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Eight legs[edit]

Regarding this edit (the citation does not work, but I expect that will be fixed soon so I will let that rest). I am a bit befuddled by the edit comment "Superfluous as it is common knowledge". Is it common knowledge that a bier or coffin is carried by four persons? My guess would have been that the number of men needed to carry such an object would vary depending on size. But my main problem is what this statement is that you fail to provide any explanation why this information is relevant, or who it is that have proposed an interpretation that Sleipnir symbolises four men carrying a bier. --Saddhiyama (talk) 16:41, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

As there has been no explanation I have reverted the changes. The citation was also spurious as it only mentioned authors last name, no title or anything else. --Saddhiyama (talk) 21:13, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
The reference was from within Wikipedia: perhaps I just didn't cut&paste correctly, although the link appeared to work when I tested it. It should be "* Ellis Davidson, H. R. (1990). Gods And Myths Of Northern Europe. Penguin. ISBN 0140136274". Certainly following the link to the Sleipnir entry would have provided an expansion of this interpretation as well as filling in omissions. As this is a communal pooling of information, perhaps editing would have been better than removing it, especially as not all of us can log on daily. Point taken about the number of pallbearers, however. I don't believe this interpretation is unique to Davidson, and it seems to be common knowledge, at least at the undergrad level. It is readily verifiable, both within the wiki and academically, so satisfies Wikipedia's criteria. The relevance is Odin's and Sleipnir's connection with death. The former's role as psychopomp had already been mentioned. I feel this needed emphasizing and certainly the description begs the question: why 8 legs? I would think further explanation would be more appropriate in the Sleipnir article. -Aikidoshi (talk) 18:12, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Okay, I can't edit the references for some reason. I will hold off on editing the section until I can figure that out. -Aikidoshi (talk) 18:45, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

"A Recurring Summon"[edit]

Final Fantasy is a high-profile series of computer games, and so I think it's a reasonable thing to link to here under the modern culture heading. But what does it mean that Odin is a "recurring summon" in the game? The noun is actually "a summons", but even so it doesn't make much sense. Could someone clarify with a few words what role Odin plays in the games? Can the player summon him? What for? Martin Rundkvist (talk) 20:33, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

whatever it means, I do not think its inclusion adds any value to this article. --dab (𒁳) 22:32, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

The role of Odin in the Final Fantasy series is to work as a mystical force, mainly called a summon. You can summon him in a fight to deal additional damage or even kill your enemies instantly. It depends on the number of the series what you can do. For example in FFVIII you can't summon Odin on command, it happens randomly but when it does, he kills instantly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:19, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

this tells us something about the Final Fantasy video game, but it tells us nothing about Odin. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:48, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT VIDEO GAMES. NO WAIT DON'T. THIS ISN'T THE PLACE. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:43, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Needs a rewrite.[edit]

"In the compound Wednesday, the first member is cognate to the genitive Odin's."

Could someone rewrite the first paragraph so that it makes some sense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

I second this. This is vague at best and highly esoteric at worst. --DanielRenfro (talk) 04:03, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Another rewrite needed for clarity: 'His name is related to ōðr, meaning "fury, excitation", besides "mind", or "poetry".' By "besides" I'm guessing someone meant "in addition to", but it parses oddly. --hexalm

Mercury and Tacitus[edit]

The statements associating Odin and Mercury are confusing, and in particular the statement that Tacitus was likely referring to Odin when writing of Mercury is especially confusing. Is this claiming that Odin is based on/evolved out of the Roman god Mercury? And, it seems a bit odd to claim Tacitus was writing about Odin when he uses "Mercury." Does this mean to say that in discussing Germanic gods, Tacitus imposes the name "Mercury" on Odin because he interprets the similarities of the gods as being the result of the Germanic tribes worshiping Mercury under a different name? Otherwise, why would we suppose he is referring to Odin, when Mercury is a well-established Roman god in large part based on a Greek antecedent (Hermes)? I'm not (necessarily) doubting that good, scholarly sources have established (or at least argue) that there is a connection between Mercury and Odin, but this connection could be much more clearly established in the article. As is, it is so confusing and vague as to be unhelpful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:04, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Lengthy section under Prose Edda[edit]

The lengthy section under the heading Prose Edda before the heading "Prologue" appears to be misplaced. It's a broad description of Odin's attributes with little reference to the Prose Edda and some reference to other literary and archaeological sources. It either needs to be trimmed or moved. --Simon Peter Hughes (talk) 11:03, 3 July 2011 (UTC)


It is interesting that slavery was practised in 9th century Sweden (and presumably elsewhere in Northern Europe at that time), and that male slaves were sacrificed on trees (compare this practice to the sacrifice of males and male slaves on trees in Benin - although this Victorian photo describes the victim as a criminal, the method was also described by the Portuguese who made first contact in the 11th century. They observed males and slaves being sacrificed in the same manner.) However, my query relates to the phrase "Male slaves and males of each species were sacrificed and hung from the branches of the trees."

