The concept of the hero was first founded in classical literature. It is the main or revered character in heroic epic poetry celebrated through ancient legends of a people, often striving for military conquest and living by a continually flawed personal honor code. The definition of a hero has changed throughout time, and the Merriam Webster dictionary defines a hero as a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. The word hero comes from the Greek ἥρως, warrior, before the decipherment of Linear B the original form of the word was assumed to be *ἥρωϝ-, hērōw-, R. S. P. Beekes has proposed a Pre-Greek origin. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the Indo-European root is *ser meaning to protect, according to Eric Partridge in Origins, the Greek word Hērōs is akin to the Latin seruāre, meaning to safeguard. Partridge concludes, The basic sense of both Hera and hero would therefore be protector, the word hero is used in English to refer either explicitly to male heroes or as a gender neutral form.
The use of the male form hero as a gender neutral substantive is a modern advent, see Gender neutrality in English. A classical hero is considered to be a warrior who lives and dies in the pursuit of honor, each classical heros life focuses on fighting, which occurs in war or during an epic quest. Classical heroes are commonly semi-divine and extraordinarily gifted, like Achilles, or, are like Beowulf, evolving into heroic characters through their perilous circumstances. While these heroes are incredibly resourceful and skilled, they are often foolhardy, court disaster, risk their followers lives for trivial matters, during classical times, people regarded heroes with the highest esteem and utmost importance, explaining their prominence within epic literature. Hector was a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War, Hector acted as leader of the Trojans and their allies in the defense of Troy, killing 31,000 Greek fighters, offers Hyginus. Hector was known not only for his courage but for his noble, Homer places Hector as peace-loving, thoughtful as well as bold, a good son and father, and without darker motives.
However, his familial values conflict greatly with his aspirations in The Iliad. Hector is ultimately betrayed by the gods when Athena appears disguised as his ally Deiphobus and convinces him to take on Achilles, Achilles was a Greek Hero who was considered the most formidable military fighter in the entire Trojan War and the central character of The Iliad. He was the child of Thetis and Peleus, making him a demi-god and he wielded superhuman strength on the battlefield and was blessed with a close relationship to the Gods. Achilles famously refuses to fight after his dishonoring at the hands of Agamemnon, Achilles was known for uncontrollable rage that defined many of his bloodthirsty actions, such as defiling Hectors corpse by dragging it around the city of Troy. Achilles plays a role in The Iliad brought about by constant de-humanization throughout the epic. Heroes in myth often had close but conflicted relationships with the gods, thus Heracless name means the glory of Hera, even though he was tormented all his life by Hera, the Queen of the Gods
Egils Saga or Egills saga is an Icelandic saga on the lives of the clan of Egill Skallagrímsson, an Icelandic farmer and skald. The saga spans the years c, 850–1000 and traces the family history from Egils grandfather to his offspring. Its oldest manuscript dates back to 1240 AD, and comprises the sole source of information on the exploits of Egil and other similarities between Egils Saga and Heimskringla have led many scholars to believe that they were the work of the same author, Snorri Sturluson. The work is referred to as Egla by Icelandic scholars. The saga begins in Norway around 850, with the life of Egils grandfather Ulf aka Kveldulf or Evening Wolf, strife with the royal house drive the family out of the country, and they settle in Iceland. The brothers Egil and Throlf Skallagrimsson are born and they have a tenuous tenure in Norway, but Egil is outlawed and they roam Scandinavia and serve the king of England. Egil tries to reclaim property back in Norway, but this is blocked, the saga ends around the year 1000 and spans many generations.
Ulf had Hallbjorn Halftroll as his uncle, and was known for his surpassing size. He had accrued land and property from viking raids, and was a man of wisdom, extreme personal traits like these are manifested by his son Skallagrim and his grandson Egil as well. King Harald Fairhair was warring to unite all of Norway, Kveldulf refused to assist the local king of Fjordane, but rebuffed Haralds overtures as well, incurring his wrath. A compromise was mediated by Olvir Hnufa, Kveldulfs brother-in-law and Haralds court poet, Skallagrim was to send his elder son Thorolf, Thorolf served the king well, but suspicion fell on him due to his becoming overly successful, exacerbated by words of slanderers. Thorolf was killed by the king who led a band of warriors, Skallagrim journeyed to Haralds court seeking compensation for the death of his brother Thorolf, but offended the king and had to make a hasty exit empty-handed. Skallagrim and Kveldulf recaptured a boat that had seized from Thorolf. In the battle, Kveldulf displayed his frenzy, which left him severely weakened, when the family emigrated to Iceland, Kveldulf did not survive the trip, and his coffin was set adrift.
