Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- For other things of this name, see Midgard (disambiguation).
Midgard (Old Norse), Midjungards (Gothic), and Middangeard (OE) is an old Germanic name for our world, the world of men, with the literal meaning "middle enclosure". In Middle English, the name became Middel-erde and resulted in the modern name Middle-earth
Midgard is the realm of the humans in Norse mythology. Pictured as placed somewhere in the middle of Yggdrasil, Midgard is surrounded by a world of water or ocean, which is impassable. The ocean is inhabited by the great sea serpent Jormungand, who is so huge that he encircles the world entirely, grasping his own tail.
It is depicted as an intermediate world between heaven (Asgard) and hell (Nifelheim or Hel). Thus it is part of a triad of upper (Heaven), middle (Earth), and lower (Underworld). It was said to have been formed from the flesh and blood of the frost giant Ymir, his flesh constituting the land and his blood the oceans, and was connected to Asgard by the Bifrost Bridge, guarded by Heimdall.
According to legend, Midgard will be destroyed in Ragnarok, the battle at the end of the world. Jormungand will arise from the ocean, poisoning the land and sea with his venom and causing the sea to rear up and lash against the land. The final battle will take place on the plain of Vigrond, following which Midgard and almost all life on it will be destroyed, with the earth sinking into the sea.
The concept of Midgard occurs many times in Middle English (as Middel-erde). The name was popularized in the form Middle-earth by J. R. R. Tolkien, a noted Old English scholar. He drew heavily upon Middle-earth and other Germanic concepts in his fictional works. Consider this fragment in the Crist poem of Cynewulf, which references Middangeard and someone named …arendel. (The connection with Tolkien's character Ešrendil is not accidental.):
- …ala …arendel / Engla Beorhtast
- Ofer Middangeard / Monnum sended
- Hail Earendel / Brightest of angels
- Above the Middle-earth / Sent unto men
The name middangeard occurs half a dozen times in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, and is the same word as Midgard in Old Norse. The term is equivalent in meaning to the Greek term Oikoumene, as referring to the known and inhabited world. It is consistently misspelled as 'Middle Earth' by journalists. Stephen King also used a mutation of Midgard in his works, naming the parallel universe in his Dark Tower series "Mid-World", although that may be only the name of an ancient kingdom.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details