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Myths of the Pagan North : The Gods of the Norsemen - Christopher Abram

Myths of the Pagan North

The Gods of the Norsemen

Hardcover Published: 1st February 2011
ISBN: 9781847252470
Number Of Pages: 272

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Medieval Scandinavia produced one of the world's most famous and best-loved my thologies. The deeds of the Norse gods were told and retold in a body of poems and stories that provides us with a unique insight into the pagan culture of northern Europe, and which fascinates readers to this day. Myths of the Pagan North is a history of these tales from their origins in the early Viking Age through to the thirteenth century that shows how, where and, above all, why these myths were preserved in the Middle Ages, both before and after the conversion of Scandinavia to Christianity.

Starting with their origins in the common Germanic pagan heritage, Christopher Abram explores how the Norse myths have altered over time, tracing the rise of the cult of Odin in the royal court of Norway, the effect of religious conflict between pagans and Christians on the development of myth, and the remarkable renaissance in traditional mythology in Iceland two centuries after its conversion.

The long history of Norse mythology in the Middle Ages confirms that myths are eternal and ever-changing at the same time; Myths of the Pagan North shows how the history of myth-making in Scandinavia illuminates our knowledge of both the Norse gods and the people who worshipped them.

'Undoubtedly a learned, informative and enjoyable account of the Norse myths that presents a new model for future discussion.' --Sanford Lakoff
'The most innovative aspect of Abram's account is the emphasis he places on skaldic verse, particularly in his chapters dealing with the Viking Age and the conversion period. Though it would be easy to dismiss this poetry as no more ancient than the high medieval sources in which it is preserved, Abram takes the more challenging line that some of it is indeed originally from the pagan period and very successfully teases all kinds of new insights from it. He does this by paying much closer attention to the contexts and detail of this poetry than previous commentators... this is undoubtedly a learned, informative and enjoyable account of the Norse myths that presents a new model for future discussion.' --Sanford Lakoff

About this bookp. vii
A Guide to Pronouncing Old Norsep. xi
List of Illustrationsp. xiii
The Sources of Norse Mythologyp. 1
Archaeological Evidencep. 2
Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stonesp. 8
Written Sourcesp. 10
Conclusionp. 30
Case Study: Thor and the Miðgarðsormrp. 31
The Gods on the Ground: Religious Culture as a Background to Pagan Mythp. 51
The Germanic Contextp. 53
The Gods of the Norsemenp. 59
Identifying the Norse Gods in the Archaeological Recordp. 65
Ritual: The Gods in Practicep. 69
Conclusionp. 79
Myths in the Viking Age: Norway, Iceland and Beyond, c. 850-950p. 81
The Mythic Father of Old Norse Poetryp. 81
Myths Fit for a Kingp. 86
The Fashion for Valhallap. 96
Egill's Sonatorrekp. 108
Conclusionp. 119
The Twilight of the Gods: The Age of Religious Conflict in Norway, c. 950-1000p. 123
Earl Hákon and State Paganismp. 127
Sex and Sacral Kingshipp. 134
The Creation of Mythic Narrativesp. 142
The End of the Pagan World?p. 157
Conclusionp. 168
Pagan Myths under Conversion: Norway and Iceland, c. 980-1000p. 171
The Christian King and his Pagan Poetp. 173
The Conversion of Icelandp. 181
Conclusionp. 190
The Rebirth of Norse Mythology: Denmark and Iceland, c. 1150-1350p. 193
Myth and History in Saxo and Snorrip. 199
The Authorized Version: Snorri Sturluson's Eddap. 207
The Creation of the Poetic Eddap. 222
Conclusion: And What Came Next?p. 230
Notesp. 233
Bibliographyp. 241
Indexp. 255
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781847252470
ISBN-10: 1847252478
Audience: BAC
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 1st February 2011
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.3 x 16.2  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.57
Edition Number: 1