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  • Norse Mythology : Viking History, Gods; Legends

    March 02, 2023 6 min read

    Norse Mythology: Viking History, Gods; Legends

    Norse mythology is the set of myths and traditions that originate from Northern Europe. It created a place for itself with the Vikings and other Germanic peoples during the Viking Age.

    This Northern mythology was based on a polytheistic religious system that was practiced in vast territories in the Middle Ages and before the period of Christianization. This mythology combines both a rich and complex culture, with stories and poems from the time of the Vikings. Nowadays, popular culture is deeply inspired by Scandinavian mythology. Adaptations on the Viking universe are increasing in number whether through texts, books or films with the fabulous universe of Marvel and the new Vikings series.

    The mythology of the North fascinates with the stories of its gods, Odin the god of ases and his son Thor, protector of Asgard. Viking mythology fascinates with its poetic texts and the many mysterious symbols, but above all with the existence of the greatest civilization in Europe, the Vikings.


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    Norse Mythology: The Pagan Religion

    Before the arrival of Christianity among the Scandinavian people, the barbarian people formed by the Vikings practiced their own pagan religions. Norse mythology has its sources on this pagan religion, because Norse myths, traditions and legends bring together all the religious stories that governed the life of the Vikings. An incredible story that contained battles like the famous Ragnarök, texts about gods like the god Odin , the chief of all gods (the leader of the Aesir) and Thor , the thunder god, goddesses like the goddess Freyja and also mythological creatures such as the people of the giants and the people of the dwarves.

    viking wolves


    During those ancient times, the religion of the Nords had no distinct name: they called it tradition. At one time, believing men gradually converted to Christianity. The last practitioners of the Norse culture then began to be called pagans. This Norse religion was a way for the Viking people to get closer to the gods. The Viking people were a polytheistic people (who believe in many gods) unlike the Christian people who were monotheistic. Indeed, they believed in gods, each with their own abilities and areas of expertise. The Nordic people had a very special cosmological knowledge: they believed in the world tree (Yggdrasil) . The Yggdrasil tree carried the nine worlds where Odin and the other Norse gods dwelt (in the world of Asgard), humans as well as ferocious beasts. People of our time are drawn to the wonderment of various Norse myths and gods that enchant them.

    norse gods


    The Scandinavians imagined living in an “enchanted” world. They were fascinated by their world: culture and nature. Behind this marvelous image, the Nordic religion was closely linked to human "nonsense": war, injustice, heroes and life. The Vikings yearned for battle, to protect their wealth and their land.

    Norse Mythology: The Origin of Myths

    The Nordic peoples were an oral people, who transmitted their beautiful stories, legends, myths and customs through poems and oral songs. This is the main reason for the complexity of Norse mythology. The most interesting pre-Christian source ever discovered is the Poetic Edda. The Poetic Edda is the collection of poems written in Old Norse from the 13th century, brought together in a single collection: the Codex Regius. These poems describe and illustrate the various events that spanned the entire Viking Age. The Edda tells the story of the creation of the world and the lives of the gods and goddesses who inhabit it. The Edda is an important source of information about Norse mythology, and scholars have used it to interpret other Norse texts.


    Norse mythology: the origin of the Viking people

    The Celts, the Sami and the Finns are called the Scandinavians or "Germanic people". These people belonging to the same culture were located in northern Europe, passing through Iceland, Scandinavia and north of the Alps. But the most well-known Germanic people in popular culture are the Vikings.

    viking war


    All people from northern Europe as well as Scots, English and Germans have a high probability of possessing Germanic blood. Which means that their ancestors may well be Vikings, which we know from Norse mythology.


    Norse Mythology: The Vikings

    Do you know the Floki or Erik the red navigators? The Vikings were very good navigators, conquerors and traders. They sailed between several northern countries (Denmark, Iceland, Sweden), but also on new lands to conquer them: in Baghdad and even around North America. The Norse liked to sail and go on adventures for the following reasons: glory, power and gold. In Viking society, wealth defined social rank. The richer you are, the more power and importance you have in society. At that time, wealth was represented not only by currencies and by treasures, but by the possession of land. The more land a man owns, the more important he is in society.

    viking longship


    In children's books, Vikings are often depicted as bloodthirsty, violent and bloodthirsty men. These books have an inauthentic portrayal, as the Vikings were also farmers, traders, musicians, and scholars of poetic art. The Vikings were very creative people and were superior in shipbuilding compared to other peoples.


    Norse mythology: the gods

    god odin


    The Vikings believed in several gods, divided into two branches: the Aesir and the Vanir. They added to their belief some mythical creatures like the gigantic wolf Fenrir, the giants and the serpent world Jörmungandr.

    The main gods of Norse mythology are:

    – Odin, the leader of the Asgard and the most powerful god

    – Thor, the second most powerful god. The god of thunder and the strongest warrior

    – Balder, associated with love, light and happiness

    – Vidar, son of Odin, who can only be beaten by Thor

    – Vale, son of Odin, avenger of Balder.

    – Brage, god of poetry and prose, is a very wise god

    – Heimdall, guardian of the rainbow bridge (Bifrost), road between Midgard and Asgard

    – Tyr, the god of war

    – Njord, god of the sea

    – Froy, god of fertility, who is associated with light and good weather

    – Ull, son of Sif who is the wife of Thor. Ull was the best archer.

    – Freyr was one of the main gods of Norse mythology. Freyr was the son of Njord and the brother of the goddess Freyja. Freyr was associated with agriculture, the sun, fertility and the vitality of youth. He was a popular god and many people sought his help in obtaining good crops and fertile livestock. Freyr also had a less pleasant side: he could be quite fickle and demanding when it came to love. Nevertheless, he was still considered a mighty god who could bestow great blessings or inflict great damage.

    The Wars of Norse Mythology.

    The earliest known war in Norse mythology is the war between the Ases and the Vanes.

    The Aesir are a proud people with a long history of military prowess. The Vanes, on the other hand, are a band of brawlers always looking for an edge. No side can claim victory in this war, the Aesir and the Vanes had to exchange hostages to declare peace. This war between the Ases and the Vanes is recounted in the Eddic poem Völuspá dating from the 13th century .


    The war between Odin and Loki
    Another major war in Norse mythology pitted the prankster god Loki against his old friend Odin, the grandfather. After Loki caused several conflicts between the gods (including the war between Odin and Thor), Odin decided it was time to put an end to Loki's misdeeds once and for all. He threw Loki into a deep pit known as Náströnd, where he could no longer wreak havoc on Asgard or Midgard (the realms of men).



    The Ragnarok War was a devastating conflict between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Battles were fought on a scale never seen before, and casualties were high. The god Odin was opposed to the terrible wolf Fenrir and the god Thor had to attack the midgard serpent. But in the end, good triumphed over evil, and peace was restored to the world. Thanks to the sacrifices of brave heroes on both sides, the world was saved from total destruction.

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