Thought (Hugin) and Memory (Munin) were the two ravens that went unto the world to observe and return to tell of what all men do, Driven by further search for knowledge, Odin begged Mimir, the wise, to allow him to drink from the well of wisdom, for this he consented to lose an eye. “Wounded I hung on wind swept gallows For nine long nights, Pierced by a spear, pledged to Odin, Offered myself to myself: The wisest know not from whence spring The roots of that ancient rood. They gave me no bread, they gave me no mead: I looked down; with a loud cry I took up the runes and I fell. ”
(The Elder Edda 56) Here we find Odin once more sacrificing himself for knowledge, In The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology it is said that Odin actually died on the gallows of Yggdrasil, that he traversed Nifleheim, or Hel in order to obtain the nine sacred runes, that seem to be extremely powerful as described in The Elder Edda. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology adds yet another theory to Odin hanging himself, ” The parallel between Odin’s voluntary death on Yggdrasil and the crucifixion remains striking. Odin was pierced with a spear and like Christ, cried out before he died…
there is little doubt that his hanging on the cosmic tree had pre-Christian origins and derived from ancient pagan worship. Odin had long been the god of the spear, the god of the hanged. ” This could definitely be determined as less than speculation, seeing as we must rely on our sources and to this point one could say that this is a very valid and well thought out work. Regardless of minor differences in text again we must as they did default ourselves to the larger span of information. There were two different groups of gods in Scandinavian Mythology, The Aesir and the Vanir.
Each having their own respective dwelling place, Asgard for the Aesir, and Vanaheim for the Vanir. Of the two, The Vanir have been said to be the older. “Unlike the warrior Aesir, the Vanir were a race of gods associated with fertility, wealth, and good weather. ” (The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology 500) Among the Vanir were, Njord, the sea and fortune god, Skadi, the god of destruction, Freyja, the goddess of love, and Freyr the god of Fertility. Among the Aesir were, Odin, Balder, Bragi, Forseti Heimdall, Hodr, Thor, Tyr, Vili, Ve, Vidar, Frigg, Sif, and Idun.
At one point in time there was a great war between these two branches of gods, yet both the Aesir, and the Vanir came to terms by exchanging several prominent gods of each side. The Vanir sent Njord, Freyr, Freyja, and Kvasir, while the Aesir sent Mimir, and Honir. The Vanir soon found that they got the bad end of the deal due to the fact that Mimir was the only one who knew what he was talking about, and that in his absence Honir, wasn’t really that bright. The Vanir then sliced of Mimir’s head and sent it back to Asgard, where Odin used Powerful magic to allow Mimir’s head to speak.
Little else is known of the Vanir, they seemed to lose importance quickly after it was concluded that the war was resolved however it was noted that Vanaheim, was potentially unaffected by Ragnarok. This shows evidence of two religions colliding with Scandinavian and Germanic mythology. Revealing to us that Scandinavian mythology has most definately influenced by other ancient tales and stories. (Cherry, Vanaheim) Scandinavian mythology might have been the inspiration to several works of modern day literature.
It is Nicole Cherry’s opinion that “Tolkien was very well acquainted with the northern mythos, as can be seen by the use of it in his books. The name of one of his main characters, Gandalf, is found in The Poetic Edda. Gandalf is, in some ways, reminiscent of Odin, the leader of the Norse pantheon. Even the name Middle-earth, the setting for Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, comes from Norse mythology. ” There are several other modern day works of literature based on or derived from Scandinavian mythology as well, such as, The Ring of the Nibelung and The Nibelungenlied.
These works, may well show the effect and legacy of Scandinavian Mythology in the World. Another notable element of Tolkein’s Lord of The Rings was his use of the ring itself to the Viings the ring meant wealth honor fame and destiny. It was in fact a tradition to give rings to neighboring countries, bringing to notice the ever prominent focal point of the Lord of the Rings. (Day 29) There is no Heaven or Hell in Scandinavian mythology, the only hope is to be brought up to Asgard by a Valkyrie or “Battle Maiden”.
Even then those chosen or the Einherjar (The Heroic dead) faced defeat at Ragnarok in the Final Battle on the Vigrid Plain. This may be unlike any other focal point of religion known. It reasons in many ways that the only way to gain honor is to die in battle unfaltering. Scandinavian Mythology, although comparable to other religions or other pagan beliefs is an original and unique work of the Norwegians, Swedish, Icelandic, and Danish peoples of Europe. Hamilton describes it justly by saying, ” Asgard, the home of the gods, is unlike any other heaven men have dreamed of.
No radiancy or joy is in it, no assurance of bliss, it is a grave and solemn place, over which hangs the threat of inevitable doom… the same is true for humanity… this conception of life which underlies Norse religion, as somber a conception the human mind has ever given birth to… A heroic death… is not a defeat, but a triumph. ” Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE JRR Tolkien section.