Ymir | Norse Mythology


Ymir, also known as Aurgelmir, Brímir, or Bláinn, is a Norse giant (jötunn).

In Norse mythology, he is the first living being and the source of the creation of the Earth by Odin and his two brothers, who used his corpse after executing him to create the Earth.

Etymology of Ymir

The name Ymir comes from the Indo-European *ymmó- ("twin"), Germanic *yumiyáz. This theonym can be compared to the name of Remus in Roman history or to the Indo-Iranian god Yama.

Various Indo-European legends depict the sacrifice of the twin by his brother to create humanity.

In the Völuspá and in the Gylfaginning, he is also named Brímir, related to brimi "fire", as well as Bláinn "dark".

The History of Ymir

Ymir, the founder of the race of jötnar "giants", is an important figure in the Nordic cosmogony. According to Snorri Sturluson's Edda, from the primordial abyss appeared two worlds of opposite nature, an icy world Niflheim and, to the south, an igneous world, Muspellheim.

Ymir was formed from the abyss of Ginungagap when the burning air blast met the frost, which melted and from these drops sprang life. It is of a disproportionate size and is endowed with a nefarious character.

Giants came out of Ymir's body while he was sleeping, from the sweat of his armpits came a man and a woman, while from his legs came a son.

Ymir lived on the milk of the cow Audhumla, which had four udders from which flowed four rivers of milk. The latter licked the frost and salt with which Ymir was covered, thus forming Búri, the father of Bur, himself father of Odin, Vili and Vé.

In the creation myth, Odin, exasperated by Ymir's brutality, killed him and threw him into the Ginnungagap ("the gaping abyss").

The flood caused by his blood was so great that it killed all the giants except Ymir's grandson (Bergelmir, son of Þrúðgelmir) and his wife.

Odin and his brothers used Ymir's head to create the Earth; his flesh filled Ginnungagap, his hair became trees, his eyebrow became Midgard, and his bones became mountains.

Likewise, his teeth and the fragments of his bones became the rocks, and his blood gave birth to rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea.

His skull became the sky, which rested on four dwarfs representing the points of the compass, his brain became the clouds, and the maggots of the flesh gave birth to the race of dwarfs.

Ymir in Popular Culture

Ymir Fritz, in the manga Attack of the Titans, is the first person to receive the power of the titans and transmits her power, giving birth to other titans. She married the king who then allowed her to give birth to 3 daughters: Sina, Rose and Maria who will later give the three walls protecting humanity.

During a trial a warrior threw a spear to kill the king but Ymir Fritz protected him, for an unknown reason she did not regenerate and died in front of her daughters. Ymir woke up in the "Path" where she will be condemned for eternity to shape titans. In order to transmit Ymir's power to her descendants.

The king then ordered his three daughters to devour the corpse of their mother in order to inherit her power. Three axes appeared in the path where Ymir was still wandering.

On his deathbed, the king gave his last wish, that the power of the titan continue to be transmitted from generation to generation, he told Maria, Rose and Sina to have children and that when they died in their turn, his great grandchildren would have to devour their corpses and so the original titan divided into nine primordial titans: Assailant titan; Original titan; Feminine titan; Bestial titan; Weapon hammer titan; Colossal titan; Dreadnought titan; Cart titan and Jaw titan.