Norse Mythology (Myths and Legends of the World)
Norse mythology comes from the northernmost part of Europe, Scandinavia: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. The mythology of this region is grim, shadowed by long, sunless winters. But the darkness is laced with gleams of grandeur and sparks of humor. The myths depict a universe in which gods and giants battle among themselves in a cosmiclarge or universal in scale; having to do with the universe conflict fated to end in the destruction of the world.
Background and Sources
Norse mythology developed from the myths and legends of northern peoples who spoke Germanic languages. It shares many features with the mythology of pre-Christian Germanic groups. When some of these groups spread into England and Scandinavia, they carried their myths with them. As they converted to Christianity, their traditional beliefs faded. But Christianity did not take hold in Scandinavia until a later date, and the Norse version of Germanic mythology remained vigorous through the Viking era, from about A.D. 750 to 1050. Modern knowledge of Norse mythology stems from medievalrelating to the Middle Ages in Europe, a period from about A.D. 500 to 1500 texts, most of them written in Iceland. Descendants of Norse colonists in that country maintained a strong interest in their...
(The entire section is 2531 words.)
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