Hymir

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Thor and Hymir fishing.

In Norse mythology, Hymir is a giant, husband of the giantess Hroðr and according to the Eddic poem Hymiskviða the father of the god Týr. He is the owner of a mile-wide cauldron which the Æsir wanted to brew beer in; Thor, accompanied by Týr, obtained it from him. He has several daughters.

Attestations[edit]

Hymiskviða and Gylfaginning[edit]

Hymiskviða recounts how Thor and Týr obtain the cauldron from Hymir. His skull is unusually hard, and Thor breaks a cup by throwing it at Hymir's head.

Hymiskviða also recounts Thor's fishing for Jörmungandr, the Midgard serpent.[1] Thor goes fishing with Hymir, using the head of Hymir's best ox for bait, and catches Jörmungandr, who then either breaks loose[2] or, as told in the Gylfaginning of the Prose Edda, is cut loose by Hymir.[3] The Prose Edda provides the additional detail that while Thor was attempting to pull Jörmungandr in, his feet went through the bottom of the boat.[3]

Picture stones[edit]

This encounter between Thor and Jörmungandr seems to have been one of the most popular motifs in Norse art. Three picture stones have been linked with the story and show Hymir: the Ardre VIII image stone, the Hørdum stone, and the Gosforth Cross.[4] A stone slab that may be a portion of a second cross at Gosforth also shows a fishing scene using an ox head for bait.[5] The legend is also depicted on the Altuna Runestone, but its image does not show Hymir, possibly due to the narrow shape of that stone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davidson, Hilda Ellis (1993). The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe. Routledge. pp. 50–53. ISBN 0-203-40850-0. 
  2. ^ Bellows, Henry Adams (transl.) (1936). "Hymiskviða". The Poetic Edda. pp. 144–147. 
  3. ^ a b Snorri Sturluson; Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist (transl.) (1916). "Gylfaginning". The Prose Edda. The American-Scandinavian Foundation. pp. 69–70. 
  4. ^ Sørensen, Preben M.; Williams, Kirsten (transl.) (2002). "Þorr's Fishing Expedition (Hymiskviða)". In Acker, Paul; Larrington, Carolyne. The Poetic Edda: Essays on Old Norse Mythology. Routledge. pp. 119–138. ISBN 0-8153-1660-7.  p. 122-123, 127-128.
  5. ^ Fee, Christopher R.; Leeming, David A. (2001). Gods, Heroes, & Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain. Oxford University Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-19-513479-6.