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ASGARDIANS


Official Names: Asgardians
Nicknames: Norse Gods, Gods of the Norse, Scandinavian Gods, Gods of Scandinavia, German Gods, Gods of Germany, Viking Gods, Saxon Gods, Teutonic Gods, et al
Former Aliases: Aesir, Vanir
Other Current Aliases: None known
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery #85

==Origin==

Dimension of Origin: Unrevealed, possibly Asgard
Habitat: Temperate
Gravity: Earth-like
Atmosphere: Earth-like
Population: 500-800 (estimated)
Other Associated Dimensions: The Asgardian dimension is a cosmology of inter-connected worlds of which inhabit the other known races of the Asgardian gods. Among these are Asgard (home of the gods), Vanaheim (former home of the Vanir), Alfheim (home of elves), Nidavellir (home of dwarves), Jotunheim (home of the Jotuns or giants), Svartlheim (home of the dark elves), Hel (the land of the dead) and Niffleheim (the frozen land reserved for the dishonored dead). Among these realms is Midgard, the Norse name for Earth. 

==History==

The Gods of Asgard are a race of superhumanly powerful humanoid beings who were once worshipped by the ancient Norse and German tribes of Western and Northern Europe between 1100 BC to 1200 AD. The Asgardians dwell in Asgard, a cosmology of interconnected worlds adjacent to Earth; an interdimensional pathway between both realms known as Bifrost links Asgard to Earth, or Midgard as it is known among the Asgardians, with a possible interdimensional access point somewhere in Norway. The Asgardians' human worshippers in Germany called their gods by different names than those by which the gods were known in Scandinavia (Ancient Norway, Sweden and Denmark): for example, the Norse called the king of the gods Odin, whereas the Germans called him Wode or Woden. The Vikings and Saxons also carried worship of their gods to their outposts in Iceland, Britain and North America. The Asgardian gods no longer have or actively seek worshippers on Earth. However, certain Asgardian gods, notably Thor and Odin, still take active interest in the welfare of humanity. 

The precise origin of the Asgardian gods, like that of all of Earth's pantheons of gods, is shrouded in legend. It is believed they might have been born on Earth and relocated there at some point in the Earth's past. According to one account, a primeval god known as Buri emerged from the frozen ice of Niffleheim. He sired a son, Bor, who took Bestla, the daughter of the Rime Giant, Bolthorn, as his wife and they had three sons, Vili, Ve and Odin, known to the Germans as Lodur, Hoenir and Wotan, who became members of the Aesir. Njord, possibly another son of Buri, sired the Vanir.
Buri was later eventually replaced as ruler of the Aesir by Bor who was succeeded by his three sons. The Aesir and the Vanir lived in relative peace for several generations before they finally departed Earth for another dimension which they called Asgard. Upon departing Earth, they became known collectively as Asgardians. Odin eventually became sole ruler of the Asgardian gods. He took the goddess, Frigga, the daughter of giants, as his wife, and she sired him a number of children, among whom, Balder became the most beloved of the gods. Odin also traveled to Earth to mate with its patron goddess, Gaea, who appeared to him in her persona of Jord in order to sire a son whose power would combine that of Asgard and that of Earth. Their son was the god, Thor, who became champion of the gods against their enemies, the Jotuns or Giants of Jotunheim. While in battle with Utgard-Loki and the Jotuns, Odin slew one their leaders, Laufey, and adopted his son, Loki, whose size was that of a god, not that of a giant. Odin raised Loki as his son alongside Thor and Balder, but Loki would grow jealous of their popularity among the other gods. Eventually, he learned of a prophecy that tied Balder's death to Ragnarok or "The Twilight of the Gods" and forced those prophecies to come to pass. However, Odin's magicks soon restored the Asgardians to life. Just how many incarnations of Asgard has existed is unrevealed.

Odin eventually learned of the coming of the Third Host of the Celestials, alien beings of inconceivable power who had influenced the evolution of humanity on Earth and who intended to judge humanity's worthiness to survive when the Fourth Host came. Odin then contact Zeus, Ruler of the Olympian gods and all the other rulers of Earth's gods once worshipped on Earth to discuss the threat of the Third Host of the Celestials. The Celestials had threatened to seal off the portals of each of their godly realms unless they promised to stop interfering in mortal affairs. Odin soon began to make plans to thwart the Fourth Host, which would arrive roughly a millennium later. He constructed a suit of armor with nearly invincible powers called the Destroyer. When the time came, he withdrew all the life-forces of the Asgardians except for Thor into himself. Odin then entered the Destroyer, animating it, thus did battle with the Fourth Host. The Celestials annihilated the Destroyer, but Gaea, backed by the mother-goddesses of each pantheon presented the Young Gods to the Celestials as evidence of the potential of humanity. Thor petitioned the other rulers of the Earth's gods as per their pact to donate the required life energies need to restore the Odin and the rest of the Asgardians. (It is possible that that the Asgardians' "deaths" when the Destroyer was annihilated constituted another form of Ragnarok, and thus, the Asgardians have survived it once more.) 

