Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Nordic mythology

For today, here is a cover from Iceland that I received few years ago. It’s rather nice, I think. The usage of a complete souvenir sheet to stamp a cover is no so common, so I decided to show it here. The souvenir sheet has been issued on the 26th of March 2004. It belongs to the set “Top of the world”, the Nordic joint stamps issue that gathers stamps from Greenland, Iceland, Faeroe islands, Norway, Sweden, Aland, Finland and Denmark. Each year since 2004, each of these countries issues a souvenir sheet bearing two stamps and illustrating the Nordic mythology. To know more about this sort of omnibus stamp issue, click here.
This souvenir sheet from Iceland pictures Odin and his horse Sleipnir. Odin is the chief god in Nordic mythology. He is the god of war, wisdom and also magic and poetry. Odin is the god who’s welcoming warriors who have died in battles. He is usually pictured as an old man, with a gray beard and having only one eye. He has sacrificed his left eye to be allowed to drink from the “Well of Wisdom”, showing by such an act his willingness to get the knowledge of the past, present and future. Odin has created the world with the help of his brothers from the body of Ymir, a giant that hey killed. On the stamp sheet, Odin is riding Sleipnir, his magical eight-legged horse ! In the modern culture, Odin is well known under his German name Wotan, as one of the main characters of Richard Wagner’s opera cycle “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (The Nibelung’s ring).

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