plural of As or Asa, the celestial gods of Scandinavia, who lived in Asgard (god's ward), situate on the heavenly hills between earth and the rainbow. The chief was Odin. We are told that there were twelve, but it would be hard to determine who the twelve are, for, like Arthur's knights, the number seems variable. The following may be mentioned:—
Thor (his eldest son, the god of thunder);
Tyr (another son, the god of wisdom);
Baldur (another son, the Scandinavian Apollo);
Bragi (the god of eloquence);
Vidar (god of silence);
Hödur the blind (Baldur's twin brother);
Hermod (Odin's son and messenger);
Hoenir (divine intelligence);
Odur (husband of Freyja, the Scandinavian Venus);
Loki (the god of mischief, though not an asa, lived in Asgard);
Vali (Odin's youngest son);
another of Odin's sons was Kvasir the keen-sighted. Then there were the Vanir, or gods of air, ocean, and water; the gods of fire; the gods of the Lower World; and the Mysterious Three, who sat on three thrones above the rainbow. Their names were Har (the perfect), the Like-perfect, and the Third person.
Wives of the Æsir:
The Æsir built Asgard themselves, but each god had his own private mansion. That of Odin was Gladsheim; but his wife Frigga had also her private abode, named Fensalir; the mansion of Thor was Bilskirnir; that of Baldur was Broadblink; that of Odur's wife was Folkbang; of Vidar was Landvidi (wide land); the private abode of the goddesses generally was Vingolf.
The refectory or banquet hall of the Æsir was called Valhalla.
Niörd, the water-god, was not one of the Æsir, but chief of the Vanir; his son was Frey; his daughter, Freyja (the Scandinavian Venus); his wife was Skadi; and his home, Noatun.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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