Norse War Gods
Norse War God
Contrary to popular belief brought around by the video game series God of War, the Norse did not worship a singular Norse war god.
In north Mythology, there were 3 gods of war, Odin, Tyr and Freya. Though Odin is sometimes referred to as ‘the’ god of war, he is only one of three.
So what were the 3 norse war gods main duties?
Tyr presides over justice, law and war.
Freya presides over sex, love, fertility and war.
Odin presides as the leader of the Aesir gods, the main deities that the Norse worshipped. The Aesir were always at war with their contrasted Vanir, though scholars know very little of Vanir gods.
Odin is the allfather, god of war, poetry, sovereignty, wisdom, magic and the dead. Although he isn’t a warrior, his wisdom and foresight were often detrimental in battles to determine who should live, and who would die.
The allfather was omnipotent and often spread his seed, fathering Thor, Balder, Hoder, Vidar and Vali.
Odin would regularly conflict with Thor, as Thor was the god of the common people, and Odin was one who preferred nobility and true bloods.
What was Odin known best for?
Odin was known for his tricks, skills with words, magical abilities and power to decipher ancient runes. Physically he had one eye, a long beard, a wide hat and wore a long cloak.
Odin had 2 ravens named Huginn and Muninn, who are his watchful eyes gathering information and report it back to him.
Although Odin is a war god, he very rarely fights. When he does fight, he utilizes his spear Gungnir. He also commands the Valkyries who are female warrior spirits created to escort nobles to Valhalla when they die in battle.
What is Ragnarok?
Ragnarok in Norse mythology is the death of all gods, and in many tales the end of all things with only 2 humans remaining to repopulate the earth.
Ragnarok begins with a dreadful winter, forcing the world into famine and war.
The Norse war god Odin dies by Fenrir’s hand, and Fenrir swallows him whole. Odin’s son Vidar avenges his father’s death.
The Other Two Norse War Gods
Tyr became famous for his encounter with Fenrir, where Tyr sacrificed his hand to Fenrir as a sign of trust when he promised to release him come Ragnarok.
No other gods were willing to make this sacrifice, but through fear of Fenrir’s power and help from the dwarves, Fenrir was then restrained with magic bindings.
Freya also had a special place in the afterlife, as Odin had Valhalla Freya had Folkvangr, where she would hand pick warriors slain in battle to join her there for eternity.
Freya’s role during the Norse war god battles suggest a connection between Freya and Odin, with Freya’s husband in mythology being Odr, and Odin’s wife being named Frigg, but they were split into distinct gods for some reason and we are only left with speculation.
The Norse war god pantheon is confusing, but only three Norse war gods stand in the list. Some would want Thor to be part of the list, but unfortunately Thor was not the god of war in Norse mythology, although he was brave, tireless, strong and dutiful as a warrior should be.