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Snorri’s Euhemerism: Truth, Imagination, and Motive

EuhemerismOdin is the god of wisdom, who sacrificed himself for knowledge as he hung, wounded, for nine nights in the tree Yggdrasil. He is a master of runes, who took knowledge from Vafthrúdnir, the wisest of giants, and even from Hel, herself. He stole the mead of poetry, a drink of which can make anyone an artist, and as king of Valhöll presides over half of the dead, who fight and are reborn in an endless cycle, as they wait for the end of the world. He is the father of Thor, as well as Váli and Vídar, who will survive Ragnarok, and the banisher of the Midgard Serpent, Fenrir the wolf, and Hel. But did he come from the human imagination, or was he a real person? What bias might drive believing one thing, or the other? (more…)