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Unformatted text preview: Death Among the Gods
March 29, 2010 Business as Usual Screen 13th Warrior before Wednesday Relevant essays available on CULearn On the unquiet dead in the sagas On monster theory Gods and Goddesses of Death inn: Keeper of half the slain, scholars, poets Einherjar (after burial, i.e. afterlife) The conjured (from the grave, to be sent back) The hanged (before burial) Freyja: Keeper of half the slain Gefjun: Virgin (!) and keeper of virgins Rn: Keeper of those who drown Hel: Keeper of those dead of old age or sickness The Norns: Rulers of fate The Valkyries: Choosers of the slain in battle Acc. to Snorri, accompanied by the norn Skuld Realms of the Dead in's hall, Valhll warriors Gefjun's hall (?) virgins Freyja's hall, Sessrmnir warriors Hel's hall, ljunir the old and sick In Rn's arms, i.e. the waves Nstrandir murderers and oathbreakers In mounds and mountains ancestors No given destination for giants one of the "nine worlds" of Helheimar? Implied they remain with/in the earth Cheating Death Berserks; those possessed by berserk fury Shapeshifters Odinic trait, uncanny, fierce, ruthless Could not be hurt by fire nor iron Divine dedication: sacrifice and devotion Spells seir or runic Odinic trait, closely related to Berserks Dedicating yourself to a god or goddess for protection Principle of reciprocity Level of protection dependent on your skill at magic Postponement of death rather than preservation of life or, especially, body (Hvaml) Loki A God of Mischief Present from beginning, son of a giant, blood brother of inn, trickster, shapeshifter and crosser of boundaries; provides the tools that give the gods their power Cause and effect revenge to be expected Determined to bring on Ragnark With the stallion, Svailfari, mother of Sleipnir With the giantess, Angurboa, father of Jrmungand, Hel, and Fenrir With the goddess, Sigyn, father of Vali and Nari/Narfi All offspring banished or killed by the gods, even sons Kills Baldr, hinders his return, rejects status quo, chooses sides, leads the army of the dead Baldr's Death Baldr loved by all, yet strangely passive Common themes with other mythologies, yet clearly identifiably Norse in many aspects No oath from mistletoe, nor air (Loki Lopt = air) As inn is the one to banish and torture Loki's children (his bloodbrother's), attacking in's favorite child is a logical choice of revenge Baldr's death last step in bringing on Ragnark Denial by gods, Loki forces their acknowledgement Loki's moment of choice and determination Even once ceised, Loki is only fettered, not killed Alarmed by Baldr's troubled dreams, the gods ask Odin to seek answers. Conjuring a seeress from her grave Odin learns of Baldr's impending death by Hod, as well as his avenger. Which Norse sentiment characterizes this poem? A) Fear of death B) Belief in luck C) Belief in fate D) Trust in the gods and their absolute power Baldr's Dreams Loki's Quarrel
The gods have gathered for Baldr's wake. Loki, not invited, forces his way into the party and proceeds to insult gods and goddesses alike. How might we understand the severity and background of the insults? A) Secure cult that cannot be harmed B) Christian mockery of the old gods C) Acknowledgement of the "human" traits D) Explanation of the necessity of Ragnark E) All of the above For Recitations Ibn Fadlan's Risala The Risala What does this text tell us about pagan rituals surrounding death? How/what does it add to the knowledge we may derive from archaeological finds? What, if anything, is problematic about this text as a source for pagan rites? Readings/screening for week after break: Believes and rituals of death mythology and legend Schedule Monday: Death among the gods Tuesday: Quiz from all readings Wednesday: Discussion of Beowulf + 13th Warrior Recitations: Ibn Fadlan discussed + 13th Warrior 13th Warrior (John McTiernan, 1999) From the Poetic Edda, "Baldr's Dreams," "Loki's Quarrel" Snorri's Edda pp 9697, 3536, 61, 2629, 4856 Beowulf (selections, CULearn) Ibn Fadlan (CULearn) ...
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