Key words£ºNorse mythology, Odin, Asgard, Frigg, dwarf  
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Genre£ºmyth Topic£ºNorse mythology Words:300
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Norse mythology was developed by peoples
in far Northern Europe (Scandinavia).

Gods and heroes in Norse mythology 


Author£ºUnknown Source£º
Nation£ºGreece Date£º2008-8-22

(Odin with his ravens and weapons,
eighteenth century)

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.

Many ancient 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 underground world.

Scandinavian 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 of Odin
on a Vendel helmet plate, found in Uppland)


1. Who was Odin's wife?

2. What was Thor responsible for?

3. What was Ragnarok?

4. Who was the leader of the Aesir?

5. How many major gods did the Aesir consist of? 


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