Extract from forthcoming book: Vol 2 of Viking Legends and Norse Mythology:
In any mythology, even fictitious ones as we know from Tolkien, there is always an origin, a source or a historical reference, no matter how fragile. We haven’t even begun to unravel the distant threads in time that has lead to the creation of the Norse Mythological pantheon, and if we needed the right place to begin, then it begins here, with the royal house of the Ynglings, called the Ynglingar. Perhaps, it is an impossible task, since Historians often added fable to fantasy and fantasy to fable to lend credence to the myths held to be all pervasive in Viking times. And yet, there exist fragments, glimpses into possibility that connections existing across bloodlines that stretched farther back than we can know with any certainty, since no records exist to tell fact from fiction.
To describe what is the oldest of all the Scandinavian royal Viking bloodlines, the Ynglings is a journey into the past the imagination of those who captured the past, but told as part of myth. The Ynglingar are a people who were said to have arrived in Sweden from the East. The tombs of which has been described in Volume 1, a people who are said to be descended from Odin’s race from Ásaland, Asgard, the land of the Gods. So to understand the significance of the Ynglingar, we have to go farther back in time and legend, back to the tales of migrations from the South of Europe. And even though concepts have been added by scholars and tale-tellers, it has to be left up to the imagination of the reader to accept myths, bust them or find the middle ground in-between.
The Heimskringla↵ is a collection of sagas relating to the blood line of the Norwegian kings, telling of the original homelands of the Norse Gods. The origins of the Norwegian royal bloodline starts comes from the Ynglingar. In the recounting of the legends/history, each chapter is a saga, translated as ‘tale’. The first of these tells the mythological prehistory of the Norwegian royal dynasty, tracing Odin of the people called the Vanir from the Age of Migrations. Described as a mortal man, Odin and his followers came from the East, from Asaland and Asgard, its chief city, to their settlement in central East Sweden close to the Baltic. The sagas tell of the contests of the kings, the establishment of the kingdom of Norway and Viking expeditions. Pitted against Odin, we have the people of Vanaheimr, the Vanir. In Norse cosmology↵, is considered one of the Nine Worlds. Of the descendants of Odin emerged the royal bloodlines of legend.
Certainly at the root of all the Kings of Swedish Viking legend, lies a more fascinating and rich tapestry of chiefs, horse warriors and pagan deeds that in time. But had there really been a war that became myth? Had there been some incident far back in the mists of time that became embellished into the Myths of the Scandinavian people?
Moving on from beliefs about the underworld and the afterlife, we enter the wonderfully obscure zone where myths begin and where history isn’t told, but can only be glimpsed, but only if we squint our eyes, so we can hardly see where we are looking. Discovering who these people were, people who became Nordic gods has been, in the words of one Historian, “like moving from a room lighted by the occasional flash of a dying fire to one where we have to grope in absolute darkness.”
The sources are few and what accounts there are, are often contradictory. However, out of the mists of time, it is becoming increasingly possible to place the traces of the legendary past into some kind of order. As online resources continue to grow, so does our collective knowledge of the past. We can relate one old book to another without ever having to move beyond the comfort of our chair. This is a quest of discovery and rediscovery where I hope to unlock a little of that vast resource and bring it alive.