In Germanic mythology, Thor ( // ; from Old Norse : Þórr, runic ᚦᚢᚱþur) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind and also hallowing and fertility. Besides Old Norse Þórr, extensions of the god occur in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar (runic ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱþonar). All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning thunder).
Germanic mythology consists of the body of myths native to the Germanic peoples. Commonly featuring narratives focused on Germanic deities and a large variety of other entities, Germanic mythology dates from the Proto-Germanic period and reaches beyond the Christianization of the Germanic peoples and into modern Germanic folklore. Germanic mythology includes Norse mythology, Anglo-Saxon mythology, and Continental Germanic mythology.
The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian runes, is a runic alphabet and a reduced form of the Elder Futhark, with only 16 characters, in use from about the 9th century, after a "transitional period" during the 7th and 8th centuries. The reduction, somewhat paradoxically, happened at the same time as phonetic changes that led to a greater number of different phonemes in the spoken language, when Proto-Norse evolved into Old Norse. Thus, the language included distinct sounds and minimal pairs that were written the same.
In Old Norse, ǫ́ss is a member of the principal pantheon in Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr. The second pantheon is known as the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage war against each other, which results in a unified pantheon.
Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania , to the tribal expansions of the Migration Period, to his high popularity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, emblems of his hammer, Mjölnir , were worn and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity.
Recorded history or written history is a historical narrative based on a written record or other documented communication. It contrasts with other narratives of the past, such as mythological, oral or archeological traditions. For broader world history, recorded history begins with the accounts of the ancient world around the 4th millennium BC, and coincides with the invention of writing. For some geographic regions or cultures, written history is limited to a relatively recent period in human history because of the limited use of written records. Moreover, human cultures do not always record all of the information relevant to later historians, such as the full impact of natural disasters or the names of individuals. Recorded history for particular types of information is therefore limited based on the types of records kept. Because of this, recorded history in different contexts may refer to different periods of time depending on the topic.
The Germanic peoples were a collection of ethnic groups of Northern European origin identified by Roman-era authors as distinct from neighbouring Celtic peoples, and identified in modern scholarship as speakers, at least for the most part, of early Germanic languages.
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome, consisting of large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean sea in Europe, North Africa and West Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and its city of Rome as sole capital. Although fragmented briefly during the military crisis, the empire was forcibly reassembled, then ruled by multiple emperors who shared rule over the Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and the Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when it sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople following the capture of Ravenna by the barbarians of Odoacer and the subsequent deposition of Romulus Augustus. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
Due to the nature of the Germanic corpus, narratives featuring Thor are only attested in Old Norse, where Thor appears throughout Norse mythology. Norse mythology, largely recorded in Iceland from traditional material stemming from Scandinavia, provides numerous tales featuring the god. In these sources, Thor bears at least fifteen names, is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif , is the lover of the jötunn Járnsaxa , and is generally described as fierce eyed, red haired and red bearded. With Sif, Thor fathered the goddess (and possible valkyrie) Þrúðr ; with Járnsaxa, he fathered Magni ; with a mother whose name is not recorded, he fathered Móði , and he is the stepfather of the god Ullr . By way of Odin, Thor has numerous brothers, including Baldr . Thor has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, rides in a cart or chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (that he eats and resurrects), and is ascribed three dwellings ( Bilskirnir , Þrúðheimr , and Þrúðvangr ). Thor wields the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjölnir , wears the belt Megingjörð and the iron gloves Járngreipr , and owns the staff Gríðarvölr . Thor's exploits, including his relentless slaughter of his foes and fierce battles with the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr —and their foretold mutual deaths during the events of Ragnarök —are recorded throughout sources for Norse mythology.
Norse mythology is the body of myths of the North Germanic peoples, stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia, and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period. The northernmost extension of Germanic mythology, Norse mythology consists of tales of various deities, beings, and heroes derived from numerous sources from both before and after the pagan period, including medieval manuscripts, archaeological representations, and folk tradition.
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 360,390 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude almost entirely outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.
In Norse mythology, Sif is a goddess associated with earth. Sif is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, and in the poetry of skalds. In both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, Sif is the wife of the thunder god Thor and is known for her golden hair.
Into the modern period, Thor continued to be acknowledged in rural folklore throughout Germanic-speaking Europe. Thor is frequently referred to in place names, the day of the week Thursday bears his name (modern English Thursday derives from Old English Þūnresdæg, 'Þunor's day'), and names stemming from the pagan period containing his own continue to be used today, particularly in Scandinavia. Thor has inspired numerous works of art and references to Thor appear in modern popular culture. Like other Germanic deities, veneration of Thor is revived in the modern period in Heathenry.
Germanic-speaking Europe refers to the area of Europe that today uses a Germanic language. Over 200 million Europeans speak a Germanic language natively. At the same time 515 million speak a Germanic language natively in the whole world (6.87%).
Thursday is the day of the week between Wednesday and Friday. According to the ISO 8601 international standard, it is the fourth day of the week. In countries that adopt the "Sunday-first" convention, it is the fifth day of the week.
Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers probably in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English.
Old Norse Þórr (ᚦᚢᚱ), Old English ðunor, Old High German Donar, Old Saxon thunar, and Old Frisian thuner are cognates within the Germanic language branch, descending from the Proto-Germanic masculine noun *þunraz 'thunder'.
