Jord | Norse Mythology


Jord ("Earth", pronounced [ˈjɔrð] in Icelandic or Fjörgyn, but often anglicized to Jord or Jorth) is in Norse mythology, the ancient goddess of the earth and female Jotunn among the Æsir.

She was remembered in Scandinavian cosmogony as the daughter of Nótt and Annarr. She was Odin's lover and mother of Thor. She is the personification of the uncivilized earth, also called Fjǫrgyn or Hlóðyn. Her name appears frequently in scaldic poetry and kennigar.

Etymology of Jord

Jord was the word commonly used to refer to the ancient Nordic land, but it is still used today by the descendants of the Nordic peoples, in modern Scandinavian languages (Icelandic: jörð; Faroese: jørð; Danish/Swedish/Norwegian: jord). From it derives, for example, today's English "Earth" ("Terra").

Jord in Gylfaginning

In Gylfaginning (The Deception of Gylfi), Jord is described as one of Odin's sexual partners and mother of Thor. She is the daughter of Annarr and Nótt and half-sister to Auðr and Dagr.

However, scholar Haukur Thorgeirsson points out that the four Gylfaginning manuscripts contain various descriptions of the familial relationships between Nótt, Jord, Dagr, and Delling.

Depending on the manuscript, Dagr's mother (and thus Delling's partner) may be Jǫrð or Nótt. Haukur points out that "the oldest manuscript, U, contains the version according to which Jord is Delling's wife and Dagr's mother, while the other manuscripts, R, W, and T, see Nótt in the role of Delling's wife and Dagr's mother," and adds that "the U version arose by accident, when the writer of U or an antecedent of it shortened a text similar to that of the R, W, and T manuscripts. The consequences of this case then spread throughout the Icelandic poetic tradition."

Jord in Skáldskaparmál

In Skáldskaparmál, by Snorri Sturluson, Jǫrð (personification of the earth) is named rival to Odin's wife, Frigg, and his other giantess concubines, Rindr and Gunnlǫd, the mother-in-law of Sif, wife of Thor, daughter of Nótt, and sister of Auðr and Dagr.

Jord in Poetic Edda

In the Lokasenna, Thor is called "Jarðar burr" ("son of Jǫrð"). In the same verse, in Vǫluspá, he is described as "mǫgr Hlóðyniar" and "Fjǫrgyniar burr" ("son of Hlóðyn, son of Fjǫrgyn").

That otherwise unknown "Hlóðyn", then, is simply another name for Jord. The goddess is thought to have been identical with Hludana, to whom many Roman votive tablets found in the Lower Rhine were dedicated.