Ragnarok (rägˈnərŏkˌ) [key], in Norse mythology, the doom of the gods. According to prophecy the end of the world would follow a severe ice age, in which human civilization would be destroyed. Then the gods of Asgard, led by Odin, would clash with the devastating forces of evil and chaos, led by Loki and the giants. After a fierce battle the universe itself would be destroyed by fire and a new golden age would appear, ruled by the surviving gods, including Balder. See Germanic religion.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.