Key words£ºNorse mythology, Scandinavia, Asgard, love and beauty  
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Genre£ºmyth Topic£ºNorse mythology Words:280
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Norse mythology was developed by peoples
in far Northern Europe (Scandinavia).

Norse mythology: an introduction

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Author£ºUnknown Source£ºwww.worldalmanacforkids.com
Nation£ºGreece Date£º2008-8-22


(The Norse gods were mortal, and they had to eat Iðunn's golden apples in order not to age until Ragnarök when most of them would die. Image by J. Penrose, 1890.)

You may never had heard of the gods and goddesses from Norse mythology, but you use their names all the time, in a way. Tuesday is named after the Norse god Tyr (later known as Tiw), Wednesday after Wodan (usually spelled Odin), Thursday after Thor, and Friday after Frigg and Freya. (Saturday is another story¡ªyou can look up the Roman god it was named after.)

Norse mythology was developed by peoples in far Northern Europe (Scandinavia). They sailed far from their homelands and carried their legends to Iceland, England, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The Norse myths tell us that the gods and goddesses live in the heavens in a place called Asgard, which is reached by a rainbow bridge. Other beings, such as giants, elves, and humans, have their own homes. The goddess Hel rules over Niflheim, the underworld or home of the dead. Humans live in Midgard, or Middle Earth. The end of the world, the myths say, will come in a great battle called Ragnaroek (doomsday). In Asgard there is a great hall with a roof of shields, called Valhalla, where warriors killed in battle go. There they wait for the time when they will fight with Odin against the giants at the end of the world.

Major Norse Gods

Name

Description

Odin

One-eyed king of the gods. God of war, death, poetry, wisdom, and magic.

Thor

Son of Odin. God of thunder, lightning, and rain.

Frigg

Wife of Odin. Goddess of marriage, motherhood, and the home.

Freya

Goddess of birth and of crops.

Tyr

Sky god and god of war and justice. His hand was bitten off by the wolf Fenrir.

Baldur

Son of Odin. God of light, purity, and beauty. Best loved of the gods.

Loki

Son of giants and father of Hel. Clever trickster who sometimes helped Thor and Odin and was sometimes their enemy.

Hel

Goddess of death. Daughter of Loki.

Heimdall

Son of nine giantesses. Watchman of the rainbow bridge. Known for his keen eyes and ears, he could hear grass growing.

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(Creation of the world by Odin, Vili and V¨¦.
Illustration by Lorenz Frølich)


Discussion£º

1. What is the connection between days in a weeks and Norse mythology?

2. Where was Norse mythology originated?

3. Where did the Norse gods and goddesses live?

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