In Germanic mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, storms, oak trees, the protection of mankind and hallowing and fertility. Besides Old Norse Þórr, extensions of the god occur in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar. All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz. 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. 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 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, is described as fierce eyed, red haired and red bearded. With Sif, Thor fathered the goddess Þrúðr. 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 and Tanngnjóstr, is ascribed three dwellings. Thor wields the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjölnir, wears the belt Megingjörð and the iron gloves Járngreipr, 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 referred to in place names, the day of the week Thursday bears his name, names stemming from the pagan period containing his own continue to be used today 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. Old Norse Þórr, Old English ðunor, Old High German Donar, Old Saxon thunar, Old Frisian thuner are cognates within the Germanic language branch, descending from the Proto-Germanic masculine noun *þunraz'thunder'; 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, replaced the names of Roman gods with their own. Latin dies Iovis was converted into Proto-Germanic *Þonares dagaz, 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, in these works Thor is referred to—via a process known as interpretatio romana —as either the Roman god Jupiter or the Greco-Roman god Hercules. The first clear example of this occurs in the Roman historian Tacitus's late first-century work Germania, writing about the religion of the Suebi, 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 venerate "Isis". In this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as "Mercury", Thor as "Hercules", the god Týr as "Mars", the identity of the Isis of the Suebi has been debated. In Thor's case, the identification with the god Hercules is 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.
In Germanic areas occupied by the Roman Empire and votive objects dating from the 2nd and 3rd century AD have been found with Latin inscriptions referring to "Hercules", 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, 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 Hes
In Germanic mythology, Odin is a revered Germanic god. In Norse mythology, from which stems most surviving information about the god, Odin is associated with wisdom, death, the gallows, war, victory, poetry and the runic alphabet, is the husband of the goddess Frigg. In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, the god was known in Old English as Wōden, in Old Saxon as Wōdan, in Old High German as Wuotan or Wōtan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz. Odin is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania through the tribal expansions of the Migration Period and the Viking Age. In the modern period, Odin continued to be acknowledged in the rural folklore of Germanic Europe. References to Odin appear in place names throughout regions inhabited by the ancient Germanic peoples, the day of the week Wednesday bears his name in many Germanic languages, including English. In Old English texts, Odin holds a particular place as a euhemerized ancestral figure among royalty, he is referred to as a founding figure among various other Germanic peoples, such as the Langobards.
Forms of his name appear throughout the Germanic record, though narratives regarding Odin are found in Old Norse works recorded in Iceland around the 13th century. These texts make up the bulk of modern understanding of Norse mythology. In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded wielding a spear named Gungnir, wearing a cloak and a broad hat, he is accompanied by his animal companions and familiars—the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard—and rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. Odin is the son of Bestla and Borr and has two brothers, Vili and Vé. Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the gods Thor and Baldr, is known by hundreds of names. In these texts, he seeks greater knowledge, at times in disguise, makes wagers with his wife Frigg over the outcome of exploits, takes part in both the creation of the world by way of slaying the primordial being Ymir and giving the gift of life to the first two humans Ask and Embla.
Odin has a particular association with Yule, mankind's knowledge of both the runes and poetry is attributed to him, giving Odin aspects of the culture hero. In Old Norse texts, female beings associated with the battlefield—the valkyries—are associated with the god and Odin oversees Valhalla, where he receives half of those who die in battle, the einherjar; the other half are chosen by the goddess Freyja for Fólkvangr. Odin consults the disembodied, herb-embalmed head of the wise being Mímir for advice, during the foretold events of Ragnarök, Odin is told to lead the einherjar into battle before being consumed by the monstrous wolf Fenrir. In folklore, Odin appears as a leader of the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession of the dead through the winter sky, he is associated with charms and other forms of magic in Old English and Old Norse texts. Odin is a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies, numerous theories have been put forward regarding his development; some of these focus on Odin's particular relation to other figures.