Near the spot where the coffin washed ashore in Iceland, Skallagrim established his settlement and he took up a peaceful livelihood as a farmer and blacksmith, and raised his sons and Egil. The saga proceeds to describe the lives of Thorolf and Egil Skallagrimsson, born in Iceland, Thorolf visited Skallagrims old friend in Norway, Thorir the Hersir. Here Thorolf befriended Prince Eirik Bloodaxe, Haralds favourite son and Thorirs fosterling and he approached the prince with a gift of a painted warship that Eirik was admiring, on advice of Bjorn, Thorirs brother-in-law. Afterwards Eirik Bloodaxe was crowned co-king, and as Thorolf headed home to Iceland, Skallagrim abused the axe and shattered it, reciting an insulting poem about it to Thorolf and handing back what was left of the axe, a sooty handle with a rusted blade
A legendary saga or fornaldarsaga is a Norse saga that, unlike the Icelanders sagas, takes place before the colonization of Iceland. There are some exceptions, such as Yngvars saga víðförla, which place in the 11th century. The sagas were probably all written in Iceland, from about the middle of the 13th century to about 1400, although it is possible that some may be of a date, such as Hrólfs saga kraka. In terms of form, fornaldarsögur are similar to various other saga-genres, like sagas in other genres, many quote verse, but in the fornaldarsögur that verse is almost invariably in the metre of Eddaic verse. There are very often mythological elements, such as dwarves, giants, in centuries past, they were considered to be reliable historic sources by Scandinavian scholars, but since the 19th century, they have been considered to contain very little historic material. e. Iceland in the Middle Ages and they may be treated in a comic or parodic vein. In the case of Hervarar saga, it conveys names of places in Ukraine during the period c.
150-450, and the last part of the saga is used as a source for Swedish history. Other sagas deal with such as Ragnar Lodbrok, Hrólf Kraki. In these respects, the overlap in genre. They are of value for scholars studying medieval Scandinavian ballads, particularly the Faroese kvæði. Moreover, they are very important for the study of Scandinavian and Germanic heroic legends together with Saxo Grammaticus Gesta Danorum which was based on the same heroic poetry. Philologists have generally held the legendary sagas in less esteem, in terms of their literary value, the content is often less realistic, the characters more two-dimensional, and the sagas often borrow themes from each other, and from folk tales. In these aspects of style and reception, the fornaldarsögur tend to overlap with the Chivalric sagas, the legendary sagas have influenced writers, for instance the Swede Esaias Tegnér, who wrote Frithiofs saga, based on the Friðþjófs saga ins frœkna. Áns saga bogsveigis Ásmundar saga kappabana - A saga based on the German Lay of Hildebrand, bósa saga ok Herrauðs - like Beowulf it has Geatish heroes.
Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks - a saga which may be of Swedish origin containing Swedish and this saga still serves as a source for Swedish historians. Hjálmþés saga ok Ölvis Hrólfs saga Gautrekssonar - A saga about a Swedish warrior princess who is won by a Geatish prince, Hrólfs saga kraka, A saga which is related to the Old English poem Beowulf. Hrómundar saga Gripssonar Illuga saga Gríðarfóstra A saga of the traditional fairy tale kind
The Nordic countries or Nordics are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, where they are most commonly known as Norden. They consist of Denmark, Iceland and Sweden, the population of the Nordic countries are mainly Scandinavian or Finnish, with Greenlandic Inuit and the Sami people as minorities. Of todays native languages, Danish, Icelandic, the non-Germanic languages spoken are Finnish and several Sami languages. The main religion is Lutheran Christianity, the Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, their use of Scandinavian languages and social structure. Politically, Nordic countries do not form an entity. Especially in English, Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries, Scandinavian Peninsula on the other hand covers mainland Norway and Sweden as well as the northernmost part of Finland. At 3,425,804 square kilometers, the area of the Nordic countries would form the 7th-largest country in the world. Uninhabitable icecaps and glaciers comprise about half of area, mostly in Greenland.
