Germanic Mythology

Like the Greeks and Romans, the Germanic tribes were polytheistic, which means that they worshipped many gods. The Germanic Mythology did not emphasize in its gods the beauty and proportion of the Greek and Roman deities, but they were as powerful and strong. Next is the list of the most important gods that lived in the Asgard, the gods’s dwelling.

 Odin: Odin is the supreme deity and eldest of all the gods in the Nordic pantheon. He is leader he is father of all the gods. Those warriors who honorably die in battle become his adopted sons. Their souls are led by him into the hall of the slain in Valhalla. Odin is often dipicted as a wise old man and a wanderer. he also is keeper of magical treasures which provide him with aid in battle. Odin possesses a magical spear called Gungnir. When it is wielded in combat it never ceases to slay the enemy. This mighty weapon was given to Odin as a gift from the trickster god Loki, as part of his plan to stir up warfare. Odin also has two ravens that serve him as messengers and extend his vision. Their names are Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory). These birds sit upon Odin’s shoulders. They fly into the battlefield in search of information and return to Odin to whisper it in his ears. These birds serve an important function, because they report on warriors that fall in combat and are suitable to live in Valhalla and feast until the coming of Ragnarok.

Thor: Thor is the Germanic god of thunder and lightning. He is the strongest among the gods in Asgard. His status in the Nordic pantheon precedes that of Odin, his father. Thor rules over the region called Prudvangar, "the Paddock of Power", where his lightning castle Bilskirnir is situated. Thor has the power to conjure storms, and control the wind and rain. He is a mighty god with an immense appetite. He has fiery red hair, a huge red beard, and a hot temper. Thor owns three powerful treasures. The first is his most cherished, his hammer Mjollnir. With it, he became the defender of Asgard, for he protects this realm from such enemies as giants, trolls, and the Midgard serpent. Mjollnir is also known as the thunderbolt. When this hammer is thrown at the enemy, it returns to Thor’s hands like a boomerang. Thor grasps the shaft of this hammer with his second most powerful aid, his iron-clad gloves. His third treasure is a strength-increasing belt. He is able to replenish his divine strength by wearing this magical girdle.

Tyr: Tyr, also known as Tiwaz, is the Nordic god of war. He is remembered as the patron who established law and order in the community. Warriors worship Tyr for he is said to grant victory and protection in times of battle. Tyr is the boldest and most courageous of the gods. In Asgard he rules over the sky guarding the heavens from the much despised Fenrir wolf. He will fight against the hound of Hel, Garm, during the last battle of Ragnarok.

Loki: Loki is the mischief-maker among the Nordic gods. He is also known as the trickster god or father-of-lies. Although Loki lives in the realm of Asgard, he is the son of a giant and full of guile. Loki is a shape-shifter, and his form is always changing so that he can perform his mischief. It is thought that Loki was androgynous for he is able to conceive children, animals, and supernatural creatures. He had three offspring by a giantess named Angrboda: the wolf Fenrir, the Midgard serpent Jormungand, and Hel, who reigns over the realm of the dead. Loki will break away from his fetters at Ragnarok to fight against his life long enemy Heimdall. They will kill one another as Loki’s vision of the destruction of the universe is realized.

Heimdall: Heimdall was known as the watchman of the gods and guardian of Bifrost. He lived in a palace called Himinbjorg. He was refered to as the bright god or the light. Heimdall was bestowed with a heightened sense of awarness in both sight and hearing. It is said that his sense of hearing was so keen that he could hear blades of grass sprouting from the earth and hear the wool of sheep growing.

Freyja: Freyja is the most beautiful goddess in Asgard. Freyja is a fertility goddess, offering prosperity to the community as well as in marriage. Freyja has a reputation as a flirt. She enjoys love poetry and uses her love lore on many gods and creatures of the underworld. The trickster god Loki has accused her of having an incestuous relationship with her brother Frey. The Valkyries are closely related to the cult of Freyja because she is considered the bride of all fallen heroes, as well as the bride of the early kings.