Other approaches focus on Odin's place in the historical record, a frequent question being whether the figure of Odin derives from Proto-Indo-European religion, or whether he developed in Germanic society. In the modern period, Odin has inspired numerous works of poetry and other forms of media, he is venerated in most forms of the new religious movement Heathenry, together with other gods venerated by the ancient Germanic peoples. The Old Norse theonym Óðinn and its cognates, including Old English Wōden, Old Saxon Wōden, Old High German Wuotan, derive from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz; the masculine noun *wōđanaz developed from the Proto-Germanic adjective *wōđaz, related to Latin vātēs and Old Irish fáith, both meaning'seer, prophet'. Adjectives stemming from *wōđaz include Gothic woþs'possessed', Old Norse óðr,'mad, furious', Old English wōd'mad'; the adjective *wōđaz was further substantivised, leading to Old Norse óðr'mind, soul, sense', Old English ellen-wōd'zeal', Middle Dutch woet'madness', Old High German wuot'thrill, violent agitation'.
Additionally the Old Norse noun æði'rage, fury' and Old High German wuotī'madness' derive from the feminine noun *wōđīn, from *wōđaz. The weak verb *wōđjanan derived from *wōđaz, gave rise to Old Norse æða'to rage', Old English wēdan'to be mad, furious', Old Saxon wōdian'to rage', Old High German wuoten'to be insane, to rage'. Over 170 names are recorded for Odin; these names are variously descriptive of attributes of the god, refer to myths involving him, or refer to religious practices associated with the god. This multitude of names makes Odin the god with the most names known among the Germanic peoples; the modern English weekday name Wednesday derives from Old English wōdnesdæg. Cognate terms are found in other Germanic languages, such as Middle Low German wōdensdach, Old Norse Óðinsdagr (Danish, Nor
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, is the son of Nine Mothers. Heimdallr is attested as possessing foreknowledge, keen eyesight and hearing, 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, Vindlér or Vindhlér. Heimdallr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional material. Two lines of an otherwise lost poem about the god, survive. Due to the problematic and enigmatic nature of these attestations, scholars have produced various theories about the nature of the god, including his apparent relation to rams, that he may be a personification of or connected to the world tree Yggdrasil, potential Indo-European cognates.
The etymology of the name is obscure. Heimdallr may be connected to one of Freyja's names. Heimdallr and its variants are sometimes modernly anglicized as Heimdall. Heimdallr is attested as having three other names; the name Hallinskiði has resulted in a series of attempts at deciphering it. Gullintanni means'the one with the golden teeth'. Vindlér translates as either'the one protecting against the wind' or'wind-sea'. All three have resulted in numerous theories about the god. A lead spindle whorl bearing an Old Norse Younger Futhark inscription that mentions Heimdallr was discovered in Saltfleetby, England on September 1, 2010; the spindle whorl itself is dated from the year 1000 to 1100 AD. On the inscription, the god Heimdallr is mentioned alongside the god Odin and Þjálfi, a name of one of the god Thor's servants. Regarding the inscription reading, John Hines of Cardiff University comments that there is "quite an essay to be written over the uncertainties of translation and identification here.
In the Poetic Edda, Heimdallr is attested in six poems. Heimdallr is mentioned thrice in Völuspá. In the first stanza of the poem, the undead völva reciting the poem calls out for listeners to be silent and refers to Heimdallr: This stanza has led to various scholarly interpretations; the "holy races" have been considered variously as the gods. The notion of humanity as "Heimdallr's sons" is otherwise unattested and has resulted in various interpretations; some scholars have pointed to the prose introduction to the poem Rígsþula, where Heimdallr is said to have once gone about people, slept between couples, so doled out classes among them. In Völuspá, the völva foresees the events of Ragnarök and the role in which Heimdallr and Gjallarhorn will play at its onset. Due to manuscript differences, translations of the stanza vary: Regarding this stanza, scholar Andy Orchard comments that the name Gjallarhorn may here mean "horn of the river Gjöll" as "Gjöll is the name of one of the rivers of the Underworld, whence much wisdom is held to derive", but notes that in the poem Grímnismál Heimdallr is said to drink fine mead in his heavenly home Himinbjörg.
