Fact 1: The Vikings worshipped lots of different gods
Norse mythology was full of lots of different gods and goddesses. Every god had their own personality, story, job and special power, and the Vikings would often argue over which one was their favourite!
The chief god was Odin, and he was known as the father of all the gods. Odin would spend his time sitting on a special throne that allowed him to watch over the entire world! Odin is often shown in pictures with one eye. One myth tells the story of him trading his eye for wisdom.
One of the most popular Viking gods was Odin’s son Thor. Thor was an important god of war and Vikings loved to worship him. Thor was often associated with thunder, and pictured with his famous hammer that would return to him like a boomerang when he threw it!
Frey was another popular god amongst Vikings, and he was the god of peace, prosperity and fertility. He also had a sister called Freya who was a famous goddess of love and beauty.
Loki was the god of mischief and mayhem, and many Viking myths would tell stories of him playing pranks on the other gods!
Many of our weekdays today are named after the Norse gods, showing their lasting importance in our lives. Wednesday comes from “Wodensdaeg”, as Woden was another name for Odin, and Thursday is Thor’s day!
Fact 2: The Vikings believed in monsters!
Not only was Norse mythology full of stories about gods and goddesses, these stories often involved monsters and magical creatures too!
Some of the magical creatures and monsters that Vikings believed in were:
Lots of myths tell the stories of gods getting into situations with different magical creatures. Such as Freya who once found dwarves making the most beautiful necklace she had ever seen.
The Vikings actually believed that these creatures lived amongst us humans, but they were invisible which is why we can’t see them!
Fact 3: There were lots of different worlds
Norse mythology said that there were lots of different worlds all part of a huge tree called Yggdrasil.
One of these worlds was called Midgard or Middle Earth, which is where the humans lived. Midgard was in the middle of the tree of Yggdrasil. Not only did humans live in Midgard, there were also invisible giants, elves, dwarves, goblins and monsters!
The gods lived in another world called Asgard. Most Vikings believed that Asgard was a kingdom in the sky, and the gods lived there in beautiful palaces made of gold and silver. The biggest of these palaces was Valhalla, which was owned by Odin. Valhalla was thought to be a Viking heaven for brave soldiers who died in battle.
In Norse myth, the human world of Midgard and the god’s world of Asgard were connected by a rainbow bridge that was guarded by the god Heimdall.
Another world was called Utgard, which was the land of the giants. Lots of myths tell the story of gods visiting Utgard and having adventures amongst the giants.
Vikings also believed that there was an underworld called Hel. Hel was a cold and dark place where criminals were sent after they died.
Fact 4: The Vikings had a special alphabet called runes
Another important part of Norse mythology and Viking beliefs were runes.
Runes were a special alphabet that the Vikings believed had magical powers. They would often carve these runes into their swords and shields, believing that they gave them more strength, power and luck in battle!
Vikings would often carry around good-luck talismans or lucky charms, as they believed that they would protect them from death, help them win battles and keep monsters away.
Fact 5: The Viking gods were eventually defeated
Norse mythology also tells the story of how the Viking gods were eventually defeated, and a new world started without them.
The gods had noticed lots of signs that the end of the world was coming. The first sign was the death of Odin’s son Balder, and another was a cold winter that lasted for three years!
The gods were defeated in an epic battle at the end of the world that was called “Ragnarok”. Odin had been preparing for Ragnarok by building his own army with the soldiers at Valhalla. They battled against the frost giants and many of the Viking gods were killed, including Odin.
Norse mythology says that this marked the beginning of a new world.