Ægir (anglicised as Aegir; Old Norse: "sea") is a divine personification of the sea in Norse mythology. Portrayed as a jötunn (giant), Ægir is also a frequent host of the Æsir (gods). In the Poetic Edda, Ægir has a wife, Rán, with whom he has begotten Nine Daughters associated with the waves, and his servants are named Fimafeng and Eldir.
The Old Norse name Ægir ('sea') could stem from Proto-Germanic *āgwi-jaz ('that of the river/water'), itself a derivative of Proto-Germanic *ahwō- ('river'; compare with Goth. alva 'body of water, river', OE ēa 'stream', OHG aha 'river'). Richard Cleasby and Guðbrandur Vigfússon saw his name as deriving from an ancient Indo-European root. Guus Kroonen argues that the Germanic root *ahwō- is probably of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) origin, as it may be cognate with Latin aqua (via the common form *h₂ekʷ-eh₂-), and ultimately descend from the PIE root *h₂ep- ('water'; compare with Sanskrit áp- 'water' or Tocharian āp- 'water, river').
Poetic kennings in both Hversu Noregr byggðist (How Norway Was Settled) and Skáldskaparmál (The Language of Poetry) treat Ægir and the sea-giant Hlér, who lives on the Hlésey ('Hlér island', modern Læsø), as the same figure.
Both the prose introduction to Lokasenna (Loki's Flyting) and Skáldskaparmál state that Ægir is also known as Gymir, the father of the jötunn (giantess) Gerðr. Rudolf Simek argues that it may be an erroneous interpretation of kennings in which different giant-names are used interchangeably.
The name 'Ægir' is identical to a noun for 'sea' in skaldic poetry, itself a base word in many kennings. For instance, a ship is described as "Ægir's horse" and the waves as the "daughters of Ægir".
In his treatise of poetry Skáldskaparmál, Snorri Sturluson portrays Ægir as sitting in Ásgard next to the Norse god of poetry Bragi. The latter tells him many stories of events in which the Æsir have participated, then Ægir questions Bragi about the origin of the mead of poetry. In the dialogue, Ægir asks why the gold is called 'fire of the sea' or 'fire of Ægir', then Bragi answers that Gold was used to light Ægir's hall when he entertained the Æsir.
Host of the gods
Ægir is often portrayed in the eddic poems as the host of the gods. In Hymiskviða, Thor acquires a huge cauldron in which to brew beer as the gods expect to visit Ægir. In Lokasenna (Loki's Flyting), Loki's verbal duel with the gods occurs at a feast hosted by Ægir, and the poem is also called Ægisdrekka (Ægir's Drinking Party) by paper manuscripts. During the party, Loki kills one of Ægir's servants Fimafeng. In Grímnismál, Ægir's prowess as a host is the final motif Odin reveals to the King Geirröd.
||A. Orchard translation (1997):
There was a figure called Ægir or Hlér; he lived on an island, which is now called Hléysey. He was very crafty in magic. He set off to visit Ásgard, and when the Æsir realized he was coming, he was given a splen did welcome, although many things were not as they seemed;
In several mnemonic þulur name-lists, Ægir is attached to the jötnar (giants). Lindow notes however that since his wife Rán is listed among the ásynja (goddesses) in the same part of the Prose Edda, and since he had a close and friendly relationship with the Æsir (gods), Ægir's description as a jötunn appears questionable. Orchard argues on the contrary that Ægir's inclusion among the Æsir is probably a late development since his daughters are described as jötnar and some sources mention him as the descendant of the jötunn Fornjót.
In what appears to be a Norwegian genealogical tradition, Ægir is regarded as one of the three elements among the sea, the fire and the wind. The beginning of the Orkneyinga saga (Saga of the Orkney Islanders) and Hversu Noregr byggdisk (How Norway Was Settled) tell that the giant king Fornjót had three sons: Hlér ('sea'), whom he called Ægir, a second named Logi ('fire'), and a third called Kári ('wind').
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- Lindow 2002, p. 47.
- Haudry 2017, pp. 29–30.
- Kroonen 2013, p. 7.
- Cleasby, Vigfússon (1957:758).
- de Vries 1956, p. 251.
- Simek 1996, p. 151.
- Lindow 2002, p. 18.
- Lindow 2002, p. 156.
- Simek 1996, p. 126.
- Lindow 2002, pp. 48, 52.
- Lindow 2002, p. 48.
- Orchard 1997, p. 1.
- Faulkes 1987, p. 59.
- Orchard 1997, p. 2.
- Carroll, Michael (2017), "Zeroing in on Earth 2.0", Earths of Distant Suns, Springer, p. 79, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-43964-8_5, ISBN 978-3-319-43963-1,
Planet name: AEgir | Original designation: Epsilon Eridani b
- Cleasby, Richard, Guðbrandur Vigfússon (1957). An Icelandic-English Dictionary. 2nd ed. with supplement by William A. Craigie. Clarendon Press. Repr. 1975. ISBN 9780198631033
- de Vries, Jan (1956). Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (in German). 1 (1970 ed.). Walter De Gruyter.
- Faulkes, Anthony, trans. (1987). Edda (1995 ed.). Everyman. ISBN 0-460-87616-3.
- Haudry, Jean (2017). Le feu dans la tradition indo-européenne (in French). Arché. ISBN 978-88-7252-343-8.
- Kroonen, Guus (2013). Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-18340-7.
- Lindow, John (2002). Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-983969-8.
- Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 978-0-304-34520-5.
- Simek, Rudolf (1996). Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer. ISBN 978-0-85991-513-7.