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NORSE

MYTHOLOGY
or the Tales of North Men
THE NORSEMEN
Norse encompasses the peoples of
Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway,
Sweden) and Iceland
The Norsemen were fierce warriors and
fearless sailors

Overpopulation in Scandinavia
prompted some Norsemen to conduct
raids the other European countries
These Scandinavian raiders were called
Vikings
Berserkers were animal-pelt-wearing warriors
who fought with a crazy fury, which they
imagined to be the spirit of Odin. Historians
believe they consumed drugged foods to inspire
their frenzy. The word berserk originates here.
THE NORSEMEN
In Norse society women were treated as
equals
Norse legends are filled with stories of
shield-maidens or women who fought
alongside their men

Living conditions in Scandinavia were


frigid and cruel, which accounts for the
gloomy Norse outlook on life

The Norsemen colonized Iceland,


Greenland, and (around 1,000 A.D.)
were the first to discover North America
Sources
Norse myths existed only in oral form while they were central
to religious belief. They were only written down after Northern
Europe had become Christian.

Poetic Eddas: Traditional songs, which often refer to mythic


incidents, usually just individual adventures.

Skaaldic songs: poems in honor of human accomplishments, with


occasional references to myth, sometimes very cryptic
THE WORLD
The Norse believed that there were
nine worlds supported by the World
Tree, Yggdrasil
One world was ASGARD, Home of
the Gods

Another was JOTUNHEIM, the


Land of the Giants

Another was SVARTHEIM, the


Land of the Dwarves (or Dark Elves)
Another was MIDGARD Middle
Earth, the World of Men

BIFRST was the Rainbow Bridge Far below was NIFLHEIM, the cold
that connected the worlds Land of the Dead
THE HUMANKIND

Once Odin and his two


brothers were walking along a
beach and saw two trees on the
ground. From these they
created man and woman. They
named them Ask and Elma.
ODIN
Also known as Woden
(Wodens Day is named for him)
All-Father of the Gods
The Bringer of Rain

Two ravens (Hugin and Munin)


perch on his shoulders and bring him
news from around the world
Traded an eye for wisdom

Gave Runes (symbolic writing) to


men
I remember I hung on the windswept
tree nine whole nights,
Stabbed by the spear, given to Odin,
myself to myself.
Of that tree no man knows what roots
it springs from.
No bread they gave me, no drink from
the horn,
down I peered. I took up runes,
howling I took them up, And back
again I fell.
FRIGGA
Odins wife and queen

Protector of Marriage
Mother of Balder

Cast a spell on her most beloved


son to protect him from harm

Sits at her spinning wheel day after


day

Frigga Day (Friday) is named for her


BALDER
The most beloved of all the gods

Out of all he was totally pure


His death was caused through the
tricks of Loki

His death is one of the great Norse


tragedies
THOR
God of Thunder

Wears a magic girdle that doubled


his strength
His magic hammer is Mjlnir

His wife is Sif of the Golden Hair

The giants are his mortal enemies,


and he constantly battles them

Thors Day is named for him


TYR
God of Single Combat

Lost one of his hands to Fenrir, a


giant wolf
Tyrs day is named for him
HEIMDALL
Watchman of the Gods

Guard of Bifrst, the Rainbow


Bridge that leads to Asgard

His horn will sound the beginning


of Ragnarok, the Day of Doom
FREYA
Goddess of Love and Beauty

Wears Brisingamen, the Necklace


of the Dwarves

Also known as a battle goddess


who rides a giant boar into battle
BRAGI

God of poetry and eloquence

Loki calls him Braggart and


the verb to brag comes from
his name

Married to Idun
IDUN

Goddess of immortality
Keeps the golden apples of youth
Major story deals with a giant who,
with Lokis help, stole the apples,
causing the gods to wither
LOKI
The Doer of Good and the Doer of
Evil
Crossbreed God and Giant

Master Trickster who is sometimes


helpful and sometimes hurtful
HEL

Daughter of Loki
Giantess
Goddess of death and the underworld
Half black/ half white
Her face and body are human but the
legs are of a corpse
Has two servants: Ganglati and
Ganglot
Spread the plague with a rake or a
broom
VALKYRIES
Odins battlemaidens who
determine the outcome of battles
Carry the victorious dead to the
Hall of Odin, Valhalla

There these mortal warriors will


feast and wait for Ragnarok

Then they will fight against Loki


and the Giants with the sir
The NORNS
Three female creatures who control
the fate of all races
One sees the past, one sees the
present, one sees the future

Sit at the Well of Urd at the base of


the World Tree

Urth, Skuld, Verthandi


GIANTS
Enormous brutes who are the
enemies of the sir
Continually plotting to destroy the
gods through tricks and traps

Not all Giants are evil, but the


majority are

Thor is the god that they hate the


most
DWARVES
Short, hairy creatures that live in
Svartheim, the Land of the Dwarves
Master craftsman who work
underground forging the treasures
of the world

They are the makers of Mjlnir and


Brisingamen
RAGNAROK
The Day of Doom that will destroy
the Gods and the entire Earth
The Gods know this day is coming
and do everything they can to
prevent it

Loki, his children, and the giants


will overrun the sir

The World Tree will burn

Mani (Moon) and Sol (Sun) will be


devoured by the wolves of darkness
that chase them
From the ashes a new world will be
born, built by new gods
Five hundred doors and
forty more in Valholl I think
there are. Eight hundred
warriors at a time will pass
each door to fight the wolf. .
. Fenrir rushes forward, his
jaws agape, so that the
upper one touches the
heavens, the lower one
touches the earth.
A second earth [the shaman-woman]
sees arise from out of the sea, green
once more; the cataracts tumble, the
eagle flies over them, hunting fish in
the mountain stream. The Aesir meet
again . . . (Voluspa)
The Aesir meet again and speak of the
mighty Iormungand, and call to mind
the mighty judgments and the ancient
mysteries of the Great God himself.
(Voluspa)
Norse Myths in Movies/Tv-Series