Humanities › History & Culture Major Gods and Goddesses in Norse Mythology Share Flipboard Email Print History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Mythology & Religion Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Rome American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated January 06, 2019 The Norse gods are divided into two major groups, the Aesir and Vanir, in addition to the giants who came first. Some believe the Vanir gods represent an older pantheon of the indigenous people whom the invading Indo-Europeans encountered. In the end, the Aesir, the newcomers, overcame and assimilated the Vanir. Andvari Alberich in Lego. gwdexter/Flickr.com In Norse mythology, Andvari (Alberich) guards treasures, including Tarnkappe, a cape of invisibility, and gives Loki the magic ring of the Aesir, which is called Draupnir. Balder 18th-century Icelandic manuscript showing Balder being Killed by Hod and Loki. Árni Magnússon Institute, Iceland. Balder is an Aesir god and a son of Odin and Frigg. Balder was the husband of Nanna, father of Forseti. He was killed with mistletoe thrown by his blind brother Hod. According to Saxo Grammaticus, Hod (Hother) did it on his own; others blame Loki. Freya Freyja, Cats and Angels, by Nils Blommer (1816-1853). Thomas Roche/Flickr.com Freya is a Vanir goddess of sex, fertility, war, and wealth, daughter of Njord. She was taken in by the Aesir, perhaps as a hostage. Freyr, Frigg, and Hod 12th-Century Tapestry of Odin, Thor and Freyr or three Christian kings on the 12th century Skog Church tapestry. Skog Church, Hälsingland, Sweden FreyrFreyr is a Norse god of weather and fertility; brother of Freya. The dwarves build Freyr a ship, Skidbladnir, that can hold all the gods or fit in his pocket. Freyr goes as a hostage to the Aesir, along with Njord and Freya. He courts the giantess Gerd through his servant Skirnir. FriggFrigg is a Norse goddess of love and fertility. In some accounts she is Odin's wife, making her foremost among the Aesir goddesses. She is the mother of Balder. Friday is named for her. HodHod is a son of Odin. Hod is the blind god of winter who kills his brother Balder and is in turn killed by his brother Vali. Loki, Mimir, and Nanna Loki with his fishing net. Árni Magnússon Institute, Iceland. LokiLoki is a giant in Norse mythology. He is also a trickster, the god of thieves, possibly responsible for Balder's death. Adopted brother of Odin, Loki is bound to a rock until Ragnarok. MimirMimir is the wise one and Odin's uncle. He guards the well of wisdom under Yggdrasil. Once he is decapitated, Odin gets wisdom from the severed head. NannaIn Norse mythology, Nanna is the daughter of Nef and Balder's wife. Nanna dies of grief at the death of Balder and is burnt with him on his funeral pyre. Nanna is the mother of Forseti. Njord Njord's desire of the sea. W.G. Collingwood/Wikimedia Commons Njord is a Vanir god of wind and sea. He is the father of Freya and Frey. Njord's wife is the giantess Skadi who selects him on the basis of his feet, which she thought belonged to Balder. Norns Motherly Love -- Norns Aunts. Thaliesin/pixabay.com The Norns are the fates in Norse mythology. The Norns may once have guarded the fountain at the base of Yggdrasil. Odin Odin on Sleipnir the 8-legged Horse, from the Historiska Museet, Stockholm. mararie/Flickr.com Odin is the head of the Aesir gods. Odin is the Norse god of war, poetry, wisdom, and death. He gathers his portion of the slain warriors in Valhalla. Odin has a spear, Grungir, that never misses. He makes sacrifices, including his eye, for the sake of knowledge. Odin is also mentioned in the Ragnarök legend of the end of the world. Thor Thor With His Hammer and Belt. Árni Magnússon Institute, Iceland. Thor is the Norse thunder god, the main enemy of the giants, and the son of Odin. The common man calls upon Thor in preference to his father, Odin. Tyr Tyr and Fenrir, 18th century Icelandic manuscript "NKS 1867 4to". Danish Royal Library. Tyr is the Norse god of war. He put his hand in the mouth of the Fenris wolf. Thereafter, Tyr is left-handed.