Naglfar Ship: Norse Giant's Ship Made of Nails

Posted by Ms Elly on

Naglfar Ship: Norse Giant's Ship Made of Nails

In the prophecy, the seer mentioned a mysterious ship that would carry the giant army to the field Vígríðr where Ragnarok happened. Its name was Naglfar.

"Naglfar" in Old Norse meant "nail farer". The ship was made of fingernail and toenail of the dead. Some scholars humorously theorized that the Vikings always trimmed their nail in order to prevent the giant from building the Naglfar ship. This could reason why the Vikings cared a lot about their hygiene. 

Neither fingernail nor toenail on the dead, no nails for the giant. No nail for the giant, no nail for the Naglfar ship, and no Ragnarok. 

Viking Naglfar ship carrying the dead joining Ragnarok

In Prose Edda, a valuable source of Norse mythology, told the story of the Naglfar ship in Ragnarok having a warning of the dead with untrimmed nails. It was worth taking care of the nails and remember to trim the nails of the dead. Because that dead man could contribute material to the Naglfar ship which the gods and the Norsemen wished it to take a long time to finish. 

A version of the Ragnarok prophecy stated that

After the stars disappear from the sky, the landscape will shake so severely that mountains fall apart, trees uproot, and all binds will snap, causing the wolf Fenrir to break free. After, the Midgardr Serpent Jörmungandr will fly into a rage and swim to the shore, causing the ocean to swell unto land. Naglfar, too, will be break free from its moorings.

The prophecy went that the ship would be steered by a giant named Hrym and the Naglfar ship would be carried along by the surging water of the flood that caused by Jormungand the Midgard Serpent. 

"and the ship Naglfar breaks free thanks to the waves made by Jormungandr and sets sail from the east. The fire jötnar inhabitants of Muspelheim come forth."

Naglfar ship also appeared in archaeological runestone. It was The Tullstorp Runestone in Scania, Sweden. The runestone featured Fenrir the giant wolf just above the Naglfar ship. 

Tullstorp Runestone depicting the Naglfar ship and Fenrir

Tullstorp Runestone depicting Fenrir the giant wolf and Naglfar ship


Older Post Newer Post

Recent Articles


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published