Thor fishing with giant Hymi. In his left arm, he has his hammer Mjöllni and in his right arm, a fishhook with bull’s head to catch Jörmungandr. This depiction is a part of a small cross found in Gosforth (Cumberland) in England. Source: PhDr. Jitka Vlčková: Encyklopedie mytologie germánských a severských národů, Libri 1999, page 219.
Also known as Thun(a)raz / Þunraz, in Old Norse Þórr, in Old English Thunor / Þunor. Sometimes mentioned as Ásathór (“the charioteer”) as well. Northgermanic war god of the Aesir family, whose name comes from expression for thunder. Towards the end of the pagan period he was the most important god (as evidenced by text of the 11th century by Adam of Bremen, which also mentions that Thor reigns of thunder, lightning, wind and rain). He can be identified with Donar, he is similar to the Celtic Taranis, Indian Indra or Slavic Perun. Roman authors have compared him to Hercules and Jupiter. Thursday (Donnerstag) is also dedicated to him. Along the entire coast of Scandinavia and Jutland we can find his legacy in form of local names derived from Thor’s name. In literature (“Landnámabók” by author Ari Thorgilsson (1067-1148)) there is preserved list of the Icelandic people of those times, according to which quarter of the population had name derived from Thor. According to Edda he was the eldest son of the god Odin and he was son and brother at the same time of the Earth (Jörd / Fjörgyn). He protected the Viking warriors and conquerors on ships. Thor was also worshiped as a god of crops, he was asked to hallow a number of things, such as marriage or runes. He lived in his own realm, in the largest house ever built; he had a wife – goddess Sif and a few offspring. Generally, he is rather not complicated mythological character – young, extremely strong, with extraordinary appetite for food and drinking.
Tor’s Fight with the Giants by M.E. Winge, 1872, Stockholm. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M%C3%A5rten_Eskil_Winge_-_Tor%27s_Fight_with_the_Giants_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
“Runestone from Sønder Kirkeby, Falster, Denmark. Now housed at the National Museum of Denmark. The translation of the runic inscription provided by the National Museum: …ser placed this stone in memory of As…, and he met death in Gotland (?). – Thor hallow these runes!” Alternative translation: Sassur placed this stone in memory of Ásgautr his brother, and [he] died on Gotland. May Þórr hallow [these] runes. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Runestone_from_S%C3%B8nder_Kirkby,_Falster,_Denmark.jpg
He often occurs beside god and his brother Loki, who is eternal source of Thor’s problems. Thor has other attributes too. First, there are goats Tanngnjostr and Tanngrisnir pulling his chariot; the goats can eaten, but if all their bones and skin remain untouched they come alive again; sound of the pulled chariot show itself as sound of thunder. Furthermore, there are three magic objects – hammer Mjöllni (whose name could be translated as “crusher”), belt of strength and iron gloves. Mjöllni(-r) was made by elf Brokk for Thor – as unbreakable hammer that always hits the target and then returns back to the owner and, moreover, can shrink. Hammer attack appears in the form of a lightning. Mjöllni appears also as an axe, club or even as swastika. It serves not only as a tool to kill, but also to revitalize and hallow and even as a symbol of fertility. This hammer became so popular as amulet that is was produced long into the Middle Ages. In one of the stories, Thor’s hammer is stolen by king of Giants Trym, which for returning it demands goddess Freya to become his wife. Loki comes up with a deceit that Thor dresses as a bride and pretends to be Freya – when the Giants bring his hammer to consecrate the marriage, Thor throws a veil off his face and kills all the present Giants. Legend tells about a number of other brave fights of red-bearded Thor with monsters and Giants, especially with monstrous snake and son of Loki Jörmungand(-r) or Midgardsorm(-r) living in the ocean that surrounds with his body the whole world and bites his own tail – during unavoidable Ragnarök (the end of the old world and gods) they fight together for the last time and kill each other.
Silver Thor’s hammer pendant. Romersdal, Bornholm, Denmark. Height 3,8 cm. 10th century. Source: James Graham- Campbell: Viking Artefacts, Brit. Museum Pubns. (February 1980), page 307, picture 522.
Bronze replica of Thor’s hammer above. Source: http://www.wulflund.com/jewelry/bronze-historical-jewels-/large-thor-s-hammer-romersdal-denmark-bronze.html/
Thor’s fishing for Midgardsorm – again with his hammer and bull’s head as lure. Stone depiction from Altuna (Uppland), Sweden. Author: Achird. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Altunastenen_U_1161_(Ra%C3%A4-nr_Altuna_42-1)_Tors_fiskaf%C3%A4nge_0646.jpg
Coins with Thor’s hammer. 371: Regnald (919-21), silver penny BMC Type 3. 372: ‘Edward’, silver penny c. 920. Source: James Graham- Campbell: Viking Artefacts, Brit. Museum Pubns. (February 1980), page 277, pictures 371 and 372.
Image from Nordisk familjebok picturing a Thor’s hammer. Drawing of a 4.6 cm gold-plated silver Mjolnir pendant found at Bredsättra on Öland, Sweden. Features trefoil knots among its decorations. The original is housed at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mjollnir.png
Silver Thor’s hammer pendant. Pendant in the form of a hammer, made from sheet silver, ornamented with filigree and granulation on both sides. Height (hammer): 4,6 cm. Lenght: 41,5 cm. Bredsätra, Öland, Sweden. Source: James Graham-Campbell: Viking Artefacts, Brit. Museum Pubns. (February 1980), page 307, picture 523.
Silver pendant from Foss, Hrunamannahreppur, lceland. Length: 5 cm, width: 2,9 cm. It is a stylised Thor’s hammer but is reminds of cross as well, it can therefore have dual significance (10th century). Source: James Graham- Campbell: Viking Artefacts, Brit. Museum Pubns. (February 1980), page 307, picture 526.
Modern pendant inspired by the above. Interesting is that it is probably a wolf but there were no wolfs living in Iceland – proof of how the Vikings were still connected to Scandinavia. Source: http://www.wulflund.com/jewelry/silver-jewels/silver-and-brass-replicas/wolf-cross-norse-wolf-necklace-sterling-silver-925.html
Pewter replica of a Viking Mjölnir (Raven Head Thor Hammer) that was found in the locality of Kabara, province of Scania, Sweden. Size of 4 x 5 cm. Original model was made by filigree and granulation. This norse jewel is made from pewter, coppered. Source: http://www.wulflund.com/leather-fashion-t-shirts/metal-music-jewels/muspellheim-from-a-fire-thor-s-hammer-pendant.html/
Viking God Thor. Originally it is a small bronze figure that was found near the area of Akureyri (Iceland). Age: around year 1000. Original is exhibited at the National Museum in Reykjavik in Iceland. Size: 2,2 cm (height). Source: http://www.wulflund.com/jewelry/bronze-historical-jewels-/thor-on-the-chair-bronze-pendant.html/