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Thread: Odin - myth or fact?

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    Merkismathr of Birka Member PseRamesses's Avatar
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    Default Odin - myth or fact?

    During my research for the Fury of the Northmen mod (that never got released) I´ve read tons of books, visited zillions of sites and one thing that always intrigued me was the origins of the viking gods or "Asarna". Where they real life people or just mythological characters?
    Take the depiction made by Snorre Sturlasson in his "Ynlingasaga". He describes how a tribal warlord named Oden left his home in Asgård in the country of Asaland or Asahem east of the river Tanakvist (Tanais=Don?). His motive for leaving his homeland was that being a foreseeing witchking he knew that his offspring where destine to rule the north expanses of the world. His castle was located somewhere in the vincinity of the Black Sea where he had large lands in "Turkaland" as Snorre states. So Odin and his people packed up and left fighting through Gårdarike (Russia) and Saxland (Germany) and up through Denmark (hence the city of Odense). After many adventures and escapades he ends up in Sigtuna (slightly northwest of Stockholm) where he built a grand court and held "blot".

    On the other hand, according to old kingslists Odin was really a man called Sigge Fridulfsson who immigrated to Sweden around 100bc. and had a long row of successful sons:
    Sigurlam - king of Russia, Weldeg - king of east saxland, Beldeg - king of West Pfalia, Sigge - king of the Franks, Skjöld - king of Denmark, Seminger - king of Norway, Gaute - king of the Götar, Yngve - king of the Turks, Thor who lived in Thrudvanger and finally Balder who lived in Breidablick.
    Now, with theese accomplishments and with that family influence over the world there´s no wonder Odin and his sons got elevated into deities later on. This Empire of Odin could it be the lost Atlantis? Just speculative to get you going but the Egyptians, Greeks and later on the Romans all states that Scandinavia is an island, right?

    When it comes to archaeological evidence there´s a sudden boom in greavefields and artefacts from this period 100bc - 300ad. so either a large immigration or a population boom is feasible. Odin was also the one who brought the runes to the people and spearheads with runes has been found on Gotland dating back to aleast 200ad. Many early finds on Gotland is so highly developed and bears resemblances to stonecutters in the middle-east. Some argue that the first stone cutters/ carvers actually came from the middle-east. Did Odin bring them with him?
    Last edited by PseRamesses; 07-14-2005 at 12:50.

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    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    You think he is a historical person and was made god after his dead. Then it is in fact a myth

    I read about Celtic and Red Indian gods. They seem to follow a certain pattern. They all have a god for their tribe only. He is seen as the godfather, all the members are his children. He has supreme properties and let the tribe to a new promised land. Sometimes his attributes are connected to animals. My theory is that these gods were originally real men, that formed the tribe and went to a new environment.

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    You can't use those kinglists, they are an invention of the time of Danish and Swedish competition. They tried both to make their country older than the other, and so in the lack of proper sources, new kings were invented.

    The oldest nordic king that we know of for sure is the Danish king Godfred that fought with Charlemagne with some success.

    Odense in Denmark is highly like to have been named after Odin, but that does not make it certain to have been founded by one such character. Esbjerg is derived from Asebjerg which is in fact 'mound of the gods'. So unless it was a tribe that settled there it is merely a mythical name. Besides Esbjerg is not that old really, and neither is Odense, not if we are thinking of the 100BC period.
    In general populations and migrations have originated in Scandinavia rather than ending up there. In fact the homeland of the Danes is the country around current Göteborg and some way inlands. From there they went into first Skåne, then the country of what appears to have been celtic tribes, the current Denmark.

    I would not put too much credit to Snorre Sturlusson before the time of Gorm the Old, and even then most of the written accounts would likely to have been nearmythical by the time he wrote it (1200). The same can be said of Saxo Grammaticus.

    It is far more likely that the gods were influenced by the Greek gods. It is possible to follow the spread of this sort of pantheon slowly up through Europe. Even after the invasion of the Danes the people venerated what we could call bog-gods. In that the local bog or swamp contained a local deity or protector, even forests have been mentioned, but we have no real finds so that is conjecture.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


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    Patriot Member IliaDN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    1. You mentioned king of Russia, but Russia was formed in early medieval , and you speak of antic times;
    2. You tell about Gardarika, but it is a name that was used in later centuries (in my opinion there was no such place in 100 B.C.)
    3. About Atlants , there were antic historians who mentioned it long before the time period you describe, in my opinion ....

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    dictator by the people Member caesar44's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    The unswear is..............myth

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    Don't worry, I don't exist Member King of Atlantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    Thor is an alien, so Odin might be a person.


