The Gold Bracteates of the Migration Period are among the most intriguing finds of all Germanic history. Leaving behind the largely non-pictorial Pre-Roman and Roman Iron Age, the number and quality of figural images exploded rapidly with the beginning of the Migration Period thanks in large part to the Gold Bracteates.
This wind of change had a very obvious origin: it came from the South, from the Roman Empire, the largest and longest-lasting superpower in the history of Europe.
When the sun suddenly darkened over Europe in 536, the continent approached the end of an extremely violent and devastating epoch: the Migration Period. The seemingly never-ending migrations and wars of Germanic tribes had destroyed the Western Roman Empire and its culture and changed the map of Europe forever. The Visigoths, Suebians, and Franks had divided the western provinces of the Empire among themselves; the northern part, the provinces of Britain, had been annexed by North Sea Germanic groups led by the Angles and Saxons.
The dominant role of Wodan as the “Allfather” in Old Norse literature is a well-known fact or perhaps even common knowledge. Nevertheless, Heathenism has constantly been changing in symbiosis with its culture and society over the centuries, and so has the concept of Wodan. The question is: how did he become the alfǫðr Óðinn of the late Viking Age and which position did he have in the preceding eras?
In search for answers, Joshua Rood conducted a research on this topic for his master thesis at the University of Iceland which he completed in May 2017.