VIKING MAN by Geir Arneberg

glima tyr neilsen

glima tyr neilsen

Interest in Viking life and Norse mythology are massive today, but Tyr Neilsen (57) has been fascinated by Viking life and Norse mythology since he was a young boy and lived in England. When he moved to Norway in the 80s, he married a Norwegian woman and got in-laws that were knowledgeable in this rich heritage.

Thanks to my mother in-law I learned a lot about Norse mythology, and my father in-law introduced me to Glíma, the Viking martial art, says Tyr, who lives in Buskerud, Norway. Here he lives in many ways like a modern Viking and teaches the Viking martial arts. 

Tyr has been a consultant for several Norse related books, including a book about Glima. He is committed to promoting Norwegian culture and history, and is recent years he has held exhibitions and seminars at museums, schools and festivals in Norway and Europe.


When journalist Bente Wemundstad interviewed Tyr for Byavisa Drammen and had conversations and discussions on various Viking topics, they hit on the idea of him writing a book about Hávamál with photography to illustrate it. After work on the book had started, they contacted Nova Publishing. Just hours after Bente sent e mails, she received a phone call from publisher Jan Hervig who said that this was absolutely something Nova publishing wanted. Thus began a very hectic journey, literally. Besides diving into the brilliant philosophy that is found within Hávamál, Tyr and Bente traveled to Iceland where the original manuscript is held.

Photo: T. Neilsen - B. Wemundstad

Photo: T. Neilsen - B. Wemundstad


For a long time it seemed that there was absolutely no way to see the original vellum Hávamál manuscript, as it is heavily guarded and only very few have been allowed to photograph it. Eventually Tyr and Bente received a mail from the institute that holds the manuscript, saying that they understood the importance of the work on this book. It was therefore granted an exclusive audience with the original manuscript from the year 1270. Photos had to be taken without a flash in a rather dark room at a museum in Reykjavik.

In the Viking Age, Odin’s speech was delivered as a performance. To recreate the original way of presenting Havamal, Tyr and Bente took exciting photographs of modern Vikings and models out in Norwegian nature and at sea. Together, Tyr and Bente translated the first 80 verses of Hávamál (called Hávamál proper) to modern Norwegian, then Tyr translated the whole book into modern English, with the goal that this Norse heritage will be known to future generations.

Edited Byavisa article by Geir Arneberg



Hávamál is one of the most important documents from Viking Age Scandinavia, and is well described as the Wisdom of the North. 


Viking Wisdom - HÁVAMÁL - the Sayings of Odin is the most complete book about the Hávamál proper, and Tyr Neilsen had exclusive time in Iceland with the original 13th century manuscript.

This magnificent book contains the Vikings wisdom in original Old Norse and a new modern translation, exciting photos of Odin and other Norse Gods, and information about the Gods and Hávamál. Also in this edition are insights into the violent history and many mysteries surrounding the Hávamál, as well as information about how Hávamál has influenced the world’s bestselling books and films.

In Viking times the sayings of Odin were delivered as a performance. Here the Hávamál is illustrated with fascinating photographs of models and modern Vikings in Norwegian nature to recreate the original way to present the message

There is much wisdom and inspiration to reclaim here, inherited from our ancestors, from an era that was subsequently named after them. Tyr and co-author Bente Wemundstad worked diligently to create a new translation of the Hávamál, and make the Vikings wisdom more accessible to the modern reader.

Foreword from Robert Ferguson author of Vikings - the Hammer and the Cross

Photo: T. Neilsen - B. Wemundstad

Photo: T. Neilsen - B. Wemundstad

Foreword from Dr. Gunnar Pálsson Iceland Ambassador to Norway

Viking Wisdom - HÁVAMÁL - the Sayings of Odin from Nova Publishing in English, in Norwegian, and as an eBook. 

The Hávamál book in English can be ordered through your local book store: ISBN: 9788282810593

An English version is also available as an eBook - Available from Amazon: