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In Germanic religion, one of the two main groups of deities, the other being the Vanir. Odin, his wife Frigg, Tyr (the god of war), and Thor were the four Aesir common to the Germanic nations. Balder and Loki were considered Aesir by other peoples. The Aesir were a warlike race and were originally dominant over the Vanir, but after numerous defeats in battle they were forced to grant the Vanir equal status. The poet-god Kvasir was born out of the peace ritual in which the two races mingled their saliva in the same vessel.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Aesir, visit Britannica.com.