This online mythology course is an introduction to the religion of the Vikings as it is recorded in Old Norse and Scandinavian literature from the medieval period. You will learn about the different written sources and what they can teach us about pre-Christian religion in northern Europe in the Viking Age. This course surveys the primary collection of Old Norse poetry about the pre-Christian Scandinavian gods, the Poetic Edda. You will also work with the main collections of stories about the Old Norse gods in prose: Snorri Sturluson's Edda and Saxo's History of the Danes.
By completing this course, you will be able to:
- Identify the differences in literary representation of Old Norse myths in medieval literature and the pre-Christian religion that existed before conversion
- Evaluate and critique the ways that Old Norse mythology has been used in culture in the 20th and 21st century
- Identify the impact of Old Norse mythology as a cultural identifier, both in positive and negative ways, and recognize its roles in religious and political life in Scandinavia, Western Europe and North America
- Understand the processes underlying the codification of Old Norse mythology and how the literature was interpreted in Christianity
- Recognize, recall and distinguish the various sources to Old Norse mythology and so much more
This is course 1 of 3 in the forthcoming specialization Norse Mythology.