The Tyr bract

The Tyr bract

Tyr or Ti is one of the oldest deities in the entire Old World however he fgot his own shape in North. The pair or Twins is also and old concept we see clearly during early Bronze Age. Then we can not follow only the imagination of saga writers in Norse

Tyr bract, Thor, Tyr, Aegir's Feast, Midgaard's Snake, Edda, Snore Sturluson Gylfaginning, golden bract, Loke, Midgaard, Hel, Fenris Wulf, thane, thegn, Temple Knigts, marskalk,

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D. Evers got this picture of Thor and Tyr fishing at S Audmaal Bohuslaen

We get a glimpse of older pictures under this clear picture. In upper right corner we see another more normal angel but not with the big angel in lower picture. Often we have to look for odd details and get a hint of the meaning. Here it is the big angel. We do not know if the original story told about a bullhead as bait, but that does not matter. A big angel would always gives the "big fish" if it is hungry … still often small fish try the biggest piece I have seen in my aquaries.

The picture does not say much if we do not know the saga. This is about Thor and Tyr and their adventures when they went for the big cauldron that Tyr's father Hymer own. They needed it for brewing mead to the August beer for Aegir's feast. The fishing is just an event during this space-time. Here at Dal they would probably have called it "antia" meaning "time for harvest" and then everyone would understand all things included. Thor needed bait and he saw Hymer's big bull in the meadow and twisted off its head. Thus he got a good bait and see the big Midgaard's Snake fastened, but he could not land it since the snake encircle the entire world

… it is the old saying between fishermen "Such bait such fish" and all of them can imagine much of the adventure without words. Such stories need many breaks so that the listeners have time to find their own memories of angling for the big fish.

When I search in my memory all the memories from my reading occur and soon I am deep in the nature of man. Here it is the story we can see as just an adventure, but also as the big battle or life. In fact it is the same Hemmingway wrote in his "Old man and the sea". The "brothers or fellows" is an old motif in rock-carvings and even in the Old World the pair and their adventures are popular in tales and songs. Oldest of the text is the Sumerian Gilgamesh and hid "body" Enkidu, i.e. "the Thinker" and "the Doer" (body). In some seals we see both fighting the Bull of Heaven. The Oxen was originally fix stars of spring equinox and the Nordic Midgaardsorm was surely the ecliptic tha surrounds the word when we see it their way..

The motif with the "Big Fisher" we have only in late presentations from ca 700 AD at the Ardre rune stone at Gotland to that in Haurdum Church North Jutland 12th century AD where we see just a bow of the Midgaardsorm. At Gosforth Cross I we clearly see the bullhead as bait. On Gosforth Cross II he draws in something that must be "Cat" he thinks. At Altuna we see his foot goes through the bottom of the boat. Naturally such a motif placed also in Christianity symbolising the battle of life and against the former "wild faith". The priest wanted that people should pay for teaching the right thin but used metaphors that they know about..

It is an old wisdom that odd and abnormal events and funny stories we remember at once. It is the trick of good storytellers to use these and another rule is the put them on a string. So the adventures of Heracles is originally a journey along the animal round in the sky. If we personally want to remember things it is good to hang them on things we easily remember.

Sometimes we need the stories as a bandying wall when we solve problems and sometimes it is just for fun and in waiting for the future to come. Cultural people usually want that we shall solve problems and invent all the time, while in practise many good ideas are born when relaxing.

In my childhood we were always told how stupid our ancestors were and they used just burlesque stories from the Edda sphere. In this sense the Edda is all the sagas and songs before 13th century as saved by the Norse and Icelanders.

To go behind the surface is never easy and these stories have often several bottoms. In fact I am not sure that I catch them all since I was born naive. Our ancestors loved mystery. Since I am investigating ideas the rational in the story comes in first hand of course. I am happy if my research can elevate the wisdom of our ancestors.