In January 2013, the region had a population of around 26 million people, the Nordic countries cluster near the top in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development. Although the area is linguistically heterogeneous, with three unrelated groups, the common linguistic heritage is one of the factors making up the Nordic identity. The North Germanic languages Danish and Swedish are considered mutually intelligible and these languages are taught in school throughout the Nordic countries. Swedish, for example, is a subject in Finnish schools. Danish is mandatory in Faroese and Greenlandic schools, as these states are a part of the Danish Realm. Iceland teaches Danish, since Iceland too was a part of the Danish Realm until 1918, there is a high degree of income redistribution and little social unrest. The Nordic countries consists of historical territories of the Scandinavian countries, areas that share a common history and it is meant unambiguously to refer to this larger group, since the term Scandinavia is narrower and sometimes ambiguous.
The Nordic countries are considered to unambiguously refer to Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. The term is derived indirectly from the local term Norden, used in the Scandinavian languages, unlike the Nordic countries, the term Norden is in the singular. The demonym is nordbo, literally meaning northern dweller, especially outside of the Nordic region the term Scandinavia is often used incorrectly as a synonym for the Nordic countries
The term Danish Realm refers to the relationship between Denmark proper, the Faroe Islands and Greenland—three countries constituting the Kingdom of Denmark. The legal nature of the Kingdom of Denmark is fundamentally one of a sovereign state. The Faroe Islands and Greenland have been part of the Crown of Denmark since 1397 when the Kalmar Union was ratified, legal matters in The Danish Realm are subject to the Danish Constitution. Beginning in 1953, state law issues within The Danish Realm has been governed by The Unity of the Realm, a less formal name for The Unity of the Realm is the Commonwealth of the Realm. In 1978, The Unity of The Realm was for the first time referred to as rigsfællesskabet. The name caught on and since the 1990s, both The Unity of The Realm and The Danish Realm itself has increasingly been referred to as simply rigsfællesskabet in daily parlance. The Danish Constitution stipulates that the foreign and security interests for all parts of the Danish Realm are the responsibility of the Danish government, the Faroes received home rule in 1948 and Greenland did so in 1979.
In 2005, the Faroes received a self-government arrangement, and in 2009 Greenland received self rule, the Danish Realms unique state of internal affairs is acted out in the principle of The Unity of the Realm. This principle is derived from Article 1 of the Danish Constitution which specifies that constitutional law applies equally to all areas of the Danish Realm, the Constitutional Act specifies that sovereignty is to continue to be exclusively with the authorities of the Realm. The language of Denmark is Danish, and the Danish state authorities are based in Denmark, the Kingdom of Denmarks parliament, with its 179 members, is located in the capital, Copenhagen. Two of the members are elected in each of Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The Government ministries are located in Copenhagen, as is the highest court, in principle, the Danish Realm constitutes a unified sovereign state, with equal status between its constituent parts. Devolution differs from federalism in that the powers of the subnational authority ultimately reside in central government.
The Self-Government Arrangements devolves political competence and responsibility from the Danish political authorities to the Faroese, the Faroese and Greenlandic authorities administer the tasks taken over from the state, enact legislation in these specific fields and have the economic responsibility for solving these tasks. The Danish government provides a grant to the Faroese and the Greenlandic authorities to cover the costs of these devolved areas. The 1948 Home Rule Act of the Faroe Islands sets out the terms of Faroese home rule, the Act states. the Faroe Islands shall constitute a self-governing community within the State of Denmark. It establishes the government of the Faroe Islands and the Faroese parliament. The Faroe Islands were previously administered as a Danish county, the Home Rule Act abolished the post of Amtmand and these powers were expanded in a 2005 Act, which named the Faroese home government as an equal partner with the Danish government
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 332,529 and an area of 103,000 km2, the capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavík and the areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active, the interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence still keeps summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate. According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in the year 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, the island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the worlds oldest functioning legislative assemblies.
Following a period of strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Iceland thus followed Norways integration to that Union and came under Danish rule after Swedens secession from that union in 1523. In the wake of the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars, Icelands struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918, until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture, and was among the poorest in Europe. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, in 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance and manufacturing. Iceland has an economy with relatively low taxes compared to other OECD countries. It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides health care. Iceland ranks high in economic and social stability and equality, in 2013, it was ranked as the 13th most-developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index.
Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy, some bankers were jailed, and the economy has made a significant recovery, in large part due to a surge in tourism. Icelandic culture is founded upon the nations Scandinavian heritage, most Icelanders are descendants of Germanic and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old Norse and is related to Faroese
An epic poem, epos, or epopee is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Milman Parry and Albert Lord have argued that the Homeric epics and these works form the basis of the epic genre in Western literature. Nearly all Western epic self-consciously presents itself as a continuation of the tradition begun by these poems, classical epic employs dactylic hexameter and recounts a journey, either physical or mental or both. Epics tend to highlight cultural norms and to define or call into question cultural values, another type of epic poetry is epyllion, which is a brief narrative poem with a romantic or mythological theme. The term, which means little epic, came into use in the nineteenth century, the most famous example of classical epyllion is perhaps Catullus 64. The first epics were products of preliterate societies and oral history poetic traditions, in these traditions, poetry is transmitted to the audience and from performer to performer by purely oral means.
Early twentieth-century study of living oral traditions in the Balkans by Milman Parry. What they demonstrated was that oral epics tend to be constructed in short episodes, each of equal status and this facilitates memorization, as the poet is recalling each episode in turn and using the completed episodes to recreate the entire epic as he performs it. Parry and Lord contend that the most likely source for written texts of the epics of Homer was dictation from an oral performance, poets in literate societies have sometimes copied the epic format. The earliest surviving European examples are the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes and Virgils Aeneid, other obvious examples are Nonnus Dionysiaca, Tulsidas Sri Ramacharit Manas. In his work Poetics, Aristotle defines an epic as one of the forms of poetry, contrasted with lyric poetry, an attempt to delineate ten main characteristics of an epic, Begins in medias res. The setting is vast, covering many nations, the world or the universe, Begins with an invocation to a muse.
Begins with a statement of the theme, contains long lists, called an epic catalogue. Shows divine intervention on human affairs, features heroes that embody the values of the civilization. Often features the tragic heros descent into the Underworld or hell, the hero generally participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in his journey and returns home significantly transformed by his journey. The epic hero illustrates traits, performs deeds, and exemplifies certain morals that are valued by the society the epic originates from, many epic heroes are recurring characters in the legends of their native culture. Conventions of epics, Opens by stating the theme or cause of the epic and this may take the form of a purpose, of a question, or of a situation. Invocation, Writer invokes a Muse, one of the nine daughters of Zeus, the poet prays to the Muses to provide him with divine inspiration to tell the story of a great hero
Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another. Intense feelings of resentment trigger the initial retribution, which causes the party to feel equally aggrieved. The dispute is subsequently fuelled by a cycle of retaliatory violence. This continual cycle of provocation and retaliation makes it difficult to end the feud peacefully. Feuds frequently involve the original family members and/or associates, can last for generations. They can be interpreted as an outgrowth of social relations based in family honor. Until the early period, feuds were considered legitimate legal instruments and were regulated to some degree. For example, Serb culture calls this krvna osveta, meaning blood revenge, in the English-speaking world, vendetta is sometimes extended to mean any other long-standing feud, not necessarily involving bloodshed. Sometimes, it is not mutual, but rather refers to a series of hostile acts waged by one person against another without reciprocation.
Blood feuds were common in societies with a rule of law. An entire family is considered responsible for any one of them has done. Sometimes two separate branches of the family have even come to blows, or worse, over some dispute. The practice has mostly disappeared with more centralized societies where law enforcement, in Homeric ancient Greece, the practice of personal vengeance against wrongdoers was considered natural and customary, Embedded in the Greek morality of retaliation is the right of vengeance. Feud is a war, just as war is a series of revenges. In the ancient Hebraic context, it was considered the duty of the individual, the executor of the law of blood-revenge who personally put the initial killer to death was given a special designation, goel haddam, the blood-avenger or blood-redeemer. Six Cities of Refuge were established to provide protection and due process for any unintentional manslayers, the avenger was forbidden from harming the unintentional killer if the killer took refuge in one of these cities.
According to historian Marc Bloch, The Middle Ages, from beginning to end, the onus, of course, lay above all on the wronged individual, vengeance was imposed on him as the most sacred of duties. The solitary individual, could do but little, moreover, it was most commonly a death that had to be avenged
Old Norse religion
Norse religion refers to the religious traditions of the Norsemen prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, specifically during the Viking Age. Norse religion is a folk religion and it was the northern variation of the religion practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe prior to Roman and Holy Roman incursions. However, it was not formalized nor categorized as a subset of Germanic paganism until it was described by outsiders who came into contact with native practitioners. The Norse - or people of Scandinavia - have always had contact with cultures outside Scandinavia. They were well aware of foreign religions and they traded and sometimes worked as henchmen for other cultures, including the Romans. Most titles bestowed upon Norse religion are the ones which were used to describe the religion in a competitive manner, some of these terms were hedendom, Heathenry or Pagan. A more romanticized name for Norse religion is the medieval Icelandic term Forn Siðr or Old Custom, knowledge about Norse religion has been gathered from archaeological discoveries and from literature produced after the Christianization of Scandinavia.
