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Numbers in Norse mythology

Did the Vikings write numbers?

The number three is the first of the numbers in Norse mythology that appears related to different characters, events and deities: 

– The three main deities of the Viking era who form a Trinitarian unit: Odin, Thor and Freyr.

– The three races of giants (jotun): mountain giants, ice giants and fire giants.

– The first beings of the universe were three: Buri the first god, Auðumbla the first cow and the giant Ymir.

– The Auðumbla cow licked the ice of Ginnungagap until the god Buri stood up.

– Ymir had three children, a woman and two men, one of whom was born with six heads.

– There are three Norns (Nordic goddesses of destiny): Urðr (is the past and is represented with an old woman looking back, Verðandi (the present, is a young woman looking forward) and Skuld (the future, represented by reading a book that is not yet All three descendants of the giant Narfi.

– Three brother deities: Odin, Vili and Ve created the world and the first human beings.

– Yggdrasil, the tree of life, has three roots that feed on three sacred places: the well of Urd, the spring of Mimir, where wisdom and intelligence are sheltered, and Hvergelmir in the realm of darkness and darkness.

– In the search for the runes, Odin (the main god of Norse mythology) underwent three trials: he hanged himself, wounded himself with a spear and suffered from hunger and thirst.

Loki (the clever master of deception) had three evil children with the giantess Angrboda: the wolf Fenrir, the snake Jörmungandr and Hel.

– Three harsh winters, with no summers in between, will anticipate Ragnarök, the battle of the end of the world.

– The wolf Fenrir (son of Loki) was attacked with three magic ropes, but only one managed to keep him bound. The arrival of this will be announced by the crowing of three roosters.

– After the death of the god Balder for Loki’s misdeeds, the latter was punished by the gods. They used the entrails of their son Narfi to make three ropes and tie him to three blocks of stone.

– The gods have burned the goddess or giantess Gullveig 3 times and she is resurrected all three times.

– The rainbow bridge connecting Midgard (the world of men) and Asgard (the kingdom of the gods) has three colors, three names (Bifröst, Ásbrú and Bilröst) and its guardian, Heimdal, three powers: it sleeps less than a bird, he can see a hundred leagues and he can hear the grass growing.

– Odin has three possessions: The Gungnir spear, the gold Draupnir ring, and the Sleipnir horse.

Glima, the martial art of the Vikings

– Thor has three weapons: the Mjolnir hammer, the Megingjörð belt which doubles his strength and the steel gloves to wield the hammer.

– Freyr has three magical possessions: a ship that doubles as a handkerchief and can be stored in a bag (Skidbladnir), a golden boar (Gullinbursti) capable of running day and night faster than a horse and a sword capable to fight alone. (Skirnir).

– Freyja has three possessions: the Brisingamen necklace, a cape with which she can transform into a hawk and a chariot pulled by two cats.

– Three powerful potions Thor drinks from a horn in the fortress of Útgarda-Loki, in one bet, but he gave up when he was unable to empty the contents, and three were the bets (which he lost), the other two had to raise a jack for a leg leaving three on the ground and defeating an old woman in battle. Then he realized that the horn contained all the sea water, the cat was Jörmungandr and the old woman, the personification of old age that no one can defeat.

– Thor hit the giant Skrýmir three times with his Mjolnir hammer because his snoring didn’t allow him to sleep but, due to the magic, he missed all three.

– The giant Hrimthurs has promised to build the walls of Asgard in three seasons. How paid he asked for the Sun, the Moon and the goddess Freyja as his wife.

– Odin spent three days in the cave of the giantess Gunlod to obtain the mead of poetry. He let him take a sip from each of the three jars, even though Odin drank the entire contents.

– Three dwarves sons of Ivaldi have created three prodigious objects: Freyr’s Skíðblaðnir ship, Odin’s Gungnir spear and Sif’s golden hair.

– The dwarves Eitri and Brokk have also created three prodigious items: Gullinbursti the boar of Freyr, Draupnir the ring of Odin and mjolnir the hammer of Thor.

The number nine in Norse mythology

Nine is the number par excellence in the Viking religion, there are countless events and characters related to this sacred figure:

– Odin hanged himself upside down from a gallows of the Yggdrasil ash tree for nine days and nights in exchange for the wisdom of the well of Urd.

– Yggdrasil, the tree of life, contains nine worlds in its branches: Helheim, Svartálfaheim, Niflheim, Jötunheim, Midgard, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Asgard and Muspelheim.

– There are also nine heavenly realms: Vindblain (also Heidthornir or Hregg-Mimir), Andlang, Víðbláinn, Vidfedmir, Hrjod, Hlyrnir, Gimir, Vet-Mimir and Skatyrnir.

– Vikings met every nine years at the Uppsala temple to feast and sacrifice nine animals of each species and nine humans for nine days.

– Freyr has waited nine days to consummate his union with the giantess Gerd.

– The volva (priestess) Gróa shares nine spells with her son Svipdag.

– Thor, after killing the snake Jörmungandr, is struck by its venom and retreats nine steps before falling dead during the Ragnarök, the battle of the end of the world.

– Giantess Menglod is guarded by nine maidens in her captivity in The Song of Svipdagr . In the second part of the poem, Laegjarn is tied with nine clasps on his chest.

– To light the blazing flame (a sacrifice that the pagan Norse offered to their gods) it was necessary to use nine different types of wood.

– Odin’s Draupnir ring has the ability to multiply every nine nights into eight new identical rings identical to him, for a total of nine rings.

– Grímnir, one of the many identities of the god Odin, spends nine days prisoner of King Geirröd. On the last day he reveals his identity and assassinates the monarch.

– Ægir and Ran have nine daughters, “the girls of the waves”. They lured the Viking ships and drowned them.

– The god Heimdal, son of Odin, has nine gigantic mothers.

– To free the god Balder of the underworld, the god Hermod, he had to ride the horse Sleipnir for nine days.

– The jotun (giant) Baugi had 9 slaves who killed each other to get the magic whetstone belonging to the god Odin.

– To decide where to live, the god Njord and his wife Skadi spent nine nights in Thrymheim and nine nights in Nóatún.