    (I watch to much stargate)

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    Merkismathr of Birka Member PseRamesses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    Quote Originally Posted by IliaDN
    1. You mentioned king of Russia, but Russia was formed in early medieval , and you speak of antic times;
    2. You tell about Gardarika, but it is a name that was used in later centuries (in my opinion there was no such place in 100 B.C.)
    3. About Atlants , there were antic historians who mentioned it long before the time period you describe, in my opinion ....
    I was merley using known names for unknown places, ok?! Or do you have the proper name for Russia or Gårdarike from around 100bc-300ad? No, I don´t think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Atlantis
    Thor is an alien, so Odin might be a person.
    That´s really constructive KoA, thx for joining a serious discussion with that remark.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraxis
    I would not put too much credit to Snorre Sturlusson before the time of Gorm the Old, and even then most of the written accounts would likely to have been nearmythical by the time he wrote it (1200). The same can be said of Saxo Grammaticus.
    It is far more likely that the gods were influenced by the Greek gods. It is possible to follow the spread of this sort of pantheon slowly up through Europe. Even after the invasion of the Danes the people venerated what we could call bog-gods. In that the local bog or swamp contained a local deity or protector, even forests have been mentioned, but we have no real finds so that is conjecture.
    At least Snorre didn´t have a political agenda, like Saxo Grammaticus had, when he wrote his stories. I also find it to be a belivable theory that "Asarna" are in fact wannabe Greek gods but since archaeological remains from this timeperiod are scarce we can only speculate. It´s just that I find it more than a coincidence that around 100bc artefacts, graves, settlements are turning up in an abundace, especially around Upsala, Sigtuna etc which coincide with the plausible arrivale of Odin in Sweden. Like a big jiggzaw one have to try a piece out and see if it fits with another, right?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Franconicus
    I read about Celtic and Red Indian gods. They seem to follow a certain pattern. They all have a god for their tribe only. He is seen as the godfather, all the members are his children. He has supreme properties and let the tribe to a new promised land. Sometimes his attributes are connected to animals. My theory is that these gods were originally real men, that formed the tribe and went to a new environment.
    This is really something that I belive to be the most plausible theory. You can take any civilization, at an early stage, and find individuals or mythological person that was later on deityfied. This is why I started this topic.

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    Don't worry, I don't exist Member King of Atlantis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    sorry, people did the same kind of thing in my atlantis myth or fact.

    I wasnt trying to upset you, i just really watch to much stargate.


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    Dragonslayer Emeritus Senior Member Sigurd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    First of all, this is the one subject I have always wanted to discuss. I didn’t reply at once because I wanted to see if there were other patrons here with strong opinions. It seems that there is.
    It seems PseRamesses that you used Snorre’s Kringla Heimsins in your postulation; this has never been popular with today’s scholars and historians. The reasons for this are as we discussed in the Varangian thread. The truth is however that the Nordic and western community has all reasons to believe Snorre made it all up. They have no point of reference as the Eastern community has. I have on several occasions read how the Eastern community wonders about how Snorre got his information. Never once have they accused him for making stuff up like the western community has.

    Snorre are amongst other things accused of being a Christian scholar trying to belittle the Norse mythology by humanize the Norse Gods and put them back on earth were they never belonged. They accuse him of inventing the peoples of As and Van in the fictitious lands of Asaland and Vanaland. The Eastern historians asked rather; where did he get such knowledge. They know that there were such people in the areas that Snorre describes, namely in the Caucasian area, and the city of the As (Asov) lay by Tanais and it still does. Thor Heyerdahl did some digging there and lo and behold ancient Viking artifacts were found, older than any found in Scandinavia. The unmistakably ring pin (ringnål), belt pin (beltespenner) and the long sword all typical artifacts found in Viking graves. What is significant is that these are dated to the first and second century AD much older than any found in Scandinavia or North Europe.

    Snorre also wrote Edda which is another and more mythological approximation towards Odin and the history of the Gods, but it also gives many clues to the real story. They all however speak of Roman expansion into the area of the As people. Odin prophesies that his heritage will rule the Northern world and gathers his people and moves North West.
    When Thor Heyerdahl visited the people of As in Aserbajdsjan they showed him a Latin inscription in a rock which read:

    IMP DOMITIANO
    CAESARE AVC
    CERMANIC
    L∙IVLIVS
    MAXIMVS
    LAC XII∙FVL

    This is in Latin:
    Imperator Domitiano
    Caesare Augusto
    Germanicus
    Lucius Iulius
    Maximus Centuri
    Legionis XII Fulminatae

    In clear text this reads: Under the rule of emperor Domitian Germanicus, Lucius Iulius, the foremost centurion of the 12th legion ‘Fulmintara’.
    No dates here but historical knowledge will help. The Emperor Domitian received the title Germanicus in 84 AD and after his death in 96 AD it was decided by the senate that all his statues and inscriptions mentioning his name should be destroyed. This means that the inscription found in Gobustan was inscribed between 84 AD and 96 AD.

    The Edda says that Odin didn’t stop until he came to the place which now is called Saksland. There he settled for a while and made himself Lord of a greater part of that country. He put three of his sons to rule there. They where: Vegdeg, Beldeg and Sige. According to Snorre these three brothers ruled the nations: Estern Saksland, Vestfalen and Frankland. Some might say that we have only Snorre’s word for it. But to the contrary two very old manuscripts in Britain will verify a part of this. I am thinking of the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. One of them, the Winchester manuscript, gives the genealogy of King Alfred the Great. It was written in 890 AD. Another is the Canterbury manuscript from around 11th century.
    If we compare the Winchester manuscript, the Canterbury manuscript and Snorre’s Edda we get interesting results:

    These are the royal lines and they all have an Odin/Woden character. Obviously it is the same man we are talking about.
    There is so much to say about this but I’ll hold off for now.
    Last edited by Sigurd; 07-17-2005 at 14:53. Reason: better table...
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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    I don't know the Anglo Saxon chronicles well enough to comment on their correctness. But I can comment on the fact that several sources can have the same background. That seems to be the case here, but that does not make it right.

