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Painting by Marten Eskil Winge: "Thor's Battle with the Giants", 1872. The god Donar (Thor), in his right hand the hammer Mjolnir, being pulled by the billy goats Tanngniost and Tanngrisnir.
The protective, healing and fruitful Mjölnir, Donar's hammer, is carried by some Ásatrúar (→ Germanic Neopaganism).

Thor is a Germanic deity. He is represented as a middle-aged man of enormous strength, quick to anger, but benevolent towards mankind. To the harmful race of giants, on the other hand, he was an implacable foe, and many stories are told in the poetic and prose Eddas of the destruction which he brought upon them at various times with his hammer "Mjölnir".


On the whole, his figure is somewhat secondary in the Germanic mythology to that of Odin, who is represented as his father. In Iceland and Norway he was worshipped more than any other god. There is evidence that a corresponding deity named Thunor or Thonar was worshipped in England and on the Continent, but this god was identified with the Roman Jupiter.

His name is identical with the Teutonic word for thunder. Outside the Teutonic area he has close affinities not only with ancient Jupiter or Zeus, but still more with the Lithuanian god Perkunas, whose name (which likewise means "thunder") appears to be connected with that of Thor's mother (FiOrgyn). The Varangian god Perun was probably Thor himself under a Slavonic name (Russian perun, "thunderbolt").

Although the ancient Ostrogoths were partly christianised by mixed Arianic religion, they retained also some earlier German traditions. By the Roman disaster, they came in West Balkans; then in medieval times they were partly assimilated-slavicized in subsequent Croatian Kingdom, but their archaic traditions and nomenclature persisted up to recently there. Thus in the folk tradition of Kvarner Gulf (northeastern Adriatic) up to 20th century persisted exotic folk myths ('Povede') including among others, a strong daemon of winter and thunderstorm called Tohor, and also the Polaris star named Tohorna. Therefore Adriatic seamen from this gulf up to recently knew Scandinavia as Tohorye (= Thor's land), and Baltic Sea as Tohorne-Mory (Thor's Sea).

As a very popular god amongst the Germanic tribes, many locations have been named after Thor, e.g.:

  • Thorsberg moor, Germany (Thor's Hill) is an ancient location bearing a large deposit of numerous ritually deposited artifacts between the 1 and 4 BC by the Angles.
  • Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (Thor's Harbor) is the capital city of the Faroe Islands.
  • Thor's name appears in connection with groves (Lundr) in place names in Sweden, West Norway and Denmark.
  • There are a number of Anglo-Saxon place names associated with Thor in England named Þunre leah (meaning "Grove or forest clearing of thunder") such as Thundersley in Essex, England.
  • A "Forest of Thor" existed on the north bank of Liffey, Ireland outside of Dublin in the year 1,000 where it was destroyed over the course a month by Brian Boru, who took particular note of the oaks.

Thor gave his name to the Old English day Þunresdæg, meaning the day of Þunor, known in English as Thursday. Þunor is also the source of the modern word thunder. "Thor's Day" is Þórsdagr in Old Norse, Hósdagur in Faroese, Thursday in English, Donnerstag in German (meaning "Thunder's Day"), Donderdag in Dutch (meaning Thunder day), Torstai in Finnish, and Torsdag in Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian.

The day was considered such an important day of the week that as late as the seventh century Saint Eligius reproached his congregation in Flanders for continuing their native practice of recognizing Thursday as a holy day after their Christianization.

Physical appearance

Thor, is described as reddish blond haired and reddish blond bearded (Styrb. þáttr. 2; Ol. Tryggv. S. in Fornm. 213).[1]

Further reading

  • Thorpe, Benjamin, 1851, Northern mythology: comprising the principal popular traditions and superstitions of Scandinavia, North Germany, and The Netherlands.
  • Stallybras, 1888, Teutonic Mythology v. IV, p. 1737, translation at Northvegr Foundation [1]
  • Turville-Petre, E.O.G. 1964, Myth and Religion of the North: The Religion of Ancient Scandinavia. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, p83.
  • Ellis-Davidson, H.R. 1965, Gods And Myths Of Northern Europe, ISBN 0140136274
  • Lovric, Mihovil 2005, Gan-Veyan: Glossary, grammar, culture and genom in East Kvarner. Old-Croatian Medieval Archidioms, vol. 1: 1224 p., Zagreb, ISBN 953-96125-2-7

External links



  1. These sources are the Styrbjarnar þáttr Svíakappa ("The Tale of Styrbjörn the Swedish Champion") and the Óláfs saga Tryggvasonar en mesta ("The Greatest Saga of Óláfr Tryggvason"). Both are found preserved in a medieval icelandic manuscript, the Flatey Book, dating to c. 1387.