The literary sources that reference Norse paganism were written after the religion had declined, the vast majority of this came from 13th-century Iceland, where Christianity had taken longest to gain hold because of its remote location. The key literary texts for the study of Norse religion are the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, the Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus and the Poetic Edda, by an unknown writer or writers. Saga literature informs us of the not only of the literate elite. Sagas are categorized on the basis of events described in the saga took place. Though Sagas are often mythical in nature, the ambitions are to give a realistic description of past events. Many sites in Scandinavia have yielded information about early Scandinavian culture. The oldest extant cultural examples are petroglyphs or helleristninger/hällristningar and these are usually divided into two categories according to age, hunting-glyphs and agricultural-glyphs. The hunting glyphs are the oldest and are found in Northern Scandinavia.
These finds seem to indicate an existence based on hunting and fishing. These motifs were gradually subsumed by glyphs with more zoomorphic, or perhaps religious, the glyphs from the region of Bohuslän are complemented with younger agricultural glyphs, which seem to depict an existence based more heavily on agriculture. These motifs primarily depict ships and lunar motifs, geometrical spirals and anthropomorphic beings and these finds shows several signs of rituals in a seemingly religious context, including some strong indications of human sacrifice such as the case of the Tollund Man bog body
Poetic Edda is the modern attribution for an unnamed collection of Old Norse anonymous poems, which is different from the Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson. Several versions exist, all consisting primarily of text from the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript known as the Codex Regius, poets who have acknowledged their debt to the Codex Regius include Vilhelm Ekelund, August Strindberg, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ezra Pound, Jorge Luis Borges, and Karin Boye, Codex Regius was written in the 13th century, but nothing is known of its whereabouts until 1643, when it came into the possession of Brynjólfur Sveinsson, Bishop of Skálholt. At the time, versions of the Edda were known in Iceland, but scholars speculated that once was another Edda, an Elder Edda. Brynjólfur attributed the manuscript to Sæmundr the Learned, a larger-than-life 12th century Icelandic priest and that attribution is rejected by modern scholars, but the name Sæmundar Edda is still sometimes associated with both the Codex Regius and versions of Poetic Edda using it as a source.
Bishop Brynjólfur sent Codex Regius as a present to the Danish king, for centuries, it was stored in the Royal Library in Copenhagen but in 1971, it was returned to Iceland. The Eddic poems are composed in alliterative verse, most are in fornyrðislag, while málaháttr is a common variation. The rest, about a quarter, are composed in ljóðaháttr, the language of the poems is usually clear and relatively unadorned. Kennings are often employed, though they do not arise as frequently, nor are they as complex, like most early poetry, the Eddic poems were minstrel poems, passing orally from singer to singer and from poet to poet for centuries. None of the poems are attributed to an author, though many of them show strong individual characteristics and are likely to have been the work of individual poets. Scholars sometimes speculate on hypothetical authors, but firm and accepted conclusions have never been reached, the dating of the poems has been a source of lively scholarly argument for a long time, and firm conclusions are hard to reach.
Lines from the Eddic poems sometimes appear in poems by known poets, for example, Eyvindr skáldaspillir composed in the latter half of the 10th century, and he uses a couple of lines in his Hákonarmál which are found in Hávamál. It is possible that he was quoting a poem, but it is possible that Hávamál. The few demonstrably historical characters mentioned in the poems, such as Attila, the dating of the manuscripts themselves provides a more useful terminus ante quem. Individual poems have individual clues to their age, for example, Atlamál hin groenlenzku is claimed by its title to have been composed in Greenland, and seems so by some internal evidence. If so, it can be no earlier than about 985, in some cases, old poems may have been interpolated with younger verses or merged with other poems. For example, stanzas 9-16 of Völuspá, the Dvergatal or Roster of Dwarfs, is considered by scholars to be an interpolation. The problem of dating the poems is linked with the problem of finding out where they were composed, Iceland was not settled until about 870, so anything composed before that time would necessarily have been elsewhere, most likely in Scandinavia