Norse Myths : Viking Legends of Heroes and Gods
- Hardback | 224 pages
- 186 x 244 x 25.4mm | 884.51g
- 14 Mar 2016
- Amber Books Ltd
- London, United Kingdom
- 180 photos, artworks and maps; 180 Illustrations, unspecified
Other books in this series
14 Aug 2022
Table of contents
The sources of Norse mythology and how it compared with other mythologies of the Middle Ages.
1. Creation Myths and the Cosmology
Various forms of a creation myth are recounted, where the world is created from the flesh of the primordial being Ymir, and the first two humans are Ask and Embla. Also explores Asgard, where the gods live, and Midgard, where humans live.
2. The Deities
Norse mythology is unusual in that it has two sets of deities who became a single pantheon. The clash between the Aesir (gods of war) and Vanir (gods of nature or fertility) could have a different mythic significance, however. It might indicate a change in society to a more martial outlook, since although the two sets of gods are supposedly equal, the Aesir seem to be the senior partners.
Norse mythology was populated by a range of creatures, in addition to mortals and gods. Some were monsters, some personifications of natural forces, and some were powerful supernatural beings. Others, like the Jotnar, were very similar to the gods and could have children with them. Many of the gods had at least one parent who was a Jotunn.
4. Other Creatures
Norse mythology tells of a variety of magical creatures. These include Elves, Dwarfs, Trolls, Valkyrie, multi-legged horses like Sleipnir, sea beasts such as Jormungand, the wolf Fenrir, and the gold-hoarding dragon Fafnir.
5. The Eddas
Most of what is known today about the Norse religion and mythos comes from the Poetic and Prose Eddas, or from the sagas written about mortal heroes.
The Valkyrie are maidens who carry half of those slain in battle to Valhalla to be ready to do combat when Ragnarok, the foretold battle at the end of the world, arrives. Some dead go to Hel. At Ragnarok, the gods Odin, Thor, Tyr, Heimdallr, and Loki are killed by fire jotunn; the world is destroyed and then repopulated by two human survivors.
7. The Legacy of Norse Religion
Norse mythology saw a Romantic revival in 19th century art and music, such as in Wagner's opera The Ring of the Nibelund, which drew on the Old Norse Edda, the Volsunga saga and Thidrekssaga. J.R.R. Tolkien, a scholar of Anglo-Saxon, was influenced by Norse mythology in writing The Lord of the Rings. Marvel comics also use the characters of Thor and Loki in their Avengers books and movies.
About Martin J Dougherty