Midgard, le monde des Hommes dans la mythologie nordique

Midgard, the world of Men in Norse mythology

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The world of Norse mythology is so rich in history and legends exciting. It is sometimes difficult to choose which subject to tackle as there are so many.  Most of these stories and legends are quite familiar to the general public thanks to the increasingly popular Nordic literature and the successful films and TV shows that have become a real craze in recent years.

All the creatures, characters, places and events in the Nordic mythology have their origins, and there are many origin stories and character developments that describe each tale in detail.

However, the lesser-known stories usually concern lesser-known characters and worlds in the Nordic universe. The entire Norse cosmology consists of nine realms, and for us people the most exciting one is the human realm known as Midgard (Miðgarðr in Old Norse).

People who are interested in Norse mythology are well aware that the more they read and learn about it, the more addicted they become. All mythology revolves around mystical beings, magic, incredible creatures, battles, various worlds and grand events.

Who doesn't want to know more about this exceptional fantasy world?

Midgard, the world is human illustrations

MIDGARD'S CREATION

The first beings created by unknown forces were Audhumla (Old Norse Auðumla) - the cow, and Aurgelmir (Ymir) - the giant. There is no written explanation of the details of the following events. But at some point, Audhumla gave birth to the ancestor of all the gods - Buri.

Now, this is the fun part and the most What the fuck too!

The elder god Buri had a son Borr, but there are no details available on how Buri had a son and with whom. Later, Borr had three sons with the giantess Bestla - Ve, Vili and Odin. While the creation of the first gods was underway, Aurgelmir himself gave birth to one of the first giants.

According to the legends, Odin, Vé and Vili killed Ymir and threw his body into the void of the universe. This is how Midgard was created.

It is said that Ymir's blood turned into oceans and his flesh created the earth. Mountains grew from his bones, and his teeth formed the cliffs. His hair created the trees while his brains make up the clouds (scattered all over the Earth).

Legends also say that the four dwarves hold Ymir's skull - Nordri, Austri, Vestri and Sudri (representing the four sides of the world). All the stars, including the Sun and Moon, were created from the fragments and sparks of Ymir's skull.

That is not all as this is when the dawn of the first humans began.

According to the Poetic Edda, the grandfather Odin and his two brothers then created humans from the ash and elm tree. The first man Ask (Old Norse Askr) was created from the ash tree, and the first woman Embla (Old Norse Almr) was born from the elm.

The three gods wanted to protect the realm of men from the giants, so they built a barrier around the world of men from the eyebrows of Ymir.

Midgard is located between Muspelheim and Niflheim, but it is also connected to Asgard by the rainbow bridge called Bifrost.

NINE KINGDOMS IN NORDIAN COSMOLOGY

The cosmos in Norse mythology is very extensive and consists of nine different kingdoms. The Scandinavians believed that the kingdoms have a three-centred structure and are formed vertically. Furthermore, between all the levels there was a vast space.

collier thor fenrir

The basic structure of the levels is the tree of life, called Yggdrasil (Old Norse Mímameiðr). Yggdrasil is a tree with no known origin, and it exists outside of time, and thus, it will also survive the Ragnarök. The nine kingdoms are spread across different levels of the tree, residing in its roots, branches and crown.

The kingdoms of the first level:

  • Asgard (Old Norse Ásgarðr) is the kingdom of the Aesir (Old Norse Æsir).
  • Vanaheim (Old Norse Vanaheimr) which is known as "the home of the Vanir".
  • Alfheim (Old Norse Álfheimr) is also known as the "House of the Light Elves".

The second level realms:

  • Midgard (Old Norse Miðgarðr) is the realm of humans (garden/middle earth).
  • Jotunheim (Old Norse Jötunheimr) is the world of the giants (Old Norse Jötunn).
  • Nidavellir (Old Norse Niðavellir) / Svartalfheim (Old Norse Svartálfaheimr) is the land of dwarves and dark elves.

The third level realms:

  • Hel (Old Norse Helheimr) is the realm of the dead.
  • Niflheim (Old Norse Niflheimr) is the realm of fog, ice, mist and cold.
  • Muspelheim (Old Norse Múspellsheimr) is the kingdom of fire and chaos.