Could the author please clarify what is meant by 'males of each species'? Is this referring to men of the local tribe and the male slaves taken from other local tribes, or to males from aboriginals taken from the taiga (or elsewhere) as well?

In the Benin case, the sacrifices related to the use of blood and the offering of flesh to the air spirits of the Otherworld as a means for the priest-king (the Oba) to gain the power to communicate with the Otherworld and to then draw down power from it for the benefit of himself and his people. It seems likely that the practice initially obliged the sacrifice of tribal members, but later shifted to slaves and transgressors - much as was the case with South American tribes of the same period. I conjecture that in all these cases, the situation paralleled that of king Aun's sons. Once the priests had sacrificed a critical mass of tribesmen - who doubtless went willingly in a noble cause - they were stopped by the tribespeople and an alternative source of victims was sought. Slaves taken from neighbouring tribes was the solution - no need to expend members of the god's chosen/created people when non-chosen/created and therefore non-human people were on hand, and clearly put there in readiness for such a purpose. In the case of the blot, which I assume means blood, I was wondering if one of the neighbouring Swedish tribes also happened to be aboriginals. Furthering thought (talk) 07:23, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Odins pig[edit]

Didn't Odin also have a giant pig? Does anybody know the name of the pig?AT Kunene (talk) 09:21, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

I think you may be referring to Sæhrímnir, however the race of that particular animal has not been finally established it seems. --Saddhiyama (talk) 09:23, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Indeed there was a pig called "Sæhrimner", though it did not belong to Odin in particular. Sæhrimner stood in a giantic cauldron full of boiling water, and when meat called "flæsk" was needed, it was simply cut off from it. >Luckily sæhrimner had the ability to regrow itself in a matter of mere seconds. Another particular pig is "Gyldenbørste". It's hair was made of the finest gold, and it shone like a second sun. (talk) 14:50, 8 February 2013 (UTC)DukeJuke

Santa Claus[edit]

Regarding this semi-fringe myth, a book by one Phyllis Siefker which poses the claim that Odin is the origin of the modern Santa Claus myth is being paraphrased in the following way: "According to Phyllis Siefker, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw, or sugar, near the chimney for Odin's flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir's food with gifts or candy."

I don't have access to the book in question, but is this an accurate wording? Besides the obvious questionable claims about apparently rather detailed knowledge of the activities of children during the Viking Age, I am rather sure that Norse houses at that time did not have chimneys, and the carrot wasn't introduced in Scandinavia until the 1500s, and there weren't sugar either. So the question remains whether this is an accurate paraphrasing, and if it is, does a book containing such claims really qualify as a reliable source? --Saddhiyama (talk) 17:25, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

I deleted the entire section, since further inspection of the claims and sources turned up several more questionable instances, for example the source Colliers Encyclopedia as citation for the claim that Sleipnir gave rise to Santas reindeer (it doesn't say anything about that), the synthesis about "a great Yule hunting party through the sky", or even the citation to the claim that Santa "largely based on Odin" is doubtful, since that book (not available in for full or snippet view to me, unfortunately) only spends a very short last chapter on the "Pagan Heritage of St Nicholas" (p. 146 out of 153 pages in total, while the rest of the book is entirely about St. Nicholas, making it dubious that such a strong claim about Odin would be made by him. --Saddhiyama (talk) 11:22, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Good call. There's certainly something to be said here, but a mess like that isn't the way to do it. :bloodofox: (talk) 11:31, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
I removed that paragraph also from Santa Claus. Please take a look at Santa_Claus#Influence_of_Germanic_paganism_and_folklore and see if you can use some content here. --Enric Naval (talk) 13:35, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Odin will be back[edit]

Odin will be back in the end of the summer 2013. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 5 June 2013 (UTC)


Strictly speaking, Wednesday isn't named after Odin, but rather after Woden, an Anglo-Saxon god. Both descend from the Germanic god Wodanaz, so the names are cognate, but they are distinct. Saying Wednesday is named after Woden is like saying the planet Jupiter is named after Zeus. Again, the names are cognate, but they have a distinct history.

To say the days of the week are named after Norse gods is wrong, as this states the names were taken from the names the Norsemen used for their gods, rather than from the names the Anglo-Saxons used for their gods.

Etymologically the names of the days of the week derives from the Anglo-Saxon names of the gods (except Saturday). Why particular gods are assigned to particular days is a different question. (talk) 03:40, 29 March 2014 (UTC) (talk) 18:27, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

        Thursday, however, is named after Thor, a norse god.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 29 October 2013 (UTC) 
Actually, the planets were named by Mesopotamians after their deities and assigned by Hellenistic astronomer Vettius Valens to the days of the week. Through interpretatio graeca, interpretatio romana and interpretatio germanica the gods were mapped to their respective counterparts in each culture. Mesopotamian Nabu (Nebo in the bible) was the point of departure for the Greek Hercules, the Roman Mercury, and the GermanicWotan/Odin; therefore it is wodensdag in old high german, woensdag in Dutch, odensdag in Swedish as well as in Norwegian, and wednesday in English.
Etymologically it derives from Woden and not Odin...thus explaining the 'W'...which was the point. Of course, both derive from Wodanaz, but the 'W' is lost in Norse, so if you say "Wednesday" comes from "Odin" you have to explain why the 'W' reappears. (talk) 03:38, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
No, it comes from "Thunresdaeg" from "Thunor", the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of "Thor", the 'N' is dropped. The day that isn't derived from an Anglo-Saxon god is Saturday. (talk) 03:38, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

Addition to "Popular Culture" Section[edit]

In recent weeks, I've made minor changes or additions to other Wiki articles, and some of them have been undone because those that are monitoring the pages felt they weren't needed or didn't fit the bill, even though they did. So before I take it upon myself to just add an addition to this particular section referenced above, I thought I'd check here first so as to not step on any toes. It should probably be noted that Odin was also featured in at least two episodes of Disney's Gargoyles, both of the episodes occurring during season two. The first being Season 2, Episode 36 Eye of the Storm, and the episode description actually links back to this article on Odin. The second one is Season 2, Episode 44 The Gathering (Part 1). Odin makes a brief appearance in episode 44 at the beginning, but is primarily featured in episode 36 when he comes upon the main character Goliath, to reclaim his eye which Goliath has. Goliath dons the "Eye of Odin" talisman to prevent the stranger from obtaining it, and struggles with its immense power. Aidensdaddy2k9 (talk) 04:15, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

By what stretch of the imagination is this noteworthy? (talk) 03:29, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

Because he has been featured in other media. Aidensdaddy2k9 (talk) 19:33, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

So? I'm sure Odin, being a well-known cultural figure, has been featured in loads of other media. We obviously aren't going to list every last appearance in other media. What makes a single episode of Gargoyles noteworthy? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:56, 21 April 2014 (UTC)


I have re-reverted the addition of an infobox to this article. Infoboxes are misleading in articles about Norse deities, because they oversimplify, and that is especially true of Óðinn, whose huge number of names indicates his complexity. His "function" has been debated by scholars for generations and cannot be summed up as if he were a Christian saint of three or four things. Even his family relationships are debatable and complex. Yngvadottir (talk) 05:03, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

