Mark Neumayer

Viking society was not a literary society – they did not write things down to remember them. Instead the skalds, or poets, committed all of the stories and sagas to memory, passing them along orally from generation to generation. Lack of book-learning does NOT mean that the Vikings were not intelligent people. Yes, they were fierce warriors, but they also valued wisdom. Today I’ll be discussing some of the ways the sagas show that to be true.

The Big O
Let’s start out by talking about Odin. He is chief of the Aesir, ruler of the Norse gods. The gods are assigned areas that they oversee or control. For example, Thor is god of thunder and lightning. He rules the storms. So what area does Odin rule? Which attributes did the Vikings assign to their chief god? War, yes, but also wisdom. He doesn’t just oversee it in some aloof…

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