Norse Mythology
Mythology I
Background
 “Norse” refers to Danes,
Norwegians, Swedes
(a.k.a. “Vikings”)
 The Viking Age was 7801070 A.D.
 Vikings spread from
Scandinavia to Iceland,
Greenland, Ireland,
Scotland, Russia, and
North America
 Norse myths reflect the
nature of the Viking people
Sources
Elder Edda or Poetic Edda: a group of
poems by various authors that were probably
written in the tenth century
Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson
Written around 1200 A.D.
Includes retellings of most of the poems from the
Elder Edda
Influenced by Christianity
The NORSE WORLD
YggdrasilL
 “The World Tree”
 World is separated into 9
realms on three levels
 Most important: Asgard
(home of the gods),
Midgard (home of men),
Jotunheim (home of
giants), and Hel/Niflheim
(home of the dead)
 Asgard and Midgard are
connected by Bifrost, the
rainbow bridge
GODS of the NORSE
Æsir and Vanir
Two races of gods in Norse mythology
Æsir are the more war-like gods: Odin,
Frigg, Thor, Balder and Tyr
Vanir are the more peaceful fertility gods:
Njord, sea god, and his children, Freyr and
Freyja
These clans battle, exchange hostages,
etc.
ODIN
Son of Bestla and Bor, brother of Vili and Ve
Father of Balder, Tyr, Heimdall, and others
The All-Father, God of Battle
Dwells in Valhalla, where he welcomes
courageous warriors after death
Possesses Gungnir, a great spear which he
can use to start wars
Rides Sleipner, the eight-legged horse who is
the fastest steed in the world
Thor
God of Thunder, strongest god
Son of Odin and Jord (Earth), husband of Sif
Protects Asgard, battles giants
Owns the war hammer, Mjolnir, which, when
thrown at a target, returns to the owner
Also owns a belt which boosts his strength
and a pair of special iron gloves
His chariot is drawn by two goats, which he
can eat and resurrect
Balder
 God of innocence, beauty, joy, purity, and peace
 Son of Odin and Frigg
 Killed by a trick of Loki
 Will return to rule after the end of the age
Loki
Son of giants, father of the Fenris-Wolf,
Midgard serpent, Hel, and Sleipner
Married goddess Sigyn, had two sons
Trickster hero/god, neither fully good or
bad
Able to change shape and gender
Never worshipped by men
tyr
God of single combat
and heroic glory
Once thought to be
head of the Norse
pantheon, later said to
be son of Odin
Sacrificed hand to bind
the Fenris-Wolf
frigg
 Wife of Odin
 Goddess of marriage,
motherhood, fertility,
love, household
management, and
domestic arts
 Has the power of
prophecy but does not
tell what she knows
 Is said to have woven
or spun the clouds
Freyja
Daughter of Njord, the sea god, and twin sister
of Freyr
Goddess of love, sex, beauty, prophecies and
attraction
Owned the necklace Brísingamen, and a cloak
of feathers, which let her change into any bird
Rides in chariot drawn by cats
Often desired and fought for by gods, giants,
and dwarves
freyr
Son of Njord, the sea god, and
twin brother of Freyja
Fertility god; rules over rain,
shining of the sun, and produce
of the fields
Marries a giantess, Gerd
Rides a boar with golden bristles
Has a magical sword and a
magical ship
Heimdall
Guardian of the gods
and Asgard
Blows the horn Gjall if
danger approaches
Stationed at Bifrost, the
rainbow bridge
Extremely acute senses,
does not sleep
Son of nine different
mothers
The Norns
Three women: Urd (fate),
Verdandi (being) and Skuld
(necessity)
Weave the tapestry of fates
in which each person's life
is a thread, even the gods’
Live by a root of Yggdrasill
Guard the spring of fate
The Valkyries
“Choosers of the Slain”
Always female
Give victory in battle
according to Odin’s will
Servants in Valhalla
Origin, names, and
powers differ according
to various myths
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