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[3] Because of this, she has been linked to the Romano-Celtic fertility horse goddess Epona and other instances of the veneration of horses in early Indo-European culture. Freyr is a Norse god of weather and fertility; brother of Freya. Epona's feast day in the Roman calendar was given as December 18 on a rustic calendar from Guidizzolo, Italy,[12] although this may have been only a local celebration. They are often associated with the sun chariot,[1] with warrior-heroes, with fertility (in both mare and stallion manifestations), or with an end-of-time saviour, but other interpretations exist as well. The pantomime horse is thought to be a related survival. Loki is heralded as the God of mischief, playing pranks and throwing insults at his fellow Gods. [33], Gallo-Roman goddess of horses and fertility, This article is about the goddess. For example, the heroic prince or white knight of fairy tales often rides a white horse. [15][16] Uchaishravas was at times ridden by Indra, lord of the devas. We’ve assembled a complete list of Norse-viking horse names that honor this unique heritage while celebrating your pet’s personality. The British author G. K. Chesterton wrote an epic poem titled Ballad of the White Horse. The first mention comes from the 15th stanza of the Grímnismál, one of the poems in the Poetic Edda. Most notably, he is the father of Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse, Jormungandr, the serpent circling the earth, and Fenrir, a gigantic wolf. Son of Odin and husband of Idun. The Cornish Padstow Obby Oss takes place evey May Day and features a battle between good and evil and is a survival of a custom that once existed more widely in Devon and Cornwall and the wider Westcountry sometimes referred to as 'the Old Grey Mare' in English folklore. [1] She and her horses might also have been leaders of the soul in the after-life ride, with parallels in Rhiannon of the Mabinogion. [22], Two Christian saints are associated with white steeds: Saint James, as patron saint of Spain, rides a white horse in his martial aspect. The second clan, Vanir, contains the fertility gods and count Njord, Freyr, and Freyja as their most notable members. Representing various forms of water, her four horses are named "wind", "rain", "clouds" and "sleet" (Yasht 5.120). As part of its legendary dimension, the white horse in myth may be depicted with seven heads (Uchaishravas) or eight feet (Sleipnir), sometimes in groups or singly. In more than one tradition, the white horse carries patron saints or the world saviour in the end times (as in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), is associated with the sun or sun chariot (Ossetia) or bursts into existence in a fantastic way, emerging from the sea or a lightning bolt. Pegasus from Greek mythology), or having horns (the unicorn). Heimdall's other names were Hallinskiði, Gullintanni, Vindhlér or Vindlér, and Rig. [34], The white horse is a recurring motif in Ibsen's play Rosmersholm, making use of the common Norse folklore that its appearance was a portent of death. By blood, Loki is a half-giant and also a shapeshifter, which has allowed him to have many non-human children. An inscription to Epona from Mainz, Germany, identifies the dedicator as Syrian. Historians believe, however, that this may not have always been the case. Tyr, however, was a relatively minor god of the Aesir. The Norse Horse Tavern, Elk Horn, Iowa. Day – Son of Night and Delling. Freyr goes as a hostage to the Aesir, along with Njord and Freya. In Blackfoot mythology, the snow deity Aisoyimstan is a white-coloured man in white clothing who rides a white horse. Unicorns are (generally white) horse-like creatures with a single horn. In Norse mythology, Odin 's eight-legged horse Sleipnir, "the best horse among gods and men", is described as grey. The word týr referred to a god in general, while asa or van named a member of the Aesir or Vanir specifically. In the Equestrian type, common in Gaul, she is depicted sitting side-saddle on a horse or (rarely) lying on one; in the Imperial type (more common outside Gaul) she sits on a throne flanked by two or more horses or foals. In Viking beliefs, Odin was the god of magic, wisdom, and war. All religion surely began with people looking around and trying to make sense of the world they lived in. [11] King, Simón, Francisco Marco, "Religion and Religious Practices of the Ancient Celts of the Iberian Peninsula" in, Thevenot, Emile 1949. He was a major god among the Vanir deities. Benoît compared the rider with most of the riders imaged around the Mediterranean shores. NJÖRÐR (Njord/Njorth) – a Vanir Sea and wind god regarded as the father of the goddess Freyja and god Freyr. [2] The worship of Epona, "the sole Celtic divinity ultimately worshipped in Rome itself",[3] as the patroness of cavalry,[4] was widespread in the Roman Empire between the first and third centuries AD; this is unusual for a Celtic deity, most of whom were associated with specific localities. [30], Twelver Shī'a Islamic traditions envisage that the Mahdi will appear riding a white horse.