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"Yngvi-Freyr builds the Uppsala temple" (1830) by Hugo Hamilton.

Yngvi, Yngvin, Ingwine, Inguin are names that relate to an older theonym Ing and which appears to have been the older name for the god Freyr (originally an epithet, meaning "lord").

Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz was one of the three sons of Mannus and the legendary ancestor of the Ingaevones and is also the reconstructed name of the Elder Futhark ŋ rune.

A torc, the "Ring of Pietroassa", part of a late 3rd- to 4th-century Gothic hoard discovered in Romania, is inscribed in much-damaged runes, one reading of which is gutanī [i(ng)]wi[n] hailag ", "to Ingwi of the Goths. Holy".[1]


Further information: Fraujaz

Yngvi (ON:) or Yngvin (OHG: Inguin, OE: Ingwine) is derived from the Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz. Sound changes in late-Proto-Germanic transformed *Ingwaz into *Ingwi(z) in the nominative and *Ingwin in the accusative. That his epithet *Fraujaz appears in Old Norse compounds Ingvifreyr and Ingunarfreyr, as well as in OE fréa inguina, both of which mean "Lord of the Inguins", i.e. the god Freyr, strongly indicates that the two deities are either the same or were syncretized at some very early period in the Germanic migration (or possibly before). The Ingvaeones, who occupied a territory roughly equivalent to modern Denmark and the Low Countries at the turn of the millennium, were mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural Histories as one of the Five Germanic Tribes and asserts their descent from *Ingwaz, perhaps himself the son of *Mannus, the Proto-Germanic 'first man'. Other names that retain the theonym are Inguiomerus/Ingemar and Yngling, the name of an old Scandinavian dynasty.[2]

The Ingwaz rune[edit]

Shape Elder Futhark Futhorc
Runic letter ingwaz.svg Runic letter ingwaz variant2.svg Runic letter ingwaz variant.svg
Unicode ᛜ ᛝ
U+16DC U+16DD
Transliteration ŋ
Transcription ŋ
IPA [ŋ]
Position in rune-row 22

The ŋ rune Runic letter ingwaz.svg (with variants Runic letter ingwaz variant.svg and Runic letter ingwaz variant.png) together with Peorð and Eihwaz is among the problematic cases of runes of uncertain derivation unattested in early inscriptions. The rune first appears independently on the futhark row of the Kylver stone, and is altogether unattested as an independent rune outside of such rows. There are a number of attestations of the i͡ŋ bindrune Ing bindrune.png or Ing bindrune variant.png (the "lantern rune", similar in shape to the Anglo-Saxon Gēr rune ), but its identification is disputed in most cases, since the same sign may also be a mirror rune of Wynn or Thurisaz. The earliest case of such an i͡ŋ bindrune of reasonably certain reading is the inscription mari͡ŋs (perhaps referring to the "Mærings" or Ostrogoths) on the silver buckle of Szabadbattyán, dated to the first half 5th century and conserved at the Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum in Budapest.[3]

The Old English Runic Poem contains these obscure lines:

Ing wæs ærest mid Eástdenum
gesewen secgum, oð he síððan eást
ofer wæg gewát. wæn æfter ran.
þus Heardingas þone hæle nemdon.
" Ing was first amidst the East Danes
so seen, until he went eastward
over the sea. His wagon ran after.
Thus the Heardings named that hero."

Norse Yngvi[edit]

In Scandinavian mythology, Yngvi, alternatively Yngve, was the progenitor of the Yngling lineage, a legendary dynasty of Swedish kings from whom the earliest historical Norwegian kings in turn claimed to be descended, see also Freyr.

Information on Yngvi varies in different traditions as follows:

  • Yngvi is a name of the god Freyr, perhaps intended as Freyr's true name while Frey 'Lord' is his common title. In the Ynglinga saga and in Gesta Danorum, Frey is euhemerized as a king of Sweden. In the Ynglinga saga, Yngvi-Frey reigned in succession to his father Njörd who in turn succeeded Odin. Yngvi-Frey's descendants were the Ynglings.
  • In the Íslendingabók Yngvi Tyrkja konungr 'Yngvi king of Turkey' appears as father of Njörd who in turn is the father of Yngvi-Freyr, the ancestor of the Ynglings.
  • In the Skjöldunga saga Odin came from Asia and conquered Northern Europe. He gave Sweden to his son Yngvi and Denmark to his son Skjöldr. Since then the kings of Sweden were called Ynglings and those of Denmark Skjöldungs (Scyldings).
  • In Historia Norwegiæ, Ingui is the first king of Sweden, and the father of Njord, the father of Freyr: Rex itaque Ingui, quem primum Swethiæ monarchiam rexisse plurimi astruunt, genuit Neorth, qui vero genuit Froy; hos ambos tota illorum posteritas per longa sæcula ut deos venerati sunt. Froyr vero genuit Fiolni, qui in dolio medonis dimersus est,[...].
  • In the introduction to Snorri Sturluson's Edda Snorri claims again that Odin reigned in Sweden and relates: "Odin had with him one of his sons called Yngvi, who was king in Sweden after him; and those houses come from him that are named Ynglings." Snorri here does not identify Yngvi and Frey though Frey occasionally appears elsewhere as a son of Odin instead of a son of Njörd. See Sons of Odin.
  • In the Skáldskaparmál section of Snorri Sturluson's Edda Snorri brings in the ancient king Halfdan the Old who is the father of nine sons whose names are all words meaning 'king' or 'lord' in Old Norse and nine other sons who are the forefathers of various royal lineages, including "Yngvi, from whom the Ynglings are descended". But rather oddly Snorri immediately follows this with information on what should be four other personages who were not sons of Halfdan but who also fathered dynasties and names the first of these as "Yngvi, from whom the Ynglings are descended". In the related account in the Ættartolur ('Genealogies') attached to Hversu Noregr byggdist, the name Skelfir appears instead of Yngvi in the list of Halfdan's sons. For more details see Scylfing

(The Yngling Saga section of Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla also introduces a second Yngvi son of Alrek who is a descendant of Yngvi-Frey and who shared the Swedish kingship with his brother Álf. See Yngvi and Alf.)

Given names[edit]

The element Ing(o)- was widely used in Germanic names from an early period; it is not clear whether it originally referred to the Ingvaeones, or to the god Ing directly. Inguiomer was a relative of Arminius in the 1st century; Ingundis was a wife of Chlothar I and Ingoberga the wife of Charibert in the 6th; other combinations such as masculine Inguin, Ingulf, Ingobald, feminine Inghildis, Ingedrudis, Ingoflidis, as well as the short forms Ingo (masculine) and Inga (feminine) are recorded in the early medieval period (7th to 9th centuries).[4] In Scandinavia and Germany, names in Ing survived into modern usage, e.g. Ingmar, Ingvar, Ingeborg, Ingrid, Ingegerd.


  1. ^ See Ring of Pietroassa; see also R. North, Heathen Gods in Old English Literature 1997:140-49, noted by John Grigsby, Beowulf and Grendel, 2005: 132 and note 16.
  2. ^ A Grammar of Proto-Germanic from the University of Texas at Austin: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/books/pgmc03.html
  3. ^ J.H. Looijenga, Runes Around The North Sea And On The Continent Ad 150-700, PhD dissertation, Groningen, 1997; page 80.
  4. ^ E. Förstemann, Altdeutsches Namenbuch (1856), 780-787.

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Mythological king of Sweden Succeeded by