The Home of the Giants: Jotunheimen
I’ve posted a lot of photos from Portugal lately and there’s still more to come, but to break up the posts a little bit and to keep some sort of variation in the blog: here’s some photos from Norway! Some of you might have seen my previous posts about the Stave Churches located in Valdres, or the post about the Ancient Grinding Mills? If you haven’t read them, you can find them all under the category Stave Churches.
Here’s another couple of photos from that same area that I felt like sharing. On the photos you can see the mountain range Jotunheimen as well as the mountains Grindafjellet and Syndin, while you catch up on your Norse Mythology.
The name Jotunheimen derived from Norse mythology: Jotun means giant, heim = home, which therefore means Giants’ Home.
Jotunheimen (English: The Home of the Giants) is a mountainous area of roughly 3,500 km² in southern Norway and is part of the long-range known as the Scandinavian Mountains. The 29 highest mountains in Norway are all in Jotunheimen, including the very highest – Galdhøpiggen (2469 m). Jotunheimen straddles the border between the counties of Oppland and Sogn og Fjordane. (wikipedia)
In the book “The Hammer of the North” by Magnus Magnusson (ISBN 0 85613 301 9) you can read more about the story of Jotunheimen. The following are excerpts from his book:
“But where did the men come from who peopled the world?”
«According to Snorri (Snorri Sturluson (1179 – 23 September 1241) was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician), this was the works of the god Óðinn (anglicized: Odin) and his two brothers. Strolling along the seashore one day they came across two logs of driftwood, picked them up, and whittled them into the shape of mankind. The first god, Óðinn, gave them life and soul (or spirit); the second gave them understanding and the power of feeling; and the third gave them speech, hearing and sight.
After the creation of mankind, the gods gave them a place to live. The earth was envisaged as being on a flat disc, girt by a mighty ocean (like the Okeanos of Greek myth). On the farther shores of this ocean the gods gave a grant of land called Jötunheimr to the giants (Jötunheimr (or Jǫtunheimr; often anglicized Jotunheim). At the centre of the world disc they established a stronghold for mankind called Miðgarðr (Midgard – Middle Enclosure) which was fortified against the giants by a palisade made from Ymir’s eyebrows (Ymir was a jötunn (anglicized jotunn or jotun).
Finally, the gods built their own fastness called Ásgarðr (Asgard, Old Norse: Ásgarðr; meaning “Enclosure of the Æsir” – the Enclosure of the Gods), a high citadel on a crag running up from the centre of Midgard, fortified by a great wall and connected to earth by the rainbow-bridge, Bifröst. Asgard was a beautiful place, resplendent with halls and golden palaces – the Mount Olympus of the North.
The picture of the world that emerges is that if a disc with concentric bands: in the centre was Asgard for the gods, then Miðgarðr (Midgard) for mankind, then Ocean, and on the outside Jötunheimr, the home of the giants. But although it was conceived as being flat, it also had three levels: Asgard at the top, Midgard in the middle, and underneath it Niflheimr, the realm of the dead.
All these realms were held together by Yggdrasil, the World Tree. This was the greatest and best of all trees’, a mighty ash-tree which was the holy of holies of the gods.»
- Quoted from ”The Hammer of the North” by Magnus Magnusson.