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Norse gods and myths

A 19th-century painting of the great hall ValhallaA 19th-century painting of the great hall Valhalla The Vikings worshipped many gods and goddesses. The stories they told about gods, giants and monsters are known today as Norse myths. According to these myths, people lived in Middle Earth, together with giants and dwarfs. The gods lived in the sky, which was linked to Middle Earth by a rainbow bridge. Vikings believed that a warrior killed in battle went to Valhalla, a great hall where dead heroes feasted. Odin, the chief god, sent his warrior-maidens, the Valkyries, to bring warriors who had fallen in battle to Valhalla.

Odin, chief of the godsOdin, chief of the gods


Much of what we know about Viking gods and goddesses comes from the Eddas, a collection of folk tales. Many of them were written in the 13th century by an Icelandic chieftain, but the stories, known as sagas, were first told centuries earlier. 

The most powerful god was Odin, the god of warfare, justice and wisdom. He was married to Frigg and had several sons, including Thor and Baldr. As he sat on his throne, news was brought to him by his ravens, Huginn and Muninn.

Skadi was the goddess of skiing, as well as winter, mountains and hunting with a bow. One theory is that we get the word Scandinavia from her name.

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