- This article is about the Norse god. For other uses, see Thor (disambiguation).
In Norse mythology, Thor (/θɔːr/; from Old Norse: Þórr, runic ᚦᚢᚱ þur) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, sacred groves and 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 ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱ þonar). All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning thunder).
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 Christianisation 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.
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.
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.
- 1 Name
- 2 Historical attestations
- 3 Archaeological record
- 4 Eponymy and toponymy
- 5 Origin, theories, and interpretations
- 6 Modern influence
- 7 Equipment
- 8 Powers
- 9 Lays
- 10 Ballads
- 11 Family
- 12 Gallery
- 13 See also
- 14 Notes
- 15 References
- 16 External links
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. They descend from the Proto-Germanic masculine noun *þunraz 'thunder', and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European word for 'thunder' *(s)tenh₂-, with another cognate in the Celtic god Taranis (*Torano).
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 Template:Lang (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 Template:Lang, where, writing about the religion of the Template:Lang (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 Template:Lang also venerate "Isis". In this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as "Mercury", Thor as "Hercules", and the god Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang.
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 Template:Lang, i.e. Template:Lang, the southern Germanic form of Thor's name.
Around the second half of the 8th century, Old English mentions of a figure named Template:Lang (Template:Lang) are recorded, a figure who likely refers to a Saxon version of the god. In relation, Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang ("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, Template:Lang (Old Saxon "Wodan"), Template:Lang, and Template:Lang, 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 Template:Lang (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 Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang, 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 Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang. 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.
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 Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, and Template:Lang.
In the poem Template:Lang, a dead Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang, 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:
Henry Adams Bellows translation:
Hither there comes the son of Hlothyn,
The bright snake gapes to heaven above;
Against the serpent goes Othin's son.
In anger smites the warder of earth,—
Forth from their homes must all men flee;—
Nine paces fares the son of Fjorgyn,
And, slain by the serpent, fearless he sinks.
Afterwards, says the Template:Lang, 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 Template:Lang, the god Odin, in disguise as Template:Lang, and tortured, starved and thirsty, imparts in the young Template:Lang cosmological lore, including that Thor resides in Template:Lang, and that, every day, Thor wades through the rivers [[Körmt and Örmt|Template:Lang and Template:Lang]], and the two Template:Lang. There, Template:Lang says, Thor sits as judge at the immense cosmological world tree, Template:Lang.
In Template:Lang, the god Template:Lang's messenger, Template:Lang, threatens the fair Template:Lang, with whom Template:Lang is smitten, with numerous threats and curses, including that Thor, Template:Lang, and Odin will be angry with her, and that she risks their "potent wrath".
Thor is the main character of Template:Lang, where, after traveling "from the east", he comes to an inlet where he encounters a ferryman who gives his name as Template:Lang (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 Template:Lang only becomes more aggressive, and the poem soon becomes a Template:Lang match between Thor and Template:Lang, all the while revealing lore about the two, including Thor's killing of several Template:Lang in "the east" and berzerk women on Template:Lang (now the Danish island of Template:Lang). In the end, Thor ends up walking instead.
Thor is again the main character in the poem Template:Lang, 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 Template:Lang's home. Thor arrives at Template:Lang's home and finds him to be cheerful, looks into his eyes, and tells him that he must prepare feasts for the gods. Annoyed, Template:Lang 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, Template:Lang tells Thor that he may have a solution; east of Template:Lang lives Template:Lang, and he owns such a deep kettle.
So, after Thor secures his goats at Template:Lang's home, Thor and Template:Lang go to Template:Lang's hall in search of a cauldron large enough to brew ale for them all. They arrive, and Template:Lang sees his nine-hundred-headed grandmother and his gold-clad mother, the latter of which welcomes them with a horn. After Template:Lang—who is not happy to see Thor—comes in from the cold outdoors, Template:Lang'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 Template:Lang that he wants to go fishing the following evening, and that he will catch plenty of food, but that he needs bait. Template:Lang tells him to go get some bait from his pasture, which he expects should not be a problem for Thor. Thor goes out, finds Template:Lang's best ox, and rips its head off.
After a lacuna in the manuscript of the poem, Template:Lang abruptly picks up again with Thor and Template:Lang in a boat, out at sea. Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang bites. Thor pulls the serpent on board, and violently slams him in the head with his hammer. Template:Lang shrieks, and a noisy commotion is heard from underwater before another lacuna appears in the manuscript.
After the second lacuna, Template:Lang is sitting in the boat, unhappy and totally silent, as they row back to shore. On shore, Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang's farm. After Thor successfully smashes a crystal goblet by throwing it at Template:Lang's head on Template:Lang's mother's suggestion, Thor and Template:Lang are given the cauldron. Template:Lang cannot lift it, but Thor manages to roll it, and so with it they leave. Some distance from Template:Lang's home, an army of many-headed beings led by Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang's for more every winter.
In the poem Template:Lang, the half-god Loki angrily flites with the gods in the sea entity Template:Lang'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 Template:Lang, Thor's wife, whom Loki then claims to have slept with. The god Template:Lang's servant Template:Lang interjects, and says that, since all of the mountains are shaking, she thinks that Thor is on his way home. Template:Lang 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" (Template:Lang) when it eats Odin (a reference to the foretold events of Template:Lang). 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 Template:Lang, recounted in the Prose Edda book Template:Lang)—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 Template:Lang. Thor responds with a fourth call to be silent, and threatens to send Loki to Template:Lang. 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 Template:Lang, Thor again plays a central role. In the poem, Thor wakes and finds that his powerful hammer, Template:Lang, 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 Template:Lang, and so that he may attempt to find Template:Lang, Thor asks her if he may borrow her feather cloak. Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang, the Template:Lang Template:Lang sits on a barrow, plaiting golden collars for his female dogs, and trimming the manes of his horses. Template:Lang sees Loki, and asks what could be amiss among the Template:Lang and the elves; why is Loki alone in Template:Lang? Loki responds that he has bad news for both the elves and the Template:Lang—that Thor's hammer, Template:Lang, is gone. Template:Lang says that he has hidden Template:Lang eight leagues beneath the earth, from which it will be retrieved, but only if Template:Lang is brought to him as his wife. Loki flies off, the feather cloak whistling, away from Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang has the hammer, but that it cannot be retrieved unless Template:Lang is brought to Template:Lang as his wife. The two return to Template:Lang and tell her to put on a bridal head dress, as they will drive her to Template:Lang. Template:Lang, indignant and angry, goes into a rage, causing all of the halls of the Template:Lang to tremble in her anger, and her necklace, the famed Template:Lang, falls from her. Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang puts forth the suggestion that, in place of Template:Lang, Thor should be dressed as the bride, complete with jewels, women's clothing down to his knees, a bridal head-dress, and the necklace Template:Lang. Thor rejects the idea, yet Loki interjects that this will be the only way to get back Template:Lang. Loki points out that, without Template:Lang, the Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang together.
After riding together in Thor's goat-driven chariot, the two, disguised, arrive in Template:Lang. Template:Lang commands the Template:Lang in his hall to spread straw on the benches, for Template:Lang has arrived to be his wife. Template:Lang recounts his treasured animals and objects, stating that Template:Lang was all that he was missing in his wealth.
Early in the evening, the disguised Loki and Thor meet with Template:Lang and the assembled Template:Lang. Thor eats and drinks ferociously, consuming entire animals and three casks of mead. Template:Lang finds the behavior at odds with his impression of Template:Lang, and Loki, sitting before Template:Lang and appearing as a "very shrewd maid", makes the excuse that "Template:Lang's" behaviour is due to her having not consumed anything for eight entire days before arriving due to her eagerness to arrive. Template:Lang then lifts "Template:Lang's" veil and wants to kiss "her". Terrifying eyes stare back at him, seemingly burning with fire. Loki says that this is because "Template:Lang" has not slept for eight nights in her eagerness.
The "wretched sister" of the Template:Lang appears, asks for a bridal gift from "Template:Lang", and the Template:Lang bring out Template:Lang to "sanctify the bride", to lay it on her lap, and marry the two by "the hand" of the goddess Template:Lang. Thor laughs internally when he sees the hammer, takes hold of it, strikes Template:Lang, beats all of the Template:Lang, kills their "older sister", and so gets his hammer back.