So expand it a bit or create a better summary that people can read more about in the article text. The lead is also oversimplified, if you want to go down that road. But Zeus has an infobox, as does Ra, even Jesus has an infobox! Montanabw(talk) 05:58, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
None of those are as complex as Óðinn. In fact the "god of" formulations are all modern in relation to the Norse deities; they have a better basis wiht respect to other pantheons, although I won't judge the specific cases you mention. This article is problematic in several ways, and Bloodofox in fact has the beginnings of a rewrite in userspace (to which I have contributed a bit); it would be better to do a complete rewrite than to tinker with the lead section, or even the lead and some other parts. But my objection to an infobox here is more fundamental. This god is simply not reducible to a few lines in an infobox, and it does both the topic and the reader a disservice to have one. It makes it seem as if Marvel's version is not far off. There is no requirement for an infobox, and in this case it makes the article worse, not better. Yngvadottir (talk) 07:23, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I think that "none are as complex as Óðinn" is an insult to other major mythological deities, or at least to the scholars who study them, tough indeed, not judging the other cases is wise on all sides. One could equally argue that no god can be reduced to an infobox, but that's just getting silly. (though I did note God doesn't have an infobox, either) I take no position on the article overall and if someone is sandboxing a better version, I have no disagreement there. I am merely arguing for the addition of infoboxes to create consistency throughout the mythology articles. To the non-scholar, particularly younger students, the infobox, as in all other articles where they are used (such as complex scientific articles), presents basic information in a concise way for the drive-by user. The "infoboxes make an article worse" argument is nonsense, well over half of all wikipedia articles have them, they are a standardized feature and it is really only a matter of deciding what should go into one, the format is very useful. As far as I can tell, only the Norse mythology articles completely lack infoboxes, most other religious deity articles have them for most articles within a series. a quick glance shows me they exist for Shiva, Rama, Hera, Osiris, Nabu, Asherah, though infobox use and which infoboxes are used is not completely consistent. Perhaps you could also consider something like a side navbox as with Astarte (though that one would be improved with a photo at the outset). Montanabw(talk) 08:04, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I refer you again to the Arbcom decision that infoboxes are neither required nor deprecated. As I say, the Norse pantheon resists the reductions inherent in having such a box. The facilitation of comparisons that you see as an advantage is in fact inaccuracy, and the "drive-by user" is going to derive inaccurate information as a result; the solution from an editorial point of view is to write an adequate introduction (and article). As to the insult, I am afraid I see that the other way round: your contention is that a deity whose characteristics and relationships have been debated by scholars for well over 100 years can be easily summed up by editors seeking consistency? I will remove it yet again. I'm sorry, since the article had been edited again, I thought you had reinstated it, but you had not. Yngvadottir (talk) 15:51, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I was involved with the arbcom case, and am raising this here on a case by case basis, though part of my argument is that I think project-wide consistency also has much going for it. I find your argument that somehow Norse mythology is so much more complex than any other mythology to the point that an infobox would be of no help is kind of pretentious and rather ridiculous. (Infoboxes are, by their nature, simple) But I also will not change your mind, so I'm not going to edit war over it any more than I would do so on some of the music articles where a similar attitude prevails. Infoboxes add a consistent look to articles and really the only debate should be what goes into them, not whether to do them or not; they should be as integral as categories and such. But whatever. Montanabw(talk) 03:55, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Yes, whatever. The argument for consistency to me flies in the face of the Arbcom decision; and the simplicity is problematic when instead of providing a parking place for statistics and lists (as with Olympic athletes, ships, and species) it overrides the nuanced view the article provides - and which it is our job to provide. So I am afraid we have essentially divergent points of view. Yngvadottir (talk) 06:00, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
Of course, keep in mind this: 1) Your consistency argument could equally be applied within Norse mythology, why not add an infobox for Loki or Freya even if not for Odin, eh? ;-) but also 2) While;Arbcom essentially held that projects cannot dictate local policy in defiance of overall wikipedia guidelines, Arbcom did NOT hold that project guidelines on consistency and formatting were useless or to be discounted as good advice. 3) I find your "nuance" argument unconvincing; we could say the same for Presidents of the United States, each of which has an infobox or (even moreso) Legal Cases of the US Supreme Court... or ... I could go on. At the end of the day, however, though I presume you have heard all the valid arguments in favor of infoboxes elsewhere, and I have heard those against a nauseaum, so all we have here is an ILIKEIT versus an IDONTLIKEIT debate between two people, unlikely to be resolved. Given your strong interest in the topic compared to my minor interest (Which I admit can be summed up as "I'm part Scandanavian so Norse mythology is kind of interesting, plus it's also cool that Odin has a horse"), I'll defer to you on this particular article and topic,though perhaps there is room to consider an infobox for Sleipnir? Montanabw(talk) 04:55, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Please leave the info boxes out. They're not helpful for these types of articles, and if they exist on other similar articles, then they should probably be removed; most of our articles in the realm of mythology, folklore, and religion are very poorly developed (this one, unfortunately, included). A well-written introduction functions in all ways superior to an info box. :bloodofox: (talk) 19:09, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Infoboxes and lead sections are two entirely different things with different purposes. The lead is a summary/overview. An infobox is a standardized data set hat provides metadata, an image, and very basic data as well as being a suitable design element for a complex article. I'm not going to fight about it here, as I have other fish to fry elsewhere, but you throw the baby out with the bathwater to reject use of infoboxes. Some need improved design, but they are quite useful for what they do. Montanabw(talk) 00:06, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
I feel that infoboxes can be useful in this context. A good point was brought up how political figures use infoboxes such as the President of the United States. That being said, are we talking about fictional and non-fictional or are we talking about the informational representation of a person? I lean towards the latter on this case. If we look at it like that, Odin is no different than any person, and yes, it is very cool that he had a horse. It's also important to note that when depicting a person and many people, we should try to keep consistent in all things. Consistency is the best way to access information. If it's somewhere different for each person, then Wikipedia's goal of making all information accessible just got a lot harder.