The Fenris wolf swallows the sun. The climate disaster that began the year 536 was surely the most dramatic cooling of the Earth that humans, animals and plants have experienced in the last two thousand years. It was likely due to two large volcanic explosions, which every few years sent huge amounts of fine dust high into the atmosphere. There was dust for several years. The sun disappeared. This became another story in the imagination and myths of men. (Drawing: Louis Moe)
The long, harsh Fimbul winter is not a myth
Probably half of Norway and Sweden’s population died. Researchers now know more and more about the catastrophic year of 536.
"First came the Fimbul winter that lasted three years. This was a warning of the coming of Ragnarok, when everything living on Earth came to an end. "
This is how the story of the long harsh winter, called the Fimbul winter in Norwegian, begins, both in Norse mythology and in the Finnish national work of epic poetry, the Kalevala.
But why are stories that warn of a frozen end-time found in Nordic mythologies?
In recent years, researchers in Norway and Sweden have found increasingly clear evidence of a disaster that struck the planet 1500 years ago.
The disaster must have hit Norwegians and Swedes extremely hard — as hard as the Black Death. The same may have happened in the Baltics, Poland and northern Germany.