Tīw

Meaning of Name:  Tīw’s name stems from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz, which means ‘a god’ or ‘celestial being’.

Pronunciation: The ‘ī’ is pronounced as the double ‘ee’ in ‘street’. ‘Tee-w’

Other names/ spelling variations: Teiws (Gothic), Ziu, Zīo, and Cyo (Old High German), Týr (Norse), Tīg, Tī, Tīr (Alternative Old English forms), Tius/Tio (Latin), Tii (Old Frisian), *Tiu (Old Saxon), *Tîu (Old Frankish).

Function: God of heroic glory, war, battle, the Thing/legal assembly, defense of the tribe, and law.  There is a distinction to be made for Tīw as representative of inspired, glorious warfare, opposed to Woden’s existential warfare.  As a God of the Thing, Tīw is seen as a deity of civilization and the tribal innangeard, and a stalwart protector of tribal cohesion, and represents the warriors which would act in defense of the tribe.This is supported by the later Norse iconography with Tyr’s dealings with Fenris, who represents the utangeard and the dangerous Other against which Tyr steels Himself and His folk.

Tīw serves an interesting function in the Germanic world, as He is equated with Mars (which would intimate an agrarian underlying function) but is descended etymologically from *Dyēus Pater, related to the divinity of Zeus and Jupiter.  So Tīw is a bridge between the overruling tribal sovereign and sky father-like figure, as well as a figure representative of more “grounded” and communal authority.

Iconography: A figure flanked by wolves on the Sutton Hoo purse lid is believed by some scholars to be a depiction of Tīw.  The ‘tīr’ rune is typically associated with Tīw, and has been found on weapons and ceremonial urns alike.  Weapons, shields, the formal accoutrements of war, and images of warriors would be appropriate icons for Him.

Attested Sources:  Tīw lends his name to our modern ‘Tuesday’ (OE: Tīwesdæg). The ‘Tīr’ rune poem bears his name, yet refers to a celestial body, which may be the result of Christian censorship or confusion on the part of the author. The inscription of ‘Mars Thincsus’ found near Hadrian’s Wall may be an early reference to Tīw.Tīw is associated with Mars in Tacitus’s Germania.

Tīw is one of the three primary deities which are afforded the most toponymic evidence in Anglo-Saxon England.  Place names like Tuesley, or *Tīwes lēah (Tīw’s clearing), identify several locations which were inspired by or sacred to the god.  

Interpretatio Romana: Mars (as Mars-Thinscus), Jupiter (from *Dyēus Pater), possibly Apollo.  The connection to Apollo is etymological that I (Marcus) have recently been toying with – the Armenian “ Տիր”, or “Tir” being related to Tīw, and glossed by latter Hellenics with Apollo.  This would provide additional roles for Tīw as a cultural and artistic deity, as well.

Contemporary Bīnaman: Dōmgeorn (Eager for Justice/ Virtuous), Sigebeorht (Triumphant), Folcriht (Lawful)

 

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