As a boy we only thought about the fights and heroes and some times we played fights. Little we thought about getting wounded or killed. Less about killing others. Those times Hitler's men were occupying our environment. Much of the normal ethic and moral rules were not valid. But I think that boys all over the world in all times grow up with stories about heroes … own or borrowed does not matter. Bays make their stick or sword and feel like a warrior.


This cut is from Laukeberget Bohulaen showing one-armed Tyr and the flying Loke or when he save Idun

The symbol above the boat is a stick with and Eagle-symbol in front. We see a figure hanging down. We find that fragment in the saga about "The apples of Idun". In one sequence Tjatse in the guise of an Eagle fly away with Idun.

Maybe Idun and the apples symbolise fertility and Tjatse is the night frost that was a threat to all growing. The environment of those days was very wet and in the spring they needed to guard their field against night frost. We know that from medieval doombooks too since some guard died in the cold night. His duty was to keep fires near the cornfield.

The cut is from maybe the biggest rock-carvings in Sweden made at one occasion. Part of it seems to be a calendar and it begins with these figures. Behind stands a man without arms. It is maybe Orion and also Hanno from Fyn. He was the leader and usually he said, "let other decide" and that is maybe a sign of democracy in which the raad or counsel decides.

Several symbols in the rock-carvings seem to be Egyptian influence. The legs are more difficult but it can be the moon and half of it is invisible. They began the season with the moon Toth as leader of season. Ti / Tyr (asterism Hercules) has only one arm and we associate to Egypt since we find a similar figure in their astronomy. The fix-line from asterism Cancer to Sagittarius cut of his arm.IN early times he was the "harvester" both of corn and wild animals I think.

Ti or Tis may be an older name than Tyr. Tyr is in Danish "bull" and that is at least 6000-year-old ritual symbol. Ti is syllable in the Phoenician goddess Tinia and even in the Minoan Potinia. In Danish the meaning of TIS is nowadays "flowing out" and for as well male as female out-flow. TI is the living point and the symbol an arrow we find in many old languages. That is the linguistic explanation.

In Snorre Sturluson's Gylfaginning the Aesir gods raised the Fenris-Wolf but when it grow big they began to fear it for its strength. They decided to fetter it and tried the bonds Lauding and Drome but the Fenris-Wolf was too strong. At last they invented the tricky Gleipne made of cat noise, woman's beard, mountain roots, fish breath and birds spittle and that fixed it. But they had to ask Tyr to put his arm in the gap when they made the knot.

Maybe they were glad to get rid of Tyr as the big hero. He was too eager with his sword but also a little dumb or trust in his strength. Still heroes always want attention and admiring and they want to be paid even in days of peace. Once he lost his arm they thought "Now he know what pain is". Then they decided that he would be a good judge and he would never use his word arm to solve a dispute.

This is naturally the latest version and we have no proof of when these parts were added to the original story. Maybe I myself added something when I tried to pretend how the farmers thought when they planned the calendar and myth. I make this essay to separate the Edda Version from the idol LAUKAR that is a little bit earthier than Tyr is. Myths are living thing and all over the world they alters with growth in population. In crowded areas human relations become more important.

Here I show that these mythic idols have deep roots in ordinary rural life. It is quite the same as the Greek tales were the hero from the beginning was a country boy and servant of Augia and in his dull job he made famous stories about his deed. The story follows the normal year and asterisms in the sky. For people those days living in reality it was no trick to know what they really meant with the sagas.

We can see few dimensions in the world of these mythic images. One is the relation as children's tale to explain the world. Then could the child be the normal and adults are the giants. Another is the far ancient version when they painted the idols on the night sky. Watch it and see us as the normal and compare with the giants in sky. In time mankind or at least the nobility wanted to be gods and then ordinary people became the dwarfs.

