Questions tagged [norse]

For questions on the myths and religious beliefs of the Norse people, the pre-Christian inhabitants from modern Scandinavia.

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Why did Loki want Baldur dead?

What were his motivations? Was he jealous? Was it pure spite? Was he trying to teach the gods a lesson? Why was it important for him to utilize an agent (Hodur) in the assassination?
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Is it true that Norse mythology gods are almost the same as mortals without their weapons?

Is it true that Norse mythology gods are almost the same as mortals without their weapons? I think that Thor gets his lightning from Mjölnir and his strength from his belt. If that is the case wouldn'...
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383 views

How did the Old Norse conceptualize the parts of the self? Are these translations accurate?

In Daniel McCoy's mythology book "The Viking Spirit", he offers a chapter on the Old Norse concept of the self. He states that they divided people into four discrete parts, which he translates as ...
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How is Hermes linked to Odin?

The Wikipedia article on Hermes says Odin is his Norse equivalent. Can anyone expand on that?
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What kind of cats pulled Freya's chariot?

Everyone knows that the goddess Frejya's chariot was pulled by cats, but what kind of cats are we talking about? Are they giant sized house-cats? Were there any puma-sized cats in ancient ...
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1answer
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Does Hel have a role in Ragnarok?

During Ragnarok, Fenrir the wolf kills Odin and is then killed by Vidar. The Midgard Serpent Jormungandand and Thor kill each other. What role does Hel, Loki's other child by Angrboda, play?
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Fenrir vs Odin. Did he die?

I read that Fenrir killed or devoured Odin and he was dead. Is that true or false? Also, if it’s true, how does he come back to life? Is it him resurrecting himself or other gods doing the work?
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Why is Thor's chariot pulled by goats?

It seems like a weird choice for a draft animal.
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118 views

What information medium are the Norns writing on?

In the Norse mythology, the Norns writing the fate of the gods, but what are they writing it on? For example, the Greek Fates weave destiny on a loom. If so, Does it have a name?
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Hoenir in Tolkien's writing

The Norse god Hoenir is very confused from what I can tell, but my question is about his mention in the book The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien. In I.1, he writes at [Odin's] right ...
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How to reconcile the size differential between giants and non-giants in Norse mythology?

In particular, is there any thinking on how things might work between Loki and Angrboða, who produced significant offspring? I'd also be interested in other examples of giant/non-giant matches. From ...
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Did the vikings/medieval Scandinavians actually worship Odin, Thor, etc?

Or were they seen more as folklore, like, for example, Holger Danske or St George and the Dragon?
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How do you say and write “Question” in Norse?

How would you say "questions" in Norse? How would the wrote it in runes? Does it has any important or philosophical meaning in the Eddas?
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Hugin and Muninn in runes

Is there a way to write the names "Hugin" and "Muninn" in Norse runes? Are there differences in the meaning of each ("memory" and "thought")?
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Famous treasure related with the Norse gods?

Is there any famous treasure related with the gods of Norse mythology? Something like a famous vault or maybe cave. An accumulation of important things that they wanted to protect, for instance.
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What is considered the most authentic illustration of Yggdrasil?

Is there an etching or drawing of Yggdrasil, the Norse Tree of Life, that is the oldest, or considered the most authentic? If so, what information was it based on?
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How did dragons get their wings?

Modern day dragons are, in Western culture at least, imagined as huge, reptilian, fire breathing creatures with both legs and wings. However, as far as I can find out myself by research, dragons were ...
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727 views

Why is the helhest three-legged?

I recently stumbled upon a reference to the helhest, a "three-legged horse associated with Hel". Unfortunately, searching for more information on about this fascinating legend didn't turn up much. ...
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Is the “half-goddess” Hel distinct among mythical rulers of the underworld?

By this I mean, there is a definite parallel between Hel and other underworld goddesses, Kore/Persephone in particular, although the concept may be extended to Inanna/Geshtinanna, who Gaiman regards ...
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How does the Christian Hell come to be called Hell? Is it related to the Norse Hel?

In the Greek New Testament, Hell is referred to by three names, two Greek (Hades, Tartarus) and one Hebrew (Gehenna). But in English, it becomes Hell. This is related to the Old Norse hellir, and ...
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Was Ymir ever awake?

Seems like he was always asleep, until Odin created the world out of his body. He drank the milk of the cow Auðumbla, and he is illustrated to be conscious while doing so, but that need not be. Jotun ...
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How was the world tree Yggdrasil created?

Cannot find any origin story for the world tree on wikipedia. Was it created from the body of Ymir too?
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What do the “runes” on this pendant say?

I found this pendant on AliExpress, and it looks pretty nice. But I'd like to know what the runes mean, if anything?
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What is the name of Brokkr's forge in Norse mythology?

I've read up and searched on Google. I've also read stories on the matter but I noticed that every item around Brokkr's and Eitri's workshop seems named except the magical forge with which they built ...
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Were Ancient Europeans religious?

Did the Indo-European people actually view the gods as physical or meta-physical beings beyond the view as archetypes? If so, does this mean that the Indo-European people were, technically, atheists? ...
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Meaning and usage of Grimnir?

Interest in this epithet of Odin's was renewed when it was casually tossed out in a recent episode of American Gods. * My question has three parts: What is the meaning of Grimnir? I found this ...
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Why is Odin the patron of outcasts?

