the dictionary of norse mythology


SCANDINAVIA A region in northwestern Europe. norway and sweden form the great peninsula once known as Scandia and now known as the Scandi-navian peninsula. denmark's Jutland peninsula and the islands the lie between it and the Scandinavian peninsula, as well as the Faeroe Islands and iceland, which lie in the Atlantic Ocean to the west and northwest of Norway, are often considered part of the region.The people of Scandinavia share similar lan-guages, histories, and cultures. Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic all share roots with the Ger-manic languages. Their ancestors spoke Old norse, a name that has often been used to refer to the people of Scandinavia as well as the ancient language. In 400 b.c., the Germanic peoples of north central Europe began moving northward and building settle-ments in Scandinavia, living next to or pushing aside the native people of those lands. By a.d. 600, nation-states had begun to take shape in these regions, and language changes separated these immigrant peoples from the cultures of their origins. Around this time the vikings, a powerful people, began centuries of conquest across northern Europe, including England, Finland, and parts of eastern Russia.Much of the information of the mythology of the Norse has survived in the records and manuscripts of the Scandinavian nations and on the intricate and complex stone carvings found throughout the region. Scholars have pieced together the stories of the gods, goddesses, enemies, and kingdoms of this mythology from scattered sources. From Iceland to the west and Finland to the east, the Arctic Circle to the north and the bogs of low-lying Denmark to the south, archaeologists have for almost two centuries uncov-ered the story of Scandinavia's past, including the spectacular finds of ships and ship burials near Oseberg, Norway, in 1904 and at Sutton Hoo in East Anglia, England, first excavated in 1939.

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