Nordic mythology is extremely complex, as are Greek or Roman mythology. Through the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda their myths and legends have reached us. In Supercurioso we have become interested in some of their gods as Odin the great Norse god or Odin's father, Borr . On this occasion we wanted to get closer to Goddess Idun and know the legend of the guardian of the apples of eternal youth.
The Nordics created a cosmogony that focused on the existence of a mythical tree called "Yggdrasil tree". This one sustained and communicated the nine worlds , Asgard, Midgard, Helheim, Niflheim, Muspellheim, Svartalfheim, Alfheim, Vanaheim and Jötunheim, in which the Scandinavians believed. In each of them lived a race of different beings, humans, gods, elves, dwarves, giants, giants of fire, vanir, the dead and darkness. And in Asgard, the first of those worlds, the goddess lived Idun .
Idun, the guardian of the apples of eternal youth
Idun or Idunn she is the goddess who keeps the apples of eternal youth that the gods must consume if they wish to live eternally. The Nordic divinities, unlike the Greek or Roman divinities, are not immortal, but they can live forever, without aging, if they eat the fruit that Idun keeps. Idun She is one of the eight goddesses of the Nordic pantheon.
Idun , whose name means "always young" or "rejuvenating", was the wife of Bragi, the Scandinavian god of poetry. Bragi, the wisest of the divinities who lived in Asgard, was in charge of delivering the glasses to those who came to Valhalla to participate in the feast of Odin. Idun protected in a box of ash wood the apples that the gods had to consume if they wanted to remain young, but one day, the giant Þjazi, wanted to also enjoy immortality.
The giant Þjazi (Jazi) tricked Loki into attracting Idun to a forest outside of Asgard. Turned into an eagle, Þjazi dragged Loki skyward, climbing higher and higher. When the god felt that his arms were about to tear, he begged the giant to give him a truce and he replied that he would set him free if he could get Idun out of Asgard with his box of apples. Loki accepted the deal and cheated Idun telling him that in a forest, crossed the border of his world, he had seen many apples similar to those he kept in the box and that might be of interest to him. He persuaded her to bring her box of apples with the excuse that she could compare them. Once in the forest, Þjazi reappeared as an eagle that abducted her and took her to the country of the giants and locked her up on top of a tower.
Without the apples, the gods began to age and pressured Loki to go rescue to Idun , since the rapture had been his fault. Loki took the hawk-feathered cloak of the goddess Freya and flew to Jötunheim, the world of the giants. Once there he converted to Idun in a nut and took it to Asgard. The giant Þjazi pursued them transformed into an eagle, but the Æsir, the inhabitants of Asgard, overcame him by lighting a fire beside the wall that marked the border between the two worlds. When the kidnapper approached, the fire burned its wings and when it fell to the ground, it was finished off by the gods.
The apples of Idun they have been related to fertility. In many tombs and also in the Oseberg Ship, the Viking ship found in a burial mound near the Oseberg farm in Norway , they have found remains of cubes that had contained apples. This fact is corroborated by the conversion of the goddess into a nut to be rescued from the giant's grasp. The nut was also a symbol of fertility in many places in northern Europe.
The name of Idun, Iduna or Idunna it has been common in the Nordic countries for centuries. In Iceland there are records of women with that name since the 10th century.
Did you know the legend of the goddess Idun , the protector of the apples of eternal youth ? The apples seem to be a constant in stories and classic myths, as well as the fruit with which according to tradition, although the Bible does not specify it, Eve tempted Adam. If you want to know more legends and myths related to apples, we invite you to read the article about Hesperos, the Greek god of the evening star and the theft of apples that Hercules starred in the Garden of the Hesperides. And if you want to know why we all believe Eva gave Adam an apple, you can read the reason here: 3 Translation errors we see in works of art .