In the poem Template:Lang, Thor tricks a dwarf, Template:Lang, to his doom upon finding that he seeks to wed his daughter (unnamed, possibly Template:Lang). 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, Template:Lang 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, Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang, Template:Lang offers to the Template:Lang woman Template:Lang to Template:Lang (sacrifice) to Thor so that she may be protected, and comments that Thor does not care much for Template:Lang women.
Prose Edda, Heimskringla, and sagas
The prologue to the Prose Edda euhemerises Thor as a prince of Troy, and the son of king Memnon by Troana, a daughter of Template:Lang. Thor, also known as Template:Lang, is said to have married the prophetess Sibyl (identified with Template:Lang). 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 Template:Lang is explained as "men from Asia", Asgard being the "Asian city" (i.e., Troy). Alternatively, Troy is in Template:Lang (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 Template:Lang, composed in the 13th century by Template:Lang, Thor or statues of Thor are mentioned in Template:Lang, Template:Lang, Template:Lang, and Template:Lang. In Template:Lang chapter 5, a heavily euhemerized account of the gods is provided, where Thor is described as having been a Template:Lang—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 Template:Lang, 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.
Around the 12th century, folk traditions and iconography of the Christianizing king Olaf II of Norway (Saint Olaf; c. 995 – 1030) absorbed elements of both Thor and Freyr. After Olaf's death, his cult had spread quickly all over Scandinavia, where many churches were dedicated to him, as well as to other parts of Northern Europe. His cult distinctively mixed both ecclesiastical and folk elements. From Thor, he inherited the quick temper, physical strength and merits as a giant-slayer. Early depictions portray Olaf as clean-shaven, but after 1200 he appears with a red beard. For centuries, Olaf figured in folk traditions as a slayer of trolls and giants, and as a protector against malicious forces.
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 Template:Lang ("Thor's warmth") for lightning and the Swedish Template:Lang ("The good old (fellow) is taking a ride") as well as the word Template:Wikt-lang ("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 Template:Lang ("Thor with the long beard") and the North-Frisian curse Template:Lang ("let red-haired thunder see to that!").
A Scandinavian folk belief that lightning frightens away trolls and Template:Lang 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".
In the Netherlands, The Sagas of Veluwe has a story called Ontstaan van het Uddeler- en Bleeke meer which features Thor and that he fights giants.
Runestone invocations and image stones
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 Template:Lang (Vg 150), Sweden. A fifth appearance may possibly occur on a runestone found in Template:Lang, 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 Template:Lang and Template:Lang.
Three stones depict Thor fishing for the serpent Jörmungandr; the [[Hørdum stone|Template:Lang stone]] in Template:Lang, Denmark, the Altuna Runestone in Template:Lang, Sweden, one of the Ardre image stones (stone VII) from Template:Lang, Sweden, and the Gosforth Cross in Gosforth, England.
Hammer pendants and Eyrarland Statue
Pendants in a distinctive shape representing the hammer of Thor (known in Norse sources as Template:Lang) 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 Template:Lang, 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 [[Alu (runic)#Værløse Fibula|Template:Lang 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|Template:Lang sword]] from Template:Lang, Norway; and the 9th century Snoldelev Stone (DR 248) from Template:Lang, Denmark.
Eponymy and toponymy
Numerous place names in Scandinavia contain the Old Norse name "Þórr" ("Thor"). 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" ("Thor's Holy Grove") is recorded with particular frequency in Denmark (and has direct cognates in Norse settlements in Ireland, such as Coill Tomair), whereas "Þórshof" ("Thor's Hof") 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 Template:Lang (in contrast with the Old Norse form of the name, later introduced to the Danelaw) left comparatively few traces. Examples include Thundersley, from *Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang (German "Donner's mountain") may derive their name from the deity Template:Lang, 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 Template:Lang ("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 Template:Lang ("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 Template:Lang. 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 Template:Lang or Template:Lang (both meaning "Thor-devil").
Origin, theories, and interpretations
Thor closely resembles other Indo-European deities associated with the thunder: the Celtic Taranis, the Baltic Template:Lang, the Slavic Perun, and particularly the Hindu Template:Lang, whose red hair and thunderbolt weapon the Template:Lang are obvious parallels. Scholars have compared Indra's slaying of Template:Lang with Thor's battle with Template:Lang. 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.