Earlier in the same poem, the völva mentions a scenario involving the hearing or horn of the god Heimdallr: Scholar Paul Schach comments that the stanzas in this section of Völuspá are "all mysterious and obscure, as it was meant to be". Schach details that "Heimdallar hljóð has aroused much speculation. Snorri seems to have confused this word with gjallarhorn, but there is otherwise no attestation of the use of hljóð in the sense of'horn' in Icelandic. Various scholars have read this as "hearing" rather than "horn". Scholar Carolyne Larrington comments that if "hearing" rather than "horn" is understood to appear in this stanza, the stanza indicates that Heimdallr, like Odin, has left a body part in the well. Larrington says that "Odin exchanged one of his eyes for wisdom from Mimir, guardian of the well, while Heimdall seems to have forfeited his ear."In the poem Grímnismál, tortured and thirsty, tells the young Agnar of a number of mythological locations. The eighth location he mentions is Himinbjörg, where he says that Heimdallr drinks fine mead: Regarding the above stanza, Henry Adams Bellows comments that "in this stanza the two functions of Heimdall—as father of humanity and as warder of the gods—seem both to be mentioned, but the second line in the manuscripts is in bad shape, in the editions it is more or less conjecture".
In the poem Lokasenna, Loki flyts with various gods. At one point during the exchanges, the god
Hjúki and Bil
In Norse mythology, Hjúki and Bil are a brother and sister pair of children who follow the personified moon, Máni, across the heavens. Both Hjúki and Bil are attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. Scholarly theories that surround the two concern their nature, their role as potential personifications of the craters on the moon or its phases, their relation to folklore in Germanic Europe. Bil has been identified with the Bilwis, an agriculture-associated figure, attested in the folklore of German-speaking areas of Europe. In chapter 11 of the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, the enthroned figure of High states that two children by the names of Hjúki and Bil were fathered by Viðfinnr. Once while the two were walking from the well Byrgir — both of them carrying on their shoulders the pole Simul that held the pail Sæg between them — Máni took them from the earth, they now follow Máni in the heavens, "as can be seen from the earth". Hjúki is otherwise unmentioned.
In chapter 35 of Gylfaginning, at the end of a listing of numerous other goddesses in Norse mythology, both Sól and Bil are listed together as goddesses "whose nature has been described". Bil appears twice more in the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál. In chapter 75, Bil appears within another list of goddesses, her name appears in chapter 47 in a kenning for "woman"; as the two are otherwise unattested outside of Snorri's Prose Edda, suggestions have been made that Hjúki and Bil may have been of minor mythic significance, or that they were made up outright by Snorri, while Anne Holtsmark posits that Snorri may have known or had access to a now lost verse source wherein Hjúki and Bil personified the waxing and waning moon. Holtsmark further theorizes. Scholars have theorized that Hjúki and Bil may represent lunar activity, including that they may represent the phases of the moon or may represent the craters of the moon. 19th century scholar Jacob Grimm rejects the suggestion that Hjúki and Bil represent the phases of the moon, states that Hjúki and Bil rather represent the craters on the moon seen from the earth.
Grimm says. No change of the moon could suggest the image of two children with a pail slung over their shoulders. Moreover, to this day the Swedish people see in the spots of the moon two persons carrying a big bucket on a pole." Grimm adds that: What is most important for us, out of the heathen fancy of a kidnapping man of the moon, apart from Scandinavia, was doubtless in vogue all over Teutondom, if not farther, there has evolved itself since a Christian adaptation. They say the man in the moon is a wood-stealer, who during church time on the holy sabbath committed a trespass in the wood, was transported to the moon as a punishment. Plainly enough the water-pole of the heathen story has been transformed into the axe's shaft, the carried pail into the thornbrush. Grimm gives further examples from Germanic folklore until the time of his writing and notes a potential connection between the German word wadel and the dialectal employment of the word for "brushwood, twigs tied up in a bundle, esp fir-twigs, wadeln to tie up brushwood", the practice of cutting wood out in the full moon.
Benjamin Thorpe agrees with the theory of Bil as the personified shapes of moon craters. Rudolf Simek states that the obscurity of the names of the objects in the tale of Hjúki and Bil may indicate that Snorri derived them from a folktale, that the form of the tale of the Man in the Moon is found in modern folklore in Scandinavia and Northern Germany. In both the story Hjúki and Bil found in the Icelandic Prose Edda and the English nursery rhyme "Jack and Jill", two children, one male and one female, fetch a pail of water, the pairs have names that have been perceived as phonetically similar; these elements have resulted in theories connecting the two, the notion has had some influence, appearing in school books for children from the 19th century and into the 20th century. A traditional form of the rhyme reads: Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. Up Jack got and home did trot as fast, he went to bed to mind his head with brown paper.
