The stories and people of ancient Norse myths are as complex as they are compelling and as provocative as they are pleasing. Not all the heroes behave heroically and not all monsters are genuinely evil. And while order is admired, chaos abounds.
Though many stories make up the full collection of Norse myths, the Norse Mythology Diploma Course introduces you to the primary tales that begin at the start of the cosmos and end with its complete annihilation.
The Norse Mythology Course begins with the world and beliefs of the people who originated the stories you will study – the Vikings. You will look at the particular behaviours and the firmly held spiritual beliefs of these people to gain greater insight into the stories they held dear.
The course looks at the beginning of how the Norse cosmos was created. You will be introduced to the Norse ‘tree of life’ - Yggdrasil - a symbol that was central to the universe, before moving on to discuss the creation myth and the nine realms that the Vikings believed were inhabited by gods, monsters and others.
You’ll take a look at some of the most important deities in the Norse pantheon – Odin, Thor, Loki, Freya, Baldr and Tyr. You’ll learn the gods’ characteristics, ancient attributes, and their overall roles or functions within the myths.
We explore the first war of the Norse worlds and the eventual unification between the two reigning tribes of deities - the Aesir and the Vanir. We examine the primary players in the conflict and why the myth was important to ancient Norse life.
Following the Aesir-Vanir war, there came a myth that involved the building of a wall around Asgard. A fun and engaging story, it highlights the importance of safety and order in Norse culture and the idea of people being ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ civility.
In the chronology of the Norse sagas, the myth of the Mead of Poetry takes up where the battle between the Aesir and Vanir left off. You will move through the details of the story, learning about its relevance to the Vikings as well as seeing it as a further example of Odin’s enigmatic nature and less than attractive qualities of character.
Taking a deeper look at Odin, we’ll examine two of the myths that expose his unquenchable thirst for wisdom, and what they meant both to Odin as a character and the Vikings as believers of these myths.
Loki fathered a lot of children in Norse mythology. However, three, in particular, are woven into the threads of Ragnarok. We look at who these monsters were, the stories they appear in, and how their destinies were set in motion by the very gods they were fated to destroy.
Thor is a central figure in Norse mythology. You will study two of the more significant myths concerning the god, his courage and his strength – his duel with the giant Hrungnir, as well as his extraordinary encounter with the Midgard serpent.
The Death of Baldr is an important tale in Norse mythology, as it is the event which spurred the oncoming of Ragnarok and thus the destruction of the Norse cosmos. Equally, as a tale told by ancient Norse folk, it has further relevance to their everyday lives, and that will also be explored as part of your learning.
The binding of Loki is the myth that proceeds the battle to end all days. It is engaging and horrific in equal parts and serves to highlight some particular motifs that arise again and again in Norse mythology.
All that you study in the Norse Mythology Diploma Course leads up to Ragnarok, the ending of the Norse cosmos through fire and fury. You will be introduced to a step-by-step retelling of this most wonderful and exciting of myths and explore what happened in the aftermath.
By the end of this course, you will:
- Know the central Norse myths
- Have a greater understanding of the primary characters in Norse mythology such as Odin, Thor, Loki and Freya
- Know how the myths related to the lives of the Vikings
- Recognise the importance of specific Viking values such as courage, loyalty and sacrifice
- Be aware of the primary sources of Norse mythology
- Understand how the Norse cosmos was formed
- Be aware of the main monsters of Norse mythology and their role in the cosmos’ destruction
- Know what Ragnarok means and its relevance