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Teutonic mythology Traditional beliefs of the Germanic peoples. Much of the mythology of pre-Christian Germany and Scandinavia is preserved in two Icelandic works, the Eddas. According to the Eddas, before the creation of the world there existed a land of ice and shadows called Niflheim and a land of fire known as Muspellsheim. The two lands together created the first giant, Ymir. Odin and his brothers killed Ymir and founded the race of gods. They then created the world from parts of Ymir's body, and made the first man and woman from pieces of trees. At the centre of the worlds of gods and men stood a giant ash tree, Yggdrasil. Odin, the head of the Aesir (heroic gods), was the god of poetry and of battle. Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, was the resting place of warriors slain in battle. Next in line to Odin was Thor, the god of thunder, rain, and fertility. Other members of the Teutonic pantheon included the handsome Balder and Loki, the son of a giant. The Vanir gods, regarded as less important than the Aesir, included Njörd, the sea-god, his son Freyr, a god of fertility, his daughter Freya, the goddess of love and magic, and Hel, the goddess of death and the underworld.
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