Týr (IPA: [tyːr]) is the god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is rendered as Tius or Tio and also formally as Mars Thincsus.
In the late Icelandic Eddas, Týr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Óðinn (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto (see Tacitus' Germania) suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon, since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion. It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Óðinn and Þórr at some point during the Migration Age, as Óðinn shares his role as God of war.
Tiw was equated with Mars in the interpretatio germanica. Tuesday is "Tīw's Day" (also in Alemannic Zischtig from zîes tag), translating dies Martis.
Origins and Etymology
The name Týr originally meant "god" (cf. Hangatýr, the "god who hung" (referring to when Óðinn hung in a tree for nine days) as one of Óðinn's names; probably inherited from Týr in his role as judge (compare with the Irish "Midir", the judge par excellence) and goes back to a Proto-Germanic Tîwaz, earlier Teiwaz, continuing Proto-Indo-European language *deywos "god", a word related to but distinct from the name of the sky-god Dyeus (in lith. both Dyeus and Deywos has the same meaning Dievas or goddess).
It should be noted however, that direct reference between Týr/Teiw and "leader of the Gods" may be debatable. While the Proto-Indo-European origins of the term is common wisdom, "Dyaus", "Deywos" and "Devas" have always been used in a generic way to refer to the gods. "Dyaus-pater" which literally means the "father of Gods" later transformed through common uses in ancient Greece and Rome into "Zeus-pater" and then to "Jupiter" have been applied to Zeus/Jupiter and to Woden/Óðinn (Nordic). It is theorised Týr was originally leader of the Norse/Germanic pantheon before being overtaken in popularity by Óðinn.
There is sketchy evidence of a consort, in German named Zisa: Tacitus mentions one Germanic tribe who worshipped "Isis", and Jacob Grimm pointed to Cisa/Zisa, the patroness of Augsburg, in this connection. The name Zisa would be derived from Ziu etymologically, in agreement with other consorts to the chief god in Indo-European pantheons, e. g. Zeus and Dione.
According to the Edda, at one stage the gods decided to shackle the wolf Fenrir, but the beast broke every chain they put upon him. Eventually they had the dwarves make them a magical ribbon called Gleipnir from such items as a woman's beard and a mountain's roots. But Fenrir sensed the gods' deceit and refused to be bound with it unless one of them put his hand in the wolf's mouth. Týr, known for his great courage, agreed, and the other gods bound the wolf. Fenrir sensed that he had been tricked and bit off the god's hand. Fenrir will remain bound until the day of Ragnarök.
As a result of this deed, Týr is called the "Leavings of the Wolf". According to the Prose version of Ragnarök, Týr is destined to kill and be killed by Garmr, the guard dog of the realm of Hel. However, in the two poetic versions of Ragnarök, he goes unmentioned; unless one believes that he is the "Mighty One".
The Tiwaz-rune is named after Týr, and was identified with this god, the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name is Tîwaz (lith. Tevas - father, Dievas or Deivas - god). The rune is sometimes also referred to as Teiwaz, or spelling variants.
Scholars propose that a variety of objects from the archaeological record depict Týr. For example, a Migration Period gold bracteate from Trollhättan, Sweden, features a person receiving a bite on the hand from a beast, which may depict Týr and Fenrir. A Viking Age hogback in Sockburn, County Durham, England may depict Týr and Fenrir.
- Today several people carry a name based on the name of the old god. Such as Valtýr, Angantýr, Hjálmtýr etc.
- The English word Tuesday, and its other Scandinavian/Germanic equivalents are directly descended from Tyr/Teiwaz.
- Týr Official Site a Viking Metal Band from the Faroe Islands