.