Religion Past and Present

Get access

(306 words)

[German Version]

(Old Norse Óðinn; Ger. Wodan, Wotan; Eng. also Woden) is the chief Germanic god of northern paganism in the Viking period, and also its most versatile figure. Myths about Odin include the search for wisdom (e.g. theft of the skaldic meal) and knowledge contests (e.g. with the giant Vafþrúðnir). In some myths he has to undergo shaman-like sufferings (e.g. hang himself in order to obtain runes). As a magician he even practices the black art of seiðr, unworthy of men. In order to attain wisdom he sacrifices one eye, and is therefore portrayed as one-eyed. He…

Cite this page
Harris, Joseph, “Odin”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 17 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

▲   Back to top   ▲