Fenrir bites off Tyr's hand. Illustration from a 17th century Icelandic manuscript.Tyr is the god of war and justice in Norse mythology, and the etymology of his name suggests that he once was at the top of the Germanic pantheon, although he had been replaced by Odin/Wodan relatively early.Fenrir is one of the children of … Continue reading Fenrir and Tyr
The Origin of the Elder Futhark
The origin of the Elder Futhark is still disputed. The Roman alphabet appears to be a significant inspiration but fails to explain all it's oddities. Perhaps the North Etruscan or Phoenician alphabets offer an alternative.
History through Poems: Examining Beowulf
A great article on a classic of Old English Literature by Kristyn J. Miller.
Epic poems have incredible staying power both as literary achievements and as historical resources. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is one of the foremost examples of this. Despite its mythological themes, the story offers historians a rare insight into Anglo-Saxon ideals of masculinity, heroism, and society. At the same time, it presents literary scholars with a wellspring of opportunities to analyze symbolism and metaphor, as well as a look at the progression of our literary language.
Within the literary sphere, modern Beowulf criticism finds its origins in J.R.R. Tolkien. In his 1936 lecture at Oxford University, later transcribed as an essay, Tolkien argued:
I have read enough, I think, to venture the opinion that Beowulfiana is, while rich in many departments, specially poor in one. It is poor in criticism, criticism that is directed to the understanding of a poem as a poem.
The essay goes on to reaffirm the value…
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Ragnarok and Reincarnation in Norse Mythology
Ragnarok describes the end of the world in Norse Mythology. Or does it really? Not only the world itself is reborn after its destruction, but one of the gods as well. Could this be an indication for reincarnation in Germanic myth or perhaps even evidence for a pan-Indo-European phenomenon of rebirth?