Old High German is the earliest stage of the German language, conventionally covering the period from around 750 to 1050. There is no standardised or supra-regional form of German at this period, and Old High German is an umbrella term for the group of continental West Germanic dialects which underwent the set of consonantal changes called the Second Sound Shift.
Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language and the earliest recorded form of Low German. It is a West Germanic language, closely related to the Anglo-Frisian languages. It is documented from the 8th century until the 12th century, when it gradually evolved into Middle Low German. It was spoken throughout modern northwestern Germany, primarily in the coastal regions and in the eastern Netherlands by Saxons, a Germanic tribe who inhabited the region of Saxony. It partially shares Anglo-Frisian's Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law which sets it apart from Low Franconian and Irminonic languages, such as Dutch, Luxembourgish and German.
Old Frisian is a West Germanic language spoken between the 8th and 16th centuries in the area between the Rhine and Weser on the European North Sea coast. The Frisian settlers on the coast of South Jutland also spoke Old Frisian but no medieval texts of this area are known. The language of the earlier inhabitants of the region between the Zuiderzee and Ems River is attested in only a few personal names and place-names. Old Frisian evolved into Middle Frisian, spoken from the 16th to the 19th century.
The name of the god is the origin of the weekday name Thursday . By employing a practice known as interpretatio germanica during the Roman Empire period, the Germanic peoples adopted the Roman weekly calendar, and replaced the names of Roman gods with their own. Latin dies Iovis ('day of Jupiter') was converted into Proto-Germanic *Þonares dagaz ("Thor's day"), from which stems modern English "Thursday" and all other Germanic weekday cognates.
Beginning in the Viking Age, personal names containing the theonym Thórr are recorded with great frequency. Prior to the Viking Age, no examples are recorded. Thórr-based names may have flourished during the Viking Age as a defiant response to attempts at Christianization, similar to the wide scale Viking Age practice of wearing Thor's hammer pendants.
The earliest records of the Germanic peoples were recorded by the Romans, and in these works Thor is frequently referred to – via a process known as interpretatio romana (where characteristics perceived to be similar by Romans result in identification of a non-Roman god as a Roman deity) – as either the Roman god Jupiter (also known as Jove) or the Greco-Roman god Hercules. The first clear example of this occurs in the Roman historian Tacitus's late first-century work Germania , where, writing about the religion of the Suebi (a confederation of Germanic peoples), he comments that "among the gods Mercury is the one they principally worship. They regard it as a religious duty to offer to him, on fixed days, human as well as other sacrificial victims. Hercules and Mars they appease by animal offerings of the permitted kind" and adds that a portion of the Suebi also venerate "Isis". In this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as "Mercury", Thor as "Hercules", and the god Týr as "Mars", and the identity of the Isis of the Suebi has been debated. In Thor's case, the identification with the god Hercules is likely at least in part due to similarities between Thor's hammer and Hercules' club. In his Annals , Tacitus again refers to the veneration of "Hercules" by the Germanic peoples; he records a wood beyond the river Weser (in what is now northwestern Germany) as dedicated to him.
In Germanic areas occupied by the Roman Empire, coins and votive objects dating from the 2nd and 3rd century AD have been found with Latin inscriptions referring to "Hercules", and so in reality, with varying levels of likelihood, refer to Thor by way of interpretatio romana.
The first recorded instance of the name of the god appears in the Migration Period, where a piece of jewelry (a fibula), the Nordendorf fibula, dating from the 7th century AD and found in Bavaria, bears an Elder Futhark inscription that contains the name Þonar, i.e. Donar, the southern Germanic form of the god's name.
According to a near-contemporary account, the Christian missionary Saint Boniface felled an oak tree dedicated to "Jove" in the 8th century, the Donar's Oak in the region of Hesse, Germany.
Around the second half of the 8th century, Old English mentions of a figure named Thunor (Þunor) are recorded, a figure who likely refers to a Saxon version of the god. In relation, Thunor is sometimes used in Old English texts to gloss Jupiter, the god may be referenced in the poem Solomon and Saturn , where the thunder strikes the devil with a "fiery axe", and the Old English expression þunnorad ("thunder ride") may refer to the god's thunderous, goat-led chariot.
A 9th-century AD codex from Mainz, Germany, known as the Old Saxon Baptismal Vow , records the name of three Old Saxon gods, UUôden (Old Saxon "Wodan"), Saxnôte , and Thunaer, by way of their renunciation as demons in a formula to be repeated by Germanic pagans formally converting to Christianity.
The Kentish royal legend, probably 11th-century, contains the story of a villainous reeve of Ecgberht of Kent called Thunor, who is swallowed up by the earth at a place from then on known as þunores hlæwe (Old English 'Thunor's mound'). Gabriel Turville-Petre saw this as an invented origin for the placename demonstrating loss of memory that Thunor had been a god's name.
