Forseti is the God of justice, peace and truth in old Scandinavian mythology; and the son of Baldur ( the God of peace, innocence and purity ) and Nanna. Forseti rules in the beautiful palace Glitnir ( meaning shining ), which serves as a court of justice where all legal disputes are settled. Glitnir is symbolic of the importance of discussion rather than violence as a means of resolution of conflict within the Scandinavian traditions.
Of all the Gods in Askard (the home of all Gods), Forseti was considered the wisest. He presided over disputes resolved by mediation (1). It is said that Forseti would always provide a solution that all parties considered fair making him the ultimate mediator. Like his father Baldur, he was a gentle God and favored peace. Forseti was highly respected and anyone judged by him could live in safety as long as they upheld his ruling.
Remnants of his legacy can be found in today’s life as well! In today’s Iceland the president is called a “Forseti” and the Scandinavian and German mythologies served as inspirations for J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Ring”.
The next time you find yourself sitting through any of Richard Wagner’s Operas, which are largely based on the related old Germanic mythologies (“Nibelungen Lied”), take a moment to reflect on how the peaceful mediation based concept of justice in Scandinavia has been converted to the powerful and bloody Teutonic way of ‘conflict resolution’!
(1) Mediation is a type of Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) (also known as External Dispute Resolution in some countries).