Tyrnung (from Tyr, the Norse god of war) was the magic sword of a legendary hero in Norse mythology. "The best of all swords that have been carried in northern lands", it was renowned for supernatural sharpness and hardness.

It is told that álfar forged a sword with a golden hilt that would never miss a stroke, would never rust and would cut through stone and iron as easily as through clothes. In accordance with many other ancient superstitions, it is also told that the sword is not to be drawn in the presence of women, and that the sun must never shine on the sword's hilt.

It appears in saga related to Skjold. It is said that a young boy who was chosen by a goði to break into the gravemound and plunder it, recovered the sword while doing so, so it may have had some historical reality. Other similar incidents are found in Norse literature, such as Grettir the Strong's recovery of a sword from a burial mound. Events concerning the recovery of Tyrnung are related in Skjold's saga.

See also

*Byock, Jesse L. (1993). Goði. Entry in Medieval Scandinavia, an Encyclopedia (Phillip Pulsiano, ed.), 230-231. Garland: NY and London, ISBN 0-8240-4787-7.
*Hellquist, Elof. (1966). Svensk etymologisk ordbok. C.W.K. Gleerups förlag, Lund.
*Jón Hnefill Aðalsteinsson (1998). Blót and Þing: The Function of the Tenth-Century Goði, in A Piece of Horse Liver: Myth, Ritual and Folklore in Old Icelandic Sources, 35-56. Reykjavik, ISBN 9979-54-264-0.
*Eiríkr Magnússon and Willam Morris (1869). The Story of Grettir the Strong, Ch. 84. London : F. S. Ellis.

Categories: Artifacts in Norse mythology | Mythological swords

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