    Snorre didn't make up his stories, it doesn't seem that any of the Sagas are made up, but in general drawn on older stories.
    Saxo tells an almost perfectly similar story as the Jomsvikinga Saga about these famous and strong vikings in Julin/Jomsborg. Even the same persons appear. Obviously they have the same background, but that does not make the story true, but only tells us that the original writer for the 'lost' saga (I like to call the common source that) was in fact using loose stories of warriors from Wolin (in Poland) to create an almost entirely fictional saga (though a battle similar to Hjörungevåg seems to have taken place in currentday Liavåg).

    And Snorre certainly had a political agenda, as did most of the sagawriters. Denmark and her older kings were certainly not popular in Iceland, they are constantly described as prone to backstabbing friends, jealous, rather stupid, dies humourous or pityful ways and above all they are descibed as being dishonourable (they tend to be sneaky and not upstanding in battle, quite contrary to the 'stupidity' trait they get). Whenever Icelandic troops were fighting in the sagas they almost always fought against Danish troops or troops allied with the Danish kings. For instance the Jomsvikings Saga is supposedly drawn from Icelandic warriors fighting against them at Hjörungevåg, and the Jomsvikings were allied to Sven Tveskæg (rather they are explained to have been duped into attacking Norway, but that only compounds the general antipathy against Denmark).

    So I have my doubts about the full correctness. General actions can be belived to some extent.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  11. #11
    dictator by the people Member caesar44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    Myth !!!




    Odin
    From Wikipedia.
    For other meanings of Odin and Wotan see Odin (disambiguation)
    Odin is considered to be the supreme god of late Germanic and Norse mythology. His role, like many of the Norse pantheon, is complex: he is god of both wisdom and war. He is also attributed as being a god of magic, poetry, victory, and the hunt.

    His name is, in Icelandic/Old Norse Óðinn; Swedish Oden; English/Old English (and Old Saxon) Wõden; Old Franconian Wodan; Alemannic Wuodan; German Wotan or Wothan; Lombardic Godan. Although its precise mythological meaning is debated, the name is formed from òð and -in. In Old Norse, òð means by itself '"wit, soul" and in compounds "fierce power, energy;" the suffix -in means "master, lord." Thus, Odin is lord of the life force.


    General characteristics
    For the Norsemen, his name was synonymous with battle and warfare, for he appears throughout the myths as the bringer of victory.

    Odin was a shape-changer, able to change his skin and form in any way he liked. He was said to travel the world disguised as an old man with a staff, one-eyed, grey-bearded and wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

    Odin is deeply associated with the concept of the Wild Hunt, a noisy, bellowing movement across the sky, leading a host of the slain, directly comparable to Vedic Rudra. Odin and Frigg participated in this together.

    Receiver of the Dead

    Odin taking the dead Sinfjötli to Valhalla.Snorri Sturluson's Edda depicts Odin as welcoming the great dead warriors who have fallen in battle into his hall, Valhalla. These fallen, the einherjar, are assembled by Odin to support the gods in the final battle of the end of the world, Ragnarök.

    In the Norse sagas, Odin often acts as the instigator of wars, sending his valkyries to influence the battle in his desired directions, and to select the dead. This in order to gather the best warriors in Valhalla.

    Sometimes Odin himself even appears in person. In one version of the end of the Battle of Brávellir, Odin himself arrives to fetch the aged King Harald Hildetand. When Helgi Hundingsbane has distinguished himself enough in battle and his brother-in-law Dag feels the need to avenge his father (whom Helgi had killed), Odin lends Dag his spear. Arrived in Valhalla, Helgi immediately gets perks as one of the foremost warriors.

    Odin and Mercury
    Less is known about the role of Odin as receiver of the dead among the more southern Germanic tribes. The Roman historian Tacitus probably refers to Odin when he talks of Mercury. The reason is that, like Mercury, Odin was regarded as Psychopompos, "the leader of souls".

    Julius Caesar calls Mercury the "deum maxime" of the Germans in De Bello Gallico 6.17.1.

    Paulus Diaconus (or Paul the Deacon) writing in the late 8th century, tells that Odin (Guodan) was the chief god of the Langobards and like earlier southern sources he identifies Odin with Mercury (History of the Langobards, I:9). Because of this identification, Paulus adds that the god Guodan "although held to exist [by Germanic peoples], it was not around this time, but long ago, and not in Germania, but in Greece" where the god originated. Robert Wace also identifies Wotan with Mercury. Viktor Rydberg, in his work on Teutonic Mythology, draws a number of other parallels between Odin and Mercury, such as the fact that they were both responsible for bringing poetry to mortal man.

