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By John Lindow

Norse Mythology explores the mystical myths and legends of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Viking-Age Greenland--outlining alongside the way in which the prehistoric stories and ideology from those areas that experience remained embedded within the mind's eye of the realm. The publication starts off with an advent that is helping positioned Scandinavian mythology in position in historical past, via a bankruptcy that explains the which means of mythic time, and a 3rd part that offers in-depth factors of every mythological time period. those interesting entries establish specific deities and giants, in addition to the areas the place they stay and the various and wily capacity through which they forge their life and conflict each other. We meet Thor, some of the most strong gods, who focuses on killing giants utilizing a hammer made for him via dwarfs, let alone myriad trolls, ogres, people and weird animals. We examine of the continuing fight among the gods, who create the cosmos, and the jotnar, or giants, who objective to break it. within the enchanted international the place this mythology occurs, we stumble upon turbulent rivers, majestic mountains, dense forests, storms, fierce winters, eagles, ravens, salmon and snakes in a panorama heavily comparable to Scandinavia. Beings go back and forth on ships and on horseback; they consume slaughtered meat and drink mead. Spanning from the inception of the universe and the beginning of people to the universe's destruction and the mythic destiny, those gleaming stories of production and destruction, dying and rebirth, gods and heroes will entertain readers and provide perception into the connection among Scandinavian delusion, background, and tradition.

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Extra resources for Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs

Example text

This nature mythology was taken as a kind of given, and bits and pieces of myths from all over the world were put to its service. There was no way to test the theory, since even if a bit of mythological lore was taken from a living people, nobody bothered to ask them what they thought it meant, and in fact the comparative method allowed one to ignore living beings, since change could have obscured the original meaning of something. Although Adalbert Kuhn was an important early adherent of nature mythology, the person most closely associated with it today is Max Müller, a German Indo-Europeanist resident in England who was widely read and very influential for the entire second half of the nineteenth century.

These show us the importance of verbal activity at a blót, specifically verbal activity aimed at producing a result, presumably by means of intervention by the deities. Another way to influence the deities was of course to make sacrifices to them, and here we have an ample record to draw on. Bogs, wells, lakes, and the earth have yielded such objects as broken weapons, which can only be interpreted as gifts to the gods after battle. Classical sources report that the Germanic peoples killed their defeated enemies rather than take them prisoner, again as a form of sacrifice, and Adam of Bremen says that every ninth year at the pagan temple at Uppsala, sacrifices of all kinds of creatures took place, including humans.

The project was doomed from the start, however, by notions of what myths were about. Few people thought that a particular sound “meant” something in and of itself. That is, for example, the sound that turned up as ç in Sanskrit, c [= k] in Latin, and h in Germanic was not thought to be anything other than the reflection of a k in Proto-Indo-European, a sound whose meaning was always arbitrary. In myth, however, the situation was quite different. Comparative mythology in the nineteenth century was above all a field driven by interpretations of myths as reflections of natural phenomena, primarily involving the sun, moon, fire, storms, and so forth.

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