In later years, the Asgardians would be threatened by a number of menaces and threats from both within and beyond their own dimension. Seth, the Egyptian god of death and misfortune, invaded Asgard and subjugated the Asgardians out of his animosity toward Odin and Thor, but he has been defeated twice. For one of Seth's manipulations, Odin stripped the Asgardians of their godhood and hid them as normal human beings upon Earth. This ordeal left them ill-equipped to battle the Dark Gods, alien entities from another dimension, who laid siege to Asgard and were finally routed by Thor, who had been trapped briefly in another alternate Earth. Odin eventually lost his life in battle with Surtur, and Thor succeeded him as ruler of the Asgardians. Still bound by his vow to protect Earth, Thor briefly merged Asgard and Earth to better protect them both. A future incarnation of himself warned him of the future if this continued and he separated the two worlds. Loki meanwhile grew dissatisfied with Thor's rule and masterminded a revised Ragnarok to conquer Asgard. Thor was unable to defeat Loki's armies and instead realized the powers controlling Asgard's numerous incarnation of rebirth and destruction. He consulted with the shadowy beings known as Those Who Live Above In Shadow and learned they had been behind Asgard's cycles of rebirth. To break the cycle, Thor traveled to the roots of Yggdrasil and severed the thread keeping Asgard in it's cycles, effectively destroying Asgard to save it. 

Eventually, Thor returned to Earth during the aftermath of the Superhuman Registration Act which mandated that all costumed superhumans ("superheroes") reveal their secret identities to the United States Government. He recreated Asgard as a separate republic in Oklahoma. Under unknown means, the rest of the Asgardian gods subsequently reappeared as citizens of the Balkan kingdom of Latveria, ruled by Doctor Doom. What this means for the fate of Asgard and its gods is unrevealed.

Relations to other Pantheons: At some point in the past, the Asgardian gods beheld some enmity with the Greek and Roman gods after the Germanic tribes of the Franks lead invasions into Italy and Northern Greece in the Fourth Century AD, but their respective gods now seem at peace and among the most active pantheons on Earth today. Relations with the gods of the West, the Tuatha de Danaan, remained strained until recent due to the Saxon and Viking invasions to Britain and Hybernia (modern Scotland). The Asgardian connections to the Dievans, or Slavic gods in modern Russia, are rather undefined; they may be some overlap in their pantheons. (The Ancient Slavs were known to adopt gods from Iran and Germany into their pantheon). The Asgardian gods had some contact with the Anasazi gods of North America during the Viking exploration of Greenland and Northern Canada which nearly lead to strife, but this was abated with the creation of the Council Elite.

==Characteristics== 

Body Type: Humanoid
Avg. Height: 6' 0"
Eyes: Two
Hair: Normal
Skin: Normal
Limbs: Two
Fingers: Five with opposable thumb
Toes: Five
Special Adaptations: The Asgardian gods are exceptionally long-lived, but they are not immortal like the Olympian gods; they age very slowly upon reaching adulthood, but they are not invulnerable to death. They are physically more durable than human beings; their skin, bone and tissue being around three times more durable and dense than similar tissue in human beings.

==Powers== 

The Asgardian gods all possess certain superhuman physical attributes:

Superhuman Strength: All Asgardians are superhumanly strong with the average Asgardian god able to lift (press) about 30 tons under optimal conditions and the average Asgardian goddess able to lift (press) about 25 tons under optimal conditions.

Superhuman Speed: All Asgardians have the potential of being able to run and move at speeds much greater than the finest human athlete. Only Hermod and a few others can supersede the majority of the Asgardian gods.

Superhuman Stamina: The musculature of the Asgardian gods produce considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the muscles of human beings. An average Asgardian god can exert themselves at peak capacity for about 24 hours before fatigue impairs them. Odin, Thor and Tyr are physically stronger than most of the Asgardian gods.

Superhumanly Dense Tissue: The skin, muscle, and bone tissues of the Asgardian gods are about 3 times as dense as the same tissue of a human body, contributing, to their superhuman strength and weight.

Superhuman Durability: The bodies of the Asgardian gods are considerably more resistant to physical injury than the bodies of human beings. Asgardian gods are capable of withstanding conventional injury including great impact forces, exposure to temperature and pressure extremes and falls from great heights without sustaining physical injury.

