• Wed. Mar 29th, 2023

Midgard: Norse Mythology’s Realm of the Humans


Sep 27, 2022

The Viking universe was an advanced one. It was made up of 9 completely different realms. Completely different realms have been dwelling to completely different races, and every had completely different themes. Of all of the races, people have been the feeblest and in want of safety but additionally probably the most beloved of the gods. In Norse mythology, Midgard was the realm the place people resided, its mighty partitions defending us from exterior threats. Right here’s every little thing there may be to know concerning the historical past of mighty Midgard, the protector of mankind.

Midgard’s Place within the Norse Cosmos

Most Viking tales adopted the oral custom, which means they have been spoken tales handed on from individual to individual, and barely written down. Unsurprisingly this led to main variations in how these tales have been advised, very similar to a sport of Chinese language whispers.

Immediately, our essential sources for Norse info on  Midgard are the  Poetic Edda , a set of tales written within the 1200s however with a lot earlier origins, and the  Prose Edda , one other  assortment used to show poets the tales.

These sources point out the 9 realms that made up Norse cosmology. These have been:

  • Midgard (the house of humanity)
  • Asgard (the house of the Aesir household of gods: Odin and firm)
  • Vanaheim (the house of a secondary household of the gods, the Vanir)
  • Jotunheim (land of the giants)
  • Helheim (the afterlife)
  • Alfheim (dwelling to the elves)
  • Svartalfheim (dwelling to the darkish elves)
  • Muspell (a realm of fireside intently tied to the Norse creation fantasy)
  • Niflheim (a freezing water realm additionally intently tied to the creation fantasy)

Midgard’s identify means that it sat within the heart of the  Norse cosmos , surrounded by the opposite eight realms. On this interpretation, Midgard will not be a lot the Earth itself however the ramparts that defend it from the denizens of the opposite realms.

Different occasions the Norse cosmos is represented vertically with Midgard sandwiched between Asgard and Helheim / Niflheim. The three are held collectively by the  tree of life , Yggdrasil. Its branches in Asgard, its base in Midgard, and its roots in Helheim.

Ymir, the “father of Midgard” sucks on the udder of Auðumbla as she licks Búri out of the ice in a portray by Nicolai Abildgaard, 1790. (Nicolai Abildgaard /  CC0)

The Creation of Midgard

The primary residing factor in Norse mythology was the  giant, Ymir. Ymir rose from the drops of water which fashioned when the ice of Niflheim met with the flames of Muspell. Ymir then started to sprout his kids from his physique, these have been the primary  giants.

The primary of the Aesir was fashioned when the primeval  cow, Auoumbla, started licking some rhinestones. From these stones emerged Buri who in flip quickly had a son known as Borr (it isn’t recorded how). Borr married a Jotunn (big) known as Bestla. Borr and Bestla had three sons Odin, Vili, and Ve.

It was these sons who have been accountable for the creation of Midgard. Sooner or later they determined to assault and kill Ymir. It was from his physique that Midgard was fashioned. The land itself was formed from his  flesh, his hair made the bushes, his bones have been the mountains, and his  teeth have been cliffs. His brains have been used to fill the sky with clouds and the oceans have been crammed along with his blood.

In response to the story, the Midgard is a disc surrounded by a deep sea. Alongside the sting of this nice sea, the gods granted lands to the giants. To maintain the  mortals of Midgard secure an important wall was constructed round it to guard them from the giants. This wall was fashioned from Ymir’s eyebrows.

The sky and the dome of heaven have been made out of Ymir’s  skull which was held up by 4  dwarfs who represented the 4 instructions, North, East, South, and West.

Midgard was symbolic of the fixed battle between order and chaos. Inside the fence of Midgard was “innangard,” which represented every little thing secure, civilized, and orderly. Exterior the fence was “utangard.” Utangard represented every little thing chaotic and harmful.

Thor's fight with the giants over the safety of Midgard by Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872. (Mårten Eskil Winge / Public domain)

Thor’s combat with the giants over the protection of Midgard by Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872. (Mårten Eskil Winge /  Public domain )

Midgard’s Savior, Thor, and Destroyer, the World Serpent

Two extra figures from Norse mythology have been intently tied to Midgard – Thor, and the world serpent, Jormungandr. The 2 had an antagonistic relationship, with  Thor representing order and  Jormungandr chaos.

Thor is usually depicted as being strongly linked to humanity. He was regularly seen because the protector of Midgard. In mythology, Thor spent a big period of time touring Midgard with varied companions. These myths are inclined to revolve round Thor having time, then getting offended earlier than crushing one thing / somebody along with his mighty hammer.

Jormungandr, the world serpent, then again is not any protector, he was as a substitute prophesied to be the destroyer of Midgard throughout Ragnarok. Jormungandr was born to the god Loki and the Jotunn Angrboda. The serpent had two siblings, Fenrir the large wolf, and Hel, queen of the useless.

It was stated that the three siblings would deliver concerning the destruction of every little thing throughout Ragnarok. Regardless of being advised by the fates that Ragnarok was inevitable, Odin tried to delay Ragnarok by separating the three siblings.

Jormunganr was thrown by Odin into the ocean of Midgard. There Jormungandr grew to an unlimited measurement. As soon as he had grown so massive that he encircled Midgard utterly the serpent bit its tail, forming an ouroboros (round serpent consuming its personal tail).

It was stated that when Ragnarok lastly got here Jormungandr would launch his tail and slither onto the land, inflicting tidal waves that might swallow the earth. He was destined to face off with Thor on the battle web site at Vigrid. Right here the 2 would combat to the dying, Thor crushing Jormungandr’s cranium earlier than succumbing to the serpent’s venom and dying himself.

Throughout Ragnarok, all of existence, together with Midgard was destined to be destroyed. From the ashes of Midgard, it was stated {that a} new, maybe higher world would sprout.

Thor fighting the mighty serpent Jormundgandr during a fishing trip with a giant in a painting by Henry Fuseli. (Royal Academy of Arts / Public domain)

Thor combating the mighty serpent Jormundgandr throughout a fishing journey with a large in a portray by Henry Fuseli. (Royal Academy of Arts /  Public domain )


In Norse mythology, Midgard represents the steadiness between the forces of chaos and order. Inside its partitions every little thing is secure, and people stay safely. Pounding on the partitions are the chaotic Jotunn and the opposite forces of chaos.

This steadiness can also be represented within the juxtaposition of Thor, protector of Midgard and order, and Jormungandr, agent of chaos. While in most religions we count on the forces of order to succeed this isn’t the case in Norse mythology.

Thor and Jormungandr are proven to be equal in energy, each managing to defeat one another. Reasonably than the destruction of Midgard by the hands of the siblings being proven to be a foul factor, nonetheless, it’s proven to be constructive. When order and chaos conflict and Midgard is destroyed however a brand new world is created. The cycle continues.

Prime picture: A big Viking rune stone depicting the Midgard serpent in Trelleborg Sweden. Supply:  Lars Gieger  / Adobe Inventory

By Robbie Mitchell

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