The Old Norse name form Freyr, partially modernized to Frey (ahd. Frô, older frôjo, frouwo, Gothic frauja, ae. Frēa), comes from a common Germanic root * Fraujaz or * Frauwaz “Herr”, plus the feminine * Frawjō “Herrin”. It is almost certainly the taboo name of a god whose name itself has not been used. Similar things can be found in biblical texts, where YHWH is replaced by adonai “Lord”.
Freyr is presumably identical to Yngvi or Yngvi-Freyr, who appears for the first time in the tenth chapter of the Ynglingasaga as the ancestor of the Swedish kings and is mentioned in the eleventh chapter as the father of Fjölnir. The name of the Germanic tribe Ingaevonen and of course the gender name of the Ynglinger are connected with Yngvi. The composition of Yngvi-Freyr could go back to an old Germanic form Ingwia-fraujaz “Lord of the Ingaevonen”. For the South Germanic people it is discussed whether the god “Fol” mentioned in the Merseburg spells is identical to Freyr. A statue of Freyr was found in Rällinge (Sweden).
Mythology of Freyr God
Freyr was one of the tubs that were primarily gods of fertility. He comes from the incest of the Njord with a female relative, presumably his sister Nerthus. First married to his sister Freya, who later married Óðr, he wooed the daughter of the giant Gymir from Jötunheim. Her son Fjölnir was to become one of the legendary kings of Sweden. After the War of the Wans, Freyr was considered to belong to the Asen and was worshiped on an equal footing.
His servant, the Faithful Skirnir, who once helped him to his wife, for which Freyr rewarded him with his sword, usually travels with him. According to the Eddian poem Skírnismál, this consort Gerda was a beautiful woman, daughter of the giant Gymir with the Aurboda. Skirnir won her Freyr when he saw her from Odin’s seat, only with the help of bribes, threats and magic, because Gerdr did not want to marry Freyr beforehand. This crime leads Freyr to face the fire giant Surt at Ragnarök without his sword and to die.
Freyr had the Skíðblaðnir ship, built by dwarves, in which all Ases with armor had space, and which always sailed wherever you wanted with the wind in your back. The dwarf Brokkr had also forged the golden boar Gullinborsti (“the one with the golden bristles”) for him. He is also called Slíðrugtanni (“the one with the dangerous tusks”). He pulls Freyr’s car and runs through the air and over the water, illuminating the night with his bristles.
Boar and horse are especially sacred animals to Freyr. He was offered the boar sacrifice for harvest blessings in ancient times. Hence the boar as a symbol of Swedish royal rule dates back to earlier times. The special position of the horse comes up late in the saga literature. When Olav Tryggvason destroyed the sanctuary of Freyr, he rode the sanctified stallion and his men the consecrated mares. There was obviously a taboo here that consecrated horses were not allowed to be ridden.
He ruled over rain and sunshine and watched over growth as the god of fertility. His cult center was Uppsala, where he was worshiped alongside Thor and Odin. Saxo writes that a victim of Haddingus and his descendants was offered there every year (Saxo I, 8, 12). According to Adam von Bremen, this only happened every 9 years, and humans and animals were killed (Adam IV, 27).
Saxo Grammaticus writes that the Danish legend king Haddingus offered an atonement to the god Frø (Saxo I, 8, 12). This is considered identical to Freyr. Adam von Bremen reports on a temple in Uppsala, which is dedicated to the fertility god Fricco (Adam IV, 24). Whether it was Freyr is uncertain and not particularly likely since an etymological connection cannot be established. The Ynglingasaga further reports that the fróðafriðr (“Froði Peace”) led to sustained good harvests during the reign of the mythical King Frodi in Denmark. That is why Froði is mostly identified with Freyr in research. That would also be etymologically plausible, since froda means “luxuriance, fertility” in Old Swedish. The representation of Freyr with a huge phallus also fit.
Adam von Bremen: Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae Pontificum. In: Sources from the 9th and 11th centuries on the history of the Hamburg Church and the Reich, Darmstadt 1978.
Eyvind Fjeld Halvorsen: Freyr God. In: Kulturhistorisk leksikon for nordisk middelalder, Vol. 4, Copenhagen 1959. Freyr God
E. C. Polomé: Freyr. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, Vol. 9, Berlin 1995.
Saxo Grammaticus: Historiae Danicae, ed. by Stephanus Johannes Stephanius, Sorø 1645, quoted from the Danish translation by Peter Zeeberg, Copenhagen 2000.
Jacob Grimm: German Mythology Verlag = Marix Verlag. Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-86539-143-8. Freyr God
Freyr, the god of fertility, growth, wealth and peace
Freyr is also considered the god of heavenly light and warmth. He was the ruler of the heavenly Lichtalfenheim, where the Light Elves lived.
