Tiwaz rune

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Name
Týr
Shape Elder Futhark Futhorc Younger Futhark
Runic letter tiwaz.svg Runic letter tiwaz.svg Short-twig t rune.svg
Unicode
U+16CF
U+16D0
Transliteration t
Transcription t t, d
IPA [t] [t], [d]
Position in rune-row 17 12

The t-rune is named after Týr, and was identified with this god. The reconstructed Proto-Germanic name is *Tîwaz or *Teiwaz.

Rune poems[edit]

Tiwaz is mentioned in all three rune poems. In the Icelandic and Norwegian poems, the rune is associated with the god Týr.

stanza translation comments

Old Norwegian
Týr er æinendr ása;
opt værðr smiðr blása.[1]


Tyr is a one-handed god;
often has the smith to blow.[2]

Old Icelandic
Týr er einhendr áss
ok ulfs leifar
ok hofa hilmir
Mars tiggi.[3]


Tyr = god with one hand
and leavings of the wolf
and prince of temples.

"Mars tiggi" is a "more or less accurate [Latin gloss]".[4]

Old English
Tir biþ tacna sum, healdeð trywa wel
wiþ æþelingas; a biþ on færylde
ofer nihta genipu, næfre swiceþ.[5]


(?) is a (guiding) star; well does it keep faith
with princes; it is ever on its course
over the mists of night and never fails.

"Fame, honour" is a gloss written alongside the rune. Several interpretations have been offered, typically involving association with the north star, as the words tacna and færyld have astronomical connotations (used for "sign of the zodiac" and "path of a planet", respectively).[citation needed]

Usage[edit]

Ancient usage[edit]

Multiple Tiwaz runes[edit]

The inscription on the Kylver stone ends with stacked Tiwaz runes at the end of the line.

Multiple Tiwaz runes either stacked atop one another to resemble a tree-like shape, or repeated after one another, appear several times in Germanic paganism:

Stacked Tiwaz.png
  • The charm (alu) on the Lindholm amulet, dated from the 2nd to the 4th century, contains three consecutive t runes, which have been interpreted as an invocation of Týr.[6]
  • The Kylver Stone (400 AD, Gotland) features 8 stacked Tiwaz runes at the end of an Elder Futhark inscription.
  • From 500 AD, a Scandinavian C-bracteate (Seeland-II-C) features an Elder Futhark inscription ending with three stacked Tiwaz runes.

Poetic Edda[edit]

Sigrdrífa, Sigurd's teacher of runic lore, on the Drävle Runestone.

According to the runologist Lars Magnar Enoksen, the Tiwaz rune is referred to in a stanza in Sigrdrífumál, a poem in the Poetic Edda.[7]

Sigrdrífumál tells that Sigurd has slain the dragon Fafnir and arrives at a fortress of shields on top of a mountain which is lit by great fires.[8] In the fortress, he finds an enchanted sleeping valkyrie whom he wakes by cutting open her corslet with his sword. The grateful valkyrie, Sigrdrífa, offers him the secrets of the runes in return for delivering her from the sleep, on condition that he shows that he has no fear.[7] She begins by teaching him that if he wants to achieve victory in battle, he is to carve "victory runes" on his sword and twice say the name "Týr" - the name of the Tiwaz rune.[7]

6. Sigrúnar skaltu kunna,
ef þú vilt sigr hafa,
ok rísta á hjalti hjörs,
sumar á véttrimum,
sumar á valböstum,
ok nefna tysvar Tý.[9]
6. Winning-runes learn,
if thou longest to win,
And the runes on thy sword-hilt write;
Some on the furrow,
and some on the flat,
And twice shalt thou call on Tyr.[10]

Modern usage[edit]

Germanic neopaganism[edit]

The Týr rune is commonly used by Germanic neopagans, often without political implications, but to symbolize veneration of the god Týr.

Guido von List[edit]

The Týr rune in Guido von List's Armanen Futharkh was based on the version found in the Younger Futhark. List's runes were later adopted and modified by Karl Maria Wiligut, who was responsible for their adoption by the Nazis, and they were subsequently widely used on insignia and literature during the Third Reich. It was the badge of the Sturmabteilung training schools, the Reichsführerschulen in Nazi Germany.

Neo-Nazism[edit]

In Neo-Nazism it has appeared, together with the Sowilo rune, in the emblem of the Kassel-based think tank Thule Seminar. It has also appeared as the former logo of the fashion label Thor Steinar, which was banned in Germany[citation needed], and Svenska Motstandsrorelsen. (It might also be noted that both these uses were technically incorrect, since both Thor and Thule would be spelled with a thurisaz, ᚦ, rune.)

Popular Culture[edit]

  • In Vinland Saga, Thorfinn has carved two Týr-runes into his dagger, likely in the same context as stated in Sigrdrífumál: to achieve victory in battle.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dickins, Bruce (1915). Runic and Historic Poems of the Old Teutonic Peoples. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 26. OCLC 4311222. 
  2. ^ Dickins, p. 27.
  3. ^ Dickins, p. 30.
  4. ^ Dickins p. 28, note to verse 1.
  5. ^ Dickins, p. 18.
  6. ^ Spurkland, Terje (2005). Norwegian Runes and Runic Inscriptions. Boydell Press. p. 12. ISBN 1-84383-186-4. 
  7. ^ a b c Enoksen, Lars Magnar (1998). Runor: Historia, tydning, tolkning (in Swedish). p. 27. ISBN 91-88930-32-7. 
  8. ^ Enoksen, p. 26.
  9. ^ Sigrdrífumál Guðni Jónsson's edition with normalized spelling.
  10. ^ Sigrdrifumol in translation by Henry Adams Bellows.

References[edit]

  • Enoksen, Lars Magnar. (1998). Runor : historia, tydning, tolkning. Historiska Media, Falun. ISBN 91-88930-32-7

See also[edit]