Odin vs Tyr

There’s this thing, Odin vs. Tyr. The short version is that Tyr’s name is cognate with the names of the sky gods in other Indo-European languages.

*dyḗws ph₂tḗr (“Sky Father”) is the reconstructed name of the ancient Proto-Indo-European chief god. His cultural descendants include chief gods Zeus in Greece and Jupiter (Dieus-pater) in Rome. In India, he fell down the social scale: Dyáuṣ Pitr in the Rigveda. Likewise, among the Germanic tribes he was Tiwaz, and Tyr among the Norse.

These are all related names. The question arises then, was Tyr originally the chief of the Norse gods? Was he replaced, perhaps relatively recently, by Odin?

Maybe the story of Tyr losing his hand to the world Fenris is part of a myth that explained Tyr losing his kingship when he lost his physical perfection.

Maybe Jord (“Earth”) was originally married to Tyr, as would fit the pattern of Sky Father married to Earth Mother. And if so, perhaps this explains partly why Freyja, daughter of Njord and (and Jord?) became differentiated from Frigg, the wife of Odin. That is, Odin the storm god might have been originally the husband of Freyja and son-in-law of Tyr.

We don’t know, but there are some strong opinions out there. Personally, I’m partial to the idea of an original tripartite division as in Greek mythology. Earth, sea, sky. Here are some links so you can make up your own mind.

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