Njars

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Njarar or Njars were an ancient Germanic people of Närke, Sweden, that appears in the Scandinavian version of the Lay of Weyland the smith. In the early part of the lay, King Níðuðr is introduced as a king in Sweden:

Níðuðr hét konungr í Svíþjóð.
Nidud was the name of a king in Sweden.

Later he is specified as the lord of the Njars:

Þat spyrr Níðuðr,
Níára dróttinn,
at einn Völundr
sat í Ulfdölum;
nóttum fóru seggir,
neklðar váru brynjur,
skildir bliku þeira
við inn skarða mána. (Source)
When the Lord of the Njars, Nidud, heard
That Völund sat in Wolfdale alone,
He sent warriors forth: white their shield-bosses
In the waning moon, and their mail glittered. (Translated by W. H. Auden and P. B. Taylor)

The Njars probably lost their independence early to the Swedish king at Uppsala, and they are not mentioned by Jordanes in his thorough listing of tribes in Scandza, in the 6th century. There are few mentions of the Njarar/Nerikjar in Old Norse sources, but for exceptions see King of Nerike.

Linguistic notes[edit]

At first glance, the name is hard to recognize, because the people of Nerike are otherwise called the Nerikjar in Old Norse sources. However, njar is a breaking of an older ner. The same sound change happened with eka and hertõ which resulted in jag (I) and hjarta (heart). However, in the case of Njar, the sound change never became established, and the older form ner continued to be used for the province and its population.

Ner is, in its turn, an umlaut from an older nar[citation needed] which is cognate to English narrow. The name referred to the narrow inlets that characterized the geography. The north-eastern (Kvismaren-Hjälmaren) has disappeared artificially, but the southern part of the province still has a large fjord.

See also[edit]