Frey: Frey is a fertility god. He has control over rain and sunshine; therefore, he is bound to the fertility of the land and its bounty. Frey has been called the "Lord of the Harvest" . Those who invoke him during worship ask for a successful crop season and peace. Frey is the son of Njord, god of the sea, and his sibling is the enigmatic goddess Freyja.

Frigg: Frigg is the mother goddess in Nordic mythology and is the central deity in Asgard. She is the wife of Odin, thus acquiring the title Queen of the Heavens. Frigg is the mother of the fair and beautiful god Baldr, whom she tried to protect from harm. Frigg fell victim to Loki’s treachery when he disguised himself as a woman to ask Frigg what the secret to Baldr’s death was. Frigg is revered as "the weeping goddess" since she suffered, the loss of her son Baldr. The goddess Frigg grants aid and relief to women in labour.

Baldr: Baldr is the second son of Odin and Frigg. He was admired for his fair and radiant beauty. Baldr was the wisest and noblest among all the gods in Asgard. He lived in a region in heaven called Breidablik where no evil could reach him. Nothing but good could be said about this merciful god. The Aesir and Vanir worried greatly when Baldr had nightmares that could not be explained. Odin travelled to the land of the dead to consult the seeress about his dreams. Baldr was innocently killed by his brother Hod, the blind god, when Loki persuaded him to fling a shaft of this deadly shrub. It pierced Baldr like a spear, and Baldr was sent to the the realm of Hel.

Eir: The goddess Eir, of the Aesir, possessed superior knowledge of the art of medicine. As a physician, Eir collected samples of medicinal plants and herbs that were known to cure ailments, diseases, and wounds. She was said to teach her healing lore to women, who were at the time the common practitioners of this art in the northern regions.

Hermod: Hermod was Odin’s son and a god of the Aesir race. He ventured on a voyage to Hel, the land of the dead, on Odin’s gray steed, Sleipnir. His objective was to bargain for the life of Baldr. This odyssey in darkness took nine nights whereupon he crossed the river Gjoll, where only dead men walk. He also crossed the echoing bridge, Gjallarbru, made of ice and laced with gold. Hermod eventually returned to the Aesir with Hel’s proposition. Hermod perished in the last battle of Ragnarok. There is no information describing his participation against the inevitable.

Vidar: Vidar was best known as "the Silent God". He is the son of Odin and the giantess, Grid. Vidar was very independent, for he enjoyed his freedom by living in complete solitude. His palace was known as Idavoll. It was located in the depths of a dense forest in Asgard. This place was much like an enchanted garden of abundant flowers, rich greenery and great pillars of trees. There Vidar lived alone. At Ragnarok, Vidar tried to save his father Odin’s life. His strength was almost as great as Thor’s. Vidar is destined to survive the world’s destruction and inherit and reign in the new world after the fires of Ragnarok have died out. 

Greek Mythology

The ancient Greek people were polytheist, which means that they believed in many gods (poly=many; theo=god). This set of beliefs, their gods and their stories are known today as Greek mythology. There were two groups of gods in Greek Mythology, the Titans, and the Olimpian Gods.

Titans

At the beginning the Titans controlled the earth as they were the elder gods who existed from times immemorial, and they were Cronus, Gaea, Uranus, Rhea, Oceanus, Tethys, Hyperion, Mnemosyne, Thea, Prometheus, Atlas, Iampetus, Crius, Phoebe, and Metis. The Titans preceded the Twelve Olympians, who, led by Zeus, eventually overthrew them in the War of the Titans. The Titans were then imprisoned in Tartarus, the deepest part of the underworld.

Cronus: Cronus was the ruling Titan who came to power by castrating his Father Uranus. His wife was Rhea. There offspring were the first of the Olympians. To insure his safety Cronus ate each of the children as they were born. This worked until Rhea, unhappy at the loss of her children, tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock, instead of Zeus. When he grew up Zeus would revolt against Cronus and the other Titans, defeat them, and banish them to Tartarus in the underworld. But Cronus managed to escape to Italy, where he ruled as Saturn.

Gaea: Gaea is the Earth goddess. She mated with her son Uranus to produce the remaining Titans. Gaea seems to have started as a neolithic earth-mother worshipped before the Indo-European invasion that eventually lead to the Hellinistic civilization.