    Similarly, Ammianus Marcellinus most likely references Odin and Thor in his history of the later Roman Empire as Mercury and Mars, respectively, though a direct association is not made. This, however, underlines a particular problem concerning ancient Greek and Roman sources. Historians from both cultures, during all periods, believed the deities of foreign cultures to merely be their own gods under different names. Such an example may be found in Herodotus' association of an Egyptian Ram-headed god (most probably Chnum) with Zeus. Later, Medieval, historians followed the older tradition and likewise made such associations. However, there is no historical evidence to suggest that these are valid connections and as such they should not be taken as historical fact.

    Etymology
    Old Norse Óðinn goes back to an earlier *Wōðinaz, consistent with the initial consonant of the West Germanic form of the name. Adam von Bremen etymologizes the god worshipped by the 11th century Scandinavian pagans as "Wodan id est furor" ("Wodan, which means 'ire'."), a possibility still commonly assumed today, connecting the name with Old English wōd, Gothic wōds, Old Norse *óðr (see Odr), Old High German wuot, all meaning "possessed, insane, raging".

    The common Proto-Germanic form is *Wōðinaz, which may go back to a pre-Proto-Germanic *Vatinos. It has been noted, however, that the Anglo-Saxon Woden is not in exact correspondence with German Wotan, suggesting that the latter has been transformed by popular etymology to conform with the meaning "the raging one", particularly after Christianisation, when Wotan was seen as a demon, while the Nordic and the Anglo-Saxon forms preserved the original form of the name. One possibility is that the name was borrowed from the Celts, roughly at the time of Tacitus when Germanic and Celtic tribes were in close contact on either side of the Rhine, and is associated with the Celtic priestly caste of the Vates. The Celtic word is ultimately derived from the same root (possibly Proto-Indo-European, but only attested in Celtic and Germanic) as the Germanic words for "possessed" cited above, *vāt-, with a more general meaning of "spiritually excited", also preserved in the Irish word for "poet", fáith. If the word is indeed a loan from the Celtic, it may be an important hint to the dating of the Proto-Germanic sound changes.

    Eddaic Odin
    According to the Edda, Odin was a son of Bestla and Bor and brother of Vé and Vili and together with these brothers he cast down the frost giant Ymir and created the world from Ymir's body. The three brothers are often mentioned together. "Wille" is the German word for "will" (English), "Weh" is the German word (Gothic wai) for "woe" (English: great sorrow, grief, misery) but is more likely related to the archaic German "Wei" meaning 'sacred'.

    Odin fathered his most famous son Thor on Jord 'Earth'. But his wife and consort was the goddess Frigg who in the best-known tradition was the loving mother of their son Baldr). By the giantess Gríðr, Odin was the father of Víðarr and by Rind he was father of Vali. Also many royal families claimed descent from Odin through other sons. For traditions about Odin's offspring see Sons of Odin.

    Attributes

    Odin entering Valhalla riding on Sleipnir (Ardre image stone).Attributes of Odin are Sleipnir, an eight-legged horse, and the severed head of Mímir, which foretold the future. He employed Valkyrjur to gather the souls of warriors fallen in battle (the Einherjar), as these would be needed to fight for him in the battle of Ragnarok. They took the souls of the warriors to Valhalla (the hall of the fallen), Odin's residence in Asgard. One of the Valkyries, Brynhildr, was expelled from his service but, out of compassion, Odin placed her in a hall surrounded by a ring of fire to ensure that only the bravest man could seek her hand in marriage. She was rescued by Sigurd. Hodur, a blind god who had accidentally killed his brother, Baldur, was then killed by another of Odin's children, Váli by Rind, a giantess. Vali was born from Rind fully grown and armed, vowing not to even bath before he had exacted vengeance on Hodur.

    Odin has a number of magical artifacts associated with him: the dwarven spear Gungnir, which never misses its target, a magical gold ring (Draupnir), from which every ninth night eight new rings appear, an eight-legged horse (Sleipnir) and two ravens Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory) who travel the world to acquire information at his behest. He also commands a pair of wolves named Geri and Freki, to whom he gives his food for he himself consumes nothing but wine. From his throne, Hlidskjalf (located in Valaskjalf), Óðinn could see everything that occurred in the universe.

    The Valknut is a symbol associated with Odin.

    Names
    The Norsemen gave Odin many nicknames; this was in the Norse skaldic tradition of kennings, a poetic method of indirect reference, as in a riddle. See List of names of Odin. The name Alföðr ("Allfather", "father of all") appears in Snorri Sturluson's Younger Edda. It probably refers to the Christian God in that book, but it may have referred to Odin at an earlier date. (It probably originally denoted Tiwaz, as it fits the pattern of referring to Sky Fathers as "father".)

    Anglo-Saxon Woden
    The Anglo-Saxon tribes brought Woden to England around the 5th and 6th centuries, continuing his worship until conversion to Christianity in the 8th and 9th centuries. Woden is the carrier-off of the dead, but not necessarily with the attributes of Norse Odin. Woden is also the leader of the Wild Hunt. The familial relationships are the same between Woden and the other Anglo-saxon gods as they are for the Norse.