A figure by the name of Bilwis is attested in various parts of German-speaking Europe starting in the 13th century. Scholar Leander Petzoldt writes that the figure seems to stem from the goddess and over time saw many changes developing "an elfin, dwarfish aspect and the ability to cripple people or cattle with the shot of an arrow". Petzoldt further surveys the development of the figure: During the course of the thirteenth century, the Bilwis is less and less treated as the personification of a supernatural power but becomes identified as a malevolent human being, a witch. Still with the rise of the witch persecution at the end of the Middle Ages, the Bilwis was demonized.
Cromarty is a town, civil parish and former royal burgh in Ross and Cromarty, in the Highland area of Scotland. In the 2001 census, it had a population of 719. Cromarty is a sea port on the southern shore of the mouth of Cromarty Firth, 5 miles seaward from Invergordon on the opposite coast; until 1890, it was the county town of the former county of Cromartyshire. The name Cromarty variously derives from the Gaelic crom, from bati, or from àrd, meaning either the "crooked bay", or the "bend between the heights", gave the title to the Earldom of Cromartie. In 1264, its name was Crumbathyn; the town grew around its port used by ferries, to export locally-grown hemp fibre, by trawlers trawling for herring. The port was a British naval base during the First World War. HMS Natal blew up close by on 30 December 1915 with a substantial loss of life; the port was home to Britain's smallest vehicle ferry, the Cromarty Rose, running across the Firth to Nigg. The Cromarty Rose was sold in 2009 and replaced for the 2011 season by a new four-car ferry called the Cromarty Queen, which continued the service from 2011-2014.
After a year with no ferry in 2015, new operators, Highland Ferries, were awarded the ferry contract and re-commenced the regular service between Cromarty and Nigg with the Renfrew Rose running from June to September, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily, once again offering a direct route North from the Black Isle. Cromarty is architecturally important for its Georgian merchant houses that stand within a townscape of Georgian and Victorian fisherman's cottages in the local vernacular style, it is an outstanding example of an 18th/19th century burgh, "the jewel in the crown of Scottish Vernacular Architecture". The thatched house with crow-stepped gables in Church Street, in which the geologist Hugh Miller was born, still stands, a statue has been erected to his memory. To the east of the burgh is Cromarty House, occupying the site of the old castle of the earls of Ross, it was the birthplace of the translator of Rabelais. The burgh is noted as a base for viewing the local offshore sea life; these include one of the most northerly groups of bottlenose dolphins.
Cromarty, along with Chanonry Point just round the coast, is one of the best places in Europe to see these animals close to the shore. The University of Aberdeen Department of Zoology Lighthouse Field Station is based in Cromarty. Famous former residents include standing high jumper Hannah Meikle. Scottish writer Ian Rankin uses a "bolt-hole" in Cromarty. Cromarty gives its name to one of the sea areas of the British Shipping Forecast; the small community is known for being a hub of creative activity including a number of promotional groups and several arts venues, the town hosts its own Film Festival each December, the Cromarty "My Favourite Film" Festival. Guests of the 2008 festival included Kirsty Wark and Alan Clements, Donald Shaw and Karen Matheson, Janice Forsyth, David Mackenzie and Michael Caton-Jones; each guest selected five of their favourite films, one of, shown during the weekend. In addition to the Favourite Films, there is an outdoor screening on a Gable End, Scottish Gaelic Short films, Animation workshop, photographic exhibition and late night Pizza and Film screenings.
All crammed into one weekend in a small town in the Highlands. The site of the town's mediaeval burgh dating to at least the 12th century was identified by local archaeologists after winter storms in 2012 eroded sections of the shoreline. A community archaeology project, which began in 2013, is investigating the remains of roads and buildings at the site on the eastern edge of the present town. There is a legend, dating from around 1740, that a Cromarty man named John Reid was granted three wishes from a mermaid, that he used one of the wishes to marry a woman named Helen Stuart. From 1832 to 1918, Cromarty was a parliamentary burgh, combined with Dingwall, Kirkwall and Wick in the Wick Burghs constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Known as Northern Burghs, the constituency was a district of burghs, it was represented by one Member of Parliament. In 1918, the constituency was abolished and the Cromarty component was merged into the county constituency of Ross and Cromarty.
