Mjölnir (also known as Miölnir, Mjølne, Mjǫllnr) was a terrible axe-hammer that belonged to Norse god Thor. The word Mjölnir means ‘crusher’ (or ‘striker’).
Thor was righteous god who mastered thunder, storms and lightning and had supernatural strength. He protected mankind, gods and fertility, and was renowned as the strongest, brave and most warlike of the gods.
He was also known as the great slayer of the Jötuns, terrible giants who were sworn enemies of the gods in Asgard. The Jötuns lived in Jötunheimr, one of the nine worlds of Norse cosmology. Their home was also known as Utgard which means “Beyond the Fence.”
Thor is considered a hero of the Vikings and his hammer has long been the Vikings’ amulet of protection and power.
In many ancient art, Thor is depicted with Mjölnir, a magical hammer in his hand. The hammer’s only flaw was its short handle. Loki, known among the gods as trickster and mischief-maker, was responsible for this defect.
As a result, Thor had to wear the magic glove or an iron gauntlet (‘Iarn-greiper’) to hold terribly red-hot Mjölnir in his hand. Thor also used a mysterious belt (Megingjardir) that would double his strength.
Yet, the magical hammer had many wonderful properties and was Thor’s formidable weapon against giants. Mjölnir, was capable of leveling mountains and was extremely heavy that no one else was able to lift it from the ground. Regardless of distance, Mjölnir always returned to Thor’s hand and it could be squeezed into a smaller size and unexpectedly hidden away. Mjölnir could kill and destroy, but also revive people or animals.
It was said to be forged by two dwarfs, Brok (Brokkr, in Old Norse: ‘blacksmith’)) and Eitiri (‘spark-sprayer’), who both lived in underground home of the dwarves, Svartalfheim and were widely known, skilled craftsmen and technicians who created many magical objects for the gods of Asgard.
The saga of the Thor’s formidable weapon, which killed countless giants, continued even after Ragnarok, according to Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, ‘Skáldskaparmál’. Mjölnir was in possession of second generation of gods, who survived catastrophic events of Ragnarok and were involved in the new world order.
Memory of Mjölnir and its owner have survived through many generations. Thor’s hammer was frequently depicted on countless boundary stones and gravestones. It was frequently found at wedding ceremonies and raised over newborn children.
Popular and respected miniature hammers are designed to be worn as pendants. Small silver amulets in form of Mjölnir symbolize the greatness of Thor and his fight for the land.
Archaeological excavations revealed many of these artifacts.
Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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