Ægir (anglicised as Aegir or Aeger also known as Hlér - the common Swedish form is Ägir) is a giant of the sea in Norse mythology. He is a personification of the power of the ocean. He was also known for hosting elaborate parties for the Æsir, who appoint him their host in the Hymiskviða due to a large number of kettles he possesses.
In Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál, Ægir is identified with Gymir and Hlér (anglicized as Hler), who lived on the isle of Hlésey. However, elsehere, Gymir is the name of the jotunn father of the beautiful maiden Gerd (the wife of Freyr) as well as the husband of Aurboða.
In Lokasenna, he hosts a party for the gods where he provides the ale brewed in an enormous pot or cauldron provided by Týr. During the party, Loki enters and begins to insult the gods in turn. This results in Loki's eventual incarceration until Ragnarök. The story of Týr getting the kettle for the brewing is told in Hymiskviða. The prose header of Lokasenna states that his hall is a place of sanctuary lit with bright gold and where the beer pours itself.
Origins and Family
Many versions of myths portray him as a Jötunn, however, some do not. In some texts, he is referred to as something older than the Jötunn, and his origins are unexplained; "Ægir (the sea), like his brothers Kari (the air) and Logi (fire), is supposed to have belonged to an older dynasty of the gods, for he ranked neither with the Æsir, the Vanas, the giants, dwarfs, or elves, but was considered omnipotent within his realm." Ægir would therefore have to be a giant. However, the brotherhood of Kari, Ægir and Loki is most probably just symbolic, as they represent the elements of classical myth.
Ægir is a son of Fornjót, a jotunn, and brother of Logi (fire) and Kári (wind). Ægir is said to have had nine daughters with his wife, Rán. His daughters were called the billow maidens. They were named Bára (or Dröfn), Blóðughadda, Bylgja, Dúfa, Hefring, Himinglæva, Hrönn, Kólga, and Unnr, each name reflecting a different characteristic of ocean waves. Snorri lists them twice in Skáldskaparmál but in one instance he replaces Bára with Dröfn. Heimdall is described as being the son of nine maidens, sometimes depicted as waves. Ægir's daughters may or may not be those maidens.
In Popular Culture
- One of the planet Saturn's moons is named after him.
- In England, the River Trent's tidal bore (mouth of the river) is named "Aegir."
- ↑ Myths of the Norsemen: From the Eddas and Sagas. H.A. Guerber. Dover Publications, Mineola, New York. 1992.
|Norse mythology articles|
|Major Deities||Odin | Thor | Freyr | Freyja | Frigg | Loki | Baldr | Týr | Njörðr|
|Races||Æsir | Vanir | Jötunn | Elves | Dwarves | Valkyries | Einherjar | Norns|
|Realms||Álfheimr | Asgard | Jötunheimr | Midgard | Muspelheim | Niðavellir | Niflheim | Svartálfaheim | Vanaheimr|
|Abodes||Breidablik | Fólkvangr | Þrúðheimr | Utgard | Valhalla|
|Topics||Æsir-Vanir War | Ginnungagap | Poetic Edda | Prose Edda | Ragnarök | The Sagas | Yggdrasil|