    According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Historia Britonum, Woden had the sons Wecta, Baeldaeg, Casere and Wihtlaeg.

    Wecta's line is continued by Witta, Wihtgils, Hengest and Horsa, and the Kings of Kent.
    Baeldaeg's line is continued by Brona, Frithugar, Freawine, Wig, Gewis, Esla, Elesa, Cerdic and the Kings of Wessex.
    Casere's line is continued by Tytmon, Trygils, Hrothmund, Hryp, Wilhelm, Wehha, Wuffa and the Kings of East Anglia.
    Wihtlaeg's line is continued by Wermund king of Angel, Offa, Angeltheow, Eomer, Icel and the Kings of Mercia.
    Anglo-Saxon literature starts at about the time of the conversion from the old religion. Although whatever stories recording his part in the lives of men and the gods are lost, Woden's name survived in many settlement names and geographical features.

    Wansdyke - Woden's embankment
    Grimsdyke - From Grim, "hooded" a description of his appearance
    Wednesbury - Woden's burgh
    Wednesday ('Wodens daeg') is named for him, his link with the dead making him the appropriate match to the Roman Mercury. (Compare with the French 'mercredi' for Wednesday)

    Worship
    Details of Migration period Germanic religion are sketchy, reconstructed from artefacts, sparse contemporary sources, and later the later testimonies of medieval legends and placenames. According to Jonas Bobiensis, the 6th century Irish missionary Saint Columbanus is reputed to have disrupted a Beer sacrifice to Wuodan (Deo suo Vodano nomine) in Bregenz. Wuodan was the chief god of the Alamanni, his name appears in the runic inscription on the Nordendorf fibula.

    Pagan worship disappeared with Christianization, from the 8th century in England and Germany, lingering until the 12th or 13th century in Iceland and Scandinavia. Remnants of worship were continued into modern times as folklore.

    Many places are named after Odin, especially in Scandinavia, such as Odense (Denmark) and Odensbacken (Sweden), but also places in other Germanic countries, such as Wednesbury (England), Wodensberg and Odenheim (Germany), and Woensdrecht (Netherlands). Almost all German Gaue (Latin, pagi) had mountains and other places named after him under such generic names as Wodenesberg, Wuodenesberg, Godesberg and Gudensberg, Wodensholt, etc.

    Sacrifices
    Odin was the only god in Scandinavian mythology to demand human sacrifice at the Blóts. Adam of Bremen relates that every ninth year, people assembled from all over Sweden to sacrifice at the Temple at Uppsala. Male slaves, and males of each species were sacrificed and hung from the branches of the trees. The practice of sacrifice is one reason why Thor was much more popular among the commonfolk. Committing suicide was also considered to be a shortcut to Valhalla.

    As the Swedes had the right not only to elect king but also to depose a king, the sagas relate that both king Domalde and king Olof Trätälja were sacrificed to Odin after years of famine. See also sacred king.

    It was common, particularly among the Cimbri, to sacrifice a prisoner to Odin prior to or after a battle. The Orkneyinga saga relates a (and uncommon) form of Odinic sacrifice, wherein the captured Ella is slaughtered by the carving out of a "blood eagle" upon his back.

    More significantly, however, it has been argued that the killing of a combatant in battle was to give a sacrificial offering to Odin. The fickleness of Odin in battle was well-documented, and in Lokasenna, Loki taunts Odin for his inconsistency.

    Sometimes sacrifices were made to Odin to bring about changes in circumstance, a notable example being the sacrifice of King Víkar (detailed in Gautrek's Saga and Saxo). Sailors in a fleet being blown off course drew lots to sacrifice to Odin that he might abate the winds; the king himself drew the lot and was hanged.

    Sacrifices were probably also made to Odin at the beginning of summer, since Ynglinga saga states one of the great festivities of the calendar is at sumri, þat var sigrblót "in summer, for victory"; Odin is consistently referred to throughout the Norse mythos as the bringer of victory.

    The Ynglinga saga also details the sacrifices made by the Swedish king Aun, who, it was revealed to him, would lengthen his life by sacrificing one of his sons every ten years; nine of his ten sons died this way. When he was about to sacrifice his last son Egil, the Swedes stopped him.

    Shamanic traits
    The goddess Freya is seen as an adept of the mysteries of seid (shamanism), a völva, and it is said that it was she who initiated Odin into its mysteries. In Lokasenna Loki abuses Odin for practising seid, condemning it as a unmanly art. A justification for this may be found in the Ynglinga saga where Snorri opines that following the practice of seid, the practitioner was rendered weak and helpless. Another explanation is that its manipulative aspects ran counter to the male ideal of forthright, open behaviour.

    Odin was a compulsive seeker of wisdom, consumed by his passion for knowledge, to the extent that he sacrificed one of his eyes (which one this was is unclear) to Mimir, in exchange for a drink from the waters of wisdom in Mimir's well.

