What can the Poetic and Prose Eddas, the Icelandic sagas, and skaldic poetry tell us about the most important god in the Norse pantheon, Odin? Tonight, I devote an entire episode to Odin’s many masks: as poet and shaman, as god of death and war, and as the perfect embodiment of the world as the Norse knew it, filled with brutality and betrayal. The episode is divided into three sections:
- (about 5:37) On Odin and poetry; a reading of the most famous stanzas from the Havamal, and the story of Odin’s theft of the Mead of Poetry
- (about 58:07) On Odin and warfare, death
- (about 1:22:06) What archeology and classical and medieval historian can tell us about Odin
The nonfiction books I rely on for most of this episode are E. O. G. Turville-Petre’s Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia, Rudolf Simek’s Dictionary of Northern Mythology, and John Lindow’s Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals & Beliefs. The translations I read from are: Andy Orchard’s translation of the Poetic Edda; Anthony Faulkes’s and Jesse Byock’s translations of the Prose Edda; Lee M. Hollander’s translation of the Heimskringla.
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