is named after Tyr
, and was identified with this god. The reconstructed Proto-Germanic
name is *Tîwaz
and other variants.
Etymologically *Tîwaz is connected to Latin Deus and Divus and to Celtic Divos.
Tiwaz is mentioned in all three rune poems
. In the Icelandic and Norwegian poems, the rune is associated with the god Tyr.
| Rune Poem:
|| English Translation:
|| Notes: |
| Old Norwegian
Tyr es einhendr Asa;
opt verðr smiðr at blasa.
Tyr is the one-handed Æsir;
often happens the smith must blow.
In the Norwegian rune poem
the rune is identified with smithing.
| Old Icelandic
Týr er einhendr áss
ok ulfs leifar
ok hofa hilmir.
Tyr is a one-handed god,
and leavings of the wolf
and prince of temples.
Tyr was contextually compared
with Mars in the Icelandic rune poem.
Tir biþ tacna sum, healdeð trywa wel
wiþ æþelingas; a biþ on færylde
ofer nihta genipu, næfre swiceþ.
Tir is a star, it keeps faith well
with athelings, always on its course
over the mists of night it never fails.
In the Anglo-Saxon rune poem,
the rune is identified with the North Star, Polaris.
(c.f. Shakespeare's sonnet 116)
Multiple Tiwaz runes
Multiple Tiwaz runes either stacked atop one another to resemble a tree-like shape, or repeated after one another, appear several times in Germanic paganism:
- * The charm (alu) on the Lindholm amulet, dated from the 2nd to the 4th century contains three consecutive t runes, interpreted as an invocation of Tyr.
- * The Kylver Stone (400 AD, Gotland) features 8 stacked Tiwaz runes at the end of an Elder Futhark inscription.
- * From 500 AD, a Scandinavian C-bracteate (Seeland-II-C) features an Elder Futhark inscription ending with three consecutive Tiwaz runes.
According to the runologist Lars Magnar Enoksen, the Tiwaz rune is referred to in a stanza in Sigrdrífumál
, a poem in the Poetic Edda
Sigrdrífumál tells that Sigurd has slain the dragon Fafnir and arrives at a fortress of shields on top of a mountain which is lit by great fires. In the fortress, he finds an enchanted sleeping Valkyrie whom he wakes by cutting open her corslet with his sword. The grateful Valkyrie Sigrdrífa offers him the secrets of the runes in return for delivering her from the sleep, on condition that he shows that he has no fear. The Valkyrie begins by teaching him that if he wants to achieve victory in battle, he is to carve "victory runes" on his sword and twice say the name "Týr" - the name of the Tiwaz rune.
- 6. Sigrúnar skaltu kunna,
- ef þú vilt sigr hafa,
- ok rísta á hjalti hjörs,
- sumar á véttrimum,
- sumar á valböstum,
- ok nefna tysvar Tý.
- 6. Winning-runes learn,
- if thou longest to win,
- And the runes on thy sword-hilt write;
- Some on the furrow,
- and some on the flat,
- And twice shalt thou call on Tyr.
The Tyr rune is commonly used by Germanic neopagans
, often without political implications, but to symbolize veneration of the god Tyr.
Guido von List
The Tyr rune in Guido von List
's Armanen Futharkh
was based on the version found in the Younger Futhark. List's runes were later adopted and modified by Karl Maria Wiligut
who was responsible for their adoptions by the NSDAP
and subsequently used widely on insignia and literature during the Third Reich
. It was the badge of the Sturmabteilung
training schools, the Reichsführerschulen
in Nazi Germany
it has appeared, together with the Sowilo rune
, in the emblem of the Kassel
-based think tank Thule Seminar
. It has also appeared as the former logo of the fashion label Thor Steinar
which was banned in Germany for resembling "fascist symbols"
. (It might also be noted that both these uses were technically incorrect, since both Thor
would be spelled with a thorn
, þ, character.)
- Enoksen, Lars Magnar. (1998). Runor : historia, tydning, tolkning. Historiska Media, Falun. ISBN 91-88930-32-7