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Odin: The Raven God


Who is Odin?



Odin, the All-Father

Odin (Old Norse: Óðinn) is the main god in Norse mythology, while also existing in Germanic mythology as Woden (in Old English), Wodan (in Old Franconian), and Wutan or Wuotan (in Old High German). Described as an immensely wise, one-eyed old man, Odin has by far the most varied characteristics of any of the gods and is not only the man to call upon when war was being prepared but is also the god of poetry, of the dead, of runes, and of magic. Part of the Æsir family of the gods, he helped create the world, resides in Asgard (the stronghold and home of the gods), and gathers slain warriors around him in Valhalla ('hall of the slain'), but is eventually crunched to death by the wolf Fenrir in the Ragnarök, the 'final destiny of the gods' in which the world is destroyed.

Odin is an old, original character in Norse mythology although, as Jens Peter Schjødt points out, many scholars think that his elevated position at the top of the godly hierarchy may be a later addition. Odin’s role of ‘Allfather’ or father of the gods is more of a literary theme from later sources - seemingly influenced by Christian names for God - than an actual reflection of his status in Viking Age societies. Skaldic poetry (Viking Age, pre-Christian poetry mainly heard at courts by kings and their retinues), for instance, names Baldr, Thor, and Vali as Odin’s sons, whereas later on the 13th-century CE Icelandic author Snorri Sturluson also adds Heimdall, Týr, Bragi, Vidarr, and Hodr to the list. Continue reading from World History Encyclopedia

Read, Watch, or Listen for Entertainment and more about Norse Mythology

Link to Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman in the catalog
Link to D'Aulaires' book of Norse myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D'aulaire in the catalog
Link to The Norse Myths by Tom Birkett in the catalog
Link to Thor [DVD] in the catalog
Link to The Norse myths : a guide to the gods and heroes by Carolyne Larrington in the catalog
Link to The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec in the catalog
Link to The Prose Edda - Tales From Norse Mythology by Snorri Sturluson in Hoopla

Link to Norse Mythology Resource Guide