Viking Myths: Stories of the Norse Gods and Goddesses - Thor Ewing
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Viking Knot

Viking Myths

DID THE VIKINGS BELIEVE THEIR MYTHS?

One of the first questions we ask about a story is, ‘Is it true?’ Obviously the Viking myths aren’t true in any normal sense. They didn’t really happen. But did the Vikings think they were true?

Lots of people think they did, and that myths were an kind of early science. So, they would say, the Viking myths explain earthquakes as Loki’s struggles underground, and they explain why fish taper towards the tail because Thor squeezed here. But some of these explanations seem to be too silly for anyone ever to have believed, as if the mythmakers were being deliberately absurd.

Some of the myths are clearly meant to be funny. The Viking myths are stories about the gods, and it looks as if the Vikings were more interested in a good story than in whether they were really true.

Many Viking gods and goddesses represent things which we know are real but are outside the realm of day-to-day objects. Odin is madness and inspiration - things which take over the mind. Thor is thunder. Freya is love. Frey is growth and prosperity. By making up myths about their gods, the Vikings were able to think about how the world really is.

So although they might not be true, Viking myths might still have something important to tell us, just not in the way that science or history does.

You can read all the Norse myths in Viking Myths: Stories of the Norse Gods and Goddesses

Viking Myths: Stories of the Norse Gods and Goddesses 
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