The town made the news in October 2012 when Bobby Hogg, the last speaker of the traditional local North Northern Scots dialect, died. This was referred to on HeraldScotland as a dialect of the Scots language, although a report on BBC Radio 4 said that the dialect had been influenced by the English spoken at the local naval base and that it was one of the few areas in Scotland to exhibit H-dropping. Hogg had compiled a booklet of traditional words and phrases. In addition, the Highland Council had produced a digital booklet on the dialect; this states that the thou forms were still in common use in the first half of the 20th century and remained in occasional usage at the time of publication. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Cromarty". Encyclopædia Britannica. 7. Cambridge University Press. P. 483. The Cromarty Archive & Forum Cromarty Lighthouse Lighthouse Field Station http://www.cromartyfilmfestival.org/ Engraving of Cromarty by James Fittler in the digitised copy of Scotia Depicta, or the antiquities, public buildings and gentlemen's seats, cities and picturesque scenery of Scotland, 1804 at National Library of Scotland
Vili and Vé
In Norse mythology, Vili and Vé are the brothers of the god Odin, sons of Bestla, daughter of Bölþorn. Hét einn Óðinn, annarr Vili, þriði Vé. Old Norse Vili means "will". Old Norse Vé refers to a type of Germanic shrine. Vili and Vé, together with Óðinn, are the three brothers who slew Ymir — ending the primeval rule of the race of giants — and are the first of the Æsir, they are comparable to the three brothers Zeus and Hades, of Greek mythology, who defeat the Titans. Of the three, Óðin is the eldest, Vili the middle, Ve the youngest. To the first human couple and Embla, Óðinn gave soul and life. In Proto-Norse, the three brothers' names were alliterating, *Wódin, Wili, Wé, so that they can be taken as forming a triad of *wōdaz, wiljô, wīhą inspiration and numen. Compare to this the alliteration in a verse found in the Exeter Book, Wôden worhte weos "Woden wrought the sanctuaries" – where compared to the "triad" above, just the middle will etymon has been replaced by the work etymon; the name of such sanctuaries to Woden, Wodeneswegs.
While Vili and Vé are of little prominence in Norse mythology as attested. Óðinn remains at the head of a triad of the mightiest gods: Óðinn, Thórr, Freyr. Óðinn is styled Thriði "the third", in which case he appears by the side of Hárr and Jafnhárr, as the "Third High". At other times, he is Tveggi "the second". In relation to the Óðinn-Vili-Vé triad, Grimm compares Old High German willa, which not only expressed voluntas, but votum, impetus and the personification of Will, to Wela in Old English sources. Keyser interprets the triad as "Spirit and Holiness", postulating a kind of Germanic Trinity in Vili and Vé to be "blended together again in the all-embracing World-spirit – in Odin, he alone is Al-father, from whom all the other superior, world-directing beings, the Æsir, are descended."According to Loki, in Lokasenna, Vili and Vé had an affair with Óðinn's wife, Frigg. This is taken by Grimm as reflecting the fundamental identity of the three brothers, so that Frigg might be considered the wife of either.
According to this story Óðinn was abroad for a long time, in his absence his brothers acted for him. It is worthy of note that Saxo Grammaticus makes Óðinn travel to foreign lands and Mitoðinn fill his place, therefore Mitoðinn's position throws light on that of Vili and Vé, but Saxo represents Óðinn as once more an exile, puts Ullr in his place. Óðr Will Weoh Lóðurr Hœnir Sons of Odin High, Just-as-High, Third E. A. Philippson, Die Genealogie der Götter in Germanischer Religion, Mythologie und Theologie, Illinois studies in language and literature vol. 37, Illinois, 44-52. Grimm, Teutonic Mythology, ch. 7, ch. 19. R. Keyser, The Religion Of The Northmen, ch. 8
In Old Norse, ǫ́ss is a member of the principal pantheon in Norse religion. This pantheon includes Odin, 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; the cognate term in Old English is ōs denoting a deity in Anglo-Saxon paganism. The Old High German is ans, plural ensî; the Gothic language had ans-. The reconstructed Proto-Germanic form is *ansuz; the ansuz rune, ᚫ, was named after the Æsir. Unlike the Old English word god, the term ōs was never adopted into Christian use. Æsir is the plural of áss, óss "god", attested in other Germanic languages, e.g. Old English ōs, Old Dutch ans and Gothic anses "half-gods"; these all stem from Proto-Germanic *ansuz, which itself comes from Proto-Indo-European *h₂énsus "life force" (cf. Avestan aŋhū "lord, it is accepted that this word is further related to *h₂ens- "to engender". Old Norse áss has the accusative æsi and ásu. In genitival compounds, it takes the form ása-, e.g. in Ása-Þórr, besides ás- found in ás-brú "gods' bridge", ás-garðr, ás-kunnigr "gods' kin", ás-liðar "gods' leader", ás-mogin "gods' might", ás-móðr "divine wrath" etc.