[31]. [28], Gesta Francorum contains a description of the First Crusade, where soldiers fighting at Antioch claimed to have been heartened by a vision of St. George and white horses during the battle: There came out from the mountains, also, countless armies with white horses, whose standards were all white. On Mackinac Island, Michigan, Epona is celebrated each June with stable tours, a blessing of the animals and the Epona and Barkus Parade. And the English nursery rhyme "Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross" refers to a lady on a white horse who may be associated with the Celtic goddess Rhiannon.[33]. There are also white horses which are divinatory, who prophesy or warn of danger. [21] However, the Greek word chloros, translated as pale, is often interpreted as sickly green or ashen grey rather than white. [27] In Ossetia, the deity Uastyrdzhi, who embodied both the warrior and sun motifs often associated with white horses, became identified with the figure of St. George after the region adopted Christianity. [23] Small images of Epona have been found in Roman sites of stables and barns over a wide territory. Names derived from *Dyeus generally belonged to the most ancient and powerful gods. Was cut out of the grass. Baldur’s name generally inspires a sense of bravery, happiness, and light in Norse mythology. [14] The cult of Epona was spread over much of the Roman Empire by the auxiliary cavalry, alae, especially the Imperial Horse Guard or equites singulares augustii recruited from Gaul, Lower Germany, and Pannonia. Although the name is Gaulish, dedicatory inscriptions to Epona are in Latin or, rarely, Greek. Riding on his horse Sleipnir that has supernatural strength Odin can conquer his enemy using Gungnir, a magical weapon, which is unstoppable in its fight and governs the fortunes of war. Hayagriva the Avatar of Vishnu is worshipped as the God of knowledge and wisdom, with a human body and a horse's head, brilliant white in colour, with white garments and seated on a white lotus. Epona is also indirectly mentioned in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, as one of his characters is named for her- Éponine. In the New Testament, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse include one seated on a white horse[20] and one on a pale horse – the "white" horse carried the rider Conquest (traditionally, Pestilence) while the "pale" horse carried the rider Death. Alf. Somewhere in this process, the god Loki made love to a horse — but we’ll get to that later. "Les monuments et le culte d' Epona chez les Eduens,". The 11th-century king, Lý Công Uẩn (also known as King Lý Thái Tổ) had a vision of a white horse representing a river spirit which showed him where to build his citadel.[32]. It was believed that he was in an unhappy marriage with Skade (Skaði), the goddess of hunting, mountains and skiing. He is probably the most popular Norse god today, due to the Marvel comic books and Avengers movies. The Norse culture honored a wide variety of gods, and many are still worshipped today by Asatruar and Heathens. Heidrun: Heidrun is a she-goat who eats the leaves of Laerad, Heidrun produces a never-ending supply of mead for the Gods and heroes at their nightly feats. Created by the cow Audmula licking him from ice. He was known as the trickster and mischievous god in Norse mythology, and engaged in battles with several of the gods of Asgard, such as Thor and Baldur. She and her horses might also have been leaders of the soul in the after-life ride, with parallels in Rhiannon of the Mabinogion. Though some mythologies are stories from earliest beliefs, other tales, though visionary or metaphorical, are found in liturgical sources as part of preserved, on-going traditions (see, for example, "Iranian tradition" below). [27] Lying on her lap and on the patera raised in her right hand are disproportionately large ears of grain; ears of grain also protrude from the mouths of the ponies, whose heads are turned towards the goddess. White horses appear many times in Hindu mythology and stand for the sun. Kalki, the tenth incarnation of Vishnu and final world saviour, is predicted to appear riding a white horse, or in the form of a white horse. The game horse is always brown or chestnut, with a white mane. This, in itself, wasn’t an unusual belief in terms of other religions. [6] In an episode preserved in a remark of Pausanias,[7] an archaic Demeter Erinys (Vengeful Demeter) too had also been a Great Mare, who was mounted by Poseidon in the form of a stallion and foaled Arion and the Daughter who was unnamed outside the Arcadian mysteries. [24] At Padstow formerly, at the end of the festivities the hobby-horse was ritually submerged in the sea. He was the son of a giant — one of the Norse gods’ enemies — but spends most of his time helping gods like Odin and Thor. Glad (Norse mythology) Glær; Gná and Hófvarpnir; Grani; Gullfaxi; Gulltoppr; Gyllir A "white palfrey" appears in the fairy tale "Virgilius the Sorcerer" by Andrew Lang. He also happened to be blind, and appears a few times in the Norse … As a wise god, he knows this will just freak everybody out and that’s bad for business. According to tradition, Abraham