Two medieval books called the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda are
the two main sources of Norse mythology. The Prose Edda was written
around 1220 by a scholar from Iceland named Snorri Sturluson as a
handbook for aspiring poets. The Poetic Edda is a collection of
ancient mythological lays. It is now said to be found in a single
manuscript, the Codex Regius. This manuscript is said to have
been copied in Iceland in the late thirteenth century.
The supreme God of the
Norse Vikings was the one-eyed King Odin. Odin’s son was Baldur, who
was killed by a mistletoe flung at him by his blind brother.
Baldur’s death signaled the Battle of Ragnarok, the Norse’
Armageddon. The gods were overpowered by giants and monsters.
According to mythology, Baldur rose again and he became their God.
The Vikings believed
that the Northern Lights, which flashed from time to time in the
northern skies, were caused by the flashing amours and spears of
Odin’s handmaidens, who were riding out to collect warriors slain in
The birth of the
Early Scandinavians had their own explanation for the birth of
the universe and mankind. They believed that the universe was born
out a Great Void. The first living being to emerge was a giant Ymir,
who is considered to be the ancestor of the Frost Giants, an evil
race. The ancestor of the Gods, Buri was created out of the blocks
of salty ice around Ymir’s head. Buri married a giantess and had
three children – Odin and his two brothers.
From where did the
first man come?
Norse mythology further says Odin and his siblings slew Ymir and
fashioned the world from his carcass. The first men and women were
whittled out of two pieces of driftwood by Odin, according to
legend. These human beings were given a home in Midgard or Midgarth,
which meant Middle Enclave. Here, the gods built their home and
called it Asgard. It was located on a high crag that was connected
to the Earth by the shining rainbow bridge of Bifrost. Soon after
Asgard was built, Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir is said to have
There is a cult of the
Norse gods, still existent in Iceland. The cult goes by the name
Asatru, which means Belief in the Gods. Members of the cult conduct
their ceremonies according to Norse rituals and the rites are
recognized by the state.