Viking Mythology

Eighteenth Century Depiction of Viking God Loki
Viking God Loki
Viking mythology is a fascinating topic. On this page we supply information on who the Norse gods were, where they lived, and how they were defeated.

Viking Worlds

In Viking mythology there were several worlds. These included Midgard, Utgard, Hel, and Asgard. All these worlds were held in the huge world tree called Yggdrasil. Midgard was located somewhere near the middle of Yggdrasil and was surrounded by an impassable ocean. A huge sea serpent named Jormungandr lived in this ocean. Utgard was a land of giants. There is a famous story of Thor making a journey to Utgard and of his encounters with giants. In Viking mythology Hel is both the Norse underworld and the name of the Viking goddess of the dead who oversees that world. According to Viking mythology the Hel world was cold, dark, and dismal. Those who were unfortunate enough to go there, such as criminals, led a dreary existence full of pain and hunger. Asgard was the home of the gods. To get there you would have to cross over a rainbow bridge called Bifrost. In Asgard there were many beautiful palaces (or halls) the most beautiful of which was Valhalla. The chief god Odin lived in Valhalla, every evening he would feast with heroes who were slain in battle. Every day these heroes would battle each other until they were cut to pieces. By the evening they would be fully recovered from their wounds.

Who Were the Viking Gods

In Norse mythology Odin was the chief god and the ruler of the universe. The Vikings depicted him bearded, tall, and as having one eye. He exchanged his other eye for wisdom. His father was the frost giant Bor and his mother was the giant Bestla. His brothers were Vili and Ve. Perhaps the most popular of the Viking gods was Odin's son Thor. He was the main war god and the personification of thunder. In Viking mythology he ranked only second in importance to Odin. His main weapon was a hammer (Mjolnir). After hurling it at enemies it would return to him. He also wore a belt that doubled his strength and iron gloves which helped him use his hammer effectively. The English weekday name Thursday was derived from Thor. Another one of the Viking gods was Freya (or Freyja). She was the goddess of beauty and love. In Viking myths she is portrayed as a blue-eyed, young, blonde beauty. She was sister to the god Frey and in later Viking tradition Odin's wife. There are many Viking myths of giants trying to abduct her. The English weekday name Friday was derived from her name. Freya's brother Frey was the god of peace, fertility, and prosperity. See our page on Norse Gods and Goddesses for more information on the Viking Gods.

How the Viking Gods Were Defeated

According to Norse mythology warning signs started to appear that the end of the world was approaching. The first sign was the death of Odin's son Balder; this was followed by another sign which was a long cold winter that lasted three years. All this would lead up to a final epic battle called Ragnarok. In this battle the Viking gods assisted by the heroic Viking dead would be defeated by the frost giants led by the god Loki on the plains called Vigrid. Many of the famous Viking gods would be killed. This battle would mark the beginning of a new world.