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The Influence of Norse / Germanic Deities

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1 The Influence of Norse / Germanic Deities
Days of the Week

2 Days of the Week Have you ever wondered where our seven day week comes from? Is it just coincidence that four weeks coincides with the phases of the moon? Is it just coincidence that 52 weeks equals a year?

3 Days of the Week Our days of the week were originally Latin (Roman) in origin. The Romans began using a 7 day week, with Sunday being the first day, between the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D. 7 days because there were 7 “luminaries” in the sky – Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. These were the 5 “wanderers”, or planets, that could be seen with the naked eye, and the Sun and the Moon, which the ancients believed ordered the cosmos. Interestingly, Jews used a 7 day week more than a thousand years before the Romans, based on their holy scripture in which God created all that there is in 6 days and rested on the 7th.

4 Days of the Week The Roman days of the week:
Monday - dies Lūnae [day of the Moon] (lunar, lunatic)  Tuesday – dies Martis [day of Mars] (martial) in Greek, Ares God of War  Wednesday – dies Mercuriī [day of Mercury] (mercurial temper) in Greek, Hermes Messenger of the Gods  Thursday – dies Jovis [day of Jupiter] in Greek, Zeus the Sky God and King of the Gods  Friday – dies Veneris [day of Venus] in Greek, Aphrodite Goddess of Love  Saturday - dies Saturnī [day of Saturn] in Greek, Kronus or Cronus, the Titan, father of Zeus  (Note how similar most of the Latin days are to modern Romance languages, ie. Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, Jueves, Viernes.)

5 Days of the Week Sometime after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the rise of the Germanic tribes of Europe, Germanic/Norse deities replaced some of the Roman gods.

6 Sunday From the Old English Sunnandæg meaning “Sun’s day”.
Germanic/Norse sun deity is the goddess Sol or Sunna. English preserved the original pagan/sun association, but in most European languages and all the Romance languages, Sunday was called the Lord’s Day, such as in Spanish today, Domingo.

7 The Dire Wolves Hati and Skol pursuing Sol and Mani
Monday From the Old English Mōnandæg meaning “Moon’s day”. Germanic/Norse moon deity is the god Mani, brother of Sol (the Sun goddess). The Dire Wolves Hati and Skol pursuing Sol and Mani

8 Tuesday From the Old English Tīwesdæg meaning “Tiw’s Day” or “Tyr’s Day”, in honor of the Norse god Tyr, a one-handed god associated with justice, oaths, and warriors. Tyr was once the chieftain of the Norse gods, the Aesir, but stepped aside for Odin. The Romans believed Tyr was a representation of their god, Mars. However, although a god of  warriors, he is very different from the brutal Roman god of war.

9 Tuesday Tyr’s Day god of Oaths, Justice, Warriors

10 Wednesday From the Old English Wōdnesdæg meaning “Wodan’s Day” (Germanic) or “Odin’s Day” (in Norse). Wodan/Odin was the chief of the Germanic/Norse gods, called the All Father by the other gods. To the Germanic tribes, mid-week, or mittwoch as they called it, was an important time, the pivotal day of the week, and thus, associated with their most powerful god.

11 Wodan’s Day Wodan/Odin rode on a flying, eight legged horse, often accompanied by two fierce wolves. He was attended by Valkyrie, warrior maidens who brought the souls of brave Norsemen who fell in battle to his golden mead hall – Valhalla.

12 Wodan’s Day Wodan/Odin was thought to wander the world dressed as an old beggar in a floppy hat with a staff, accompanied only by his two ravens, Thought and Memory. The birds scoured the earth for him, gathering knowledge. Odin was the chieftain of the gods.

13 Thursday From the Old English dūnresdæg , meaning “Donar’s day” or “Thor’s Day”. (Old High German for Thor is Donar. The modern German word for “thunder” is still Donner.) Thor was the Germanic/Norse god of thunder and a sky God like Jupiter who gave his name to dies Jovis - Thursday. Thor was, in Germanic/Norse mythology, the son of Odin.

14 Thor’s Day Thor / Donar was the most popular of the Norse gods, especially with soldiers. Legends depict him as a brave, adventurous thunder god, the enemy of evil and the protector of mankind.

15 Thor’s Day Thor rode through the sky on a chariot pulled by enchanted goats. Only he could lift his mighty hammer, Mjolnir, with which he could split mountains as well as the skulls of giants. Giant oak trees were sacred to his followers and he commanded the storms.

16 Friday From the Old English Frīgedæg, meaning the day of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Fríge or Frigg. The Norse name for the planet Venus was Friggjarstjarna, 'Frigg's star'. Frige/Frigg was the Germanic/Norse goddess of love, beauty and fertility and is often depicted as the spouse of Odin.

17 Frigg’s Day Frigg is the wife of Odin and Queen of Asgard, the realm of the Aesir. She was the foremost of the Norse goddesses. Goddess of marriage and fertililty. It was said Frigg had the power of prophecy yet she did not reveal her prophetic knowledge.

18 Saturday The only day of the week to retain its Roman origin.
Named after the Roman Titan Saturn (associated with the Greek Titan Cronus, father of Zeus and many Olympians.) Its original Anglo-Saxon rendering was Sæturnesdæg, meaning “day of Saturn”. In Scandinavian, this day has no reference to Norse or Latin gods. It literally means “washing-day”, which explains why modern English has retained the old usage. In most Romance languages, Saturday means Day of the Sabbath, such as in Spanish, sabado and Italian sabato, derived from Latin Sabbata dies.  

19 The Influence of Norse / Germanic Deities
Days of the Week

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