Similarities And Differences Between Greek And Norse Mythology Ragnarök | Scandinavian mythology

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Ragnarök | Scandinavian mythology

Ragnarök, (Old Norse: “Doom of the Gods”), in Scandinavian mythology, the end of the world of gods and men. The Ragnarök is fully described only in the Icelandic poem Völuspá (“Sibyl’s Prophecy”), probably of the late 10th century, and in the 13th-century Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson (d. 1241), which largely follows the Völuspá. According to those two sources, the Ragnarök will be preceded by cruel winters and moral chaos. Giants and demons approaching from all points of the compass will attack the gods, who will meet them and face death like heroes. The sun will be darkened, the stars will vanish, and the earth will sink into the sea. Afterward, the earth will rise again, the innocent Balder will return from the dead, and the hosts of the just will live in a hall roofed with gold.Disjointed allusions to the Ragnarök, found in many other sources, show that conceptions of it varied. According to one poem two human beings, Lif and Lifthrasir (“Life” and “Vitality”), will emerge from the world tree (which was not destroyed) and repeople the earth. The title of Richard Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung is a German equivalent of Ragnarök meaning “twilight of the gods.”

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similarities AND differences between GREEK and NORSE mythology

After reading both Greek and Norse mythology, it is clear that there are similarities but there are also glaring differences.

Zeus and Odin are a great comparison for some of the differences between Greek and Norse mythology. Both are leading “all father” gods. Zeus is a lot moodier and definitely more promiscuous. Zeus also likes to “puff out his chest” and assert his power a lot more than Odin. Odin is also arrogant in his own ways. For example when Odin is disguised as Harbard, a ferryman, (in The Lay of Harbard), he goes back and forth with his son Thor about his many accomplishments and why ‘Harbard’ is so much better than the hero Thor.

The timeline for Norse mythology ends While Greek Mythology doesn’t have a definite end. All throughout the Norse readings there were many references to Ragnarok– the final battle. And there isn’t much talk about what happened after Ragnarok since its seen as a sort of end. There is a grand battle in Greek mythology where Zeus and his brothers succeed in overthrowing his father but its shown as a beginning rather than an end. Zeus’ battle is towards the beginning of the Greek mythological world and is an extremely important part. Because without that battle, Zeus and his siblings wouldn’t have any power.

Both Greek and Norse mythology describe how the world came to be. The Norse creation story was a lot more gruesome since its described as the earth being made from a fallen giant. Every part of him was transformed to be a part of the earth and even the sky. His death caused a great flood of his blood where only two humans survive and the oceans were created. (The Creation). The concept of a great flood has been explored by many many religions including the Greeks. But with the greeks, the great flood was a punishment to Prometheus and his creations– man and woman.

The Greco-Roman pantheon and the Norse pantheon are extremely similar to one another with similar roles. From Thor to Jupiter to Odin to Hephaestus, the gods in the pantheons. The “trickster” archetype is common throughout both even though it has a more obvious presence in the Norse Pantheon. The honorable warrior and thunder lord archetypes are almost explicitly the same since honorable warriors were at the height of both societies. The main goddesses in both are also extremely similar in their status as queens and their sovereignty over love and intimacy.
Although the Greek and Norse mythologies have massive similarities, the differences of the arrangement of the gods and the fundamental character of the universe make them distinct and interesting
Both these mythologies present a similar figure as ruling over their respective worlds; Odin, King of Asgard, and Zeus, King of Olympus. Both these figures are the most powerful gods in their respective myths, which is the primary factor behind them being kings. However, if we look into the aspects of the world they resided over, there are no more similarities. Odin was a god associated deeply with healing, death, sorcery and battle while Zeus was the lord of the sky and lightning, and naturally had complete control over what transpired in the skies. The Norse equivalent to Zeus in terms of power would be Thor, son of Odin, who was the god of thunder and lightning. There is no one Greek equivalent in terms of the power Odin possesses, as there is a different god for each aspect; Apollo for medicine, Hades for Death, Hecate for sorcery, and Athena and Ares for battle. While there is a definite likeness in the roles Odin and Zeus play in the hierarchy of their respective worlds, they are profoundly different in what they represent.
The never ending cycle of day and night is something which has fascinated and perplexed humans for millennia, and the Norse and Greek were no different. Their explanations involved the sun and moon being chariots and being driven by charioteers, but the reasons for the riding of the chariots is quite different. The Greeks believed the sun was handled by the Titan Helios, who rode his chariot across the sky, bringing about the day, while another Titan Selene rode the moon chariot, bringing about night. Eventually, the Romans replaced Helios and Selene with the twins Apollo and Artemis respectively, and they also rode the chariots across the sky, which is why the Greek versions of Artemis and Apollo are associated with their respective celestial bodies. The Norse reasoning behind day and night is that there were two human children, Sol and Mani, who were cursed by the gods for the arrogance of their father; Sol was condemned to ride the sun chariot and Mani to the moon chariot. The primary enemies of the gods, the Jotun (Frost Giants), sent two powerful wolves Skol and Hati to devour the sun and the moon. It is the pursuit of the wolves and the fleeing of Sol and Mani which causes day and night, and the two of them will always evade capture – at least until Ragnorok, where the wolves will finally consume the two and end the world.

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