Format Type: PDF, Mobi
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*Includes pictures of important places and historic illustrations and art depicting Odin and other important Norse figures. *Explains the historical origins of the god, the mythological tales about him, and the religious evolution of Odin. *Includes a Bibliography for further reading. A one-eyed old man, with a gray cloak and a wide-brimmed hat leaning on a staff. A wanderer who appears when least expected, bringing triumph or doom. The god of prophecy, poetry and fate. A shapechanger. A sorcerer. The god Odin cuts a dramatic figure in Norse mythology and is still a part of the popular imagination. He is the inspiration for figures like J.R.R. Tolkien's Gandalf the Grey, and he still appears in modern literature as varied as Marvel Comics and Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods (2001). Alongside his son Thor, Odin is one of the best known Norse gods, and it's often easy to forget that he was once at the heart of a pantheon devoutly worshiped by millions of Europeans in the Middle Ages. Odin has numerous names and titles (over 200 by one account), but his best known title is "The All-Father," the co-creator of Earth ("Midgard"), humanity and all of the creatures that inhabitant this world. He is also, importantly, the god of prophecy, ecstasy, and poetry, all roles that were closely connected in the Norse world. Odin was a god of life and death as well, and was famous for taking the souls of warriors who died in combat back to his realm of Valhalla. This role was tied to his position as a god of war, a position that does not perhaps seem obvious to a modern reader for a god of knowledge and wisdom. However, Odin was the king of the gods and the master of Asgard; therefore, in the Norse understanding, one of his crucial tasks was the defense of that realm through military might if necessary. His living followers would call upon him in battle, and he was said to have taken champions and even led human armies to triumph. It is useful to compare Odin to two other prominent deities: Thor and Zeus. Thor, Odin's son, was a fellow Norse war god, and Zeus was a fellow king god. Yet in both cases, Odin differs greatly from these gods. He was more enigmatic, and his power is more indirect and subtle. Odin was a god of mysteries, of discovering hidden knowledge, and while he was mighty in battle, the stories where he shines are those where takes unassuming forms and gets others to divulge information that might not otherwise give. This differs from the other two gods' temperamental natures and their pride. Odin was always a god that plotted many steps ahead, was willing to make extreme short-term sacrifices to further his plans, and continuously worked to bend the nature of his fate. This book explores the figure of Odin, including his origins, the stories told about him, the way he was worshiped and what fragments and memories of him have survived into the modern era. Along with pictures and a bibliography, you will learn about Odin like you never have before, in no time at all.