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Old May 3rd, 2009, 06:03 AM   #21

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Re: Odin a real person???


Ummm ... would it really make a difference if you could say for sure that Odin was (or was not) real??
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:08 PM   #22

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Re: Odin a real person???


May you not go to Valhalla for that, Avon ! All day brawling and all night getting pissed up, don't you like the idea?

A striking feature of Norse mythology was that it was the newest (i.e. most recent) religion in Europe, but had some very ancient roots. It also has parallels with Christianity, classical religions, and even Hindu beliefs.
A very important feature is that it is the only major religion that is well documented that does not promise an eternal afterlife, or, for most folk, an afterlife at all.

The character Odin (Anglo-Saxon: Woden, Germanic: Wotan) shares characteristics with several classical and Christian figures, and, indeed, several latter day Roman cults do this, too. The Roman cult of Mithras, for example, has Mithras born in a cave in midwinter, and who finally dies nailed to a tree. His name refers to "the light". Odin was also nailed to a tree, the Ydgrasil or World Tree, in order to gain knowledge which he passed on to man. The Norse poem, "the speech of the high one" has the line:

I know I hung on that windswept tree
for nine days
Myself a sacrifice to myself.

Significant are the two "myselves". This is akin to far eastern philosophies/ religions in that the physical self (Odin's body and right eye) are sacrificed for the sake of the "higher", spiritual self.

Plainly, the nailing to a tree echoes Christ's death, but it doesn't end there, because Odin also had a son called Baldur (sometime, Balder) who was good and kind but who was murdered in his youth by the Norse equivalent of Satan the trickster, Loki. Norse mythology has it that when the world is renewed, Baldur will live again. This little story is where we get our habit of kissing underneath mistletoe from, too.

There are many, many parallels between most common religions, and it is very likely that they are merely tweaked for local consumption versions of other, previous religions. Even according to Norse mythology, Odin was never a man, always a God and hence lived in Asgard, only venturing down to earth when it suited him, or he wanted to cause trouble. (Norsemen were not very reverential about their Gods, and saw most of them as trouble, or, at least, a blessing in disguise, rather like Homer stated that the Gods play games with men's lives and are ultimately indifferent).

Most Wessex kings claimed descent from Odin, but it is the nature of kings to claim divine rights or ancestry. As such, it's very doubtful that Odin ever existed.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:17 PM   #23

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Re: Odin a real person???


Excellent post.

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Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
May you not go to Valhalla for that, Avon ! All day brawling and all night getting pissed up, don't you like the idea?
Are you suggesting that Newcastle is a potential Valhalla??
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:21 PM   #24

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Re: Odin a real person???


Quote:
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Are you suggesting that Newcastle is a potential Valhalla??
No damnit, he's talking about the Festival (or, possibly, Glasgow).
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:28 PM   #25

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Re: Odin a real person???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chookie View Post
No damnit, he's talking about the Festival (or, possibly, Glasgow).
When was the last time you were at the Edinburgh Festival ? it's all fat tourists with their cameras, loud shirts and ugly wives. They drink latte and evian, pretend to appreciate the 'culture' and block the pavements with their big fat arses. Not what it used to be, I'm afraid!!
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Old May 6th, 2009, 06:27 AM   #26

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Re: Odin a real person???


I need to read up on the vikings more. Would be cool if Odin were real at one time.
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Old May 6th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #27

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Re: Odin a real person???


Quote:
Are you suggesting that Newcastle is a potential Valhalla??
You definitely have a point there

I always wondered whether you have Ciabatta munching, rocket salad nibbling, latte dribbling pseudo middle class tw*ts up there ? I have been told that Edinburgh is full of them, and the average Scotsman pretends that the English still own it?
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Old May 6th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #28

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Re: Odin a real person???


I bet I have a better chance of driving through Valhalla with my wheel-trims intact than I do driving through Newcastle, though!! Slow down to below 40 mph and they're gone.
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Old May 9th, 2009, 01:15 PM   #29
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Re: Odin a real person???


Quote:
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The Roman cult of Mithras, for example, has Mithras born in a cave in midwinter, and who finally dies nailed to a tree. His name refers to "the light".
Can I pop in and offer a comment on this? I happened to see this come up in a Google search. I got a bit tired of stuff posted online about Mithras a couple of years back and researched the subject in the primary sources plus a few key modern scholarly books.

In fact I could find no ancient text that records the death of Mithras; sorry. His birth wasn't in a cave; he was born from a rock (some variants of the story you heard claim that he was born of a virgin!) The cave is where his cultists held their initiations. The name 'Mithras' itself is presumably derived from the ancient Persian deity Mitra, but the origins of the cult (ca. 50 AD, in Rome) are quite obscure.

We have to be careful. I've found that there are some very disreputable sources online claiming all sorts of "parallels" between ancient paganism and Christianity, and insinuating or stating that Christianity was therefore derived from paganism. These pages are all written by amateurs, usually very ill-educated in ancient history, and contain quite extraordinary quantities of *factual* errors (religious opinion is neither here nor there). The crudity of these falsifications has to be seen to be believed; religious malice seems to be at the root of it all.

Today I trust no such claim until I have seen references to ancient sources and gone and verified them. (Fortunately most such sources are online; which means any text that doesn't reference its sources is... well, probably bunk)

I don't know anything about the Odin stuff, tho. Wonder what sources record it. (I wouldn't be surprised if it was true; just a bit gun-shy, you understand).

All the best,

Roger Pearse
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Old May 9th, 2009, 01:34 PM   #30

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Re: Odin a real person???


roger pearse:
Well said and most agreeable.
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