In the 11th century, chronicler Adam of Bremen records in his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum that a statue of Thor, who Adam describes as "mightiest", sits in the Temple at Uppsala in the center of a triple throne (flanked by Woden and "Fricco") located in Gamla Uppsala , Sweden. Adam details that "Thor, they reckon, rules the sky; he governs thunder and lightning, winds and storms, fine weather and fertility" and that "Thor, with his mace, looks like Jupiter". Adam details that the people of Uppsala had appointed priests to each of the gods, and that the priests were to offer up sacrifices. In Thor's case, he continues, these sacrifices were done when plague or famine threatened. Earlier in the same work, Adam relays that in 1030 an English preacher, Wulfred, was lynched by assembled Germanic pagans for "profaning" a representation of Thor.
Two objects with runic inscriptions invoking Thor date from the 11th century, one from England and one from Sweden. The first, the Canterbury Charm from Canterbury, England, calls upon Thor to heal a wound by banishing a thurs .The second, the Kvinneby amulet, invokes protection by both Thor and his hammer.
In the 12th century, more than a century after Norway was "officially" Christianized, Thor was still being invoked by the population, as evidenced by a stick bearing a runic message found among the Bryggen inscriptions in Bergen, Norway. On the stick, both Thor and Odin are called upon for help; Thor is asked to "receive" the reader, and Odin to "own" them.Also around the 12th century, iconography of the Christianizing 11th-century king Olaf II of Norway (Saint Olaf) absorbed elements of the native Thor; Olaf II had become a familiarly red-bearded, hammer-wielding figure.
In the Poetic Edda , compiled during the 13th century from traditional source material reaching into the pagan period, Thor appears (or is mentioned) in the poems Völuspá , Grímnismál , Skírnismál , Hárbarðsljóð , Hymiskviða , Lokasenna , Þrymskviða , Alvíssmál , and Hyndluljóð .
In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin, including the death of Thor. Thor, she foretells, will do battle with the great serpent during the immense mythic war waged at Ragnarök , and there he will slay the monstrous snake, yet after he will only be able to take nine steps before succumbing to the venom of the beast:
Benjamin Thorpe translation:
Henry Adams Bellows translation:
Afterwards, says the völva, the sky will turn black before fire engulfs the world, the stars will disappear, flames will dance before the sky, steam will rise, the world will be covered in water and then it will be raised again, green and fertile.
In the poem Grímnismál , the god Odin, in disguise as Grímnir , and tortured, starved and thirsty, imparts in the young Agnar cosmological lore, including that Thor resides in Þrúðheimr , and that, every day, Thor wades through the rivers Körmt and Örmt, and the two Kerlaugar . There, Grímnir says, Thor sits as judge at the immense cosmological world tree, Yggdrasil .
In Skírnismál , the god Freyr 's messenger, Skírnir , threatens the fair Gerðr , with whom Freyr is smitten, with numerous threats and curses, including that Thor, Freyr, and Odin will be angry with her, and that she risks their "potent wrath".
Thor is the main character of Hárbarðsljóð , where, after traveling "from the east", he comes to an inlet where he encounters a ferryman who gives his name as Hárbarðr (Odin, again in disguise), and attempts to hail a ride from him. The ferryman, shouting from the inlet, is immediately rude and obnoxious to Thor and refuses to ferry him. At first, Thor holds his tongue, but Hárbarðr only becomes more aggressive, and the poem soon becomes a flyting match between Thor and Hárbarðr, all the while revealing lore about the two, including Thor's killing of several jötnar in "the east" and berzerk women on Hlesey (now the Danish island of Læsø ). In the end, Thor ends up walking instead.
Thor is again the main character in the poem Hymiskviða , where, after the gods have been hunting and have eaten their prey, they have an urge to drink. They "sh[ake] the twigs" and interpret what they say. The gods decide that they would find suitable cauldrons at Ægir 's home. Thor arrives at Ægir's home and finds him to be cheerful, looks into his eyes, and tells him that he must prepare feasts for the gods. Annoyed, Ægir tells Thor that the gods must first bring to him a suitable cauldron to brew ale in. The gods search but find no such cauldron anywhere. However, Týr tells Thor that he may have a solution; east of Élivágar lives Hymir , and he owns such a deep kettle.
So, after Thor secures his goats at Egil 's home, Thor and Týr go to Hymir's hall in search of a cauldron large enough to brew ale for them all. They arrive, and Týr sees his nine-hundred-headed grandmother and his gold-clad mother, the latter of which welcomes them with a horn. After Hymir—who is not happy to see Thor—comes in from the cold outdoors, Týr's mother helps them find a properly strong cauldron. Thor eats a big meal of two oxen (all the rest eat but one), and then goes to sleep. In the morning, he awakes and informs Hymir that he wants to go fishing the following evening, and that he will catch plenty of food, but that he needs bait. Hymir tells him to go get some bait from his pasture, which he expects should not be a problem for Thor. Thor goes out, finds Hymir's best ox, and rips its head off.
After a lacuna in the manuscript of the poem, Hymiskviða abruptly picks up again with Thor and Hymir in a boat, out at sea. Hymir catches a few whales at once, and Thor baits his line with the head of the ox. Thor casts his line and the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr bites. Thor pulls the serpent on board, and violently slams him in the head with his hammer. Jörmungandr shrieks, and a noisy commotion is heard from underwater before another lacuna appears in the manuscript.