There was a question on Odin's patronage of Sigi, despite Sigi committing a murder and becoming an outlaw. One of the ideas I used was the idea that Odin is the patron of outcasts, which is ...
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Elves and Dwarves in Norse Mythology

It's a common claim that modern fantasy elves and dwarves are based on those found in Norse mythology, but there doesn't actually seem to be a lot of detail given about them that I have found, ...
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Destruction of the universe by fire in the Ancient Greek canon?

In Ovid's Metamorphosis, Zeus, thoroughly freaked out* by his encounter with Lycaon, returns to Olympus, determined to rid the world of the evil race of men. A few lines later, Ovid relates that: ...
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Was Hallmund's daughter a troll or half-troll?

Was Hallmund? In Grettir's Saga, he is depicted as extraordinary, and she lives in a remote cave and is described as: "a woman, great of growth, but shapely withal" [Source: Perseus] I ask ...
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Were events from the sagas or eddas ever used a precedents at medieval Althings?

The reason I ask is because Snorri, widely regarded as a genius of the first rank by those who know his work, was not only a great poet, but a lawyer and historian, and was twice elected lawspeaker.
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Why did Freyja have first pick?

(Of dead heroes, that is.) My guess, based on my own gut inclination, has to do with Freyja's glamour, which clouds my senses, and makes me want to wait for Ragnarök in her most pleasant company, ...
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What is the origin of the Vanir?

There are two tribes of Norse gods, the Aesir and the Vanir. What is the origin of the Vanir? How are the Vanir distinct from the Aesir?
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Are there well known folktales involving Norse Gods?

What I'm looking for is stories that do not derive from the Eddas. Oral tradition and textual records of oral tradition are ideal, but I will accept accounts of these figures in popular literature so ...
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Did the Sami affect Norse mythology?

Fairly simple question, but a broad one: Did the Sami people of northern Scandinavia have any impact on Norse mythology? If so, how?
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Is there any Norse mythological figure associated with victory?

Is there an equivalent in Norse mythology to the goddesses Nike of the Greeks or Victoria of the Romans? Any god or mythological being in Norse cult associated mainly with victory?
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Can Thor fly in Norse mythology?

In the Marvel Universe, flight is one of Thor's powers. (It's been a veeeeeeeery long time since I read the comics, but in the recent films he flies by holding onto Mjolnir's strap or handle, and is ...
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Who is the Greek king Brynhild fought?

In chapter 27 of the Saga of the Völsungs, Brynhild brags of having been in battles with a king of Greeks: She answered in heavy mood from her seat, whereas she sat like unto swan on billow, having ...
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Have runes ever been used to bring someone back to life?

In stanza 156 (or 157 depending on translation) of Hávamál, we learn that runes have the power to bring back the dead: 156. A twelfth I know: if I see in a tree a corpse from a halter ...
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Why did Brynhild disobey Odin?

When Sigurd wakes up Brynhild, we learn that her imprisonment was the result of her defiance to Odin's command: Then Brynhild speaks again and says, "Two kings fought, one hight Helm Gunnar, an old ...
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Why does Sigurd reveal himself to Fafnir?

Sigurd refuses to tell his name to the dying Fafnir: So whenas Fafnir had his death-wound, he asked "Who art thou? And who is thy father? And what thy kin, that thou wert so hardy as to bear ...
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How large were Norse dragons?

In chapter 10 of the Saga of the Völsungs, Regin is trying to convince Sigurd that Fafnir is an average size dragon: "Young am I," says Sigurd, "yet know I the fashion of this worm, and how that ...
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Why is Odin called the Allfather?

He is the father of many gods, but certainly not all, and he is not the creator of the Norse universe. Is this epithet merely an honorific, referencing Odin's status as patriarch, or are there other ...
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Did Ragnarök influence the Apocalypse of John?

In my younger days I was convinced the story of Ragnarök was influenced by the New Testament's Armageddon. As I started to learn about the existence of pagan ideas in Christianity, I began to wonder ...
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Suicide in the Sagas?

I was recently thinking about the suicides of Hedda Gabler and Miss Julie in relation to Sophocles' Ajax. In all three plays, the main characters come from cultures based on honor/shame. (Gabler is ...
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Why did Odin forsake Sigmund?

In the first ten chapters of the of the Saga of the Volsungs, Odin strongly favors the eponymous clan. In chapter 11, however, the Allfather sides with King Lyngi and attacks Sigmund, shattering the ...
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What are the functions of Giantesses in the Norse Mythology and Folklore?

For instance, I recall them being mentioned as the sources of rivers. I'd be interested in more detail on this aspect, as well as any other functions of female jötnar. (Wikipedia covers this to some ...
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Does Pippi Longstocking have mythological roots?

Failing that, is she based on or similar to any characters in folklore of the region? As far as I know, the extraordinarily compelling children's character was purely an invention of the author, ...
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Who is the boatman that took away Sinfjotli's corpse?

In chapter 10 of the Saga of the Völsungs, Sigmund's son Sinfjotli dies. His corpse is presumably carried to the underworld by a mysterious boatman, in a manner reminiscent of the Greek ferryman of ...
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Did Odin heal Sinfjotli?

In chapter 8 of the Saga of the Völsungs, Sigmund (in wolf form) attacks and almost kills his son Sinfjotli (also in wolf form). Sinfjotli is only saved when Sigmund is pointed to a miraculous herb by ...