Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas [NOOK Book]

Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas

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Overview

Contents:
I. The Beginning
II. Odin
III. Frigga
IV. Thor
V. Tyr
VI. Bragi
VII. Idun
VIII. Ni�rd
IX. Frey
X. Freya
XI. Uller
XII. Forseti
XIII. Heimdall
XIV. Hermod
XV. Vidar
XVI. Vali
XVII. The Norns
XVIII. The Valkyrs
XIX. Hel
XX. �gir
XXI. Balder
XXII. Loki
XXIII. The Giants
XXIV. The Dwarfs
XXV. The Elves
XXVI. The Sigurd Saga
XXVII. The Frithiof Saga
XXVIII. The Twilight of the Gods
XXIX. Greek and Northern Mythologies?A Comparison
The prime importance of the rude fragments of poetry preserved in early Icelandic literature will now be disputed by none, but there has been until recent times an extraordinary indifference to the wealth of religious tradition and mythical lore which they contain.

The long neglect of these precious records of our heathen ancestors is not the fault of the material in which all that survives of their religious beliefs is enshrined, for it may safely be asserted that the Edda is as rich in the essentials of national romance and race-imagination, rugged though it be, as the more graceful and idyllic mythology of the South. Neither is it due to anything weak in the conception of the deities themselves, for although they may not rise to great spiritual heights, foremost students of Icelandic literature agree that they stand out rude and massive as the Scandinavian mountains. They exhibit “a spirit of victory, superior to brute force, superior to mere matter, a spirit that fights and overcomes.” “Even were some part of the matter of their myths taken from others, yet the Norsemen have given their gods a noble, upright, great spirit, and placed them upon a high level that is all their own.” “In fact these old Norse songs have a truth in them, an inward perennial truth and greatness. It is a greatness not of mere body and gigantic bulk, but a rude greatness of soul.”

The introduction of Christianity into the North brought with it the influence of the Classical races, and this eventually supplanted the native genius, so that the alien mythology and literature of Greece and Rome have formed an increasing part of the mental equipment of the northern peoples in proportion as the native literature and tradition have been neglected.

Undoubtedly Northern mythology has exercised a deep influence upon our customs, laws, and language, and there has been, therefore, a great unconscious inspiration flowing from these into English literature. The most distinctive traits of this mythology are a peculiar grim humour, to be found in the religion of no other race, and a dark thread of tragedy which runs throughout the whole woof, and these characteristics, touching both extremes, are writ large over English literature.

But of conscious influence, compared with the rich draught of Hellenic inspiration, there is little to be found, and if we turn to modern art the difference is even more apparent.

This indifference may be attributed to many causes, but it was due first to the fact that the religious beliefs of our pagan ancestors were not held with any real tenacity. Hence the success of the more or less considered policy of the early Christian missionaries to confuse the heathen beliefs, and merge them in the new faith, an interesting example of which is to be seen in the transference to the Christian festival of Easter of the attributes of the pagan goddess Eástre, from whom it took even the name. Northern mythology was in this way arrested ere it had attained its full development, and the progress of Christianity eventually relegated it to the limbo of forgotten things. Its comprehensive and intelligent scheme, however, in strong contrast with the disconnected mythology of Greece and Rome, formed the basis of a more or less rational faith which prepared the Norseman to receive the teaching of Christianity, and so helped to bring about its own undoing.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940014043229
  • Publisher: Library of Alexandria
  • Publication date: 1/26/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,240,372
  • File size: 456 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2000

    Really fun to read, but..

    All I want to know is, why did the author feel the need to dump on the ancient followers of the religion so much? He keeps referring to them as ignorant and seems to feel the need to look down his nose at these Myths as somehow of less asthetic value as the myths of the Greeks and Romans. That being said, if you can get past all the rhetoric the author feels the need to throw into this, it really is a good read for someone who is just starting to learn about norse Mythology, though it might be a tad basic for experts in the field.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2008

    Wonderful book...

    Over the centuries, Norse mythology has exerted profound influence on the Western World never has such a rich collection of myths of this magnitude have been sorted and organized in a book than Myths of the Norsemen by Helene A. Guerber, this book presents the Scandinavian and Germanic ideals, myths and folklore that have formed Western society. Sporting an excellent introduction, twenty-nine chapters, sixty-four illustrations and a poetical quotation index, Myths of the Norsemen is a great book for beginners learning about Norse mythology and Germanic mythology. However, even though this is a great book for beginners, some people may have trouble pronouncing certain names of gods, places, things, etc. The author utilizes the actual accurate name in Old Norsk, originating from the original Elder Eddas and Sagas from Iceland she uses the Germanic-Old Norsk umlauts which might confuse native English-speaking readers who have no previous Germanic language education. Overall, I give it a 4 out of 5.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    Myths of the Norsemen

    Good information. Very good for beginers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2006

    A good introduction

    This is a fine place to start on the road to Norse myths. There is a deeper more troubled path to take for to truth and origins of the myths but this little book makes for a comprehensive fjord from which the longships of Viking enthusiasm may launch.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    Great for beginners

    If anyone's lookimg to understand Norse myths,this book is for you. It's easy to understand and is brimming with information on all the Norse gods.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2012

    Norse mythology

    In my opinion
    Greek mythology is overrated and norse mythology is better. It is more interesting and gives us deeper understandings of norse society.
    However that is just my opinion; you can think what you want.
    No offense.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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