Hermann, Pernille, Stephen A. Mitchell, and Jens Peter Schjødt, eds., with Amber J. Rose. 2017. Old Norse Mythology—Comparative Perspectives. Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature 3. Cambridge, MA: Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_HermannP_etal_eds.Old_Norse_Mythology.2017.
Pre-Christian Religions of the North and the Need for Comparativism: Reflections on Why, How, and with What We Can Compare
|Growth, fertility, femininity||War, masculinity|
|No human sacrifices||Human sacrifices|
|Circumambulation/first fruit||Authorizing human sacrifice|
|Ruler identifies with Lono||Ruler identifies with Ku|
Admittedly this summary is somewhat selective, but, nevertheless, if we turn to the Old Scandinavian material, we find some remarkable parallels, although it is not possible here to present a detailed argument. We can, for instance, glimpse the same development in Scandinavia when it comes to descent: from Tacitus we learn that all the Germanic tribes were descended from the gods, whereas in Norse sources only chieftains and kings are believed to descend from gods, either Freyr or Óðinn. Only once—in the eddic poem Rígsþula, which is certainly a special case because it is a sociogony rather than an anthropogony—is it told that anyone other than the aristocrats are believed to be descendants of gods. There are also indications that the year was divided into two spheres, as has been argued by Terry Gunnell and more implicitly by John McKinnell, who wrote about the “winter king” and “summer king” (Gunnell 2000: 138–39; McKinnell 2005, esp. 78–79).