The writer Mac Luhan suggested that different people should draw a "boat". He supposes that the admiral will draw a cruiser, the sea captain an ocean ship, the wealthy a yacht, the man in the woods a row boat for fishing on small lakes. The style in these pictures on the bracts also shows a little about the man behind the pencil. 

In the rock-carvings we do not see the whole story, but we see more of it on this golden bract:

This golden bract is found near Hamburg and we see the noble Tyr with his sword in left hand. The other snake figure is the Snake of Fertility he wants to preserve

This golden bract gives an impression of nobility since he has a sword. That was never normal for the ordinary man, neither his dress with tights. This is an early "St Georg", but still on the same theme as Seth and Horus in Egypt and Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven and Mithras and the Bull..

Thor is not in the story at all and that maybe depends on the age of the motif. The motif belongs to the oldest within ritual astronomy. Around 2000 BC companionship and fellowship were in fashion and they analysed that. That was the age of Tyr and Thor and we can compare with Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the noble and his helper. Thor became the peasants' idol and the helper of nobility and is seldom mentioned. Later he became the consecrator that also married couples and blood brothers and so on. Here I mean of course that he was the role model and archetype for that.

Maybe he was one of the twins before Iron Age, but then he became smith and normally he could get bog ore and make his own sword, but he preferred his hammer or axe and that became the crew ordinary weapon. He or his hammer is surely the asterism Gemini, but his archetype is Hercules

The Edda has many layers but is most of the early writing made of the nobility and that shines thorough. Ordinary people are nothing. We see it clearly in Rigstula, a poem about the classes. Another poem is Lokasenna about the Aegir's Feast or the Celtic Lugnasad. The gods = nobility has their quarrel and ordinary people are mentioned only as servants or producer of food. So it has always been since the day when people were the Gods' legs.

Our Northern night sky is very different from that in Egypt. In Egypt the asterisms rises in an angel of around 30 degrees. In North they varies between 53 degrees and in August the entire animal round is visible as a belt near the horizon. Only Cancer is under the horizon nowadays and when they wrote the last edition of Edda.

The feast is end of year and harvest beer in old days. Nowadays it is the Crayfish Party very essential for many people. Still Aegir's feast was a normal feast were the use of mead and beer soon loosens the tongue and in some the quarrelsomeness. As abstraction Loke is the inventor without limits so it is only natural that he starts the quarrel and teases them all and drags in old memories … just as a normal feast. But nowadays we usually watch on TV how the big families make their intrigues and try to dominate others.

Earliest in childhood I learnt a song to Loke that he should give me new teeth. The lore was old folk memory. That was the very old inventor of things I consulted. But later in school we were taught that Loke is the evil that starts all bad things. That is the hard influence of Christianity on Snorre Sturluson and many of the writers in the Edda-syndrome.

The original Loke was the principle of "locking" imagination and everything to the useable form. There is no big difference between good and bad and we cannot lock out everything we do not like. His asterism was Capricorn and the time of locking in the harvest. Christianity never learnt what I learnt of old wisdom in young days "we should take god things with the bad things" as the oldies said. In life all parts are needed is the very old wisdom.

But as usually they shoot the messenger in the same way as Prometheus was fettered. The foolish thing is that when they fettered Loke they fettered also the inventions. That leads to Christian fundamentalism and in normal life the invention of new thing ends.

We can say that he was the inventing spirit among the idols/ gods. But since he had no limitations some inventions were good and others brought a lot of trouble. Snorre is eager to tell about some of Loke's seemingly bad inventions. One is the Midgaard's Snake / Orm that encircle Midgaard. Maybe we should point out that Midgaard is the home of the Aesir and ours too. In fact that is only a way to make a logic border where the thinking ends and the wish to explore the world ends.

The Egyptians used the word "achet" which we translate "horizon" while the Babylonians animated it as Tiamat. Christianity needed to be different from other religions and they made all snakes evil, including the womb and fertility. I just cannot understand why Christianity hate natural fertility … they have their enigma too.

