The two weapons kill all, even giants and deities. The first detailed document touching upon the early religion of Scandinavia is the biography by St. Rembert (or Rimbert) of St. Ansgar (or Anskar), a 9th-century missionary and now patron saint of Scandinavia, who twice visited the royal seat, Björkö, in eastern Sweden, and noticed some religious practices, among them the worship of a dead king. 9 Superheroes from Norse and Greek Mythology, Famous Ancient Greek Pirates History And Pirates In…, The Influence of Ancient Greek Mythology Upon…, What Are Traditional Viking Knife And Seax?, What Are Traditional Viking Braids Meaning And History?. Asgard included the majestic hall Valhalla, where warriors who had died a heroic death in battle (Einherjar) were admitted in order to prepare them to help Odin in the coming Ragnarök. But since the Germanic peoples of the Continent and of England were converted to Christianity in comparatively early times, it is not surprising that less is known about the gods whom they used to worship and the forms of their religious cults than about those of Scandinavia, where Germanic religion survived until relatively late in the Middle Ages. [1], A number of Germanic gods are mentioned in Old Norse literature. While Tacitus presumably never visited Germany, his information was partly based on direct sources; he also used older works, now lost. [1] The most important sources on Germanic mythology are however works of Old Norse literature, most of whom were written down in the Icelandic Commonwealth during the Middle Ages. Tacitus, on the contrary, provided a lucid picture of customs and religious practices of continental Germanic tribes in his Germania, written c. ad 98. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Of particular importance is the Poetic Edda. [1], Vernacular sources on Germanic mythology include the Merseburg Charms, the Nibelungenlied,[2] and various pieces of Old English literature, particularly Beowulf. The formation of the two mythologies is completely independent, but there are also some relation and differences between them. This includes Commentaries on the Gallic War by Julius Caesar, Geographica by Strabo, and Germania by Tacitus. The category includes Norse mythology, Anglo-Saxon mythology, and Continental Germanic mythology. Germanic mythology consists of the body of myths native to the Germanic peoples. For all his knowledge of the Celts, Caesar had no more than a superficial knowledge of Germans. [1], The accounts of Völuspá are contrasted with those in Vafþrúðnismál and Grímnismál. Ansgar was well received by the Swedes, but it was much later that they adopted Christianity. Our latest podcast episode features popular TED speaker Mara Mintzer. The Norse mythology refers to the myths peculiar to the Scandinavia. Germanic culture extended, at various times, from the Black Sea to Greenland, or even the North American continent. Both Norse mythology and Greek mythology are among the major mythologies in the world. the oldest versions of what we consider "Norse" myth is German as once again the Scandinavians … Later, people systematized them into the present Greek mythology, which falls into two categories: stories of deities and legend of heroes. His limited information accounts for Caesar’s assumption of the poverty of the Germanic religion and the partial inaccuracy and incompleteness of his statement. [3] Germanic mythology prophetizes the end of the world in a coming Ragnarök. In addition, they both thought that the sun and moon cruising in the sky on glary carriages. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite was forced to married the god of fire Hephaestus, resulting in her unfaithfulness and adultery with other deities; while in Norse mythology, the deities wanted to marry Freyja to the king of jotnar Thrym, but they gave up the idea due to Freyja’s resolute opposition. As the Germanic languages developed from Proto-Indo-European language, Germanic mythology is ultimately a development of Proto-Indo-European religion. Odin was the lord of Asgard, the abode of the gods.

A notable brother of Thor is Baldr. The Venerable Bede, writing his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (“Ecclesiastical History of the English People”) early in the 8th century, showed much interest in the conversion of the English and some in their earlier religion. Commonly featuring narratives focused on Germanic deities and a large variety of other entities. He appears to have been worshiped extensively by the Germanic peoples, particularly warriors and the common people. Germanic religion and mythology - Germanic religion and mythology - The end of paganism: The Germanic peoples were converted to Christianity in different periods: many of the Goths in the 4th century, the English in the 6th and 7th centuries, the Saxons, under force of Frankish arms, in the late 8th century, and the Danes, under German pressure, in the course of the 10th century. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Some two centuries later, c. 1072, Adam of Bremen compiled his Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (History of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen), which included a description of the lands in the north, then part of the ecclesiastical province of Hamburg. Elements of Germanic mythology has survived into modern Germanic folklore. The only few work survived to this days are Icelandic epics Edda, Germanic epic Nibelungenlied and others. During the Middle Ages, Germanic peoples were converted to Christianity. However, the second-generation god of sun in Greek mythology is Helius; its equivalent in Nordic culture is goddess Sol; while the deity of moon in Norse mythology is the god Mani. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? The Getica incorporates valuable records of Gothic tradition, the origin of the Goths, and some important remarks about the gods whom the Goths worshipped and the forms of their sacrifices, human and otherwise. Similar to Greeks, the Nordics believed there was only the gaping abyss of Ginnungagap before the creation of cosmos. Odin and his brothers were in turn descended from Búri, who had been created by the primeval cow Auðumbla. [1], A central point in the Germanic cosmos is the tree Yggdrasil. Odin’s spear Gungnir is a mighty and magical weapon, so is Zeus’ hammer.

But in the view of Greeks, there was only dark and disordered Chaos without shape, light or color, where everything was mixed together. Greeks believed there were people living a better life somewhere to the north of Greece, but Nordics never had such beautiful visions about Elysium. The works of classical authors, written mostly in Latin and occasionally in Greek, throw some light on the religion of Germanic peoples; however, their interest in the religious practices of Germanic tribes remains limited to its direct relevance to their narrative, as when Strabo describes the gory sacrifice of Roman prisoners by the Cimbri at the end of the 2nd century bc. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). From the sea Odin and his two brothers emerged, and came across Ask and Embla, whom they created into the first human couple. Thor has many parallels in Indo-European mythology. That’s also why the world is full of ice and fire in the imagination of Nordics. Professor of Ancient Icelandic Literature and Antiquities, University of Oxford, 1953–75. Norse Mythology for Smart People - What Is Norse mythology and Who Were the Vikings? A story about the origin of the Lombards is given in a tract, Origo gentis Langobardorum (“Origin of the Nation of Lombards”), of the late 7th century. Assiduous and realistic Nordics more often thought of themselves than of things which they had little to do with. [1], Odin's son Thor by his wife Frigg, was the god of thunder.

[1][2], The earliest written sources on Germanic mythology include literature by Roman writers.

Greek mythology were created around 8th century BC, and took shape after drawing on mythologies from other countries and being orally spread by ancient Greek people. Deities from the two mythologies even have important roles in Marvel films and TV series. Other significant Æsir include the trickster god Loki; Heimdallr, who is reported in Rígsþula to have fathered the three classes of men; and the god of war Týr, who appears to have preceded Odin as the chief deity in the Germanic pantheon. The Æsir are primarily gods of war and dominate the latter, who are gods of fertility and wealth.

As told by the seeress in Völuspá, the world began with a great magical nothingness called Ginnungagap. It was endless icebergs flowing from the holy spring Hvergelmir on one side; while it was Muspelheim, the home to Surtr; a dark, bottomless and boundless chasm existed in between. Wielding his hammer Mjölnir, Thor was engaged in conflict with the jötnar (giants) and the serpent Jörmungandr. From Egyptian gods to Norse heroes, dig out the facts in this quiz of mythology, legend, and folklore.


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