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Thread: Ziu (Tyr)

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    Ziu (Tyr)

    ZIU (TYR)

    If Wodan and Donar can be regarded as lofty gods of heaven, then Ziu or Tius may be regarded as even more so since his name directly expresses the idea of the sky, while Wodan signifies the air, Donar the storm. Just as Wodan directs victories, so Ziu reveals himself as the actual war god, Saxnot as the sword god, Donar as hammer god, Wodan as spear god. Like Wodan, Ziu also seems to roar down from the sky as a storm.

    The old Nordic name Tysdagr (Tuesday) coincides to that of the Eddic god Tyr. Represented in the Edda as Odin's son but in the song of Hymir as son of the giant Hymir and his mistress, he seems subordinate to the former in power and importance. But he also completely accords with him, insofar as both direct battle and war and the glory of victory emanates from one as from the other. Primeval times attributed all glory to the warlike; indeed along with Wodan and Ziu it had need of a third war god, Hadu. The subtler differences in the cult are now concealed from us. Undoubtedly, mountains were hallowed to Ziu as to Wodan and Donar. It will only remain uncertain which god, whether Wodan or Ziu, is meant by a particular name.

    Ziu is brave and eager for battle like Ares, granting abundance of fame, but also cruel and bloodthirsty; he raves and rages like Zeus and Wodan. He pleases ravens and wolves who follow him on the battlefield, although these creatures again must be assigned more to Wodan. Battle songs were certainly also composed in Ziu's honor, possibly warlike dances were held, to which I link the still existing and widespread custom of the ceremonial sword-dance which was completely proper to the god of the sword. Besides a sword the war god is appropriately given a helmet. The Edda does not emphasize the war sword, it makes no mention of Saxnot from whom the Saxons took the name Schwengenoss (sword comrade) because they carried the stone sword or placed the god at the head of their tribe.

    The Edda represents Tyr as one-handed because the wolf in whose jaws he had placed his right hand as a pledge, tore it off at the elbow. I prefer to accept the appropriate explanation by Wackernagel: Tyr appeared one-handed because he would only grant victory to one of the combatants, in the same way that Hadu, another god of fortune in war, or Pluto and Fortune with the Greeks and Romans, are represented as sightless because they blindly distribute their gifts. Since victory was held to be the greatest fortune, the god of fortune is provided in full degree with the most striking qualities of fortune in general, namely partiality and changeability. [Image: Ziu/Tyr, Germanic god of war, descendant of the old Indo-European sky-god. His name is etymologically related to Greek Zeus, Latin Jupiter, and Indo-Aryan Dyaus, which indicates that he must have played a much more prominent role in the earliest Germanic religion. His right hand was bitten off by the monstrous wolf Fenrir, into whose mouth he had placed it as a pledge of cosmic security, when the wolf, destined to devour the sun and the moon, allowed himself to be bound in the net that will hold him fast till Ragnarok.]

    Tyr is described as Odin's son. His mother, whose name is unknown to us but whose beauty is alluded to in the adjective allgullin (all golden), was a giant's daughter who bore to Odin his immortal son.


    Jakob Grimm: "The Principal Germanic Gods"

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    The author of the Proto-Indo-European site has attempted a reconstruction of the original sky father Dyeus. Does anyone know if there have been other attempts to reconstruct this God?

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