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Norse Mythology

It would be difficult to overestimate the influence of Norse mythology and religion in ancient Britain, both in terms of the early Anglo-Saxon and Danish settlements, and the centuries-long occupation by the Vikings of much of Ireland and Scotland. British heritage is an intimate intertwining of Scandinavian and Celtic roots.

The two primary written sources for Norse mythology are the Prose (Younger) Edda and the Poetic (Elder) Edda, written in Iceland in the 13th century. The word Edda means "grandmother." Makes you wonder who told and passed on the oral traditions?

We are highly indebted to the Icelanders for their perservation of the ancient Norse myths and legends. They were an invaluable repository for Viking culture, telling the great stories of Norse gods and goddesses, warriors and poets.

Buy Books about Norse Mythology
Norse Myths
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Norse Myths
edited by Kevin Crossley-Holland


Crossley-Holland engagingly retells 32 Norse myths, as well as providing an overview of Norse cosmology and the Norse pantheon, including an extensive bibliography and glossary. A great value and a terrific place to start in learning about Norse mythology.
Nordic Gods and Heroes
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Nordic Gods and Heroes
by Padraic Colum


One of Dover's value-packed editions. Padraic Colum covers Norse mythology from creation to the Twilight of the Gods. Wonderful stories, very accessible and well-written. Just the stories themselves for a fun read - no explanatory material.
Edda
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Edda (Everyman Paperback Classics)
by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Anthony Faulkes


This is a complete translation of the entire Prose (Younger) Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson around 1220 AD. Part of the book is about writing poetry, but mostly it "provides the most complete catalog in existence of the mythology of pagan Scandinavia." One of the primary sources for our knowledge of Norse mythology.
The Poetic Edda
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The Poetic Edda
translated and edited by Lee Milton Hollander


Hollander's translation uses slightly archaic and formal language to convey the majesty and grandeur of the original Icelandic poetry, yet remains one of the best translations available. Originally compiled in the 13th century, the poems in the Poetic (Elder) Edda were composed from the 9th to the 11th centuries.
Heimskringla
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Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway
by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Lee M. Hollander


Sturluson chronicles the exciting (and sometimes blood-curdling) history of the Norse kings from Odin (the time of the Roman Empire) on down through the middle ages. Fascinating mythology and history combined covering a dozen centuries of Norse conquest and politics. A fine, readable translation.
Myths of the Norsemen
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Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas
by Helene A. Guerber


Guerber explains the Norse myths and pantheon, their origins and symbols, and commonalities with Greek mythology, along with information on Norse customs and religious traditions. A terrific resource for anyone interested in northern European mythology and folklore.
Norse Mythology
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Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs
by John Lindow


Norse Mythology explores the magical myths and legends of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Viking-Age Greenland--outlining along the way the prehistoric tales and beliefs from these regions that have remained embedded in the imagination of the world.

The book begins with an Introduction that helps put Scandinavian mythology in place in history, followed by a chapter that explains the meaning of mythic time, and a third section that presents in-depth explanations of each mythological term. These fascinating entries identify particular deities and giants, as well as the places where they dwell and the varied and wily means by which they forge their existence and battle one another. We meet Thor, one of the most powerful gods, who specializes in killing giants using a hammer made for him by dwarfs, not to mention myriad trolls, ogres, humans and strange animals. We learn of the ongoing struggle between the gods, who create the cosmos, and the jotnar, or giants, who aim to destroy it." book description.
Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
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Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson


Written 40 years ago, this is still a standard and useful work on the folklore and religion of the early Germanic and Scandinavian peoples, drawing on Byzantine and Roman sources and, of course, on Sturluson.
Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe
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Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions
by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson


Davidson compares and contrasts the pre-Christian religions of northern Europe - extremely well-researched and well-presented. Our own culture is (predominantly) an amalgam of the Celtic and Norse mythology, incorporated with the Christian. To understand ourselves, we begin by attempting to understand our ancestors. Fantastic resource.
Roles of the Northern Goddess
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Roles of the Northern Goddess
by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson


Here Davidson explores the roles of the various Northern (Celtic and Norse) goddesses, not just those in the main pantheon, but local goddesses of hearth and home. She also makes some comparisons with other Indo-european goddesses.
Edda - An Icelandic Saga
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Edda - An Icelandic Saga - Myths From Medieval Iceland
by Cologne Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music - CD


From Amazon's reviewer: "Sequentia here performs a miracle of musical restoration, bringing to vibrant life medieval Icelandic texts about gods and heroes inhabiting a mythic past... The songs and recitations are interwoven with captivating fiddle tunes, and the singers wrench surprising emotions from the old texts... An extraordinary disc that shouldn't be missed." --Dan Davis