Who Was The Law Keeper In Norse Mythology?

Posted by Ms Elly on

Who Was The Law Keeper In Norse Mythology?

In Norse mythology, there was a god that always kept his words, spoke with justice, and was known as the law keeper of the community. The god mentioned was Tyr - Norse God of Justice and Honor. 

Tyr was from the branch of the Aesir god tribe who lived in the land of Asgard. Tyr was known as the god of Justice and Fair Treaties. He was also regarded as the sky god and god of war in some accounts. Many said that Tyr was more important and ancient than Odin the Allfather. And at the time Norse mythology was written down, the role of Tyr in the myth was decreased. Anyway, this topic would focus on the qualities of justice and honor that Tyr embodied. 

The Upholder of Law

The most important role of Tyr in Norse myth, as we might know, was to uphold the law and justice in the cosmos. The most famous story to illustrate this trait of Tyr was in the Binding of Wolf Fenrir


At that time, the Aesir gods realized that Fenrir was growing at an incredible rate that Norse gods could not control. They decided to tie Fenrir down with the magical chain created by the dwarves. But Fenrir was too intelligent to be cheated. The Wolf required that one god must put one hand in his mouth so he would allow the gods to try the chain. In fact, no one in Asgard dared to linger around Fenrir, let alone to put one hand in his mouth. But Tyr volunteered to do so. As Fenrir discovered he was tricked by the gods, the wolf bit and swallowed the hand of Tyr on the spot. The action of Tyr was viewed as the action of bravery and justice. Why justice? He knew that the gods were playing tricks on the lonely Fenrir. He knew that it was not fair. Besides, the gods swore an oath of not cheating Fenrir, but they broke their oath. As the god of law and justice, Tyr could not bear this and what he did in the Binding of Fenrir obviously attested his valuable qualities. 

Regarding the god of war, we can say that some Norse gods were gods of war based on the certain aspect of war. For example, Thor was the god of war but only in the aspect of physical strength. Odin was the god of war but only in the aspect of mental and magical forces. Tyr, too, was the god of war but only in the aspect of principles of justices and legal decisions in combat. 

Tiwaz rune was for Tyr

There was the rune letter for Tyr in the Elder Futhark. The Tyr rune letter was known as the Tiwaz. This rune symbolized an upward arrow which presented the success in battle and the good leadership. This rune letter possessed the meanings and the qualities that Tyr embodied. This rune letter was a positive letter but this letter often pointed to the cost, responsibility, and loyalty. (See Rune Meanings)

Image of Tyr, Fenrir, and Tiwaz

Tyr, Fenrir, and Tiwaz

Tuesday was actually Tyr's Day

(See Norse Gods and Days of the Week)

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