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Thor Mythology: The Viking Thunder God

By Edited Oct 28, 2015 2 3

Thor and His Hammer
Thor was the strongest of all Nordic gods as well as one of the most admired. His image, with a huge red beard, flaming eyes and harsh temper define the classic Viking soldier. Praised for his adventures and killing of Giants, he was worshiped as the main protector of Asgard and Midgard and he served as the guardian of order against the forces of chaos. Asgard is a mythic realm where Nordic gods abide, and Midgard is the realm of men (another name for Earth).

Thor is the son of Odin the supreme god of Norsemen and Jord the goddess of Earth. He lived with his wife Sif in a mansion with 540 rooms. Thor travelled in a carriage drawn by two wild goats that had magical powers – they could be killed and eaten if there was a lack of food but unless their bones are scattered they could magically come back to life.  

The mythology of Thor portrays him as a great enemy of giants but this was not always the case: he had two sons with a female giant and it is prophesized that both of them will survive Ragnarok (the final war at the end of days) and they will inherit Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.

Mjollnir, the hammer of Thor, is one of the six magical artifacts that dwarves made as their gift to the gods. Mjollnir is a powerful weapon that can crush anything that it hits, and it always jumps back into Thor’s hands every time he throws it – like a boomerang. Mjollnir is the favorite talisman for all Thor worshippers. Many of them wear it around their neck.

Mjollnir, Thor's Hammer

Peasants and Vikings believed that Thor was connected to natural forces, primarily to storms. It was said that thunder was just a noise from his carriages as he rode across the sky. Travelers called for his protection whenever they started a journey and every time thunder cracks they would think of Thor’s might.

Around one quarter of the Iceland population during Viking times had names alluding to Thor. Thursday got its name from Thor, as Thor’s day, and throughout Scandinavia oaths were sworn wearing his ring.

In  the Temple at Uppsala, his statue is placed between Odin and Freya, and when a Christian missionary tried to destroy those statues, he was killed the town's people.

Odin was a supreme god of northern aristocracy, but Thor was the supreme ruler of peasants, farmers, travelers and many ordinary folk, and they asked for his help and guidance in times of trouble.

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Comments

Sep 7, 2012 1:08pm
WilliamMoulton2
Good article. Well researched. I've submitted a piece on Mimir. If it is accepted let me know what you think. Oh, and please for give the title. I know Mimir wasn't exactly a god, but I needed a title that got attention.

Bill
Jul 30, 2014 1:21pm
mentored1
Nice work--a good summary of Thor and his influence on Norse culture. Thanks for sharing!
Jul 30, 2014 1:21pm
mentored1
Nice work--a good summary of Thor and his influence on Norse culture. Thanks for sharing!
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