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Freyr

Freyr is a very important god in Norse Mythology, a member of the Vanir, as he is the fertility god and god of love. He is the brother to Freya, solar deity, and son to Niordr[?]. Along with Odin and Thor he was one of the most popular gods, and received many offerings. His servant, Beyla, was the goddess of bees and/or dairy. He also had a boat named Skídbladnir, built by Dvalin, a dwarf.

His name means 'master', 'lord', 'the supreme'. Snorri Sturluson describes him as being handsome, powerful, merciful and kind. He has control of the weather, both rain and sunshine, thus the fertility of the earth. Prayers were also offered to Freyr for a good future, peace and prosperity.

He lived in Álfheim with his wife, the giantess Gerdur[?]. He saw her first when he sat on Odin's throne, Hlidskjálf[?]. He looked north, saw Gerdur and fell so much in love that he was no longer able to speak or eat or sleep. Freyr's henchman, Skírnir[?], went to Jotunheim where Gerdur lived and brought her to Freyr. As a reward, Skirnir was given Freyr's sword which fought by itself. As a consequence, Freyr has no sword with which to fight, and will die at Ragnarok (at the hands of Surt), when the world ends. This courtship is dealt with extensively in the poem Skírnismál.

The Swedish kings[?] counted Freyr as one of their ancestors. In Iceland, Freyr was second only to Thor in popularity. Some last vestiges of the offerings to Freyr still survive on the Swedish Christmas table in the form of the Christmas Ham[?], so great was his importance.

He was also known with the name Ing/Yng and Ingui/Yngvi, as witnessed in the Old English Runic Poem[?] and the fact that the Swedish royal dynasty was known as the Ynglings.

Other spellings

  • Common Danish and Swedish form: Frej
  • Frequent alternate English form: Frey



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