    Some German sacred formulae, known as "Merseburger Zaubersprueche" were written down in c 800 AD and survived. One (this is the second) describes Wodan in the role of a healer:

    Original:
    Phol ende UUodan vuorun zi holza.
    du uuart demo Balderes volon sin vuoz birenkit
    thu biguel en Sinthgunt, Sunna era suister;
    thu biguol en Friia, Volla era suister
    thu biguol en Uuodan, so he uuola conda
    sose benrenki, sose bluotrenki
    sose lidirenki: ben zi bena
    bluot zi bluoda, lid zi geliden
    sôse gelîmida sin! English translation:
    Phol (Balder) and Wodan were riding in the forest
    Balder's foal dislocated its foot
    Sinthgunt and Sol, her sister, tried to cure it by magic
    Frige and Fulla, her sister, tried to cure it by magic
    it was charmed by Wodan, like he well could:
    be it bonesprain, be it bloodsprain
    be it limbsprain, bone to bones
    blood to blood, limb to limbs
    like they are glued!

    Further, the creation of the runes, the Norse alphabet that was also used for divination, is attributed to Odin and is described in the Rúnatal, a section of the Havamal. He hanged himself from the tree Yggdrasil, whilst pierced by his own spear, to acquire knowledge. He remained thus for nine days and nights, a number deeply significant in Norse magical practice (there were, for example, nine realms of existence), thereby learning nine (later eighteen) magical songs and eighteen magical runes. The purpose of this strange ritual, a god sacrificing himself to himself because there was nothing higher to sacrifice to, was to obtain mystical insight through mortification of the flesh; however, some scholars assert that the Norse believed that insight into the runes could only be truly attained in death.

    Some scholars see this scene as influenced by the story of Christ's crucifixion; and others note the similarity to the story of Buddha's enlightenment. it is in any case also influenced by shamanism, where the symbolic climbing of a "world tree" by the shaman in search of mystic knowledge is a common religious pattern. We know that sacrifices, human or otherwise, to the gods were commonly hung in or from trees, often transfixed by spears. (See also: Peijainen) Additionally, one of Odin's names is Ygg, and the norse name for the World Ash —Yggdrasil—therefore means "Ygg's (Odin's)horse". Another of Odin's names is Hangatyr, the god of the hanged.

    Odin's love for wisdom can also be seen in his work as a farmhand for a summer, for Baugi, in order to obtain the mead of poetry. See Fjalar and Galar for more details.

    Odin and Jesus
    The 13th century eddaic account of Odin likely contains some Christian elements. The scene where Odin hangs from a tree as a sacrifice to himself has been suggested to reflect the crucifixion of Jesus, down to the detail of having his side pierced with a spear, however archeological evidence, such as the above mentioned Tollund Man, clearly establish that this form of sacrifice existed before the time of Christ and thus is most likely developed independently. Other inconsistencies, such as that Odin was hung by a rope from a tree whereas Jesus was nailed to a cross (both wood, but in different contexts) further dismiss such a theory. Odin's son Balder, a god of light, shares some of Jesus' traits (who was called the light) as a youthful "dying and rising" god, but unlike in the case of latter, his resurrection fails and he has to remain in the underworld. The Havamal account of Odin's sacrifice positions Odin in the otherwise unique Pauline Christian attributes of a "father god" who suffers and defeats death.

    The similarity of Odin and Jesus was resurrected by Richard Wagner. Wagner's association of Odin with Jesus is treated in the Notes of the Seminar Given in 1928–1930 of Carl Gustav Jung. Recently, the German NPD issued T-Shirts labeled Odin statt Jesus ("Odin rather than Jesus") that were popular also among apolitical Neo-Pagans, reviving the Nazi idea of Odin as an "Aryan Jesus".

    Medieval reception
    As the chief god of the Germanic pantheon, Odin received particular attention from the early missionaries. For example, his day is the only day to have been renamed in the German language from "Woden's day", still extant in English Wednesday to the neutral Mittwoch ("mid-week"), while other gods were not deemed important enough for propaganda (Tuesday "Tyr's day" and Friday "Freyja's day" remained intact in all Germanic languages). For many Germans, St. Michael replaced Wotan, and many mountain chapels dedicated to St. Michael can be found, but Wotan also remained present as a sort of demon leading the Wild hunt of the host of the dead, e.g. in Swiss folklore as Wuotis Heer. However, in some regions even this mythology was transformed so that Charlemagne led the hunt, not Odin.

    In England, Woden was not so much demonized as rationalized, and in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he appears as a perfectly earthly king, only four generations removed from Hengest and Horsa.

    Snorri Sturluson's record of the Edda is striking evidence of the climate of religious tolerance in medieval Iceland, but even he feels compelled to give a rational account of the Aesir in his preface. In this scenario, Snorri speculates that Odin and his peers were originally refugees from Troy, etymologizing Aesir as derived from Asia. Some scholars believe that Snorri's version of Norse mythology is an attempt to mould a more shamanistic tradition into a Greek mythological cast. In any case, Snorri's writing (particularly in Heimskringla) tries to maintain an essentially scholastic neutrality. That Snorri was correct was one of the last of Thor Heyerdahl's archeo-anthropological theories (see The search for Odin).

