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Flashcards in Norse Mythology Deck (55)
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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
Name the Norse term:

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
Name the Norse term:

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