German (Nordic) Mythology

German literature: Norse mythology Medieval painting depicting the death of Balder, one of the Aesir

Like all mythology Teutonic and Norse myths try to explain the beginning ('Ginnungagap') and the end ('Ragnarok' - the twilight of Gods) of the world. In between it has its fair share of fighting, betrayal and romance.

Main figures are Gods called 'Aesir' ('Odin', 'Baldur', 'Loki', 'Thor', etc. living in 'Asgard'), 'Vanir' (another set of Gods), giants, humans (living in 'Midgard'), elves and dwarfs and some fable beings, like dragons, 'Midgard' serpent or 'Fenrir' wolf.

Obviously, heroes have their own graveyard called 'Valhalla' with a special escort service of 'Valkyries'. 'Hel' denotes the Goddess of the underworld and underworld itself, an ambivalent dwelling at best.

The whole of the earth is interconnected by 'Yggdrasil', the tree of life guarded by a trinity of wise women, the sisters of fate called 'Norns'.

Compared to its Greek and Roman counterparts, Nordic mythology is relatively little known. Its reverberations are still strong though, it served as inspiration for later German mythology like the Nibelung saga and even for J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Ring".

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