    In many Germanic languages, the name for the fourth day of the week (if one counts from Sunday) is frequently, "Wotan's Day" or "Woden's Day", (Wednesday in English, compare Norwegian, Danish and Swedish onsdag, Dutch woensdag; curiously the equivalent day in German is simply "mid-week" (Mittwoch)). This is thought to translate the Latin Dies Mercurii, "Mercury-day" (cf. French mercredi), owing primarily to Tacitus' linking of the two gods.

    Persisting beliefs in Odin
    The spread of Christianity was slow in Scandinavia, and it worked its way downwards from the nobility. Among common people, beliefs in Odin would linger for centuries, and legends would be told until modern times.

    The last battle where Scandinavians attributed a victory to Odin was the Battle of Lena in 1208 [1]. The former Swedish king Sverker had arrived with a large Danish army, and the Swedes discovered that the Danish army was more than twice the size of their own. Naturally, the Danes got the upper hand and they should have won. However, the Swedes claimed that they suddenly saw Odin riding on Sleipnir. Accounts vary on how Odin gave the Swedes victory, but in one version, he rode in front of their battle formation.

    The Norwegians long told a legend about a one-eyed rider with a broad-brimmed hat and a blue coat who had asked a smith to shoe his horse. The suspicious smith asked where the stranger had stayed during the previous night. The stranger mentioned so distant places that the smith would not believe him. The stranger said that he had stayed for a long time in the north and taken part in many battles, and this time he was going to Sweden. When the horse was shod, the rider mounted his horse and said "I am Odin" to the stunned smith, rode up in the air and disappeared. The next day, the battle of Lena took place.

    Scandinavian folklore also maintained a belief in Odin as the leader of the Wild Hunt (Åsgårdsreia in Norwegian). His main objective seems to have been to track down and kill the forest creature huldran or skogsrået. In these accounts, Odin was typically a lone huntsman, save for his two wolves. Originally, he was armed with a spear, but in later accounts this was sometimes changed to a rifle.

    Modern age
    With the Romantic Viking revival of the early-to-mid 19th century, Odin's popularity increased again. Wotan is a principle character in Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, written between 1848 and 1874. Odin is worshipped by Germanic reconstructivist Neo-Pagan groups (see Odinic Rite, Odinism).

    As the master of the life force, óð, his name provides the root for Od, the hypothetical vital energy that permeates all living things and binds them together.

    Odin is frequently referred to in popular culture. See References to Odin in popular culture and Odin (disambiguation).

    Literature
    The Cult of Othinn, Hector Chadwick
    The Battle God of the Vikings, H. R. Ellis Davidson, York 1972
    The Lost Gods of England, Brian Branston
    In search of the Dark Ages, Michael Wood
    Wotan, Carl Jung
    American Gods, Neil Gaiman


    Yse , a myth , like Atlantis , Adam and Eve , Hercules etc'
    Last edited by caesar44; 07-15-2005 at 13:53.

  12. #12
    Merkismathr of Birka Member PseRamesses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd Fafnesbane
    It seems PseRamesses that you used Snorre’s Kringla Heimsins in your postulation; this has never been popular with today’s scholars and historians. The reasons for this are as we discussed in the Varangian thread.
    This is exactly the reason why I started this thread with Snorre´s version of Odins origins. That, and the fact that I´ve never been afraid to be controversial.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd Fafnesbane
    The truth is however that the Nordic and western community has all reasons to believe Snorre made it all up. They have no point of reference as the Eastern community has. I have on several occasions read how the Eastern community wonders about how Snorre got his information. Never once have they accused him for making stuff up like the western community has.
    This one of the most annoying features that seems to go hand in hand with the science-, historical- and archaeological departments. In stead of gathering facts and try to, objectively, puzzle them together they stick with their "versions" or "theories" until death. Highly unprofessional IMO. I´ve been studying egyptology for well over 15 years now and there is civil warfare, guerilla tactics and shere terrorism amongst the schollars in this field. I find it VERY interesting that Snorre has got so many things "right" and more and more external sources veryfies his "version".

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd Fafnesbane
    Snorre are amongst other things accused of being a Christian scholar trying to belittle the Norse mythology by humanize the Norse Gods and put them back on earth were they never belonged. They accuse him of inventing the peoples of As and Van in the fictitious lands of Asaland and Vanaland. The Eastern historians asked rather; where did he get such knowledge. They know that there were such people in the areas that Snorre describes, namely in the Caucasian area, and the city of the As (Asov) lay by Tanais and it still does.
    Exactemundo!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd Fafnesbane
    Thor Heyerdahl did some digging there and lo and behold ancient Viking artifacts were found, older than any found in Scandinavia. The unmistakably ring pin (ringnål), belt pin (beltespenner) and the long sword all typical artifacts found in Viking graves. What is significant is that these are dated to the first and second century AD much older than any found in Scandinavia or North Europe.
    Now, this is the kind of "evidence" I lean upon when forming my ideas or theories. The key Q here is: are these artefacts just very old viking ones that has found their way to this area by trading OR did the "vikings" originate from this area? Makes you think, doesn´t it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigurd Fafnesbane
    The Edda says that Odin didn’t stop until he came to the place which now is called Saksland. There he settled for a while and made himself Lord of a greater part of that country. He put three of his sons to rule there. They where: Vegdeg, Beldeg and Sige. According to Snorre these three brothers ruled the nations: Estern Saksland, Vestfalen and Frankland. Some might say that we have only Snorre’s word for it. But to the contrary two very old manuscripts in Britain will verify a part of this. I am thinking of the Anglo-Saxon chronicles. One of them, the Winchester manuscript, gives the genealogy of King Alfred the Great. It was written in 890 AD. Another is the Canterbury manuscript from around 11th century.
    If we compare the Winchester manuscript, the Canterbury manuscript and Snorre’s Edda we get interesting results:



