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Germanic Mythology

Germanic mythology is a general term that include all the religions and myths of the people in the area of actual Germany, Anglo-saxon and nordic zones. Germanic mythology ultimately derives from Indo-European Mythology, also known as Indo-Germanic mythology, but I am not going to focus that far. Anyway, all the gods of scandinavia people are the same as the germanics, the only thing that change is the name and their roles (but just a bit), but this also happened in all mythologies through the years.

One particularity of the Germanic gods is that they can not scape from their destiny, and they are seized to the same penalties that the humans have, and they are either bad and good people enchained to their passions.

In the following post Iam going to name the main gods of germanic mythology, who are the same of viking mythology.

First of all we have Wodanaz, better know as Odín, the names as I said have evolved through the years. He is the ruler of200px-Georg_von_Rosen_-_Oden_som_vandringsman,_1886_(Odin,_the_Wanderer) Asgard, the land of the gods, he is also the god of euphoria and the god of the killed in battle warriors. He is represente as a one-eye old man, riding his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, the fastest in the world, and holding his lance Gungnir, that once has been thrown is unstoppable. The nords believe that if they died in combat bravely, afterdeath they will be waiting the Ragnarok (end of the world) in the Valhalla.

Þunraz (read Thunraz), also called Thor, is the son of Odín and the protector of midgard, the land that is occupied by the human race. He is the strongest warrior in whole Asgard and therefore of all the worlds. He is the god of thunder, lighting and storms. His mortal enemy is the colossal serpent called Jormundur, that surrounds the limits of midgard. In the Ragnarok, Thor will  fight with it and killed it, but he will die because of the wounds.

Teiwaz or Tyr is the god of war and sky. He was supposed to be the main god of the germanic culture, but he was replaced by Odin in some later time. He is portrayed as a one-handed man, lost when the gods cheated the giant wolf Fenrir when they enchain him. Tyr is 514px-John_Bauer-Tyr_and_Fenrirdestined to kill and be killed by Garm, the guard dog of Hel, actually the word “hell” comes from here. Here in the right, we have an art of the myth of Tyr and Fenrir.

Frigg is the mayor goddess in the nord paganism. She is the wife of Odin and therefore, the queen of Asgard. She is said to have the power of prophecy. This is an attribute that was expanded to all the women of germanic societies. Women´s advices were very valued. She is the goddess of the birth and was associated to married women. By the way, in the pieces of documents of the Ragnarok it is not say what happen with the goddess so it is supposed that they survived to the destruction.

Another very important goddess is Freyja, she was associated to love, beauty, fertility, seidr (sorcery), gold and death. It is said that Frigg and Freyja were the same goddess at the beginning, but this, like a lot of things changed through the years.

Loki, the trickster. He is not exactly a god, because he doesnt recieve cult, but he is a deity and he is very important in the nordic and germanic mythology. He embody the figure of the trickster, the one that always is complicating all the things. It is in her nature. We can find these figure in toher cultures, like in northamerica, represented by the coyote. After the dead of Baldr, the beloved son of Odin, he was punished to be enchained to a rock and to suffer the poison of a snake spilling in her face. It was said that the earthquakes were provoked by Loki when he twist of pain because of the poison. He is also the father of Fenrir and Jormundur, the ones that will destroy a big part of the world in the Ragnarok. The Ragnarok will begin when Loki were set free of their chains.

Besides the gods and the humans, there are also other “creatures” like the giants, that live in the world of Iotumheim, the elves, that live in Alfheim, tuergos, dwarves, trolls, etc. They live in other worlds, hanging in the Yggdrasil, the tree of life. The giants are very important in the nordic mythology, lots of the gods have giant blood running in their veins and in the Ragnarok the frozen giants will be the main part of Loki´s army.

The Ragnarok, or god´s destiny, it´s the apocalypsis in the norse mythology. Thanks to one völva (a female witch) Odín knows waht is going to happen in the Ragnarok, he knows that is going to happen, it is the destiny of the gods, but he doesnt know when. When Loki be set in free of his torturing punishment, he is going to begin the war against the gods. Heimdall the watcher god will saw the armies of Loki crossing the Midgard sea in order to destroy the world. A huge battle will be between Asgard´s armies, composed by the valhalla warriors, the gods and the creatures that support Asgard and the Loki´s army, builded with the enemies of the gods, the giants and the terrorific monsters, Fenrir the wolf, and Jormundur the Serpent. World will be destroyed, but two humans and some gods will survive the Ragnarok and they will create a new world.

ragnarok

References:

Enrique Bernardez “Los mitos germánicos”, año 2002, alianza editorial

Norse mythology, about.com http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/norsemyth/a/aa081799Norse.htm

Categories: Humanities, Uncategorized
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