Loke invented Hel or the Underworld was the unknown below. Still the farmers need it and they have to be friendly to the "face of Underworld" … so what is wrong with that invention? The Fenris-Wulf is more abstract since behind it all is the untamed Time. Once the time was fettered they got order in their world, so why see it as evil? Still Christianity wanted to write it down as something bad. The real Evil is lack of knowledge and understanding.

I read many articles about Arianism from the catholic point of view. I found no real arguments, but just barking like the dogs. That kind of argumentation is not fruitful it is only normal cultural imperialism. We should believe once others tell us it is bad. The other tactic was to give the old things "names" … our ancestors used to give the bear foreign names … and the Gor-Wulf got real bad names.

In the rock-carvings at Bro in Bohuslaen we see the entire assembly of Aegir's Feast or the twelve "Fathers of Time" in last millennium BC. In that version most of them are horned and show a kind of nobility. The horn crown is no new invention since the Sumerian gods wore crowns with quadruple horns symbolising four quarters of the year.

In the so-called Old World nobility usually are those who thinks and decides. We have not much about old Celtic and Germanic "folks assembly" the Thing were all above 14 are deciding thins. Leaders are chosen only for special mission in bad times ... or as aldermen for the season. The cause is naturally size of local population. There is no place for nobility in small settlements … and in fact when nobility occurred they settled on their own "island" in then ocean of peasant's villages.

We cannot say if they ruled everywhere or if they were just big farmers among normal peasants. Much of the Edda and other sources show that their world was farming and equality was rule. WE know of no real cities before 11th century AD. When we compare with the early laws among Anglo Saxons we see that at least the upper class practised a hierarchy within their class of freemen. They thought their value was twice that of the normal man. In normal life they were just different worlds.

Such ideas do not evaluate over night. It is also depending of the base for the recruitment and supplying land around. In a sparsely populated environment it is almost impossible to create kingdoms in our sense. The only way was to create a big farm of their own. Maybe that led to creating the birke or ornum as base for a noble man. With the power and wealth followed naturally that they dominated their surroundings without using force.

From the law of Mercia we se that the merchant was of the same value as a noble warrior. The Law of Mercia states that the lowest class of noble should own 5 hides then approximately 5 farms. The later Temple Knights / Christi Militie needed in the beginning 30 hides and soon it rose to 150. Each knight kept 4 or 5 servants and they were in battle like a tank on four feet.

We see on some golden bracts and other figurative art that they kept marskalk / marshal = horseman and maybe a spearman then we have to think of the cook and server of the mead too.

The organisation is not quite the same as in the Roman Empire so the conclusion is that it is old Celtic heritage and we can search for root in among the Hittites that practised a feudal male league.


This medal is from Trollhaettan

In this case the longhaired Tyr put his left hand in the gap while the right hand holds the symbol for Gemini and the opposite asterism is the Fenris-Wulf. That is the real binding of the Fenris-Wulf, i.e. Time. Originally the opposite asterism was Cancer

The symbolism tells that they followed a certain fix-star three times a year. In the small symbols on the bracts we see often a triangle or another triad figure. The other time symbol is the swastika or some other four-point symbol. This shows better the origin of the story. On the reverse there are three snake-like animals telling that they practised trisected moon year.

On this golden bract from Skrydstrup South Jutland we see more of the variations on the Tyr theme. However here the hero is called LAUKAR. This is only a fragment of the centre of the bract. There were four borders originally together with the fine ear with a triangle and ornament of double spiral made of fine gold pearls

It is always good to have more than one picture on the theme. Otherwise it could be just an exception. On this the hero has one hand in the gap and the other at the Stag that is instead of the Pegasus horse. The Raven symbolises midsummer. However it seems that we have the astro-symbolism but not the normal order.

The entwined snakes are third part and are maybe fertility symbol or the normal battle in life we cannot tell for sure. The two Texts read ALU = beginning/ growth and LAUKAR maybe the same as LAUR we see on several golden bracts and that be their name on the Hero.