    Edda-------------Winchester manuscript----------Canterbury manuscript
    Bjav/Bjar----------------*-----------------------------*
    Jat----------------------*--------------------------Geats
    Gudolv------------------*---------------------------Godwulf
    Finn---------------------*--------------------------Finn
    Friallav/Friedleiv----------*--------------------------Frithowulf
    Odin-------------------Woden-----------------------Woden
    Beldeg/Balder-----------Beldeg-----------------------Beldeg
    Brand------------------Brand------------------------Brand
    Frjodigar/Frode---------Frithugar---------------------Benoc
    Freovin-----------------Freawine--------------------Aloc
    Uvigg------------------Wig--------------------------Angenwit
    Gevis/Gave-------------Gewis------------------------Ingui
    -----*-----------------Esla--------------------------Esa
    -----*-----------------Elesa-------------------------Eoppa-
    -----*-----------------Cerdic------------------------Ida( 547 AD)
    -----*-----------------Cynric---------------------------*
    These are the royal lines and they all have an Odin/Woden character. Obviously it is the same man we are talking about.
    There is so much to say about this but I’ll hold off for now.
    The similarities could actually mean one of two things. Either they come from the same factual source.... or mythological source. But hey, just stop and speculate a bit. What if? What if Odin/ Woden WAS an actual person. What if he, and his people, actually originated from the Black Sea area, or even from the escaping royal line of Troy?
    I´ve rewritten my sense of history so many times during my 40 years of existence. Take the bible for example. For decades schollars has said that the contense of the bible was a myth. But through time, "lost" people, places, cities, kings, languages and events has been found to prove the historical part of the bible right over and over again. Yet more speculative like, how did the Phoenicians circum-navigate the African continent 4000 years ago? Impossible? How come that many civ´s around the world builds pyramids and shows so many common nomenators? How come there are too many resemblances between the world´s religions (old and present) to say that they are not from the same source - one original religion dating back to the dawn of man. But this would be to say that their is an deity in existance wouldn´t it? Isn´t it strange that after the biblical flood Noa´s sons emmigrated in different directions to repopulate the earth and early tribes/ peoples and even mythological kings/ gods can be found in theese areas? Coincidencal? I think not! Remember that science has lead us down the "wrong" path many times through history so I just try to keeep an open mind. So thx for keeping an open mind and presenting such good posts, complete with sources and quotes.

  13. #13
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Odin - myth or fact?

    Ok...

    Pyramids are logical constructions, they are basically the only constructions besides mounds that could be made big. But unlike mounds pyramids can be made smaller atthe base, making them more impressive to the eye. Even the mesopotamian ziggurats were pyramidshaped if they had been continued to the end (gotten a point). So the shape ofthe pyramid is a most logical one.
    One layer on top of another, slight smaller each time. A sound and solid construction with the least amount of problems.
    Talk to a buildingengineer and he will tell you that.

    I don't know here you have that religionstuff, but the religions are not similar. We have everything from ghostlike deities in Shinto, over bog-gods, tree spirits to pantheons of god, to monotheistic religions of many types (Zoroastriarism for instance is not like our version of Monotheistic religion).
    But if we were to go back to the first religious people we would likely be able to recognize it as something we can relate to. Why? Because humans are remarkably similar in their beliefs and what scares them. We are afraid of the unknown, so we try to make it sensible so it isn't so scary anymore.

    A serious flood happend twice (but many smaller ones have happend logically). First with the breaktrough at Gibraltar, then at Bosperus. The latter seems the originator of the biblical floodstory, a similar story is prevalent in many societies. Quite likely because many people lost their homes when the oceans rose in rushes (lakes spilling into the ocean and so on after the melting of the ice). That is why it is so common, though interestingly it lack from areas that were not affected by the rising seas, and it makes sense.
    The nothern shore of the Black Sea is highly fertile, and thus it is a logical origin of many human tribes in the west. The now lost land must be assumed to have been equally fertile. Thus the Black Sea flood was a nasty shock, especially since the land lost was massive and very fast (flat country makes for a quick covering).
    Imagine that you live 30km from the sea. You go to bed, and when you get up the next day you have water splashing around your feet. Outside it streches into the horison... That would be damn scary. You wouldn't know where to go...
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


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