Norse mythology was developed by peoples
in far Northern Europe (Scandinavia).
Gods and heroes in Norse
(Odin with his ravens
Odin, the one-eyed
deity of battle, magic, inspiration, and the dead,
was the chief
god in Norse mythology. Besides Odin, the major deities of
Scandinavian mythology were his wife, Frigg, goddess of the
home; Thor, god of thunder, who protected humans and the other
gods from the giants and who was especially popular among the
Scandinavian peasantry; Frey, a god of prosperity; and Freya,
sister of Frey, a fertility goddess. Other, lesser gods were
Balder, Hermod, Tyr, Bragi, and Forseti; Idun, Nanna, and Sif
were among the goddesses. The principle of evil among the gods
was represented by the trickster Loki. Many of these deities do
not seem to have had special functions; they merely appear as
characters in legendary tales.
mythological heroes, some of whom may have been derived from
real persons, were believed to be descendants of the gods; among
them were Sigurd the Dragon-slayer; Helgi Thrice-Born, Harald
Wartooth, Hadding, Starkad, and the Valkyries. The Valkyries, a
band of warrior-maidens that included Svava and Brunhild, served
Odin as choosers of slain warriors, who were taken to reside in
Valhalla. There the warriors would spend their days fighting and
nights feasting until Ragnarok, the day of the final world
battle, in which the old gods would perish and a new reign of
peace and love would be instituted. Ordinary individuals were
received after death by the goddess Hel in a cheerless
mythology included dwarves; elves; and the Norns, who
distributed fates to mortals. The ancient Scandinavians also
believed in personal spirits, such as the fylgja and the
hamingja, which in some respects resembled the Christian idea of
the soul. The gods were originally conceived as a confederation
of two formerly warring divine tribes, the Aesir and the Vanir.
Odin was originally the leader of the Aesir, which consisted of
at least 12 gods. Together all the gods lived in Asgard.
(7th century depiction
on a Vendel helmet plate, found in Uppland)
1. Who was Odin's wife?
2. What was Thor
3. What was Ragnarok?
4. Who was the leader of
5. How many major gods did
the Aesir consist of?