His hair ends in an eagle-head and we se that composition on several bracts. It may be the Sun Eagle however we have even the Aquila at the night sky. Hard to say anything about the dots that may be just filling out space. Since this motif is a little different I made a special essay about LAUKAR … next picture shows more variety

This golden bract from Uppland is not a real being but still one hand is in the gap

There are at least a dozen golden bracts with variations of Tyr or Laukar and the Beast. The beast is seen on some rider bracts too. This golden bract is one of a few in this style with worm body.

The composition looks like a step toward the Snake Pit bract. Then Laur / Laukar could be the known Balder in Hel meaning the sown corn in agriculture myth. The idol has often a long leg that could indicate they meant he was going to Underworld.

We have no name to these figures and the text is not intelligible

In these short essays I try to catch the essence of the figurative symbolism on nearly 1000 golden bract found in Scandinavia and Europe. I think I have got the most of the books of the German scientist Dr Karl Hauck. He have publicised them all in 15 books Die Golbrakteaten der Völkerwanderungszeit. but it is difficult to borrow them in Scandinavia

I have completed this with the doctor's dissertation of Danish Mogens B Mackeprang in 1952. Then they are all covered. In his book there are also some examples of the other items found together with golden bract especially in Norway.

For studies like this we need an international outlook since the Erils were all over Europe in their heydays. The centre was of course in southern Scandinavia at that time. Since I use many pictures I separate the text in many files.

Internet is a new media and I think people search by words so they like to find all data at a place. That is why I do not mind if I repeat the same text in many places if it belongs the issue. The navigation should help a lot. On the index page for the book there are all search words and there is also the PICAsearch that use the search word but usually show a little more of the text around the search word.

Here a letter from that completes about Tiw/ Tyr

Origin of Ti, Tis, Tiw, Tyr

Generally these names are thought to mean the same thing. However in true science it is better to sort out Tyr that in OHG and Nordic means bull/ oxen and the origin is on the Animal Round in 4th and 3rd millennium. At Vitlycke Bohuslen there are Bronze Age rock-carvings showing the Oxen on the Round.

The last signs of the heavenly Bull is the horns seen in the crown of Roman emperors and as horns on the Horse = Pegasus at the golden bracts. Then it means simply spring equinox that moved from Oxen to Horse/ Stag in more than 4000 years due to precession. The Stag is seen for instance on the scepter from the Sutton Hoo grave and especially in Frisien but also in rest of Scandinavia.

From an English Viking Age poem we get:

Tiw is a guiding star; well does it keep faith with princes;
it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails.

From there the step is short to the golden bracts with the known motif in which he put his arm into the gap of the Fenriswolf. The other elderly people tie the heavenly beast. They decided to fetter it and tried the bonds Lauding and Drome but the Fenris-Wolf was too strong. At last they invented the tricky Gleipne made of cat noise, woman's beard, mountain roots, fish breath and birds spittle and that fixed it. But they had to ask Tyr to put his arm in the gap when they made the knot….a remark is that gods/ idols exist only in the fictive world of sagas and ritual as role models.

Once the brave Tyr got his arm off he knew what pain is and the assembly thought he was suited as judge. We have some rock-carvings from Bronze Age with the one armed judge and he is also seen in a boat and a bullhead as bait. That associates to the heavenly Oxen as well as to the saga about Thor and Tyr "on tour". Thor is seemingly the asterism Gemini. On and the golden bract from Trollhättan we see Tyr with one arm in the gap and the other holding the Gemini-symbol.

This bract and others indicates that he is in the center of the world like the fertility Laur. In Danish TI means "flow/ place of outflow" and according to very old ritual it was the flood in spring that gave fertility. When they bind Fenriswolf it is a line from Sagittarius to Cancer or Gemini that gives the World Order/ Time Order = celestial calendar. The attribute "hand-in-gap" we see also on the 'snake-pit' bracts, which symbolise the sowing or going for resurrection.

