Every culture has its “beginning”. His own “birth of the world”. And Norse mythology is no exception to the rule. In Scandinavian mythology, the ice giant named Ymir is the first of all to have existed . In some texts he may also be referred to as Aurgelmir , Brimir or even Blainn . Whatever the name given to him, Ymir is whatever happens the very first living creature that the world welcomed. So how did it appear? Why did he disappear?
Who is the giant Ymir?
Ymir is an important character in Norse mythology. Indeed, he is the very first living creature in the universe . At the beginning of the world, only one sinkhole existed: the Ginnungagap . He was surrounded by two universes. To the north was Niflheim, the world of ice. And to the south the burning world of Muspellheim. Snorri's Edda describes it thus: “There was nothing, neither sand nor sea, nor cold waves; There was no earth, nor high, gaping space, and grass nowhere. »
One fine day, the worlds of Niflheim and Muspellheim collided . The sparks from the second melted the first and it was then that Ymir was born . Oversized, Ymir is a humanoid giant possessing immense strength. And his character was just as nefarious.
Ymir, progenitor of giants
At the bottom of the chasm, the giant Ymir fed on the milk of the immense cow which accompanied him, Audhumla . And as he drank, Ymir sweated. From the sweat that came from his body then arose a giant, then a giantess. Then a number of others still. Snorri asserts that Ymir's left arm begets a man and a woman, and that one of his feet begets another son. Audhumla, on the other hand, was feeding on the clump of ice that was emerging. By dint of licking the ice cube, Buri appears. He subsequently begets Bor, himself the father of the god Odin and his two brothers, Vili and Vé .
How did the giant Ymir die?
The legend says that Ymir was endowed with an evil character . Faced with his brutality and the growing number of giants he bore, Odin and his brothers made the decision to assassinate Ymir . The three gods pushed him into the chasm , which killed him immediately. The flood caused by his blood killed all the other giants, except for a couple. Indeed, Bergelmir and his companion succeeded in escaping on board a hollowed tree trunk. They will thereafter be the one and only ancestors of the giants to come.
Ymir's body to craft the Nine Nordic Worlds
After killing Ymir, Odin and his brothers used his body to create the universe . Of her hair , the gods made trees ; of his mountain bones ; of his teeth from the rocks ; of his blood from the rivers and oceans ; from his skull the sky ; from his pulpit the earth ; from her eyelashes the walls of Midgard . After the human world was completed, Odin, Vili, and Vé took the rest of Ymir's body to craft the other eight worlds . As its many constructions progressed, the larvae swarmed in the flesh of the giant. And it was from his maggots that Odin and his brothers engendered the dwarves.
Later, Odin and his two brothers created from two tree trunks the first two human beings of Midgard: Ask and Embla .
Ymir's death and his connection to the Christian world
For some, the death of Ymir has a link with the creation of the Christian world and the myth of the deluge . A rather fallacious link, but which deserves to be told. Indeed, if we analyze the ancient texts of each culture, many of them mention a deluge: the biblical, Greek, Hindu, Lithuanian, and even Amerindian texts. These myths very often include catastrophic rains, or floods which exterminate Men and animals, with the exception of a single couple, dedicated to repopulating the Earth.
In the case of the myth of Ymir, not torrential rain, but a deluge of blood. In Snorri Sturluson's Edda , it is written that Ymir's body expelled so much blood when he died that the entire giants were killed in a single tidal wave . With the exception of Bergelmir, Ymir's grandson, who actually escaped on an ark with his wife. The couple later gave birth to the second race of Frost Giants. In this, Bergelmir would then be the equivalent of the Christian “Noah”.