Germanic mythology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Thor or Donar, god of thunder, one of the major figures in Germanic mythology.

Germanic mythology is the myths associated with historical Germanic paganism, including Norse mythology, Anglo-Saxon mythology, Continental Germanic mythology, and other versions of the mythologies of the Germanic people. Germanic mythology ultimately derives from Indo-European mythology, also known as Indo-Germanic mythology.


The Germanic people had a religion similar to the Norse, before the conversion to Christianity. The culture of Germanic people extended from the Black Sea to Greenland and even to parts of North America . The religion in Scandinavia also known as the Norse religion is the only place where the Germanic religion stayed for a lot longer. [1]

The culture of the Germanic tribes was different from other contemporary cultures such as the Greeks or Romans. For example, in the second century B.C., Strabo describes how the Cimbri sacrificed roman prisoners. Also, as early as the first century, the German tribes, had a written script, it was a runic script. Runes have magical as well as sacral significance.

Most civilizations like the Empire of Rome viewed the Germanic religion as barbaric. This opinion projected onto the Germanic people as a whole as well. Even though they were fairly intelligent. The Roman perception of the Germanic peoples may have stemmed from Caesar's lack of knowledge about the German religion.

Goths were the first of the Germanic people to have become Christians. The Goths came across the Baltic Sea from Sweden and migrated to an area near the Black Sea. These peoples had traditions that had to do with sacrifices. Most sacrifices were made of humans, but there were animal sacrifices as well.


Siegfried Slaying Fafnir

The Black Worm is a myth about a dragon that had so much gold that he could not wrap his body all the way around it. A man exploited this weakness when the worm was sleeping. He moved on to the mound through the opening and stuffed his pockets. The man got greedy and yelled for his female companion to come and get some more gold. The shouting woke the dragon scaring the man and he dropped his gold and ran. The Black Worm vanished sinking into the ground with the treasure.

Fafnir and Siegfried is a story about dragons in German mythology. Fafnir was a giant who killed his father for his treasure. Fafnir then turned himself into a dragon. His hoard of treasure with gold rings and magic helms is said to bring wealth and immortality to anyone who owned them.

Siegfried was born to Sieglinde who was lost in the woods and rescued by the dwarf, Regin. Regin became Siegfried’s tutor. Regin was fixing a broken sword that belonged to Siegfried’s father, Wotan the most powerful of gods. Regin taught Siegfried the trade of making magic items and fixing them.

Siegfried wanted to fight the dragon Fafnir. Regin told Siegfried that the broken sword belonged to his father and is named Nothung. Siegfried then took the hammer and fixed the sword that was broken. Siegfried then went out to find the dragon. After his horse would not go any farther he went back to get Regin and the sword.

The two of them then dug a pit in the middle of the path. They then hid in the pit. When Fafnir moved over the pit Siegfried stabbed him and continued attacking but did nothing against the armored skin. The dragon then breathed fire killing the horse and Regin. Siegfried begged the gods to help him, lightning leapt from the sword knocking Fafnir down. Siegfred moved in for a final blow and the dragon never moved again.

Siegfried then thanked the gods and kissed his sword that had dragon blood on it. After this he could understand birds. He bathed in the blood of the dragon to become impossible to wound, all save for the place that the leaf had fallen on his back. Siegfried took the magic helmet and the ring. Then he asked the birds the best way to get out of the dragons land.[2]


Most of the gods in Germanic Mythology are the same as the ones in Norse Mythology.[3]

Odin also known as Wotan in Germanic lore, Odin is also known as the all father and the husband of Friggia. He is the god of storms, hunting, poetry, berserker fury, and incantations.

Thor also known as Donar in Germanic lore, the son of the all father, Odin. With his hammer Mjollnir he fights against the giants.

Freya is the golden haired female goddess of beauty and love.

Freyr is the lord of elves who is married to a giant named Gerd. He is the god of peace, lusty pleasure, and good crops.

Frigga is the all mother and wife of Odin or Wotan. She is the Goddess of peacemaking, weaving the threads of cosmic order, and holding and keeping political and domestic power.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Chalquist. (n.d.). Norse and German Mythology. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from
  2. ^ German Dragon Myths. (2003, October 7). Retrieved March 18, 2015, from
  3. ^ Turville-Petre. (2014, March 19). Germanic religion and mythology. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from