In Template:Lang's trifunctional hypothesis of Indo-European religion, Thor represents the second function, that of strength. Template:Lang 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 Template:Lang ("Good-man Thor"). For Template:Lang, 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 Template:Lang 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|italic=yes; 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's1914 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 artist Jack Kirby, Marvel Comics editor Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber created a feature in the comic book Journey Into Mystery a series featuring Thor as a superhero. This version of Thor is portrayed as a long-haired blonde, instead of red-haired. The magazine soon added the backup feature "Tales of Asgard" in which Kirby illustrated stories from Norse mythology; eventually the magazine was retitled Thor. Lee and Kirby included Thor as a founding member of their superhero team the Avengers. Thor has been portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, appearing in Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron,Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. Thor has also been featured in comic books by other publishers. 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 fictionalized version of Thor was a supporting character in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, a trilogy of 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 usually seen wielding a giant hammer known as Mjölnir that can cast lightning, and only those with the greatest strength could pick it up. It has the ability to level mountains and has been used many times by Thor to kill Jötunn.
The Jarngreipr are depicted as iron gloves or gauntlets used by Thor.
Megingjord is a magical belt that increased Thor's already godly physical strength.
- Blunt Weapon Proficiency
- Empathic Weaponry
- Deity Lightning Manipulation
- Electricity Manipulation
- Lightning Bolt Projection
- Electricity Manipulation
- Divine Weather Manipulation
- Storm Manipulation
- Sky Energy Manipulation
- Celestial Manipulation
- Sky Manipulation
- Soil Manipulation
- Fertility Inducement
- Supernatural Strength
- Terrain Manipulation
Lay of Trym
The Lay of Trym (original name is þrymskviða) from the Poetic Edda features Thor. It reads as follows:
-By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- On the red beard and the use of "Redbeard" as an epithet for Thor, see H.R. Ellis Davidson, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, 1964, repr. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1990, ISBN: 0-14-013627-4 , p. 85, citing the Saga of Olaf Tryggvason in Template:Lang, Saga of Erik the Red, and Template:Lang. The Prologue to the Prose Edda says ambiguously that "His hair is more beautiful than gold."
- Orel (2003:429).
- Matasović (2009:384).
- Simek (2007:333).
- Simek (2007:321).
- Birley (1999:42).
- Birley (1999:107).
- Birley (1999:42 and 106—107).
- Simek (2007:140—142).
- Simek (2007:235—236).
- Simek (2007:238) and Robinson (1916:63).
- Turville-Petre (1964:99)
- See North (1998:238—241) for Template:Lang and tales regarding Template:Lang, see Encyclopædia Britannica (1910:608) regarding usage of Template:Lang as an Old English gloss for Jupiter and Template:Lang employed as a gloss for Mars.
- Simek (2007:276).
- Turville-Petre (1964:99–100); variant texts in mss. Stowe 944, Cotton Caligula A. xiv, London, Lambeth Palace 427.
- Orchard (1997:168—169).
- North (1998:236).
- McLeod, Mees (2006:120).
- McLeod, Mees (2006:28).
- McLeod, Mees (2006:30).
- Larrington (1999:320).
- Thorpe (1907:7).
- Bellows (1923:23).
- Larrington (1999:11—12).
- Larrington (1999:57).
- Larrington (1999:66).
- Larrington (1999:69–75).
- Larrington (1999:78—79).
- Larrington (1999:79—80).
- Larrington (1999:81).
- Larrington (1999:82—83).
- Larrington (1999:84 and 94).
- Larrington (1999:94—95).
- Larrington (1999:97).
- Larrington (1999:97–98).
- Larrington (1999:98).
- Larrington (1999:99).
- Larrington (1999:100).
- Larrington (1999:101).
- Larrington (1999:109—113). For Template:Lang hypothesis, see Orchard (1997:164—165).
- Larrington (1999:113).
- Larrington (1999:254).
- Hollander (2007:10—11).
- Dumézil (1973:125).
- Lindahl, McNamara & Lindow 2002, p. 299.
- Astås 1993, p. 446.
- Grimm (1882:166—77).
- See Lindow (1978:89), but noted as early as Thorpe (1851:154) who states, "The dread entertained by the Trolls for thunder dates from the time of paganism, Thor, the god of thunder, being the deadly foe of their race."