After the second lacuna, Hymir is sitting in the boat, unhappy and totally silent, as they row back to shore. On shore, Hymir suggests that Thor should help him carry a whale back to his farm. Thor picks both the boat and the whales up, and carries it all back to Hymir's farm. After Thor successfully smashes a crystal goblet by throwing it at Hymir's head on Týr's mother's suggestion, Thor and Týr are given the cauldron. Týr cannot lift it, but Thor manages to roll it, and so with it they leave. Some distance from Hymir's home, an army of many-headed beings led by Hymir attacks the two, but are killed by the hammer of Thor. Although one of his goats is lame in the leg, the two manage to bring the cauldron back, have plenty of ale, and so, from then on, return to Týr's for more every winter.
In the poem Lokasenna , the half-god Loki angrily flites with the gods in the sea entity Ægir 's hall. Thor does not attend the event, however, as he is away in the east for unspecified purposes. Towards the end of the poem, the flyting turns to Sif , Thor's wife, whom Loki then claims to have slept with. The god Freyr 's servant Beyla interjects, and says that, since all of the mountains are shaking, she thinks that Thor is on his way home. Beyla adds that Thor will bring peace to the quarrel, to which Loki responds with insults.
Thor arrives and tells Loki to be silent, and threatens to rip Loki's head from his body with his hammer. Loki asks Thor why he is so angry, and comments that Thor will not be so daring to fight "the wolf" ( Fenrir ) when it eats Odin (a reference to the foretold events of Ragnarök ). Thor again tells him to be silent, and threatens to throw him into the sky, where he will never be seen again. Loki says that Thor should not brag of his time in the east, as he once crouched in fear in the thumb of a glove (a story involving deception by the magic of Útgarða-Loki , recounted in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning)—which, he comments, "was hardly like Thor". Thor again tells him to be silent, threatening to break every bone in Loki's body. Loki responds that he intends to live a while yet, and again insults Thor with references to his encounter with Útgarða-Loki. Thor responds with a fourth call to be silent, and threatens to send Loki to Hel . At Thor's final threat, Loki gives in, commenting that only for Thor will he leave the hall, for "I know alone that you do strike", and the poem continues.
In the comedic poem Þrymskviða , Thor again plays a central role. In the poem, Thor wakes and finds that his powerful hammer, Mjölnir , is missing. Thor turns to Loki, and tells him that nobody knows that the hammer has been stolen. The two go to the dwelling of the goddess Freyja , and so that he may attempt to find Mjölnir, Thor asks her if he may borrow her feather cloak. Freyja agrees, and says she would lend it to Thor even if it were made of silver or gold, and Loki flies off, the feather cloak whistling.
In Jötunheimr , the jötunn Þrymr sits on a barrow, plaiting golden collars for his female dogs, and trimming the manes of his horses. Þrymr sees Loki, and asks what could be amiss among the Æsir and the elves; why is Loki alone in Jötunheimr? Loki responds that he has bad news for both the elves and the Æsir—that Thor's hammer, Mjölnir, is gone. Þrymr says that he has hidden Mjölnir eight leagues beneath the earth, from which it will be retrieved, but only if Freyja is brought to him as his wife. Loki flies off, the feather cloak whistling, away from Jötunheimr and back to the court of the gods.
Thor asks Loki if his efforts were successful, and that Loki should tell him while he is still in the air as "tales often escape a sitting man, and the man lying down often barks out lies." Loki states that it was indeed an effort, and also a success, for he has discovered that Þrymr has the hammer, but that it cannot be retrieved unless Freyja is brought to Þrymr as his wife. The two return to Freyja and tell her to put on a bridal head dress, as they will drive her to Jötunheimr. Freyja, indignant and angry, goes into a rage, causing all of the halls of the Æsir to tremble in her anger, and her necklace, the famed Brísingamen , falls from her. Freyja pointedly refuses.
As a result, the gods and goddesses meet and hold a thing to discuss and debate the matter. At the thing, the god Heimdallr puts forth the suggestion that, in place of Freyja, Thor should be dressed as the bride, complete with jewels, women's clothing down to his knees, a bridal head-dress, and the necklace Brísingamen. Thor rejects the idea, yet Loki interjects that this will be the only way to get back Mjölnir. Loki points out that, without Mjölnir, the jötnar will be able to invade and settle in Asgard. The gods dress Thor as a bride, and Loki states that he will go with Thor as his maid, and that the two shall drive to Jötunheimr together.
After riding together in Thor's goat-driven chariot, the two, disguised, arrive in Jötunheimr. Þrymr commands the jötnar in his hall to spread straw on the benches, for Freyja has arrived to be his wife. Þrymr recounts his treasured animals and objects, stating that Freyja was all that he was missing in his wealth.
Early in the evening, the disguised Loki and Thor meet with Þrymr and the assembled jötnar. Thor eats and drinks ferociously, consuming entire animals and three casks of mead. Þrymr finds the behaviour at odds with his impression of Freyja, and Loki, sitting before Þrymr and appearing as a "very shrewd maid", makes the excuse that "Freyja's" behaviour is due to her having not consumed anything for eight entire days before arriving due to her eagerness to arrive. Þrymr then lifts "Freyja's" veil and wants to kiss "her". Terrifying eyes stare back at him, seemingly burning with fire. Loki says that this is because "Freyja" has not slept for eight nights in her eagerness.
