|This article is about the god in Age of Mythology. For the god in Age of Empires: Mythologies, see Odin (Age of Empires: Mythologies).|
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The oldest and chief of the Norse gods, Odin had risen to prominence in the pantheon because of his love of battle. This made him popular with the Vikings when they began raiding out of Scandinavia. To his great fortress hall Valhalla he gathered those slain in battle. Called the einherjar (glorious dead), these warriors were preserved by Odin to supplement the gods in their final battle against the giants at Ragnarok.
Odin was not a warrior himself, but inspired warriors into going berserk in battle, feeling and fearing nothing. Sacrificial hangings were part of the worship of Odin, and suicide by hanging was thought to be a shortcut to Valhalla. Odin was held in high regard by jarls and other Norse nobility, while the common people feared Odin and worshipped Thor. Odin was also the god of wisdom. He had thrown one of his eyes into Mimir’s well in trade for a drink of wisdom. He hung himself from the cosmic tree, Yggdrasil, to learn the knowledge of the dead, and then was revived by magic. He was kept informed about events elsewhere by his two ravens that scouted the world and reported back. Odin was to be killed during Ragnarok by Fenrir, the wolf spawned by Loki. Worship of Odin diminished as the Vikings gave up raiding for more peaceful pursuits. The Anglo-Saxons gave his name (Woden) to the fourth day of their week, Wednesday.
"Odin gives whatever meat is set before him on the table to his two wolves, Geri and Freki, for he himself requires no food. For Him, mead is both meat and drink."
-- Glyfaginning 39