gungnir lance magique odin mythologie nordique

Gungnir: Odin's Spear in Norse Mythology

Gungnir is the very famous spear of Odin the main god of Norse mythology. A spear that never misses its target and cannot be stopped during its trajectory.

Meaning of Gungnir

In Old Norse, Gungnir means “the tottering one”. In Old French, we understand more precisely “lance” or “javelin”. Either way, Gungnir is hands down Odin's most powerful weapon .

Gungnir, the attribute of Odin

Gungnir Symbol Odin

Poetry and visual art have always given Odin his spear, Gungnir. She accompanies him constantly. In some illustrations, the god of war wields it . On others, the spear is simply depicted at his side.

Gungnir is no ordinary spear. Indeed, it never misses its target . When it is launched, nothing can stop it, then it returns on its own to its owner's hand . It can be used by anyone, unlike Thor's hammer. And no matter which hand uses it, Gungnir retains its powers.

What does Gungnir look like?

What does Gungnir look like

The spear of the god Odin is thin and strong . Very sharp , it is truly deadly . She has runes , drawn on the tip of her blade. Runes that turn out to be magical and increase the aim and death of whoever is hit by the weapon.

Viking Spear Gungnir Tee

Archaeologists claim to have found spears engraved with runes among the Scandinavian and Germanic peoples . A way for Norse warriors to emulate the model of Odin's spear and with it, they hope, their luck in battle.

How is Gungnir designed?

Gungnir Manufacturing

Gungnir is made by two dwarven smiths, Brokk and Eitri , like many other items from Norse mythology. But the legend tells two versions as to the design of the magic spear.

The first one tells that Brokk and Eitri forge Gungnir from sunlight before offering it to the god Odin.

The second version, perhaps the best known, tells that Brokk and Eitri forge Gungnir in a contest launched by the god Loki . The latter had had the misfortune to cut off the golden hair of Sif, Thor's wife. Loki then went to the artisan dwarves to get a new one and fix his stupidity. In addition to this, he asks the dwarves to manufacture a murderous spear: Gungnir. And it is the god himself who offers Odin his famous spear when he returns to Asgard.

When does Gungnir appear in the sagas?

Gungnir Marvel

The Gungnir spear appears several times in the Edda of Snorri , and therefore in the Norse sagas.

Gungnir first appears in the narrative of self-sacrifice . The god Odin uses his spear as he has been hanging from the Yggdrasil tree for 9 days and 9 nights. To gain knowledge of the runes, he sacrifices his eye by sticking his Gungnir spear into it .

Odin then uses his spear during the battle between the Aesir and the Vanir . During this fight, he launches Gungnir on the Vanir to defend his family by shouting "Odin belongs to you all" . And when the spear knocks down the men, then these immediately return to Odin to form the Einherjar, the warrior troop of the god. The Vikings themselves, in reference to this myth, took to throwing their spears at their enemies, invoking Odin at the start of battles. And this as a sign of good luck.

Odin also uses Gungnir during Ragnarök , the final battle. Snorri's Edda tells it like this: "At the head will ride Odin, wearing a golden helm and magnificent broigne, and holding his spear which is called Gungnir". During Ragnarök, Odin fights the wolf Fenrir, son of Loki. But, unfortunately and despite the power of his spear, the god dies by being swallowed by the monster.

The Gungnir rune

Gungnir Rune

Gungnir is also a rune. This is the association of the Gebo rune with the Inguz rune.

This rune simply symbolizes power and greatness.

Gungnir tattoos

Here is a series of images and examples of Odin's spear tattoos for you. In order to inspire you in the search for your perfect viking tattoo!

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