The "wretched sister" of the jötnar appears, asks for a bridal gift from "Freyja", and the jötnar bring out Mjölnir to "sanctify the bride", to lay it on her lap, and marry the two by "the hand" of the goddess Vár . Thor laughs internally when he sees the hammer, takes hold of it, strikes Þrymr, beats all of the jötnar, kills their "older sister", and so gets his hammer back.
In the poem Alvíssmál , Thor tricks a dwarf, Alvíss , to his doom upon finding that he seeks to wed his daughter (unnamed, possibly Þrúðr ). As the poem starts, Thor meets a dwarf who talks about getting married. Thor finds the dwarf repulsive and, apparently, realizes that the bride is his daughter. Thor comments that the wedding agreement was made among the gods while Thor was gone, and that the dwarf must seek his consent. To do so, Thor says, Alvíss must tell him what he wants to know about all of the worlds that the dwarf has visited. In a long question and answer session, Alvíss does exactly that; he describes natural features as they are known in the languages of various races of beings in the world, and gives an amount of cosmological lore.
However, the question and answer session turns out to be a ploy by Thor, as, although Thor comments that he has truly never seen anyone with more wisdom in their breast, Thor has managed to delay the dwarf enough for the Sun to turn him to stone; "day dawns on you now, dwarf, now sun shines on the hall".
In the poem Hyndluljóð , Freyja offers to the jötunn woman Hyndla to blót (sacrifice) to Thor so that she may be protected, and comments that Thor does not care much for jötunn women.
The prologue to the Prose Edda euhemerises Thor as a prince of Troy, and the son of king Memnon by Troana, a daughter of Priam . Thor, also known as Tror, is said to have married the prophetess Sibyl (identified with Sif ). Thor is further said here to have been raised in Thrace by a chieftain named Lorikus, whom he later slew to assume the title of "King of Thrace", to have had hair "fairer than gold", and to have been strong enough to lift ten bearskins.
The name of the æsir is explained as "men from Asia", Asgard being the "Asian city" (i.e., Troy). Alternatively, Troy is in Tyrkland (Turkey, i.e., Asia Minor), and Asialand is Scythia, where Thor founded a new city named Asgard. Odin is a remote descendant of Thor, removed by twelve generations, who led an expedition across Germany, Denmark and Sweden to Norway.
In the Prose Edda, Thor is mentioned in all four books; Prologue , Gylfaginning , Skáldskaparmál , and Háttatal .
In Heimskringla , composed in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson , Thor or statues of Thor are mentioned in Ynglinga saga , Hákonar saga góða , Ólafs saga Tryggvasonar , and Óláfs saga helga . In Ynglinga saga chapter 5, a heavily euhemerized account of the gods is provided, where Thor is described as having been a gothi —a pagan priest—who was given by Odin (who himself is explained away as having been an exceedingly powerful magic-wielding chieftain from the east) a dwelling in the mythical location of Þrúðvangr , in what is now Sweden. The saga narrative adds that numerous names—at the time of the narrative, popularly in use—were derived from Thor.
Tales about Thor, or influenced by native traditions regarding Thor, continued into the modern period, particularly in Scandinavia. Writing in the 19th century, scholar Jacob Grimm records various phrases surviving into Germanic languages that refer to the god, such as the Norwegian Thorsvarme ("Thor's warmth") for lightning and the Swedish godgubben åfar ("The good old (fellow) is taking a ride") as well as the word tordön ("Thor's rumble" or "Thor's thunder") when it thunders. Grimm comments that, at times, Scandinavians often "no longer liked to utter the god's real name, or they wished to extol his fatherly goodness".
Thor remained pictured as a red-bearded figure, as evident by the Danish rhyme that yet referred to him as Thor med sit lange skæg ("Thor with the long beard") and the North-Frisian curse diis ruadhiiret donner regiir! ("let red-haired thunder see to that!").
A Scandinavian folk belief that lightning frightens away trolls and jötnar appears in numerous Scandinavian folktales, and may be a late reflection of Thor's role in fighting such beings. In connection, the lack of trolls and ettins in modern Scandinavia is explained as a result of the "accuracy and efficiency of the lightning strokes".
On four (or possibly five) runestones, an invocation to Thor appears that reads "May Thor hallow (these runes/this monument)!" The invocation appears thrice in Denmark (DR 110, DR 209, and DR 220), and a single time in Västergötland (Vg 150), Sweden. A fifth appearance may possibly occur on a runestone found in Södermanland , Sweden (Sö 140), but the reading is contested. Pictorial representations of Thor's hammer also appear on a total of five runestones found in Denmark and in the Swedish counties of Västergötland and Södermanland.
Three stones depict Thor fishing for the serpent Jörmungandr ; the Hørdum stone in Thy , Denmark, the Altuna Runestone in Altuna, Sweden, one of the Ardre image stones (stone VII) from Gotland , Sweden, and the Gosforth Cross in Gosforth, England.
Pendants in a distinctive shape representing the hammer of Thor (known in Norse sources as Mjölnir ) have frequently been unearthed in Viking Age Scandinavian burials. The hammers may have been worn as a symbol of Norse pagan faith and of opposition to Christianization, a response to crosses worn by Christians. Casting moulds have been found for the production of both Thor's hammers and Christian crucifixes, and at least one example of a combined crucifix and hammer has been discovered. The Eyrarland Statue, a copper alloy figure found near Akureyri , Iceland dating from around the 11th century, may depict Thor seated and gripping his hammer.
