Aegir | Norse Mythology


Aegir is according to the Prose Edda in Germanic or Norse mythology the name of the giant of the sea. He is also called Gymir or Hlér. In many Norse tales, he is the friend of the gods and hosts events and celebrations for them in his domain. 

Etymology of Aegir

The name Aegir in Old Norse refers to the sea giant itself and the sea secondarily. The name is related to Urgaritic ahwō, Latin aqua "water". Consequently, it refers to a water sprite (Latin Aquarius). The Danish island of Læsø is considered his home.

Importance of Aegir in Norse Mythology

Aegir is a sea giant, close to the Aesir, but belonging to the elder race of the Jötunn, and in Norse mythology he takes the features of a sea god. He is the son of Miskorblindi or Fornjótr, and his two brothers are Logi, the fire (not to be mistaken with Loki), and Kari, the wind.

He is the father of nine daughters, the Aegis daughters (Angeyja, Atla, Eistla, Eyrgjafa, Gjálp, Greip, Imðr, Járnsaxa, and Úlfrún), who represent different kinds of sea waves (but besides these names Snorri names others: Bára, Blóðughadda, Bylgja, Dúfa, Hefring, Himinglæva, Hrönn, Kolga and Uðr).

His wife is the sea goddess Rán. He lives on the island called Hlésey and is very wise.

Since people believed that Aegir left his underwater kingdom only to destroy ships and their crews, prisoners were sacrificed to him before setting out on a sea voyage to ensure safe passage.

Aegir as host of the Gods

In the introduction to the Lokasenna in the Edda it says:

Ægir, whose other name was Gymir, had prepared beer for the Aesir after he had received the great cauldron, as it has just been told. To this banquet came Odin and Frigg, his wife. Thor did not come, for he was on a journey to the east. Sif was there, Thor's wife, Bragi and Idunn, his wife.

Aegir in literature

Aegir is often found in the stories of the Edda, which was written shortly after the Christianization of Iceland. He appears here repeatedly as a friend of the gods and as a host. In the rest of Scandinavia, he is also an integral part of the cult. [Keningar, Egill, Sonatorrek (8), Grm (45), Skaldsk (1)(23), etc.] In the texts on Norwegian prehistory, for example, Aegir/Hlér is referred to as the son of Fornjótr, giving us a good example of how Norse mythology is diverse.

Aegir as a Male given name

Aegir is a masculine given name in Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. In Sweden, people use the form Ägir or Aegir.