The link between ASGARD and MIDGARD

The Bifrost (Old Norse Bifröst) is a direct connection between the realms of Asgard and Midgard. The Bifrost is a rainbow bridge, and according to the Edda Prose, it stretches from the realm of men all the way to heaven in Himinbjörg, which is the home of Heimdallr, the guardian of the Bifrost Bridge.

If you've seen the Marvel Thor movies, then you have a great picture of what the Bifrost is.

MIDGARD HAS MANY NAMES

Midgard is known by many names in many languages and across various civilisations. "The house of men" or Mannaheim, which is another known name for this kingdom. For example, the extinct Germanic language, Gothic, used a term Midjun-gards which means "middle court", which is also another name for Middle-earth.

There are also many variants of the name Midgard in other languages, such as Mittilagart (Old High German), Middangeard in Old English which is now known as Middle-earth, and as Middilgard which was mentioned in the old Saxon epic poem Heliand.

The Protector of the Kingdom of Humans

Thor, son of the father of fathers Odin, is the protector of the kingdom of humans and the kingdom of the Aesir. The god of thunder is also called "the defender of Midgard and Asgard".

But that's not all!

Thor travels between the realms using the Bifrost Bridge. Although Thor protects both the human and Asgard worlds, the gates of Asgard are kept safe by Heimdallr. Heimdallr is Asgard's first line of defense, while Thor is its last defense.

Beyond the gates of Asgard and into the realm of humans, Thor protects the humans from the Jötunns. Even as the mighty god Thor keeps both worlds safe, the god of gods Odin keeps a careful watch over the human realm with the help of his two loyal ravens.

god midgard

MIDGÅRD'S SERPENT

A vast and impassable ocean surrounds the realm of humans, and a powerful creature dwells in the ocean - the Midgard Serpent Jormungand (Old Norse Jörmungandr). This ocean dweller is so huge that it circles the entire human world, its head reaching to its tail. It then forms a magnificent Ouroboros, the symbol of the infinite and the eternal. The mighty serpent Jormungand has two siblings - Fenrir and Hel.

According to the Edda Prose, Midgard will be destroyed in the Ragnarök. It is said that Jormungand will emerge from the ocean and poison the sea and land with his powerful venom. In addition, the Midgard Serpent will cause the sea to rise and crash to the ground.

Most importantly, the fire giant Surtr (Old Norse for "The Black One") will end all existence in the realm of men by setting it on fire. The final and ultimate battle will take place on the plane Óskópnir (also known as Vígríðr), resulting in the destruction of the human realm and all life within it, while the earth sinks into the sea.

However, it is said that the earth will rise once more, but this time even greener and more fertile. The cycle of creation will repeat itself, and life will begin again.

MIDGARD'S POPULARITY IN BOOKS AND FILMS

In recent history, Midgard, better known as Middle-earth, has inspired many writers in the epic high fantasy genre to come up with incredible stories, exceptional characters and epic events. Some of the best examples are the epic high fantasy stories written by J.R.R. Tolkien, such as "The Hobbit", "The Lord of the Rings", "The Peoples of Middle-earth", and many others.

Such was the popularity of these books that it became a solid basis for recreating the stories in the form of successful big screen films. All of these films helped to improve people's perception of Middle Earth and its inhabitants.

If you enjoy reading about trolls, dragons, wizards, elves, dwarves and all the other creatures of Middle Earth, these stories are for you.

Who doesn't love a good epic fantasy story with wizards and dragons?

In addition, Marvel Comics and the Marvel movies have given us another perspective of the entire Norse universe and all of its realms, including the human realm. These films have given us a more accurate view of how Norse mythology and the entire Norse cosmos were imagined.

MIDGARD AND ODIN'S HALL

The creation of the realm of men is the key decision that Odin and his two brothers made with regard to ordinary people. Thanks to them, humans, including you, exist today.Tell them thank you !

Thanks for reading, it's a pleasure to write for Odin's Hall, the leading brand in accessories from Norse mythology.

You can visit our collections of Viking jewellery to remind you every day of the legends of Norse mythology.

You can also continue your reading by discovering Adsgard, the city of the gods for example.

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