Tyr - The Norse Gods of Law & War
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Tyr, the god of war, wisdom and justice!
Tyr is an important deity in the Norse myths and more precisely among the Vikings where he is named Tiuz in the North, Zîu in the South and Tiw in the West.
According to some theorists, he would have been the main god in these regions, before Odin (named Wotan in their region) and his son Thor (or Donar) took over.
Who is the God Tyr?
It is therefore not surprising that Tyr is like Odin god of war, invoked at the beginning of the battles (pronouncing his name twice), but also a god of wisdom. However, other functions distinguish him from it.
He is a god of justice, in the sense of diplomacy. He is the guarantor of treaties, pacts and directs the assemblies (called the thing) where disputes are settled.
Tyr's father is Odin, known as the father of all, and head of the Aesir clan. He is a complex and infamous figure in northern mythology, and he was known to often stray from the Asgard realm of the gods on journeys to other parts of the cosmos. Odin embodied dichotomous qualities. He was a seeker of wisdom, but he had little concern for fairness or justice. He was a courageous warrior who also had feminine characteristics.
Odin's wife, and Tyr's mother, was Frigg. She is a Nordic representation of love and marriage and a goddess of the sky. Also known as a seer, she knew what would happen in the future, but she could not change anything.
The Battle of Tyr and Garm
When the time came for the end of the cosmos, the Battle of Ragnarok began the destruction of the Nine Worlds. The war of good and evil ensued, and Odin led the gods to fight Loki, the giants and monsters.
Although they knew their fate, the gods faced their destiny, and each of them was confronted with a giant or monster. The one-armed Tyr was destined to fight the hellhound of the underworld, Garm. In the end, Tyr succeeded in killing Garm, but he suffered such severe injuries that he succumbed to death.
One of the major events that heralded Ragnarok was the escape of Fenrir the Wolf from his magical bond. Some mythologists believe that Garm and Fenrir are the same figure, as it seems very plausible that Tyr was destined to fight Fenrir in the final battle. He had trapped Fenrir and lost his arm along the way. If they are not the same figure, then they are certainly similar figures, and both represent the forces of chaos breaking the chains at the time of the world's destruction.
The story of Tyr and The Giant wolf Fenrir
Although in retreat, Tyr remains a brave god who does not lack bravery. When the Aesir tried to trap the terrible wolf Fenrir by challenging him to break a ribbon, the monster accepted, but felt that the gods could trap him during his attempt.
He agreed on the condition that one of the gods would have his hand in his mouth, which he would crush if they tricked him. While some hesitated, Tyr accepted immediately.
As soon as Fenrir tried to break the ribbon, the gods tried to tie him to it.
Fenrir did not allow this to happen, and as he said, he crushed Tyr hand.
Although coming out of this episode with the demonstration of his courage, of his fidelity to Asgard, Tyr was lessened, becoming a one-armed man.
Nevertheless, it is said that he would be brought to shine again during the Ragnarök, where he would face to death Garmr, another evil giant wolf.
More modern influences in reference to Tyr God
- Tyr was later associated by the Romans with the planet Mars, and they named a day of the week in its honor, Tuesday (Týsdagr).
- There is also a municipality in Norway named Tyr called Tysnes.
- Later it became less important than its infamous father, Odin. During the years 21 to 700, the period of migration of the Germanic people to and within Europe, much of the ancient legend of Tyr was lost.
- Marvel Comics introduced Tyr into popular culture by introducing a character based on the Nordic god - an Asgardian warrior carrying a sword with superhuman powers.