Landâs "national god" is a title of Thor, as is allmáttki ás "almighty god", while it is Odin, "the" ás. The feminine suffix -ynja is known from a few other nouns denoting female animals, such as apynja "female monkey", vargynja "she-wolf"; the word for "goddess" is not attested outside Old Norse. The latinization of Danish Aslak as Ansleicus, the name of a Danish Viking converted to Christianity in 864 according to the Miracles de St. Riquier, indicates that the nasalization in the first syllable persisted into the 9th century; the cognate Old English form to áss is ōs, preserved only as a prefix Ōs- in personal names and some place-names, as the genitive plural ēsa. In Old High German, Old Dutch and Old Saxon, the word is only attested in personal and place names, e.g. Ansebert, Ansfrid, Vihans. Jordanes has anses for the gods of the Goths; the interaction between the Æsir and the Vanir has provoked an amount of scholarly theory and speculation. While other cultures have had "elder" and "younger" families of gods, as with the Titans versus the Olympians of ancient Greece, the Æsir and Vanir were portrayed as contemporaries.
The two clans of gods fought battles, concluded treaties, exchanged hostages. An áss like Ullr is unknown in the myths, but his name is seen in a lot of geographical names in Sweden, may appear on the 3rd century Thorsberg chape, suggesting that his cult was widespread in prehistoric times; the names of the first three Æsir in Norse mythology, Vili, Vé and Odin all refer to spiritual or mental state, vili to conscious will or desire, vé to the sacred or numinous and óðr to the manic or ecstatic. A second clan of gods, the Vanir, is mentioned in Norse mythology: the god Njörðr and his children and Freyja, are the most prominent Vanir gods who join the Æsir as hostages after a war between Æsir and Vanir; the Vanir appear to have been connected with cultivation and fertility and the Æsir were connected with power and war. In the Eddas, the word Æsir is used for gods in general, while Asynjur is used for the goddesses in general. For example, in the poem Skírnismál, Freyr was called "Prince of the Æsir".
In the Prose Edda, Njörðr was introduced as "the third among the Æsir", among the Asynjur, Freyja is always listed second only to Frigg. In surviving tales, the origins of many of the Æsir are unexplained. There are just three: Odin and his brothers Vili and Vé. Odin's sons by giantesses are counted as Æsir. Heimdallr and Ullr's connection with the Æsir is not mentioned. Loki is a jötunn, Njörðr is a Vanir hostage, but they are ranked among the Æsir. Given the difference between their roles and emphases, some scholars have speculated that the interactions between the Æsir and the Vanir reflect the types of interaction that were occurring between social classes within Norse society at the time. According to another theory, the Vanir may be more archaic than that of the more warlike Æsir, such that the mythical war may mirror a half-remembered religious conflict; this argument was first suggested by Wilhelm Mannhardt in 1877. On a similar note, Marija Gimbutas argues that the Æsir and the Vanir represent the displacement of an indigenous Indo-European group by a tribe of warlike invaders as part of her Kurgan hypothesis.
See her case in The Living Goddess for more details. Another historical theory is that the inter-pantheon interaction may be an apotheosisation of the conflict between the Roman Kingdom and the Sabines; the noted comparative religion scholar Mircea Eliade speculated that this conflict is a version of an Indo-European myth concerning the conflict between and eventual integration of a pantheon