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Norse mythology which is also known as Germanic mythology is not just a myth instead it is a religion which was practised by the Vikings. Vikings were people the people who lived in the Scandinavian and Germanic countries. This religion includes many amazing stories and poems from the Nordic culture. It is still not known to the world what the Vikings called their religion at that time. This religion includes many tales of heroes and deities told by several sources before and after the pagan time period. It also consists of the medieval manuscripts and archaeological representations. We already know that Norse mythology is polytheistic. Polytheistic is a religion that involves worshiping several gods and goddesses. According to the Vikings, there are two branches of God in the Norse mythology that includes the Gods of Esir and Vanir. However, it is also important to know that the Vikings also believed in other creatures including giants, dwarfs, etc.
During the middle age, the Vikings were converted to Christianity and had their own native pagan religion. However, even at that time the basic belief of that religion was related to the Norse mythology. In short, Norse mythology is a set of religious stories that held a great place in hearts of the Vikings. The Vikings had an immense belief in those stories that were related their gods and goddesses and called it the “Norse mythology”. These stories mostly revolved around Thor, Freya, Loki and Odin.
Back in the middle age, the people who were following the Norse religion didn’t come up with a name for this religion about the myths and stories that they were following and just ended up calling it a “tradition”. Even though thousands of years have passed since the last Viking was alive but even at this time there are many people who follow the Norse mythology.
The Vikings were very open-minded people. They didn’t feel the need to be accepted by the world instead they always went with the flow and saw things just as they were. They would never sugar coat any of their stories or myths and never spiced up any things which was related to the earthly life. They simple saw and told things just as they were, no addition to or subtraction from it. They would always do great deeds for each other’s benefits. They Vikings believed that if they were doing good deeds, they were living a good life.
The Vikings mainly included raiders, explorers, settlers, conquerors and trader from places which are now known as Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. These people travelled from till Baghdad and North America. It is great to know that the Vikings discovered North America about five hundred years ago before Christopher Columbus did.
The Vikings communicated with each other through old Norse language and they would always write in runes. These people would follow the same traditions and religions as their ancestors did. They would always sail from their homelands to other areas for wealth and power. Just like the modern world, even in that time people who more wealth had more power and prestige. However, the people who were poor didn’t have anything, not power nor respect. At that time, the Vikings would keep gold, silver, gemstones and lands as their source of assets.
Who were the Germanic people?
The people from areas such the northern Europe, Celts, Finns, Sami, Iceland, Scandinavia and the British Isles were known as the Germanic people. These people were mostly known as the Vikings, the continental Germanic tribes and the Anglo-Saxons. There were many other groups linked with the Germanic people. In the present time, these people are spread all across the world. Even though there were several regional and temporal differences between these people but their basic view to see the world, cosmology and pantheon was the same. If you belong to the northern European descent, then there is a huge chance that you have some of the Germanic blood running in your veins.
Some important Gods and Goddesses
In the start of the period of Norse mythology, there were only forests and no clear place for the people to stay at so one main group of Norse gods which was known as “The Aesirs” cleared up some places to stay for themselves and the common people. This whole cleared up area was known as Midgard. Their home was mainly called Midgard because it was located at the centre of the World. Another great thing that the gods did for the humans was building a place for themselves in the middle of Midgard which was known as Asgard so that the people would not feel abandoned. Asgard was basically a great caste built in the middle of Midgard and was protected by thick walls so not everyone could enter it easily. If you wished to go inside the Asgard to meet the gods and goddesses, then you would have to first ride over the rainbow Bifrost. As they were aware of the fact there are several wild creatures out there who could harm the humans, therefore, they had built strong defences surrounding the Midgard for the protection of the people from the outside world of wild and dark creatures like giants and trolls.
Even though there were many gods and goddesses that these people would worship but the main twelve gods in the Norse mythology includes Odin, Thor, Balder, Vidar, Vale, Brage, Heimdall, Ty, Njord, Froy, Ull and Forsete. The goddesses in the Norse mythology were known as Asynia and their main goddess was called Frigg.
Odin was the most powerful god as he was very wise and was known as the father of all gods. He was the king and ruler of Aesirs. Odin was a wild and drunk wanderer who could change his shape. He would always recite poetry to lure in women and gain knowledge from them. Odin would always wear a blue cloak and a hat. This hat would cover his one eye just like the pirates. Odin had two pets who were called “Thought” and “Memory”.
Odin’s youngest son Thor was the second most powerful god in the Norse mythology. Thor was the god of thunder and lightning. He was the master of the weather. There is no doubt the most famous god, Thor was indeed one of the strongest warriors as he was very powerful and protective of the humans. He would carry his hammer along with him and wear an all-mighty belt to protect himself from the wild and evil giants.
Freyja was a goddess who was just like Odin. She was wild and a doer of black magic. Some people believed her to be the second wife of Odin. She had a golden necklace which was called Brisingamen. She had a wild pig and would ride in a carriage which was pulled by cats.
He was the god of light, beauty, love and happiness.
Vidar was also a strong god when it comes to strength. Only Thor could beat him.
This son of Odin raped the giantess Rind.
He was the god of poetry and prose and was very wise.
He was the guardian of Bifrost. Bifrost was a rainbow bridge which people had to pass before entering the Asgard.
This god was the god of war and would decide the winner of the battles.
He was the god of the sea and seafarers.
Froy was the god of fertility.
He was the son of Thor and was a great archer and skier.
Forseti was the god of justice.