If you’ve been playing the popular game God of War, you may have encountered Tyr, the so-called Norse god of war. But unlike other religions or mythologies, Norse mythology has multiple gods of war.
In Norse mythology, Odin, Tyr, and Freya are considered the gods of war.
Odin is the Allfather, the leader of the pantheon and is considered the magician among the gods. Tyr was the god of law, justice, and war, while Freya was the goddess of love, sex, fertility, and war.
Hence, it's incorrect to quote only one Norse god as the god of war since the Scandanavians worship many gods in battle. Ahead, we will give you an overview of the gods of war and share some insights about these deities.
Odin - The Allfather
Odin is the head of the Aesir in Norse mythology. Although not the best warrior himself, Odin is on a constant quest for wisdom and knowledge in a desperate effort to delay his faith in Ragnarok.
Due to this quest, Odin sacrificed one of his eyes in order to drink from Mímir’s well which is believed to have granted him knowledge and wisdom.
Ragnarok is a prophecy of a great battle between giants and gods in which Odin will fall in the hands of Fenrir, Loki’s son, along with most of the gods on both sides.
Odin is known to travel disguised as himself, an old man dressed in grey clothing with a beard and eye patch, in order to harvest the most heroic fallen warriors to join his army in Valhalla.
He does this by favouring a warrior which will conquer many kingdoms and kill thousands of men.
The Norse believed, for example, that the infamous Harald War-Tooth was favoured by Odin, hence, becoming seemingly immune to weapons of iron and steel killing thousands of men in his conquest to rule.
These fallen warriors will again battle each other in Valhalla, get resurrected, and feast in the evening. They go through this cycle over and over until the day of the Ragnarok.
Tyr - God of Law, Justice & War
Another god of war that is not frequently heard of is Tyr. Despite being one of the boldest, most courageous, and wisest among the Norse gods, he does not appear much in ancient writings and sagas.
One of the writings in which he appeared is when he lost his arm to Fenrir. According to the myth, Fenrir was becoming too strong, hence, he was restrained using large chains under Asgard.
However, no matter how strong the chains are, Fenrir was able to break them twice, thanks to his immense power. So the gods asked the dwarves to build a binding unlike any other called the Gleipnir.
The Gleipnir was supposedly made with impossible things like:
- Sound of a cat’s footfall
- Beard of a woman
- Roots of a mountain
- Sinews of a bear
- Fish breath
- Bird spittle
Fenrir, unsure if he’ll be able to break the magical binding, requested that he’ll only permit the binding if the hand of one of the gods will be placed into his mouth as assurance that he won’t be restrained forever.
Tyr, being one of the most courageous gods, put his hand into the mouth of the monstrous Fenrir. And sure enough, Fenrir was not able to break the Gleinpnir which prompted him to bite the hand of Tyr. Hence, Tyr was known as the one-handed god.
Freyja - Goddess of Fertility, Love, Beauty, Sex & War
According to the tales, Vanir and Aesir, the two pantheons of gods, used to be at war. Seeing no advancement on both sides, the two pantheons decided to call a truce.
For the continuance of such a truce, both pantheons agreed to exchange gods and goddesses. The deities Freyr and Freya from Vanaheim moved to Asgard while the deities Memir and Hoenir moved to Vanaheim.
Freya, traditionally spelled Freyja, was considered to be the most beautiful goddess. She was married to the god Óðr who disappeared and caused the goddess to cry tears of gold.
Freya wandered into the nordic realms in her feline carriage trying to look for her husband. Because of her beauty, giants, dwarves, and elves were attracted to the goddess, often, placing her in a difficult situation.
But Freya is known not only for her beauty but also for being a fierce warrior. In fact, she was said to be the lady of the Valkyries tasked to collect the bravest warriors who have fallen in battle.
The goddess of war is also the ruler of Fólkvangr where half of the fallen warriors gather until they will raise their weapons again for the battle of Ragnarok. The other half will join Odin in Valhalla.
Because of this, Freya was also considered the goddess of war and death.