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Flashcards in Norse Mythology Deck (55):
1

What is the Poetic Edda?

A collection of Old Norse poems

  • One of the two major sources of Norse mythology
  • Preserved in a medieval manuscript called Codex Regius
  • Written earlier than the Prose Edda, but discovered later

2

What is the Prose Edda?

A collection of writings authored and/or compiled by Snorri Sturluson around 1220 A.D.

  • One of the two major sources of Norse mythology
  • Quotes the Poetic Edda, which was discovered later

3

Who are the Aesir?

The main group of gods in Norse mythology

  • Usually associated with themes of power and war
  • Waged a war with the Vanir

4

Who are the Vanir?

A less important group of gods in Norse mythology

  • Less commonly discussed and worshipped than the Aesir, but still important
  • Usually associated with agriculture and fertility
  • Waged a war with the Aesir

5

Who are the jotnar?

The race of giants in Norse mythology

  • Singular: jotunn
  • Often enemies of the Aesir and Vanir, but not always
  • Their homeworld is Jotunheim
  • The very first being created, Ymir, was a jotunn

6

Briefly outline the Norse creation myth.

  • In the beginning, there was only the land of ice (Niflheim) and the land of fire (Muspelheim)
  • Between them, a frost giant named Ymir was born
  • Ymir gave rise to more giants, all of whom were nursed by the giant cow Audumbla
  • Audumbla fed herself on the frost and salt from the ice
  • From her giant salt link emerged the first god, Buri
  • The gods killed the giants and used their bodies to create the world, filling the space between Niflheim and Muspelheim

7

What is Asgard?

The homeworld of the Aesir

8

What is Vanaheimr?

The home world of the Vanir

9

Who is Odin?

The chief god of the Norse pantheon and the ruler of Asgard

  • God of battle, victory, magic, wisdom, poetry
  • Married to Frigg (a.k.a. Frigga)
  • Father of Baldur, Hod, Thor, and Vidar, among others
  • Has only one eye
  • Rides an eight-legged horse, Sleipnir
  • Sometimes portrayed with a wide-brimmed hat, a cloak, and a wooden staff

10

What is Valhalla?

Odin's hall in Asgard

  • The afterlife destination of half the heroes who die on the battlefield (the other half go to Folkvangr)
  • Here they are trained for the final battle at Ragnarok

11

Who is Freyja?

Goddess of love, beauty, and fertility

  • One of the Vanir
  • Has a cloak of falcon feathers and a chariot pulled by two cats
  • Resides over the afterlife land of Folkvangr
  • Sister of Freyr

12

What is Folkvangr?

A meadow ruled over by Freyja

  • The afterlife destination of half the heroes who die on the battlefield (the other half go to Valhalla)
  • Here they are trained for the final battle at Ragnarok

13

What is Ragnarok?

A series of events that will occur at the end of the world, including a great battle

  • Two great wolves will devour the sun and moon
  • The gods and jotnar will battle each other, and Odin will be eaten by the wolf Fenrir
  • Finally, all nine worlds will collapse in a series of natural disasters
  • A new, harmonious world will follow

14

What is Yggdrasil?

A giant ash tree that connects the nine worlds of Norse cosmology

  • These include Asgard, Midgard (the human world), Vanaheimr, Jotunheim, and Hel
  • The dragon Nidhoggr gnaws at the roots
  • The squirrel Ratatoskr carries messages up and down the tree
  • Four deer run across its branches

15

Who is Frigg/Frigga?

Chief goddess of the Aesir
  • Wife of Odin
  • Goddess of married women and childbirth
  • Mother of Baldr
  • Has the power of prophecy, but never reveals what she knows

16

Who is Thor?

God of thunderstorms, strength, healing, destruction

  • Wields the hammer Mjolnir, which has become a symbol of pagan pride
  • Red hair and beard
  • Battles the Midgard Serpent at Ragnarok

17

Who is Loki?

