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HomeGreek PhilosphyOldest Inscription of ‘Odin’ Resets Beliefs About Norse Mythology

Oldest Inscription of ‘Odin’ Resets Beliefs About Norse Mythology

Archaeologists in Denmark are celebrating the invention of the oldest inscription mentioning the god Odin.

This story begins with the 2021 discovery of a fifth century assortment of Norse treasures at Jelling, Denmark, often known as the Vindelev hoard . Housed on the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, and containing 22 gold objects weighing round 800 grams (31.32 oz), the Vindelev hoard consists of “bracteates” (adorned gold discs) from the Migration Period of northern Europe (400 AD -550 AD), pendants made out of Roman cash from the reign of Constantine (306 AD – 337 AD), and uncommon gold jewelry with ornate granulation design.

Until now, the oldest inscription mentioning the Norse God Odin was recognized on a brooch present in Nordendorf, southern Germany, dated to the late 500s. But in line with a report in The Washington Post , the most recent discover on one of the gold discs, demonstrates that the Danes worshipped the god Odin “150 years before previous assumptions”.

‘He Is Odin’s Man’

The Viking Herald reviews that one of the bracteates from the hoard was not too long ago interpreted by Lisbeth Imer and Krister Vasshus, who recognized the inscription; “ He is Odin’s Man .”

Lisbeth Imer mentioned:

“The runic inscription was essentially the most tough I’ve ever needed to interpret in all my years as a runologist on the National Museum of Denmark”,

Imer’s colleague, Krister Vasshus, a scholar of historical Scandinavian languages, mentioned this explicit sort of inscription is “extremely rare, and only found every 50 years” reviews Videnskab.

The bracteate or medal bearing the runes ‘He Is Odin’s Man’ (Vejle Museum)

The bracteate or medal bearing the runes ‘He Is Odin’s Man’ ( Vejle Museum )

The inscription refers back to the portrait of a person on the small gold disc, which was made within the early 400s. Before this, the earliest earlier proof of Norse mythology, and the god Odin, was from the mid-500s. This discovering proves Danes not solely worshipped the god Odin at an earlier time, however that they had additionally developed the outlines of Norse mythology at the very least 150 years sooner than beforehand believed.

Visit Ancient Origins Norse Mythology Page for all the mythology of Norse religion.

Visit Ancient Origins Norse Mythology Page for all of the mythology of Norse faith.

“It’s A Huge Discovery”

In Norse mythology the god Odin was the chief of all different deities who presided over Valhalla, the warrior’s paradise. In Norse myths Odin sacrificed his eye in Mimir‘s nicely, he threw himself on his personal spear Gungnir in a symbolic ritual suicide, after which he hung himself in Yggdrasil, the Norse tree of life for 9 days and 9 nights, so as to acquire data of different worlds and to have the ability to perceive the that means of runes.

Now, Lisbeth Imer describes the invention of an early fifth century depiction of Odin as “absolutely amazing, because it’s the first time that the god Odin’s name was written.”

It was at all times suspected that Norse mythology, with all its giants, deities and monsters, was operational at the very least as early because the early fifth century AD. But the researchers mentioned this new discovery is so essential as a result of “now we have black-and-white evidence” they usually added that “It’s a huge discovery”.

The Vindelev Hoard Just Got Even More Spectacular

Bracteates are single-sided, skinny gold medallions that had been worn as jewelry in the course of the Migration Period throughout Northern Europe of the Germanic Iron Age. In extra of 1,000 bracteates have been found in Jelling bearing greater than 200 with inscriptions. But prior to now, as a result of the runes discovered on bracteates are typically tiny (2-3mm excessive) and positioned very carefully collectively, with no spacing between phrases, they’ve by no means been interpreted precisely.

The many items make up almost 1kg of gold in the Vindelev hoard. (Vejle Museum)

The many gadgets make up virtually 1kg of gold within the Vindelev hoard. ( Vejle Museum )

Krister Vasshus mentioned this discovery “is the most significant Norse discovery since The Golden Horns of Gallehus,” which had been discovered close to the city of Møgeltønder in Southern Jutland. Dating again to the early fifth century AD, the horns are notable for his or her intricate Nordic and Germanic designs depicting Pre-Christian rituals and scenes from Norse mythology. This truth, in line with Vasshus, “just makes the Vindelev hoard even more spectacular”.

A Major Breakthrough For Denmark

Emphasizing the significance of the invention, talking with The Washington Post, Rane Willerslev, the Director of the National Museum of Denmark described the discover as “a major breakthrough that has given us crucial new information about the history of Denmark.” Moreover, the museologist says the outstanding discovery “offers fresh insights into the past and has the potential to reshape our understanding of Denmark’s history, and even that of the entire world.”

Not solely has the construction of the traditional Norse language developed for the reason that fifth century, however many phrases have additionally fallen out of use,” mentioned Vasshus. And for this reason the staff of researchers assume their discovery “may help in the decipherment of other prehistoric runic inscriptions,” which up to now haven’t been interpreted. So what we’ve right here will not be solely the earliest written point out of the god Odin, but in addition a golden key to an historical cryptogram that may assist researchers crack the that means of runes discovered o many extra Norse artifacts which might be at present unintelligible.

Top picture: The medallion bearing the earliest recognized point out of the Norse god Odin.     Source: Arnold Mikkelsen/ Denmark National Museum

By Ashley Cowie


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