The swastika symbol has been identified as representing the hammer or lightning of Thor.Scholar Hilda Ellis Davidson (1965) comments on the usage of the swastika as a symbol of Thor:
The protective sign of the hammer was worn by women, as we know from the fact that it has been found in women's graves. It seems to have been used by the warrior also, in the form of the swastika. ... Primarily it appears to have had connections with light and fire, and to have been linked with the sun-wheel. It may have been on account of Thor's association with lightning that this sign was used as an alternative to the hammer, for it is found on memorial stones in Scandinavia besides inscriptions to Thor. When we find it on the pommel of a warrior's sword and on his sword-belt, the assumption is that the warrior was placing himself under the Thunder God's protection.
Swastikas appear on various Germanic objects stretching from the Migration Period to the Viking Age, such as the 3rd century Værløse Fibula (DR EM85;123) from Zealand, Denmark; the Gothic spearhead from Brest-Litovsk, Belarus; numerous Migration Period bracteates; cremation urns from early Anglo-Saxon England; the 8th century Sæbø sword from Sogn , Norway; and the 9th century Snoldelev Stone (DR 248) from Ramsø , Denmark.
Numerous place names in Scandinavia contain the Old Norse name Þórr. The identification of these place names as pointing to religious significance is complicated by the aforementioned common usage of Þórr as a personal name element. Cultic significance may only be assured in place names containing the elements -vé (signifying the location of a vé , a type of pagan Germanic shrine), –hóf (a structure used for religious purposes, see heathen hofs), and –lundr (a holy grove). The place name Þórslundr is recorded with particular frequency in Denmark (and has direct cognates in Norse settlements in Ireland, such as Coill Tomair), whereas Þórshof appears particularly often in southern Norway. Torsö (Thor's Island) appears on the Swedish west coast. Thor also appears in many placenames in Uppland.
In English placenames, Old English Thunor (in contrast with the Old Norse form of the name, later introduced to the Danelaw) left comparatively few traces. Examples include Thundersley, from *Thunores hlæw and Thurstable (Old English "Thunor's pillar").F. M. Stenton noted that such placenames were apparently restricted to Saxon and Jutish territory and not found in Anglian areas.
In what is now Germany, locations named after Thor are sparsely recorded, but an amount of locations called Donnersberg (German "Donner's mountain") may derive their name from the deity Donner, the southern Germanic form of the god's name.
In as late as the 19th century in Iceland, a specific breed of fox was known as holtaþórr ("Thor of the holt"), likely due to the red coat of the breed.In Sweden in the 19th century, smooth, wedge-shaped stones found in the earth were called Thorwiggar ("Thor's wedges"), according to a folk belief that they were once hurled at a troll by the god Thor. (Compare Thunderstones.) Similarly, meteorites may be considered memorials to Thor in folk tradition due to their sheer weight. On the Swedish island of Gotland, a species of beetle (Scarabæus stercorarius) was named after the god; the Thorbagge. When the beetle is found turned upside down and one flips it over, Thor's favor may be gained. In other regions of Sweden the name of the beetle appears to have been demonized with Christianization, where the insect came to be known as Thordedjefvul or Thordyfvel (both meaning "Thor-devil").
Thor closely resembles other Indo-European deities associated with the thunder: the Celtic Taranis, Perkūnas , the Slavic Perun, and particularly the Hindu Indra , whose red hair and thunderbolt weapon the vajra are obvious parallels. Scholars have compared Indra's slaying of Vritra with Thor's battle with Jörmungandr . Although in the past it was suggested that Thor was an indigenous sky god or a Viking Age import into Scandinavia, these Indo-European parallels make him generally accepted today as ultimately derived from a Proto-Indo-European deity.the Baltic
In Georges Dumézil 's trifunctional hypothesis of Indo-European religion, Thor represents the second function, that of strength. Dumézil notes that as a result of displacements, he does not lead armies; most of the functions of Indra have been in effect taken over by Odin. Many scholars have noted the association of Thor with fertility, particularly in later folklore and in the reflex of him represented by the Sami Hora galles ("Good-man Thor"). For Dumézil, this is the preservation by peasants of only the side-effect of the god's atmospheric battles: the fertilizing rain. Others have emphasized Thor's close connection to humanity, in all its concerns. Scholar Hilda Ellis Davidson summarizes:
The cult of Thor was linked up with men's habitation and possessions, and with well-being of the family and community. This included the fruitfulness of the fields, and Thor, although pictured primarily as a storm god in the myths, was also concerned with the fertility and preservation of the seasonal round. In our own times, little stone axes from the distant past have been used as fertility symbols and placed by the farmer in the holes made by the drill to receive the first seed of spring. Thor's marriage with Sif of the golden hair, about which we hear little in the myths, seems to be a memory of the ancient symbol of divine marriage between sky god and earth goddess, when he comes to earth in the thunderstorm and the storm brings the rain which makes the fields fertile. In this way Thor, as well as Odin, may be seen to continue the cult of the sky god which was known in the Bronze Age.