The trickster god

  • He is a jotunn but is sometimes considered one of the Aesir
  • Crafty and malicious
  • Often shapeshifts in order to fool others
  • Father of Hel, Fenrir, and the Midgard Serpent

18

Who is Freyr?

God of fertility

  • One of the Vanir
  • Considered to be the ancestor of the Swedish royal house
  • Brother of Freyja
  • Rides a boar

19

Who is Hel?

Goddess who resides over the underworld, which shares her name

  • Daughter of Loki
  • Appointed by Odin to be ruler of the domain

20

What is the Midgard Serpent?

A giant sea serpent that encircles the earth 

  • Also called Jormungandr
  • Offspring of Loki
  • Odin threw him into the ocean that encircles Midgard (the Earth)
  • The serpent then grew big enough to encircle the entire planet and bite his own tail
  • Jormungandr and Thor will kill each other at Ragnarok

21

Who is Fenrir?

A giant wolf

  • Offspring of Loki
  • Bound by the Aesir with a powerful ribbon
  • Will devour Odin at Ragnarok

22

Who are the Norns?

Female deities who determine the course of events

  • The three most important Norns are Urdr, Verdandi, and Skuldr
  • However, there are many other unnamed Norns
  • Comparable to the Fates in Greco-Roman mythology

23

Who is Idunn?

Goddess associated with youth and apples

  • Her apples grant eternal youth
  • Without them, the gods turn old and gray

24

Who is Heimdallr?

Guard of Bifrost, the bridge from the mortal world (Midgard) to Asgard

  • Can see and hear for a thousand miles
  • Blows a horn called Gjallarhorn
  • Heimdallr and Loki will kill one another at Ragnarok

25

Who are the valkyries?

Female deities who escort dead heroes to Valhalla

  • Ride winged horses and wear armor
  • Their travels through the sky were thought to cause Aurora Borealis
  • When the warriors in Valhalla are not busy preparing for Ragnarok, the valkyries serve them ale and mead

26

Who is Baldr?

God of innocence, joy, purity

  • Son of Odin and Frigg
  • Extremely popular among the other gods
  • His death was brought about by the jealous Loki and mourned by all the gods

27

Who is Tyr?

God of war, justice, and heroic victory

  • May have originally been the chief god of the pantheon
  • His right hand was bitten off by Fenrir

28

What is Asatru?

A modern religion that revives Norse mythology

  • Also known as "Germanic Neopaganism"
  • One of several contemporary denominations of neopaganism

29

A collection of Old Norse poems

  • One of the two major sources of Norse mythology
  • Preserved in a medieval manuscript called Codex Regius
  • Written earlier than the Prose Edda, but discovered later

Poetic Edda

30

A collection of writings authored and/or compiled by Snorri Sturluson around 1220 A.D.

  • One of the two major sources of Norse mythology
  • Quotes the Poetic Edda, which was discovered later

Prose Edda

31

The main group of gods in Norse mythology

  • Usually associated with themes of power and war
  • Waged a war with the Vanir

The Aesir

32

A less important group of gods in Norse mythology

  • Less commonly discussed and worshipped than the Aesir, but still important
  • Usually associated with agriculture and fertility
  • Waged a war with the Aesir

The Vanir

33

The race of giants in Norse mythology

  • Singular: jotunn
  • Often enemies of the Aesir and Vanir, but not always
  • Their homeworld is Jotunheim
  • The very first being created, Ymir, was a jotunn

The jotnar

34

The homeworld of the Aesir

Asgard

35

The home world of the Vanir

Vanaheimr

36

The chief god of the Norse pantheon and the ruler of Asgard

  • God of battle, victory, magic, wisdom, poetry
  • Married to Frigg (a.k.a. Frigga)
  • Father of Baldur, Hod, Thor, and Vidar, among others
  • Has only one eye
  • Rides an eight-legged horse, Sleipnir
  • Sometimes portrayed with a wide-brimmed hat, a cloak, and a wooden staff

Odin

37

Odin's hall in Asgard

  • The afterlife destination of half the heroes who die on the battlefield (the other half go to Folkvangr)
  • Here they are trained for the final battle at Ragnarok