If we think it through this idol is an old idol that was designed for the small societies with a thane/ thegn as leader. In wartime he became leader idol for the local defence that was meant for the unusual case of aggression form outside. This attitude we have in the Herulian league to 6th century. We see it is the total culture phase shift with the so-called Edda Age that began with Viking Age in 8th century.

The earliest written evidence of Ti/ Tiw/ Tyr as judge we find at Housestead /VERCOVICIUM the Hadrian wall 3rd century AD on an altar stone


 "To the god Mars Thingso the two Alaisagae, Bede and Femmilene and the divine spirit of the emperor, the German tribesmen from Tvihanti, true servants of the Augustus, willingly and deservedly fulfil their vow."

The Romans saw Tyr / Tis / Ti /Tiw as the war god Mars Thingsus maybe because they did not know about normal Germanic peaceful society and law. The thing/ court was naturally the core of the society in Scandinavia and especially in Denmark there are many "tinghaug" = thing/ court mound. Best known is Tynwald Hill at Isle of Man. Since I have found notes about a low round mound with ditch around in neighbouring parish I would like to think they got the idea from my province.

Next "written" evidence are the weekday names (Tuesday) created in time of Constantine in beginning 4th century. It was also the beginning heydays of the Scandinavian Heruli at duty at Rhine and other places. The leading classes of merchants and legionaries were "brothers in arms" with Frisian and Germanian troops so it is no wonder that both in English and Skandinavian the weekday names are nearly the same. The only real exception is Saturday from the Roman Saturn god of harvest. Scandinavians have instead the god LAUR that now is forgotten. As THURS I would rather put the "tri-headed thurs" idol of the tri section of the year.

Many academics prefer when they can read the names in plain English or Old Nordic and that is the ultimate evidence. Better is for instance the Gosforth Cross and other carved stones in churches. But besides the figurative evidence we have also the place names with no dating.

In Denmark the normal root is TI/ TIS/ TIR/ an we find them in places where there have been a vi / wih since he was the idol even at local ritual. In England we have  Tysoe, Tuesnoad, Tuesley, Tifield, Great Tew, Dun's Tew, Tewin, Tysoe (Tiw's hill-spur), Tyesemere 'Tiw's pool' and Deverstone Cliff.

In Scandinavia we have none of the Edda gods in early rune texts. In England the runic inscriptions of TIU are found stamped into three urns found in a 5th century cemetery at Spong Hill in Norfolk, and on a 7th century spear blade from Holborough, Kent. The Rune Age began in 2nd century AD and we must include the Germanic Area that in west included Germania Inferior within Limes. That is Luxembourg and Belgium south of Rhine. The Runes are seen mostly at Lower Rhine and in Friesland - Niedersachsen

We cannot apply our days' frames and national borders on those days. We have the old tribal bonds within Germania that was a branch of Celtic culture. We must remember that the Belgae moved to England before the Romans. At some places there were a core of Germanic Celts before the first migration of Anglo-Saxons. There was a flow of especially Frisian people and culture through legionaries and trade.

We get a hint of changing culture and language when we think of that some Heruli settled in the end of Roman rule in northern France. The Normands that originally hold a core of Scandinavians were and are seen as French. I noticed from the TIME TEAM programs that the English often prefer Saxon roots and see the Anglii and Scandinavians as wild barbarians. If they could they would prefer Roman roots … at such time I am ashamed of science when it becomes politics and religious instead of neutral searching after roots and truth. Seldom I have seen genuine English interest for the very deep Scandinavian roots.

I do not give much for modern mythical interpreting that tries to make it teleological and theological. As far as I can see from Migration Age the myths were arche-ideologies for the rural society. Edda is made of bear-drunk bards dreaming of days that have never been.