Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Are Some Viking Myths Or Legends

What Are Some Viking Myths Or Legends Cover The Vikings had many myths, about their idea of creation, about the deeds of their gods such as Odin, Thor, Freya and others, and about the deeds of ancient Vikings. These stories were meant to be told around the fire to teach the young about the realm of the Vikings, and were handed down from generation to generation over many centuries. In about 1200-1300, some of these legends began to be written down. The written ones were called Sagas, and were mostly written down by Vikings in Iceland. These have been incorporated into later books and stories about Vikings. Other sources are the Eddas, or ancient folk tales. One important myth is the Viking story of creation, or how the world was made. In brief, the earth, named Midgard was formed from nothing. From nothing sprang the mists of Niflheim in the North. In the south there formed a realm of fire called Muspellsheim. When these realms met, water drops from the melting frost formed the first being, or frost giant named Ymir. Other giants then formed under his left arm, a man and a woman. From the offspring of these other giants were born three gods, Odin, Vili, and Ve. These three killed the giant Ymir and from his body they made the earth, or Midgard, between Niflheim and Muspellsheim. In Midgard, the gods set to work to build their palace, or Asgard, where they were joined by other gods. Later, dwarfs appeared, and the first two human beings, Ask and Embla, man and woman, were made by Odin from two trees. The three worlds of creation were held together at their axis by the great ash tree, Yggdrasil, with roots in Niflheim and branches spreading above Asgard. The myth goes on from there to describe the acts of the gods, their battles with giants and dwarfs, and the gigantic hall, Valhalla, where slain warriors were carried by the Valkyries to spend their days in bloody battles and be restored to health each night with laughing, drinking, and feasting. The chief god was Odin, who ruled over all others. He gave up one eye to receive all wisdom, and is always depicted with only one eye. Many myths describe the exploits of Odin and the other gods. There may be books in your local library about the Vikings and their gods and others are for sale in bookstores and on Search on the Internet for "Viking Myths and Legends" and find much additional information. The Viking Age gods slowly gave way to the spread of Christianity in Scandinavia beginning about 950 A.D. By the 13th century, nearly all of the people of Scandinavia had become Christian. This greatly altered the world view of the people and was a factor in bringing about the end of the Viking Age. Vestiges of the Viking age remain in our modern culture, however, such as some days of the week, (Tyr's Day, Odin's Day, Thor's Day, and Freya's Day, or Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday), in midsummer and winter solstice festivals, and other cultural events.

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