Uranus: Uranus is the sky god and first ruler. He is the son of Gaea, who created him without help. He then became the husband of Gaea and together they had many offspring, including twelve of the Titans.

Rhea: Rhea was the wife of Cronus. Cronus made it a practice to swallow their children. To avoid this, Rhea tricked Cronus into swallowing a rock, saving her son Zeus.

Oceanus: Oceanus is the unending stream of water encircling the world. Together with his wife Tethys produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs.

Tethys: Tethys is the wife of Oceanus. Together they produced the rivers and the three thousand ocean nymphs.

Hyperion: Hyperion is the Titan of light, the father of the sun, the moon, and the dawn.

Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne was the Titan of memory and the mother of Muses.

Thea: The wife of her brother Hyperion, Thea gave birth to Helios, Eos, and Selene. She is the goddess from whom light emanates and considered especially beautiful.

Atlas: Atlas was the son of Iapetus. Unlike his brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus, Atlas fought with the other Titans supporting Cronus against Zeus. Due to Cronus’s advance age Atlas lead the Titan’s in battle. As a result he was singled out by Zeus for a special punishment and made to hold up the world on his back.

Prometheus: His name means "forethought" and he was able to foretell the future. He was the son of Iapetus. When Zeus revolted against Cronus Prometheus deserted the other Titans and fought on Zeus side.

Iapetus: Iapetus was the father of Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Atlas.
The Olympians

There were twelve Olympian Gods who ruled the earth after the Titans had been overthrown. They resided atop of Mount Olympus. They were Zeus, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hermes, Aphrodite, Artemis, and Hephaestus.

Zeus: Zeus was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. Zeus overthew his Father Cronus. He then drew lots with his brothers Poseidon and Hades. Zeus won the draw and became the supreme ruler of the gods. He is lord of the sky, the rain god. His weapon is a thunderbolt which he hurls at those who displease him.

Ares: Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera. God of war, frenzy, hatred, and bloodshed.

Athena: Athena is the Greek virgin goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. Athena is the daughter of Zeus. She sprang full grown in armour from his forehead, thus has no mother. She is fierce and brave in battle but, only wars to defend the state and home from outside enemies.

Apollo: Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto. His twin sister is Artemis. He is the god of music, playing a golden lyre. The Archer, far shooting with a silver bow. The god of healing who taught man medicine. The god of light. The god of truth, who can not speak a lie.

Hera: Hera is Zeus wife and sister. She was raised by the Titans Ocean and Tethys. She is the supreme goddess, goddess of marriage and childbirth and takes special care of married women.

Poseidon: God of the sea, protector of all waters. Poseidon is the brother of Zeus. After the overthow of their Father Cronus he drew lots with Zeus and Hades, another brother, for shares of the world. His prize was to become lord of the sea. He was widely worshiped by seamen.

Hermes: Hermes is the son of Zeus and Maia. He is Zeus messenger. He is the fastest of the gods. He wears winged sandals, a winged hat, and carries a magic wand. He is the god of commerce. He is the guide for the dead to go to the underworld.

Hades/Pluto: Hades is the brother of Zeus. After the overthow of their Father Cronus he drew lots with Zeus and Poseidon, another brother, for shares of the world. He had the worst draw and was made lord of the underworld, ruling over the dead.

Hestia: Hestia is Zeus sister. She is a virgin goddess. She does not have a distinct personality. She is the Goddess of the Hearth, the symbol of the house around which a new born child is carried before it is received into the family. Each city had a public hearth sacred to Hestia, where the fire was never allowed to go out. Of all the Olympians, she is the mildest, most upright and most charitable.

Aphrodite: Aphrodite is the goddess of love, desire and beauty. In addition to her natural gifts she has a magical girdle that compels anyone she wishes to desire her.

Artemis: She was goddess of chastity, virginity, the hunt, the moon, and the natural environment. Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and Leto. Her twin brother is Apollo.

Hephaestus: Hephaestus is the son of Zeus and Hera. Sometimes it is said that Hera alone produced him and that he has no father. He is the only god to be physically ugly. He is also lame. He is the patron god of both smiths and weavers. He is kind and peace loving. His wife is Aphrodite.