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Thor the Nordic Mytologys God of Thunder

Updated on August 25, 2014

The indigenous religion of ancient Germanic people who were the inhabitants of Germanic Europe was Germanic paganism. There were various goddesses and gods in paganism that was Germanic. Form numerous sources, deities that were Germanic including various chronicles, works of literature, personal names, runic inscriptions, place names as well as other various sources.

God of Thunder

One of the most powerful and popular gods in primary mythologies, Thor is part of the daily lives of people as the fourth day of the week is named for him. Usually, the father of Thor is Odin and his mother was Jord, according to Motz. The giant Jarnsaxa had mated with Thor and he had 2 sons with her, Modi and Magni but Sif is his wife.


One famous weapon that Thor had was Mjolnir, the name of his hammer. He also had Meginngjardir, a belt of strength. He had a chariot driven by goats creating a thunderous noise when this rolled across the heavens. The bolts of lightning were caused by Mjolnir being hurled. According to Montelius, Thorsviggar are what that thunderbolts are called.


Allegedly, Thor had a gigantic appetite. At one point legend has it that he drank from a horn that emptied out the ocean waters. He is described as red bearded, huge with eyes that burned and who could defeat a troll or a giant in a strength test. At the same time, he was a lot smaller than giants and one story tells of how he slept in the glove of a giant. Thor epithets indicate his prowess of being able to defeat giants. In his giant killing and feats of strength, he is not unlike Hercule the Greek hero, also known as Heracles.

God of Common Folks

For common folks, Thor was their god and in place names in England and Scandinavia, Thor was worshiped by peasants since these brought the rains that ensure great crops. Trusted by warriors, he was quite popular. Well known in England’s jutish and Saxon areas, he was known as Thuor. On the mainland, he was venerated as Thunaer by the Saxons. When Normandy was conquered by the Vikings and Russia was settled in by the Varangians, they called on Thor to assist them in enterprises that were military.

Since he is associated with thunder, Thor the Germanic god was equated with the Roman god Jupiter. Thunder was thought to be the chariot’s sound.

God of War

These days, when you hear the name Thor, you automatically think of a comic book hero. The fact is that Thor was not first a comic book hero. He was a god of war, strength, fertility, lightning and thunder. As a matter of fact, Thursday comes from the name of Thor. A hammer-wielding god in Norse mythology, Thor is associated with strength, oak trees, storms, lightning and thunder as well as fertility, healing, hallowing and mankind’s protection. This deity cognate in wider mythology that is Germanic was known as Donar in Old High German and Þunor in Old English. These meanings stem from the word “thunder” that stems from common Germanic culture. Thor ultimately stems from the religion that is Proto-Indo-European and throughout the Germanic peoples recorded history, is a prominently mentioned god from when Rome occupied Germanic regions to the Migration Period tribal expressions to his Viking Age high popularity when the face of Scandinavian Christianiy were worn to defy the Norese personal pagan names that contained the name of the god. Basically, this proves just how popular he was. Frequently, Thor is referred to in the days of the week such as Thursday and in names of places.

In the mythology of the Norse recorded in Iceland largely, Norse is from the traditional material that comes from Scandinavian countries. There are numerous information and tales provided about Thor.

Thor’s Friend Loki

Where you will read accounts of Thor, you will also come across Loki. Loki cheated and deceived the gods and at times got them into troubles. He is seen as Odin’s companion and the obscure Hoenir. Loki was considered Thor’s friend and is the figure who is a ‘trickster’ and can change in shape and sex just with his willpower. For this reason he can beget and give birth to off spring. He even begat Sleipnir, Odin’s horse with 8 legs who was shaped like a ‘mare.’ In Norse mythology, there is no more baffling a figure than Loki. Not one of them, he is however counted among the Aesire. His father was the Dangerous Striker Farbauti, a giant. Loki produced three progeny that were evil. In addition, Odin and Loki had become foster brothers as they had mixed their blood. Loki is a symbol of intelligence which is impulsive together with unpredictable maliciousness and irrepressible urges to act.

