Vikings!

Norse mythology is really neat, and feels somehow familiar. The stories might be new, but the words are subtly embedded in our language; our days of the week are named after Norse gods. We have been able to see some neat viking burial grounds in Sweden and and museum displays in Denmark, and Norway also does their part of displaying the culture through public art.

These wood carvings are part of a series of 12 or so that hang on the outside of the Oslo city hall. They depict all sorts of myths, about the tree of life, the gods, and how Atkins diet is good for you (just kidding, that last myth doesn’t have any art associated with it.)

A wood carving of Odin on his 8-legged horse with his two ravens, Hugin and Mugin flying overhead.
This is Thor (see his hammer?) riding across the sky. I thought all the Einarsons might like the goats pulling the cart. Good goats!

We also saw some bronze castings in Bergen. We also noticed in both cities that lots of the building facades have little curlicues or figureheads or carvings over the doors depicting various scenes… although we couldn’t distinguish all of them.

This bronze casting stands by a fountain along a pedestrian street in Bergen
Another bronze statue in Bergen. Better helmet, but somehow less imposing in posture.

This post is especially for our friend Leif who is just now completing his thesis on Viking poetry and stories (especially the ones about smiths and iron workers) .  Way to go Leif, we love hearing about your work!

2 Comments

  1. Thanks guys! I just finished revising an 80-page (single-spaced) draft of a chapter… so I appreciate the support and interest! Also can’t wait until it’s DONE!

    I love Norse mythology – very interesting and entertaining, as well as bewildering. Did you know that Thor’s two goats can regenerate?!?! Seriously – he can cook their meat, eat it, and then so long as the bones are undamaged they are alive and well the next morning! Those are some cool goats…

    But one night Thor was staying as a guest at a farmer’s house, and at dinner the farmer’s son (named Thjalfi) broke open a goat’s thigh-bone to eat some of the marrow. The goat was limping the next day… and the goat could not pull Thor’s chariot… and Thjalfi was in trouble with Thor, so he and his sister had to join Thor from then on as his helpers… Thjalfi is apparently a remarkably fast runner. I think that’s how the story goes…

  2. Thjalfi was then renamed Hugin, and his sister was thereafter called Mugin, but that made her cranky, because she thought they were calling her a muggle, and if she had to replace the goat pulling the chariot because of her brother’s dumbass move, she was NOT going to be confused for a Harry Potter character.

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