Next after Odin, the principal deity was Thor. He it was who
men and their labors from the wild forces of nature, personified
Thus he held sway — in certain Northern regions — over air and
over rain and harvest. As the god of fertility, however, he had to
rule with the gods of the Vanir; but thunder and lightning always
the special province of Thor, who according to the Norse myths was
constantly engaged in battle against the Giants. He rode in a
as it rolled along, produced thunder. The chariot was drawn by two
Tanngnjost and Tanngrisni; these goats Thor could kill and eat and
to life once more provided all the bones are gathered up in the
Because Thor usually drove these goats, he was called Riding-Thor;
had other names as well, such as Ving-Thor, Lorridi, Einridi.
Thor’s realm was known as Thrudvang; there stood his imposing
Bilskirnir, the largest in the world, comprising 540 rooms. To
three objects of price: the most valuable of these was the hammer
which he carried whenever he gave battle to the Giants; he could
as great or as small as he pleased, he could hurl it, through the
air, and it
always found its mark and returned of itself to his hand. Again,
remarkable iron gauntlets with which to grasp the hammer; and he
belt of strength which, when he girdled it about him, added to his
power. Without Thor the Æsir would have found no help against the
but no sooner did they mention him by name than he gave proof of
prowess. He was wedded to beautiful Sif, of the golden hair; their
were Modi and a daughter named Thrud. With the Giantess Jarnsaxa
had besides a son called Magni.
Thor was hot and hasty of temper; when he rode out to meet the
Giants, the mountains trembled and the earth burst into flame.
gods repaired to Yggdrasil to hold assembly there, Thor did not
himself to cross by way of Bifrost but took a shorter road on
waded the deepest streams. Now and then he might chance to leap
he looked; and so once or twice he came out of some enterprise or
with harm and confusion.
The worship of Thor was very widespread throughout the North.
Numerous place names bear witness to his cult, and the sagas
infrequent accounts of sanctuaries dedicated to Thor or of
directed to him. To our ancestors Thor was tall and strong,
dignified; he had a red beard, and gripped Mjollnir in his hand.
Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods
and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New
York. 1926, pp. 10-12.
Rasmus B. Anderson (Ed.): The Elder Eddas of Saemund
Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson.
Norræna Society, London-New York. 1906.
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