Thursday is Thor's Day

This god’s name is where the Thursday weekend name came from. Through the employment of the practice of the Roman Empire period known as interpretation Germanica, the people that were Germanic adopted the weekly calendar of Rome and made a replacement of the Roman god names with their version. Day of Jupiter in Latin was converted to Thor’s Day which is Proto-Germanic, stemming from the modern English name for the day of the week and all the other weekday cognates that are Germanic.

Personal Names

Staring in the age of the Vikings, all names containing the Thorr theonym have been recorded with frequency that has been great. Before the Viking Ages, there have been no recorded examples. Names based on Thor have been flourishing as a response that was defiant towards Christianization in the Viking Age, not unlike the wide scale practice of wearing the hammer pendants of Thor in the Viking Age.

Post Viking Ages

In the twelfth century, more than a hundred years after Norway was Christianized officially, the population was still invoking Thor with the evidence being a stick that bore the message in runic found among Bergen, Norway’s Bryggen inscriptions. On this, both Odin and Thor are called to help with Odin to ‘own’ the reader and Thor to ‘receive’ them. In addition, at around the same time, the eleventh century Christianizing king Olaf II of Norway in the twelfth century iconography absorbed the native Thor elements. Thus, Olaf II became the familiar hammer wielding, red-bearded figure.

Modern Times

Thor tales and influences of traditional natives that regard Thor went on until the period of modernity, especially in the Scandinavian regions. In the nineteenth century, writing by Jacob Grimm had recorded different phrases that survive into the language that was Germanic referring to Thor such as the Norwegian word for “Thor’s warmth” which is Thorsvarme for lightning. Scandinavians at times, reportedly did not like to utter the name of Thor and at other times wished to extol his good fatherliness.

Red-Bearded Folklore

To this day, Thor remained a figure of being red-bearded. One belief in Scandinavia is that trolls are frightened by lightning. This could be a reflection of the role of Thor in fighting beings such as this. There are explanations that the lack of ettins and trolls in Scandinavia in modern day is the result of the efficiency and accuracy of the strikes of lightning.


As a symbol the swastika has become seen as representing the lightning or hammer of Thor. Hilda Ellis Davidson has commended on swastika use as Thor’s symbol. Reportedly women also used the hammer as a protective sign and it seems that warriors used these as well in the form of swastikas. Mainly this appeared to have been connected to fire and light and to have been related to the sun wheel. This could be due to the fact that Thor is related to lightning and this symbol was used in lieu of the hammer. It is found on many Scandinavia memorial stones beside Thor inscriptions. On various objects that are Germanic stretching to the Viking Age from the Migration Period, Swastikas appear. This is apparent in the third century on numerous bracteates of the Migration Period, Brest Litovsk Gothic spearheads and Vaerlose Fibula from Zealand,Denmark. There is also an eight century Sogn,Norway Saebo sword and from Ramso,Denamrk a Snoldelev Stone from the ninth century.

Fox Breed

In Iceland in the nineteenth century, a specific fox breed was known as “Thor of the holt” or holtaporr which is due likely to the breed’s red coat. In Sweden, folks from the nineteenth century had wedge-shaped, smooth stones found on earth called Thorwiggar. The origin of these stones are explained as having once been thrown by Thor the god to a troll. In the same way, memorials to Thor also include meteorites in folk traditions since they weigh so heavily. On the Gotland Swedish island, a beetle species was named Thorbagge after the god. When this is found upside down and you flip the beetle right side up, it is believed that you could gain the favor of Thor. In other Swedish regions, the beetle name appears to have become changed with Christianization and actually demonized, as it came to be known as “Thor devil.”


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      I had to pop in on this post since I am a big fan of green mythology and the now popular Thor movie series. Interesting that the movie protrays Loki as Thor's brother. Thanks for the details and I enjoyed the article.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Elle,

      This hub rocks. I loved every word and how you presented your topic.

      Thor and Mercury are my favorite myths. Voted up and all the way.

      Keep up the great work.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this informative article.


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