Tyr the god of Law
Family Tree Tyr was Odin’s son, and some sources say Frigga was his mother. While other historians say his mother was a giantess named Hymir. In either case, Tyr was raised in Asgard with his father and siblings. There is no found record of who Tyr’s wife was, or if he had children. It was common for each god and goddess to have a partner, even if they did not remain together. So, it is likely that he had a wife and children, that are unknown to us. Tyr grew into a powerful being, towering over his father in strength and equal to Thor in might. Thor, his brother, and Tyr would go off on adventures amongst the humans on earth, or into Frost Giant territory, looking for enemies to vanquish. If Odin were ever to retire his throne, it would have been Tyr to take his place.
Tyr was the god of law and justice. For the Norse people and their tribes, Tyr was the one who kept their laws and enacted justice to people, and gods alike. Norse worshipers turned to Tyr when in need of protection of their home or of themselves while in battle.
Found all over Norse countries, was a symbol that belonged to Tyr. It was a singular rune, that looks a lot like the letter ‘T’. Tyr is not mentioned often in the written sagas, or poems. There is evidence however that he was an important god to the Norse people, which you can read about here: Who Was Tyr in Norse Mythology? (mythologysource.com) There is a lot to uncover that this article handles well. One sign of his popularity is the day of the week we know as Tuesday. It is a Germanic or Old English form of Tyrsday, spelled ‘Tiws day’ in Old English. So, we named a day of the week after another Norse god, which must mean he was important to the Norse people at one point in time. (Other days of the week named after Norse gods: Thursday = Thorsday; Thor’s day. Wednesday = Wodinsday; Wodin’s or Odin’s day). Most of the records of Tyr have been lost to history. Those that have been found are mostly found in the Germanic regions.
Tyr was not called the bravest of the gods because of his mighty deeds, the battles he fought, or for defending Asgard, although he did all of those things. He was given the title of the bravest, because he had a missing hand. He had sacrificed his hand for his people, in a hopeless bargain. He saved the other gods and goddesses from a potential great threat…
Tyr and Fenrir Loki had three powerful children by a giantess. When the children were discovered, Odin had them brought to Asgard. Fenrir was one of those children. He was neither a giant nor a god however, but an intelligent wolf, that could speak. Just a pup when Fenrir arrived to Asgard, it soon became evident he was growing fast, and too strong for the gods to handle. Tyr was one of the few gods who was unafraid of the ever-growing wolf. He would feed Fenrir by hand, and visit him in the den they had made for the wolf. While Tyr took care of Fenrir, the other gods and goddesses became increasingly frightened of the growing beast. Odin in particular was fearful of Fenrir. He came to realize that the wolf could be the gods greatest adversary in the war that would end the universe as they knew it. With these worries growing, the gods and goddesses decided the best option would be to bind the wolf before he grew overpowering. Not wanting to anger Fenrir. A trap was set for the wolf. The gods asked Fenrir if they could try and bind him, to see how powerful he really was, coaxing his ego as they did. Fenrir, knowing he could break any bonds, agreed to the test. He let them place ropes and chains on his back. He broke all of them with ease, by simply flexing his muscles. What he did not know was the last set of chains were forged by the dark evils. These chains could not be broken, and instead tightened the more the captive struggled. Fenrir had keen animal instincts, and suspected a trap was brewing. The only way Fenrir would agree to let them put the chains on, was if one of the gods put their hand in Fenrir’s mouth. The gods thought they would have to give up the scheme, none of them willing to sacrifice so much. Before they could however, Tyr spoke up, he agreed to the terms!
Tyr set his hand between Fenrir’s teeth bravely. The other gods placed the chains around Fenrir’s neck. When he found he could not break the chains, and that the gods were not going to release him. Fenrir bit down, severing Tyr’s hand from his body. While the other gods rejoiced and secured Fenrir in a cage, Tyr mourned his lost hand. Tyr made a great sacrifice to bind the wolf that would be a threat to the gods at the end of their time. Just like his father, Odin had sacrificed his eye for wisdom, Tyr had sacrificed his arm to buy the gods time before the end of their world.
Sources used Books: Norse myths and Tales, Epic Tales. By Flame Tree Publishing Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman The Viking Spirit, by Daniel McCoy Websites: Tyr - Norse Mythology for Smart People (norse-mythology.org) Tyr - Germanic God of Law in Norse Mythology | Mythology.net Tyr (thenorsegods.com)
Article by Billie Richard Art work by Desirae Quinn