from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jötunn and Freia , picture by Arthur Rackham .

Jötunn (plural jötnar, an. Iötunn, ahd. Enz, aeng. Eoton, dä. Jætte, sv. Jätte) is the oldest family of gods in Norse mythology . They are the descendants of the ancient giant Ymir . The name is derived from the verb to eat ( ahd. Ezzan), with which the name could be translated as the voracious . The plural word is used for both female and male members of this people. For the majority, there is also the spelling Joten in German .

The Jötnar live in Jötunheim , which lies beyond the human-inhabited earth. The lord of this realm, which coincides with the realm of the dead, is Utgardloki .

They are sometimes friendly towards them and people (such as Aegir and Mimir ). Other jötnar are the Aesir and Vanir (and humans) hostile ( Thursen . See Rune Thurisaz). That's why Thor fights them all the time. This fight will continue until Ragnarok .


The Jötnar are often translated as “giants”, but there is no evidence that they are bigger than other gods. Only in the Utgardlokisage is he presented as a giant of enormous size, but it soon turns out that this was just a ruse. Selvårv Stigård therefore suggested that Jötnar be translated as “ Ettin ” instead of the word “giant” in order to clarify the difference in meaning.

See also

  • Jotunheimen , the highest mountain range in Scandinavia

Web links

Wiktionary: jötunn  - explanations of meanings, word origins , synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Vollmer's Mythologie aller Völker , Stuttgart 1874
  2. ^ Meyers Konversations-Lexikon , 1888
  3. ... and now, the top ten thirteen misconceptions about Loki. 2016, accessed on August 3, 2020 (English): “Unfortunately, in most works on Norse mythology, it is standard to translate jötun as 'giant' rather than the English cognate word 'etin' (still found in the better dictionaries). "