Thor, the god of thunder

Thor is most famous for his role as the god of thunder in Norse mythology. Described as a man of great strength with fiery red hair and beard, he was a boisterous, bellicose deity who frequently battled with the jotunar, the blows of his hammer, Mjolnir, were believed to be the source of thunder. Hundreds of amulets in the shape of Mjolnir have been found throughout the areas the Vikings lived in, indicating that Thor was very popular amongst all strata of Norse society. Thor was likely viewed as the protector of humanity against the Jotunar, who represented the dangers of the wild, and was often invoked at weddings.
Thor rode in a chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tangnjostr, whom Thor could cook and resurrect in the morning, one of many cycles of rebirth in Norse Mythology. He wore the belt Megingjord that increased his strength and a pair gauntlet that allowed him to wield the hammer Mjolnir. Mjolnir itself was a gift to the gods from the dwarves, who Loki had beseeched to make great treasures after he shaved the golden hair from Thor’s wife, Sif.
While Thor was most famous for his role as a defender of humanity, he also had an important role as a god of fertility, specifically in combination with his wife Sif. Sif had golden hair, which has been interpreted as a metaphor for grains, and Thor was a bringer of rain, which was necessary for the growth of crops. Thus, through their marriage, Thor and Sif represented the cycles of agriculture that were of paramount importance to the Norse and all agrarian societies.
The attitude of the other gods towards Thor was generally a positive one. Thor was their mightiest warrior who kept the Jotunar at bay. During the events of the poem Thrymsvida, Freyja holds Thor in such regard that she loans him a cloak made of feathers that allows for flight to search for the missing Mjolnir, stating that even if it was made from silver and gold, she would have lent it to him. After the Christianization of Norway, many of Thor’s attributes, such as giant slaying and a fiery temperament, were attributed to Saint Olaf.

Writen by Kristian Gronhaug

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Lofotr Viking Museum

Meet the Vikings. Smell the tar, taste the food, feel the history. The Vikings have been awaiting you for more than 1000 years. Welcome to the Viking age.