A False Norse Mythology An Alternative Norse Mythology?

1783 words - 8 pages

Alternative Norse Mythology or wrong Norse mythology?

I have some years ago published a dictionary about Norse Mythology. I have worked with this book for seventeen years (well not each and every day of course) and my oldest notes go back to 1970. I have not the same structure of the book as most other dictionaries. My dictionary is divided into different chapters and different themes and is not running from “a” to “z” as most others dictionary of this kind, and the book is 297 pages long. I have during the years made different versions of this book and the found it necessary to revise and expand them time by time. My goal has been to make a dictionary of Norse Mythology which includes ...view middle of the document...

Later I tried to look up Norse Mythology/Scandinavian Mythology/German Mythology/Teutonic Mythology in “Google”. In my generation we are not so used to turn our attention to Internet when we are looking for special knowledge. To my surprise I also here found many shorter or longer dictionaries with very different versions of Norse Mythology than I am used to. Why is it so? I can think of six different explanations:

1. Just simply sloppy work. The authors of the books or the Internet-page haven’t enough knowledge about the matter or they have involuntary presented wrong facts because they have read and made citations from books of bad quality. Then the mistakes and misunderstanding have become “cemented” and are popping up in each new dictionary.

2. It exist a book from the Swedish author and poet Victor Rydberg, written about 1890 where he presents a very different and completely altered version of the myths of Norse Mythology. I have got hold of this book just some years ago. Then he got “disciples” in later decades who got their knowledge and impression of Norse Mythology from his book. Bits and pieces of Rydbergs version of Norse Mythology have through the years got into a lot of different books about Norse Mythology, also dictionaries. When for example in a dictionary is written that “Delling is the elf of dawn”, this is from Rydberg and not from The younger Edda or The elder Edda.
There are also more books from 1800, early 1900 that contains very different or alternative versions of The Norse Mythological system, but I don`t know about all of them. People who are making new dictionaries of Norse Mythology are of course unaware of this and include facts from those books.
Also information from the librettos of the operas of Richard Wagner is often included in dictionaries and books about Norse Mythology, although this of course is not authentically mythology.

3. The authors of encyclopaedias and websites often draws up very airy hypotheses and arguments and present them in a very square and cocksure manner. Examples of this are that "Skadi was later married to Ull", that "Urd and Hela (Hel) are identical" or "Heimdall is son of the nine wave-maidens".
4. The authors of encyclopaedias and websites elaborate and use “artistic liberties” when they are portraying information about the facts from the sources of Norse mythology. For example are "Northern Lights the glow of the shields of the Valkyries when they ride across the heaven" or "that when Skadi rides across the sky, you may see it shine and flash in ice crystals on her armor and helmet."

5. Some of the encyclopaedias and dictionaries with very different versions of Norse Mythology compared with the “real” Norse Mythology are written of people in the “New age” tradition and after “New age” way of thinking. For instance I have read books about themes as “The sunken Atlantis” and “U.F.O.`s” where the authors claim that this topics can not be threaten with traditional...

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