Regenerative Healing Factor: Despite their natural durability, it is possible for any of the Asgardian gods to sustain injury. However, if injured, their highly advanced metabolism enables them to recover with superhuman speed and efficiency. As with most of their other powers, the speed and extent of these powers varies from one Asgardian god to another.

Immortality: The Asgardian gods are extremely long lived, but they are not immortal like the Olympian gods: they age at a more slower rate, but they are not immune to the effects of aging. Their bodies are also immune to all known Earthly diseases and infection.

Energy Manipulation: The Asgardian gods have some potential to manipulate mystical or cosmic energies for some purpose. These powers are mostly limited to changing their appearance or shape, and teleporting across great distances. However, a small minority of the Asgardian gods are capable of manipulating vast amounts of energy for a variety of purposes including teleportation, shapeshifting, matter manipulation, augmentation of their physical capabilities, erecting powerful force fields, firing powerful blasts of energy for destructive purposes and granting superhuman attributes to objects and beings.

Known Abilities: The Asgardian gods possess specific skills associated with their personalities or area of expertise. For example, as the Asgardian god of thunder, Thor has complete control and mastery of the weather whereas Sjofn, the Asgardian goddess of love, is highly skilled in all forms of physical and sexual pleasure. Most of the Asgardian gods have had some degree of training in armed and unarmed combat through private tutors or through the other gods.

==Miscellaneous==
Type of Government: Monarchy
Level Of Technology: Magic
Cultural Traits: The Asgardian Gods were worshipped as gods in Ancient Scandinavia including modern Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and most of Germany down to the northern boundary of Italy. Their culture, social structure and society resembles aspects of Pre-Germanic Teutonic Europe.

Names of Representatives: Aegir, Balder, Bragi, Eostra, Forseti, Freia, Frey, Frigga, Heimdall, Hela, Hermod, Hoder, Idunn, Iwaldi, Jack Frost, Lofn, Loki, Lora, Lorelei, Magni, Mani, Mimir, Mista, Modi, Nanna, Nertha, Njord, Norns, Odin, Ran, Sif, Sigyn, Sjofn, Skadi, Solveig, Thor, Thrud, Tyr, Uller, Vali, Valkyrie, The Valkyries, Vidar, et al.

==Trivia==

  • According to the Saxon Genealogies, Thor was Thracian in origin, descended from Trojan refugees. Among his Fourth Century descendants was Woden, a Saxon chieftain who counted Beowulf and possibly Siegfried among his descendants. Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon Chieftain who seized Britain from the Celtic Ruler Vortigern (predecessor of Uther Pendragon), were also descendants of Woden. The Saxon kings are direct ancestors of the modern Royal Family of England. 
  • The possible real life counterparts of the worlds in the Asgardian cosmology: Asgard (Norway), Vanaheim (Germany), Ruthenia (Russia) Alfheim (Britain), Nidavellir (Denmark), Ginnungap (the Atlantic Ocean), Jotunheim (Italy), Svartalheim (Poland), Hel (Surtsey Island) and Niffleheim (Iceland). (Note: Isenland appears in the legend of Sigurd, but this country is described as once existing somewhere along the Danube River.) 
  • It is conceivable that Yggdrasil could be the ancient name for Mount Glittertinden in Norway, which rises up to 8,110 feet. Yggdrasil translates as "Mountain of Ash," and ash trees are common around Glittertinden.
  • Several of the figures in Norse myth appear to be based on figures handed down from Greek mythology, particularly Njord (Poseidon), Nertha (Demeter) and Hermod (Hermes). In fact, in some versions of the Greek Myths, the Garden of the Hesperides was in Scandinavia, much like the golden apples of the Asgardian Gods. 
  • In Marvel Comics, there seem to be quite a few characters who do not seem to be "pure" Asgardians; that is, directly related to a known figure in Scandinavian or Germanic myth. These figures include Amora the Enchantress, Fandral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim, Skurge the Executioner and Volstagg. DC Comics, on the other hand, has not nearly done as much with the Asgardian gods as Marvel, instead focusing almost entirely on the Olympian gods.

==References==

  • Gods, Demi-Gods And Demons by Bernard Evslin
  • Goddesses, Heroes And Shamans by the Editors of Kingfisher Books 
  • Mythologies of All Races by Max Shapiro and Rhoda Hendricks 
  • The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe #1 (Asgardians) 
  • Norse Mythology A-Z by Kathleen Daly 
  • Viking and Norse Mythology by H. R. Ellis Davison

==External Links== 

 

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