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Anglo-Saxon Britain

Nothgyth Quest Supporting Notes

by David Slaughter, 3 February 2008

Part 1: Woden the ancestor

As the ancestor of the South Saxon kings (among a great many other descended lines of kings), Woden was born 'at the beginning of time' (or more likely in the fourth century AD when calculated backwards from his claimed descendants - see the Anglen page for details).

His parents were reputedly the giant, Bor, and the giantess, Bestia, who came from chaos.

Woden was the father god, the god of battle and death, the god of inspiration and wit and, far from least, he was the god of learning. Woden was also the psychopomp of slain warriors, taking them back to Valhalla, his hall of the brave. Valhalla was situated in a joyous land called Gladheim, where Woden also had another hall with twelve thrones upon which were seated his councillors.

Woden was the great chief of the Aesir, a race of war gods who lived in Asgarth, the world of divinities. The god-chief had two ravens, Hugin ('Thought') and Munin ('Memory'), who told him all that had happened in Milgard, the world of mortals. (See Tribal Warfare of the Gods in Scandinavia for a more in-depth examination of the Aesir and the Norse gods).

Woden was in wedlock with Frigg, the goddess of fertility, conjugal love, and motherhood.

Their eldest son, Balder, was the favourite of all the other gods. He was known for his matchless beauty and sweetness of character. He was the god of plants and good forces. He lived in a hall called Breithablik with his wife, the daughter of the god, Nepr, and her name was Nanna.

Forseti, their son, was the god of justice, peace, and truth. He had a throne in his hall. This residence was called Glitnir, a palace which was embellished with silver and gold.

Balder was killed unintentionally by his blind brother, the god Hoder, with a bough of mistletoe, having been misled by the malicious Loki, the god of mischief, destruction, and fire.

Woden and Frigg had another son who was killed in combat at the battle of Ragnasok. His name was Hermod. Since he had no children and nor did Hoder, presumably Aelle and Mealla (if they were royal) would have claimed descent from Woden through his grandson, Forseti.

Woden also had a natural son called Vithar by his concubine, Grithir, who was a giantess.

As a god figure, Woden is still important to contemporary pagans for whom he is the god of inner battles.

Part 1: Woden
Part 2: Rapes
Part 3: Cissa's Witan
Part 4: Agnatic Witan 1
Part 5: Agnatic Witan 2
Part 6: Hwicce
Part 7: Sub-Kings
Norwegian fjord

According to Norwegian myth the mountain caves in this land of fjords are peopled by supernatural giants, trolls, although they sometimes appear as dwarfs. Perhaps trolls derive their ancestry from a distant memory of Neanderthals, as may the giants who are said to have existed in the chaos before the birth of Woden.



Images are free from copyright. Text copyright © David Slaughter, BA Hons, ATC (Sussex), Blue Robe Order of the Welsh Gorsedd, expanded from material first released on the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Sussex blogspot. An original feature for the History Files.