He once came to the Ases with his father Niörd and his sister Freyja, with whom he was married, as a hostage after the war between the gods. With these, the sibling marriage was not tolerated, so the two separated there.
His sign is the boar Gullinborsti. This was a magical boar created in the smithy of the dwarves Sindri and Brock. In fact, it was probably a helmet that bore the symbol of a boar, and over time has been rethought to be a living “magic boar”.
In addition to the boar, Freyr had another magical object – the Skidbladnir ship.
After Freyja, Freyr was married to Gerd, the beautiful giant daughter. When Skirnir, Freyr’s friend and servant, once campaigned for Gerd in Freyr’s name and was successful, the god presented him with his magic sword, which could fight by itself. For this reason, Freyr is missing the dawn of the gods and so he falls in the fight against the fire giant Surt.
Frey God and Gerd a tragic love
The Freyr myth is mainly about love for Gerd.
Gerd is a giant, whom Frey saw one day at the Hlidskjalf high seat.
The high seat is actually Odin’s throne, from where he can see the whole world.
After Frey climbed the high seat, he could also see the whole world.
He looked as far as Riesenheim, where he saw a beautiful girl.
Freyr is said to have fallen in love with the beautiful giantess on the spot.
Due to the fact that giants and aces have been mortal enemies since the beginning of time – it was not possible for him to meet his beloved.
Freyr grew visibly grumpier.
His father Njörd recognized his son’s mood and asked about his annoyance.
But Freyr avoided the question.
Njord was not satisfied with this and started the servant Skinir on Freyr.
Skirnir or Skinir was a faithful servant in the House of the Ases.
He was considered a loyal vassal, who was sent for various errands.
Skirnir was also considered a loyal servant and Freyr had a real relationship of trust or friendship with him.
When the servant asked why Freyr only wanted to be alone and only roamed through Asgard, Freyr confessed.
He admitted that he saw a virgin in Riesenheim and fell in love with her.
He also said that it was the daughter of the giant Gymir.
Her name was Gerd or Gerda and she was beautiful.
And of course he also knew that this love could never be possible.
The enmity between Ases and giants was just too great for that.
And all these circumstances made him so sad that he was not looking for company or anything else.
Skinir suggested that he want to ride to Riesenheim and Gerda, on behalf of Frey, would win.
To do this, however, he would need a horse and a sword.
Frey’s longing was so great that he left him with his horse and magic sword.
So the servant Skinir rode the same night.
A guard sat at the gates of Gyrim’s farm.
And all around a fence blocked the entrance.
As if these obstacles weren’t enough, snappy dogs were tied to the fence.
Fortunately, the servant had the magic horse from Freyr as a companion.
Because the proud steed crossed all obstacles with just one jump and Skinir was already inside Gryrim’s estate.
When Gerda noticed the noise outside, she sent a servant – who should find out the cause of the unrest.
Gerd looked rather astonished when the servant returned with the Skirnir’s request.
And so Gerda had the servant of the god Freys invited to him.
The 12 golden apples and the Draupnir ring were not enough to win Gerda’s favor.
She rejected everything Skinir offered her.
Because she was a giant.
And a giantess certainly doesn’t want to marry a god.
Skirnir tried threats.
But even the threat that he would kill Gerd could not change the giantess’ mind.
So he resorted to the last resort – spells and curses.
He promised Gerda that she would end up on a lonely rock and be tormented by beasts – unless she took Freyr as her husband.
Gerda was visibly shocked by this threat or curse.
Because she didn’t want to experience this disaster.
Finally, she agreed to marry Freyr in nine days.
Skinir, glad of this result, rode back to his master.
This was so enthusiastic that Gerda would marry him – that he bequeathed the servant Skinir, the horse and the sword.
So Gerd and Freyr could get married.
But the gods have sinned again because of forced marriage.
The dispute between Asens and giants was further strengthened.
And last but not least, Freyr gave away his precious magic sword.
Frey should pay for this mistake with his life.
Frey death in Ragnarok
Ragnarök is twilight of the gods, the all-important battle.
The end has already been determined for Freyr.
Because in Ragnarök, Freyr meets the fire giant Surt.
Frey would probably have had a real chance against the evil giant with his self-fighting sword.
But since he had given the sword to his servant Skirnir, he was powerless against Surt.
Eventually he succumbed to the fire giant and was killed by him.
Tributes to Frey in the Vikings television series
A typical ceremony, in honor of Frey, is held in the Vikings series.
In the series, the Vikings paid homage to God.
But these ceremonies also took place among the Germans.
At that time animals were slaughtered and presented to the god of fertility as victims.
As a result, the Vikings, like the Germanic tribes, hoped for a rich harvest, rain and blessings for their cattle.