lived with one wife (Sarah) in Syria, but Al-Buraq would transport him in the morning to Makkah to see his family there, and then take him back to his Syrian wife in the evening. [13] The Vedic horse sacrifice or Ashvamedha was a fertility and kingship ritual involving the sacrifice of a sacred grey or white stallion. Perceptions of native Celtic goddesses had changed under Roman hegemony: only the names remained the same. "Once More the Celtic Horse-Goddess." His misbehavior often gets him in trouble, but he’s usually able to talk his way out of any situation. Gulltopp is the horse of the God Heimdall. Odin was the father of the Norse … The mythological symbolism of white horses has been picked up as a trope in literature, film, and other storytelling. [29], Islamic culture tells of a white creature named Al-Buraq who brought Muhammad to Jerusalem during the Night Journey. [21] In distant Dacia, she is represented on a stela (now at the Szépmüvézeti Museum, Budapest) in the format of Cybele, seated frontally on a throne with her hands on the necks of her paired animals: her horses are substitutions for Cybele's lions. White horses have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world. A euhemeristic account of Epona's origin occurs in the Parallela Minora, which were traditionally attributed to Plutarch (but are now classed as "Pseudo-Plutarch"): Fulvius Stellus hated women and used to consort with a mare and in due time the mare gave birth to a beautiful girl and they named her Epona. Odin, Frigg, Thor, Loki, Balder, Hod, Heimdall and Tyr are the most elevated representatives of Æsir and are known as the main gods. Warmind, Morten. [4] In this latter tale (Yasht 8.21–29), which appears in the Avesta's hymns dedicated to Tishtrya, the divinity is opposed by Apaosha, the demon of drought, which appears as a black stallion.[12]. Indra is depicted as having a liking for white horses in several legends – he often steals the sacrificial horse to the consternation of all involved, such as in the story of Sagara,[17] or the story of King Prithu.[18]. [5][6][7], In Norse mythology, Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir, "the best horse among gods and men", is described as grey. In Norse mythology, Loki, Loptr, or Hveðrungr is a god, jotun, or both.He is the son of Fárbauti and Pene, and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. He was the greatest of all Norse gods and the ruler of Valhalla, where brave warriors went when they died. [citation needed] However, Olmsted's interpretation has not been generally accepted by other scholars; Meid interprets the same inscription as an invocation of Dibona in vulgar Greek for aid in a romantic dispute.[11]. They were made not only by Celts, but also by Germans, Romans, and other inhabitants of the Roman Empire. The dwarves build Freyr a ship, Skidbladnir, that can hold all the gods or fit in his pocket. This beloved Viking god protects both Asgard, the realm of the gods, and Midgard, the realm of the humans, from the giants and other threats. [22] In his Satires, the Roman poet Juvenal also links the worship and iconography of Epona to the area of a stable. The West Country traditional hobby-horse riders parading on May Day at Padstow, Cornwall and Minehead, Somerset, which survived to the mid-twentieth century, even though Morris dances had been forgotten, was thought by folklorists through the 20th Century to have deep roots in the veneration of Epona, as may the British aversion to eating horsemeat. The White Horse of the White Horse Vale So Agesilaüs in the third book of his Italian History. In Norse legend, Alf was a king, but the name stems from the term “elf.” Alf wooed a reluctant maid named Alfhild. Sometimes, Age and Loki is also considered Aesirs. Njord was generally seen as the chief of the Vanir gods. He courts the giantess Gerd through his servant Skirnir. Einherjar – Band of dead warriors in Valhalla who await Ragnarok. Odin. Fernand Benoît found the earliest attestations of a cult of Epona in the Danubian provinces and asserted that she had been introduced in the limes of Gaul by horsemen from the east. [14] Turaga was another divine white horse that emerged out of the ocean and taken by the sun god Surya. Had seen their sunrise pass, We do know that Odin was the most complex figure of all the Norse Gods. He is also the father of Hel, Goddess of the underworld. "Epona" Dissertation, Bonn 1994 (Sonderdruck aus: Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission 74.1993.). Baldur was the Norse god of light and the most beloved of the Aesir gods. [citation needed], In Zoroastrianism, one of the three representations of Tishtrya, the hypostasis of the star Sirius, is that of a white stallion (the other two are as a young man, and as a bull). In Celtic mythology, Rhiannon, a mythic figure in the Mabinogion collection of legends, rides a "pale-white" horse. She did not want to marry Alf until she saw how strong he was in battle and then she relented. Siddhartha used Kanthaka in all major events described in Buddhist texts prior to his renunciation of the world.

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