Who Was The Norse God OdinThe Viking god Odin was the main god of the ancient Scandinavian Norse people. He is referred to as all father (Alfadir) because he was considered the father of the gods. Odin is also referred to as Wotan (Old German) or Woden (Anglo-Saxon). He was the wisest of the Norse gods and was known for seeking knowledge. On this page we provide information on who this medieval god was, where he lived, and how he died.
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List of Facts about Odin
- Wednesday is named after him (Wodensdaeg).
- He is usually pictured wearing a winged helmet or a floppy hat. His one eye blazed like the sun.
- Odin was the ferryman (psychopomp) who lead souls from the land of the living to the land of the dead.
- He would often disguise himself in order to travel incognito among humans. His true identity could be uncovered by the fact that he had only one eye and would never eat.
- Odin was known to interfere in the affairs of humans for the purpose of stirring up violence and war. He did this to increase the number of dead Norse warriors who he would use in the final epic battle of the gods called Ragnarok. The Vikings admired their chief god's love of battle.
- Many scholars believe that Odin was not regarded as the chief god in pre-Viking and perhaps in the early Viking age. This is supported by the fact that in one early Norse saga he is actually thrown out of Asgard by other gods. It is not likely that the chief god would be thrown out.
- The most famous of Odin's children was the Viking God Thor. Thor's popularity among the ancient Scandinavian people surpassed even that of his fathers. Vikings would often pray to Thor before praying to Odin.
- Besides Thor only two other gods, Baldur and Vali, are identified as sons of Odin in ancient Norse literature.
- Odin owned 2 ravens, Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory). The ravens sat on his shoulders. Every day they flew to all corners of the world seeking news. When the birds returned to Odin they would whisper in his ears all that they had seen and heard.
- Odin had an eight footed horse named Sleipnir.
- He owned two wolves named Freki and Geri. Odin gave all his food to his wolves because he only consumed wine.
- Odin owned a spear named Gungnir which never missed its target.
- Odin was killed at Ragnarok which was a great final epic battle where the Viking gods were defeated by the frost giants. He was swallowed alive by the wolf Fenrir.
How the Norse God Odin Obtained Knowledge and WisdomTo gain supreme knowledge Odin sacrifices an eye for a drink from the well of a giant named Mimr. Later on when Mimir is killed Odin takes his severed head and magically keeps it alive. The head tells Odin many secrets and Odin consults it when emergencies occur.
In order to gain knowledge of the Runes Odin hung himself from the world tree Yggdrasil with his own spear for nine nights. Ever since then he never eats and only drinks wine.