Hot answers tagged norse-mythology
I found at least one source that advances the notion that Crichton is referencing a source who had an agenda, and may have exaggerated for effect. Ahmad ibn Fadlan wrote about his visit to the Rus: § 84. Every day they must wash their faces and heads and this they do in the dirtiest and filthiest fashion possible: to wit, every morning a girl ...
I believe that the scene is 13 Warriors is taken from the account of Ahmad ibn Fadlān ibn al-Abbās ibn Rāšid ibn Hammād (Arabic: أحمد بن فضلان بن العباس بن راشد بن حماد) detailing his dealing with Northmen. This was a inspiration for Michael Crichton's Eaters Of The Dead which was a source for 13 Warriors.
Loki was actually the son of a Frost Giant, and as such often is not counted as a proper member of the AEsir. When he appears in stories, it is usually as an antagonist for the hero(es) of the tale. As such, I don't think he was the subject of much veneration. The only common running theme I tend to see in numerous depictions of Loki (such as the one below) ...
The ritual bowl is not uncommon in Germanic tribal culture. Even in modern settings communal washing bowl would not be considered disgusting (participated myself in Iraq) Most of us are more unnerved by the nose blowing etc. I have seen it suggested that Ahmad ibn Fadlan, might not of seen them emptying the bowl. Regardless, Arabs of the time only ...
Maybe Stakhanov could be what you are looking for. Persistence: He broke mining records several times. Constent improvement: Even though his character might be mythical (probably forged by propaganda), he really improved mining techniques as an engineer, via the separation of tasks.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekalavya Ekalavya - Indian mythical character whose hard work / persistence made him one of the best archer.
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