In modern times, Thor continues to be referred to in art and fiction. Starting with F. J. Klopstock's 1776 ode to Thor, Wir und Sie, Thor has been the subject of poems in several languages, including Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger 's 1807 epic poem Thors reise til Jotunheim and, by the same author, three more poems (Hammeren hentes, Thors fiskeri, and Thor besøger Hymir) collected in his 1819 Nordens Guder; Thors Trunk (1859) by Wilhelm Hertz ; the 1820 satirical poem Mythologierne eller Gudatvisten by J. M. Stiernstolpe; Nordens Mythologie eller Sinnbilled-Sprog (1832) by N. F. S. Grundtvig ; the poem Harmen by Thor Thorild ; Der Mythus von Thor (1836) by Ludwig Uhland ; Der Hammer Thors (1915) by W. Schulte v. Brühl; Hans Friedrich Blunck 's Herr Dunnar und die Bauern (published in Märchen und Sagen, 1937); and Die Heimholung des Hammers (1977) by H. C. Artmann. In English he features for example in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Challenge of Thor" (1863) and in two works by Rudyard Kipling: Letters of Travel: 1892–1913 and "Cold Iron" in Rewards and Fairies . L. Sprague de Camp's Harold Shea met with Thor, as with other Norse gods, in the very first of Shea's many fantasy adventures.
Artists have also depicted Thor in painting and sculpture, including Henry Fuseli's 1780 painting Thor Battering the Midgard Serpent ; H. E. Freund 's 1821–1822 statue Thor; B. E. Fogelberg's 1844 marble statue Thor; Mårten Eskil Winge's 1872 painting Thor's Fight with the Giants ; K. Ehrenberg's 1883 drawing Odin, Thor und Magni; several illustrations by E. Doepler published in Wilhelm Ranisch's 1901 Walhall (Thor; Thor und die Midgardschlange; Thor den Hrungnir bekämpfend; Thor bei dem Riesen Þrym als Braut verkleidet; Thor bei Hymir; Thor bei Skrymir; Thor den Fluß Wimur durchwatend); J. C. Dollman's 1909 drawings Thor and the Mountain and Sif and Thor; G. Poppe's painting Thor; E. Pottner's 1914 drawing Thors Schatten; H. Natter's marble statue Thor; and U. Brember's 1977 illustrations to Die Heimholung des Hammers by H. C. Artmann. Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779–1848) discovered a chemical element that he named after Thor – thorium.
In 1962, American comic book writer Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber, together with Jack Kirby, created the Marvel Comics superhero Thor Odinson, which they based on the god of the same name.This version of Thor is portrayed as a long-haired blonde, instead of red-haired. In 2014, Marvel Comics character Jane Foster was made the new Thor, a title in the industry; both characters have been portrayed in Marvel Studios films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and American-Israeli actress Natalie Portman respectively, beginning with Thor in 2011. The character also appeared in two sequel films, Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok , as well as a founding member of the Avengers in all four Avengers movies. In the Savage Dragon comics, Thor is portrayed as a villain.
First described in 2013, Thor's hero shrew (Scutisorex thori) is a species of shrew native to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It and its sister species, the hero shrew (Scutisorex somereni), are the only mammal species known to have interlocking vertebrae.The team named the shrew after Thor due to the god's association with strength.
From 2015 to 2017, a fictionalised version of Thor was a supporting character in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard , a trilogyof fantasy novels written by American author Rick Riordan and published by Disney-Hyperion, set in the same fictional universe as the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles , and The Kane Chronicles series by the same author. Neil Gaiman's books American Gods and Norse Mythology also feature Thor.
Thor is frequently mentioned in the 2018 video game, God of War , which is loosely based on Norse mythology. This version of Thor is described as a murderous sociopath with a tendency to kill giants and anyone else in the way of Odin's quest for knowledge. His sons, Móði and Magni (with Móði spelled as Modi in the game), are featured as secondary antagonists in the game, who are both killed by the protagonists, Kratos and his son Atreus. Thor makes an appearance in the game's secret ending where after Kratos and Atreus return home and slumber, Atreus has a vision: a violent lightning storm forms and the two go outside to investigate to discover Thor waiting for them and preparing Mjölnir in retribution for his sons' deaths.
In Norse mythology, Brísingamen is the torc or necklace of the goddess Freyja. The name is an Old Norse compound brísinga-men whose second element is men "(ornamental) neck-ring, torc". The etymology of the first element is uncertain. It has been derived from Old Norse brísingr, a poetic term for "fire" or "amber" mentioned in the anonymous versified word-lists (þulur) appended to many manuscripts of the Prose Edda, making Brísingamen "gleaming torc", "sunny torc", or the like. However, Brísingr can also be an ethnonym, in which case Brísinga men is "torque of the Brísings"; the Old English parallel in Beowulf supports this derivation, though who the Brísings may have been remains unknown.
In Norse mythology, Freyja is a goddess associated with war, death, love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, and seiðr. Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen, rides a chariot pulled by two cats, is accompanied by the boar Hildisvíni, and possesses a cloak of falcon feathers. By her husband Óðr, she is the mother of two daughters, Hnoss and Gersemi. Along with her brother Freyr, her father Njörðr, and her mother, she is a member of the Vanir. Stemming from Old Norse Freyja, modern forms of the name include Freya, Freyia, and Freja.
