Personal tools

Ægir

From Monstropedia

Jump to: navigation, search


Ægir is a giant and a king of the sea in Norse mythology.

In Norse Mythology, Ægir and his daughters brew ale in a large pot.

Contents

Etymology

Ægir's name is sometimes anglicized as Aegir or Aeger. The common Swedish form is Ägir. He is also known as Hler.

Family

Ægir is a son of Fornjótr, a giant and a king of Finland, and brother of Logi (fire, flame) and Kári (wind). Gymir, it may be noticed, is also the name of the giant father of the beautiful maiden Gerd (the wife of Freyr) as well as the husband of Aurboða. In Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál, Ægir is identified with Gymir and Hlér who lived on the isle of Hlésey.

Ægir is said to have had nine daughters with his wife, Rán. His daughters were called the billow maidens (the waves) and wore white robes and veils. They were named Bára (or Dröfn), Blóðughadda, Bylgja, Dúfa, Hefring, Himinglæva, Hrönn, Kólga, and Unnr, each name reflecting a different characteristic of ocean waves. Snorri lists them twice in Skáldskaparmál but in one instance he replaces Bára with Dröfn.

Ægir had two servants, Eldir and Fimafeng. The latter was killed by the treacherous god Loki during a banquet the gods held at Aegir's undersea hall near the island of Hler (or Hlesey).


Description

While many versions of myths portray Ægir as a jotun, it is curious that many do not. In some texts, he is referred to as something older than the jotun, and his origins are not really explained. He seems to be a personification of the power of the ocean. Aegir was shown as a powerful god, often holding a spear, crowned with seaweed and surrounded by nixies and mermaids while in his hall. He was also known for hosting elaborate parties for the gods. He is very similar to the Greek god Poseidon.


Behavior

Ægir was both worshipped and feared by sailors, for they believed that Aegir would occasionally appear on the surface to take ships, men and cargo alike, with him to his hall at the bottom of the ocean. The Skalds (Viking poets) said a ship went into "Aegir's wide jaws" when it wrecked. Saxon pirates would often sacrifice every tenth prisoner, ensuring a safe journey across Aegir's sea.


Place

The prose header of Lokasenna states that his hall is a place of sanctuary lit with bright gold and where the beer pours itself. Gold is therefore called Aegir's fire. The cups in Aegir's hall were always full, magically refilling themselves. In Lokasenna, he hosts a party for the gods where he provides the ale brewed in an enormous pot or cauldron provided by Thor. The story of Thor getting the pot for the brewing is told in Hymiskviða.


List of giants and giantesses in Norse mythology