Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Odin

Odin (ˈoʊdɨn/; from Old Norse Óðinn) is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz". "Odin" is generally accepted as the modern English form of the name, although, in some cases, older forms may be used or preferred. In the compound Wednesday, the first member is cognate to the genitive Odin's. His name is related to ōðr, meaning "fury, excitation," besides "mind," or "poetry." His role, like that of many of the Norse gods, is complex. Odin is a principal member of the Æsir (the major group of the Norse pantheon) and is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. Odin has many sons, the most famous of whom is Thor.

Odin was referred to by more than 200 names which hint at his various roles. Among others, he was known as Yggr (terror), Sigfodr (father of Victory) and Alfodr (All Father) in the skaldic and Eddic traditions of heiti and kennings, a poetic method of indirect reference, as in a riddle.

Some epithets establish Odin as a father god: Alföðr "all-father," "father of all;" Aldaföðr "father of men (or of the age);" Herjaföðr "father of hosts;" Sigföðr "father of victory;" Valföðr "father of the slain."

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