- Weggelaar, Eva. The Creation of the Uddeler- and Pale Lake - Thunar and the Winter Giants
- Sawyer (2003:128).
- Simek (2007:219) and Orchard (1997:114).
- Orchard (1997:161).
- The symbol was identified as such since 19th century scholarship; examples include Worsaae (1882:169) and Greg (1884:6).
- Davidson (1965:12—13).
- Stenton, Frank (1941). "The Historical Bearing of Place-Name Studies: Anglo-Saxon Heathenism". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 4th series, XXIII, 1–24, pp. 17– ; (1971). Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford History of England 2, 1943, 3rd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971, ISBN: 9780198217169 , pp. 99–100.
- Grimm (1882:177).
- Thorpe (1851:51—54).
- De Vries (1957:111).
- Simek (2007:322).
- Turville-Petre (1964:96–97).
- Dumézil (1973:17).
- De Vries (1957:151–53)
- Turville-Petre (1964:103–05)
- Template:Lang. 2nd ed. Flammarion, 1985, p. 168 Template:In lang
- Dumézil (1973:71–72).
- De Vries (1957:152–53)
- Davidson (1975:72).
- Simek (2007:323).
- Morris (1992:2212).
- Reynolds (1994:54).
- Johnson (2013).
- "Rick Riordan announces 'Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard'". 23 September 2014. http://www.hypable.com/rick-riordan-announces-magnus-chase-and-the-gods-of-asgard/. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
- Arnold, Martin (2011). Thor: Myth to Marvel. Continuum. ISBN 978-1-4411-3715-9.
- Astås, Reidar (1993). "Óláfr, St.". In Pulsiano, Phillip. Medieval Scandinavia, an Encyclopedia. NY and London: Garland. ISBN 0-8240-4787-7.
- Bellows, Henry Adams (1923). The Poetic Edda. American Scandinavian Foundation.
- Birley, Anthony R. (Trans.) (1999). Agricola and Germany. Oxford World's Classics. ISBN 978-0-19-283300-6. https://archive.org/details/agricolagermany00taci.
- Chrisholm, Hugh (Editor) (1910) Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 9. The Encyclopædia Britannica Co.
- Ellis Davidson, H. R. (1965). "Thor's Hammer". Folklore (Taylor & Francis) 76 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1080/0015587X.1965.9716982. JSTOR 1258087.
- Ellis Davidson, H. R. (1975). Scandinavian Mythology. Paul Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-03637-5. https://archive.org/details/scandinavianmyth00davi.
- Dumézil, Georges (1973). Gods of the Ancient Northmen. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02044-8. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_DZIeNMgZhRwC.
- Greg, Robert Philips (1884). On the Meaning and Origin of the Fylfot and Swastika. Westminster: Nichols and Sons. https://archive.org/details/onmeaningandori00londgoog.
- Hollander, Lee Milton (2007). Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-73061-8. https://books.google.com/books?id=qHpwje7-wNkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Heimskringla:+History+of+the+Kings+of+Norway#v=onepage.
- Grimm, Jacob (1882). Teutonic Mythology: Translated from the Fourth Edition with Notes and Appendix by James Stallybrass, volume I. Translated by James Steven Stallybrass. London: George Bell and Sons. https://books.google.com/books?id=YxwAAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage.
- Johnston, Richard (July 24, 2013). "Shrew has a spine of godly strength". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2013.13440.
- Larrington, Carolyne (1999). The Poetic Edda: A New Translation. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-283946-2.
- Lindahl, Carl; McNamara, John; Lindow, John, eds. (2002). "Olaf, Saint". Medieval Folklore: A Guide to Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195147711.
- Lindow, John (1978). Swedish Folktales and Legends. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03520-8. https://archive.org/details/swedishlegendsfo00essw.
- MacLeod, Mindy; Mees, Bernard (2006). Runic Amulets and Magic Objects. Boydell Press. ISBN 1-84383-205-4. https://books.google.com/books?id=hx7UigqsTKoC.
- Matasović, Ranko (2009) (in en). Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic. Brill. ISBN 9789004173361. https://books.google.com/books?id=YN_YPQAACAAJ.
