I want to learn about Norse Mythology/Scandinavia?

I have little to no knowledge about the big umbrella that is Norse Mythology, but I'm really interested in it. I love Scandinavian culture and music, and I've always been curious about their older beliefs and mythologies.

I'm looking for a good beginner's introduction for Norse Mythology. Does anyone know of a good book that'll help me get started and maybe other books that would give me some history on it all? I don't know where to start because there's so much involved in the subject, but I'm willing to try and understand as much as I can.

Maybe even books on the vikings or the different religions in medieval Scandinavia would be great to have, I like that kind of stuff. Even books that help me understand Scandinavian culture a little more would be fun to read! Any help & suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! =3

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  • 7 years ago
    Best Answer

    Hmm... Really hard to know what to recommend without knowing your tastes, reading abilities and skill. Do you prefer original sources or analyses? Poetry, prose, or non-fiction? I'll recommend some intermediate texts to get you started, at least.

    A nice basic guide:

    http://www.amazon.com/Norse-Mythology-Heroes-Ritua...

    The simplest of the original sources, the Prose Edda:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Prose-Edda-Mythology-Cla...

    As for books on the Vikings themselves, what we know of them has changed constantly since the first complete find of a Viking ship in 1880 (if you see pre-1880 paintings of longships, they look ridiculous). Hence, any book will be outdated as soon as new finds are made or new theories accepted. The best and least biased book (pretty much all European historical literature from outside Scandinavia is to varying degrees biased towards the Norse) is "Vikinger i krig", which will not help you a tad unless you can read one or more of the Scandinavian languages (luckily I do). But even that may be somewhat outdated when excavations of the recently discovered Viking town in Norway begin next summer. Ironically the edge of town and its potential wealth of historical artefacts was literally yards away from the 1880 excavations I mentioned earlier.

    But I believe you can gain a better understanding of life in the Viking Age by reading Heimskringla; the very first book written about the history of Norway (and never completed. Ironically the author was assassinated by Norwegian agents before he could finish the book. Why? Because he defied a direct order by the king of Norway to stay in the country until the near-civil war conditions in his native Iceland passed, arising fears that he was a traitor):

    http://www.amazon.com/Heimskringla-History-Norway-...

    WARNING: This is the best available illustrated English-language version, but compared to some of the beautifully designed, illustrated and shortened Scandinavian versions, this is an 880-page block of text. Feel free to skip over the less gory parts if you want some action. Only you sort of have to have read the whole thing before, to know where the exciting parts are.

  • emmery
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Hullo, Angel! I am a Pagan (A Wiccan, to be specific), and were so for the prior 18 years. I don't wish to communicate out of flip, and there are a quantity of men and women right here way more versed on the Germanic and Norse Heathen faiths and practices than i am, however I notion i would attempt to give you just the broadest overview. Asatru and Odinism are recontructionist religions tied to the pre-Christian faiths of the Germanic tribes (including the Norse). That they had a pantheon of Gods which is probably represented as style of similar to the Hellenic hierarchy, from Zeus down. However, that belief of the Norse/Germanic Gods as being so good ordered could have come from the Romans who first encountered them, and percieved the Germans' pantheon to be similar to the Greek and Roman Pagan gods. Historically, as a minimum, these people valued personal freedom, decisiveness and individual accountability incredibly. As with almost all Pagan humans, they headquartered their devout observances and celebrations on the cycles of the seasons and on the looks of specified celestial our bodies. In my expertise, any religion which makes yet another conscious of Nature and which places the believers into steadiness with Nature and the web of existence, and which values self-control and personal responsibility is an efficient one. Even though the Heathens (as a time period encompassing the Germanic Pagan faiths) beliefs and my possess differ substantially, i've at all times observed a great deal to admire and admire in the observe I've visible.

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