In Norse mythology, Frigg, Frija, Frea (Langobardic), and Frīg is a goddess. In nearly all sources, she is described as the wife of the god Odin. In Old High German and Old Norse sources, she is also connected with the goddess Fulla. The English weekday name Friday bears her name.
In Norse mythology, Heimdallr is a god who possesses the resounding horn Gjallarhorn, owns the golden-maned horse Gulltoppr, is called the shining god and the whitest of the gods, has gold teeth, and is the son of Nine Mothers. Heimdallr is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, and keeps watch for invaders and the onset of Ragnarök while drinking fine mead in his dwelling Himinbjörg, located where the burning rainbow bridge Bifröst meets the sky. Heimdallr is said to be the originator of social classes among humanity and once regained Freyja's treasured possession Brísingamen while doing battle in the shape of a seal with Loki. Heimdallr and Loki are foretold to kill one another during the events of Ragnarök. Heimdallr is additionally referred to as Rig, Hallinskiði, Gullintanni, and Vindlér or Vindhlér.
In Norse cosmology, Jötunheimr is a location associated with the Jötnar, entities in Norse mythology.
Loki is a god in Norse mythology. Loki is in some sources the son of Fárbauti and Laufey, and the brother of Helblindi and Býleistr. By the jötunn Angrboða, Loki is the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn, Loki is the father of Narfi and/or Nari. By the stallion Svaðilfari, Loki is the mother—giving birth in the form of a mare—to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir. In addition, Loki is referred to as the father of Váli in Prose Edda, though this source also refers to Odin as the father of Váli twice, and Váli is found mentioned as a Son of Loki only once.
In Norse mythology, Njörðr is a god among the Vanir. Njörðr, father of the deities Freyr and Freyja by his unnamed sister, was in an ill-fated marriage with the goddess Skaði, lives in Nóatún and is associated with the sea, seafaring, wind, fishing, wealth, and crop fertility.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök is a series of events, including a great battle, foretold to lead to the death of a number of great figures, natural disasters and the submersion of the world in water. After these events, the world will resurface anew and fertile, the surviving and returning gods will meet and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors. Ragnarök is an important event in Norse mythology and has been the subject of scholarly discourse and theory in the history of Germanic studies.
Týr, Tíw, and Ziu is a god in Germanic mythology. Stemming from the Proto-Germanic deity *Tīwaz and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European chief deity *Dyeus, little information about the god survives beyond Old Norse sources. Due to the etymology of the god's name and the shadowy presence of the god in the extant Germanic corpus, some scholars propose that Týr may have once held a more central place among the deities of early Germanic mythology.
In Norse mythology, the Vanir are a group of gods associated with nature, fertility, wisdom, and the ability to see the future. The Vanir are one of two groups of gods and are the namesake of the location Vanaheimr. After the Æsir–Vanir War, the Vanir became a subgroup of the Æsir. Subsequently, members of the Vanir are sometimes also referred to as members of the Æsir.
In Norse mythology, Vígríðr or Óskópnir is a large field foretold to host a battle between the forces of the gods and the forces of Surtr as part of the events of Ragnarök. The field is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional material, and in the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. The Poetic Edda briefly mentions the field as where the two forces will battle, whereas the Prose Edda features a fuller account, foretelling that it is the location of the future death of several deities before the world is engulfed in flames and reborn.
In Norse mythology, Jörmungandr, also known as the Midgard (World) Serpent, is a sea serpent, the middle child of the giantess Angrboða and Loki. According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki's three children by Angrboða—the wolf Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungandr—and tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so large that it was able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail. As a result, it received the name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When it releases its tail, Ragnarök will begin. Jörmungandr's arch-enemy is the thunder-god, Thor. It is an example of an ouroboros.
In Norse mythology, Þrymr was king of the jǫtnar. In one legend, he stole Mjǫlnir, Thor's hammer, to extort the gods into giving him Freyja as his wife. His kingdom was called Jötunheimr, but according to Hversu Noregr byggðist, it was the Swedish province Värmland, then a part of Norway.
In Norse mythology, Mjölnir is the hammer of Thor, the Norse god associated with thunder. Mjölnir is depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome and powerful weapons in existence, capable of leveling mountains. In its account of Norse mythology, the Prose Edda relates how the hammer's characteristically short handle was due to a mistake during its manufacture.
In Norse mythology, Óðr or Óð, sometimes anglicized as Odr or Od, is a figure associated with the major goddess Freyja. The Prose Edda and Heimskringla, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, both describe Óðr as Freyja's husband and father of her daughter Hnoss. Heimskringla adds that the couple produced another daughter, Gersemi. A number of theories have been proposed about Óðr, generally that he is somehow a hypostasis of the deity Odin due to their similarities.
In Norse mythology, Surtr is a jötunn. Surtr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, Surtr is foretold as being a major figure during the events of Ragnarök; carrying his bright sword, he will go to battle against the Æsir, he will do battle with the major god Freyr, and afterward the flames that he brings forth will engulf the Earth.
Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr are the goats who pull the god Thor's chariot in Norse mythology. They are attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century.
Þrymskviða is one of the best known poems from the Poetic Edda. The Norse myth had enduring popularity in Scandinavia and continued to be told and sung in several forms until the 19th century.
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