- Morris, Christopher G. (1992). Academic Dictionary of Science and Technology. Gulf Professional Publishing. ISBN 978-0-12-200400-1. https://books.google.com/books?id=nauWlPTBcjIC&dq.
- Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34520-2. https://books.google.com/books?id=5hbPHQAACAAJ.
- Orel, Vladimir (2003). A Handbook of Germanic Etymology. Brill. ISBN 9004128751. https://archive.org/details/handbookofgerman0000orel.
- Reynolds, Richard (1994). Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0-87805-694-7.
- Robinson, George W. (Trans.) (1916). The Life of Saint Boniface by Willibald. Harvard University Press. https://archive.org/details/lifesaintbonifa01robigoog. "life of boniface."
- Sawyer, Birgit (2003). The Viking-Age Rune-Stones: Custom and Commemoration in Early Medieval Scandinavia. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820643-7.
- Simek, Rudolf (2007). Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Translated by Angela Hall. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 978-0-85991-513-7.
- Thorpe, Benjamin (1851). Northern Mythology, Compromising the Principal Traditions and Superstitions of Scandinavia, North Germany, and the Netherlands: Compiled from Original and Other Sources: Volume II: Scandinavian Popular Traditions and Superstitions. Lumley. https://books.google.com/books?id=Q-lAAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22benjamin+thorpe%22#v=onepage.
- Thorpe, Benjamin (1907). The Elder Edda of Saemund Sigfusson. Norrœna Society. https://archive.org/details/eldereddasaemun02socigoog. "benjamin thorpe The Elder Edda of Saemund Sigfusson."
- Turville-Petre, E. O. G. (1964). Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. OCLC 460550410.
- De Vries, Jan (1957). Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte Volume 2. 2nd ed. (repr. 1970). Grundriß der germanischen Philologie, Volume 12/II. De Gruyter. Template:In lang
- Worsaae, J. J. A. (1882). The Industrial Arts of Denmark. Chapman and Hall. https://archive.org/details/industrialartsof02worsiala. "swastika thor."
- MyNDIR (My Norse Digital Image Repository) Illustrations of Þórr from manuscripts and early print books. Clicking on the thumbnail will give you the full image and information concerning it.
|Gods and goddesses in Norse mythology|
|Gods||Andhrímnir • Baldr • Bragi • Dellingr • Freyr (Ingunar-Freyr • Yngvi) • Forseti • Heimdallr • Hermóðr • Hǫðr • Hœnir • Ítreksjóð • Kvasir • Lóðurr • Loki • Máni • Meili • Mímir • Móði and Magni • Njǫrðr • Óðinn • Óðr • Týr • Ullr • Váli • Víðarr • Vili and Vé • Þórr • Ægir|
|Goddesses||Bil • Eir • Freyja • Frigg • Fulla • Gefjon • Gerðr • Gersemi • Gullveig • Gná • Hlín • Hnoss • Iðunn • Ilmr • Irpa • Lofn • Nanna • Njǫrun • Rán • Rindr • Sága • Sif • Sigyn • Sjǫfn • Skaði • Sister-wife of Njǫrðr • Snotra • Sól • Syn • Vár • Vǫr • Þorgerðr Hǫlgabrúðr • Þrúðr|
|Heroes in Norse mythology|
|Angantyr • Arngrim • Áslaug • Bjǫrn Járnsíða • Bǫðvarr Bjarki • Brynhildr • Buðli • Egill • Fjǫlnir • Guðmundr • Hagbarðr • Haki • Heiðrekr • Helgi Haddingjaskati • Helgi Hundingsbane • Hervǫr alvitr • Hildólfr • Hjálmarr and Ingibjǫrg • Hlaðgerðr • Hljóð • Hlǫðr • Hǫdbroddr • Hrólfr Kraki • Ingjaldr • Jónakr's sons • Karl Hundason • Níðuðr • Ǫrvar-Oddr • Palnatóki • Ragnarr Loðbrók • Ring II • Rerir • Sigi • Sigmundr • Signý • Sigurðr • Sigurðr Hjort • Sinfjǫtli • Starkaðr • Styrbjǫrn Sterki • Svafrlami • Svipdagr • Sæmingr • Vésteinn • Vikingr • Vǫlsungr • Yrsa • Þiðrekr af Bern • Þórr|