Valhalla

38

Goddess of love, beauty, and fertility

  • One of the Vanir
  • Has a cloak of falcon feathers and a chariot pulled by two cats
  • Resides over the afterlife land of Folkvangr
  • Sister of Freyr

Freyja

39

A meadow ruled over by Freyja

  • The afterlife destination of half the heroes who die on the battlefield (the other half go to Valhalla)
  • Here they are trained for the final battle at Ragnarok

Folkvangr

40

A series of events that will occur at the end of the world, including a great battle

  • Two great wolves will devour the sun and moon
  • The gods and jotnar will battle each other, and Odin will be eaten by the wolf Fenrir
  • Finally, all nine worlds will collapse in a series of natural disasters
  • A new, harmonious world will follow

Ragnarok

41

A giant ash tree that connects the nine worlds of Norse cosmology

  • These include Asgard, Midgard (the human world), Vanaheimr, Jotunheim, and Hel
  • The dragon Nidhoggr gnaws at the roots
  • The squirrel Ratatoskr carries messages up and down the tree
  • Four deer run across its branches

Yggdrasil

42

Chief goddess of the Aesir
  • Wife of Odin
  • Goddess of married women and childbirth
  • Mother of Baldr
  • Has the power of prophecy, but never reveals what she knows

Frigg/Frigga

43

God of thunderstorms, strength, healing, destruction

  • Wields the hammer Mjolnir, which has become a symbol of pagan pride
  • Red hair and beard
  • Battles the Midgard Serpent at Ragnarok

Thor

44

The trickster god

  • He is a jotunn but is sometimes considered one of the Aesir
  • Crafty and malicious
  • Often shapeshifts in order to fool others
  • Father of Hel, Fenrir, and the Midgard Serpent

Loki

45

God of fertility

  • One of the Vanir
  • Considered to be the ancestor of the Swedish royal house
  • Brother of Freyja
  • Rides a boar

Freyr

46

Goddess who resides over the underworld, which shares her name

  • Daughter of Loki
  • Appointed by Odin to be ruler of the domain

Hel

47

A giant sea serpent that encircles the earth 

  • Also called Jormungandr
  • Offspring of Loki
  • Odin threw him into the ocean that encircles Midgard (the Earth)
  • The serpent then grew big enough to encircle the entire planet and bite his own tail
  • Jormungandr and Thor will kill each other at Ragnarok

Midgard Serpent

48

A giant wolf

  • Offspring of Loki
  • Bound by the Aesir with a powerful ribbon
  • Will devour Odin at Ragnarok

Fenrir

49

Female deities who determine the course of events

  • The three most important Norns are Urdr, Verdandi, and Skuldr
  • However, there are many other unnamed Norns
  • Comparable to the Fates in Greco-Roman mythology

The Norns

50

Goddess associated with youth and apples

  • Her apples grant eternal youth
  • Without them, the gods turn old and gray

Idunn

51

Guard of Bifrost, the bridge from the mortal world (Midgard) to Asgard

  • Can see and hear for a thousand miles
  • Blows a horn called Gjallarhorn
  • Heimdallr and Loki will kill one another at Ragnarok

Heimdallr

52

Female deities who escort dead heroes to Valhalla

  • Ride winged horses and wear armor
  • Their travels through the sky were thought to cause Aurora Borealis
  • When the warriors in Valhalla are not busy preparing for Ragnarok, the valkyries serve them ale and mead

The valkyries

53

God of innocence, joy, purity

  • Son of Odin and Frigg
  • Extremely popular among the other gods
  • His death was brought about by the jealous Loki and mourned by all the gods

Baldr

54

God of war, justice, and heroic victory

  • May have originally been the chief god of the pantheon
  • His right hand was bitten off by Fenrir

Tyr

55

A modern religion that revives Norse mythology

  • Also known as "Germanic Neopaganism"
  • One of several contemporary denominations of neopaganism

Asatru