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Thor with his hammer, Mjollnir, on his knees, bronze statuette from northern Iceland, c. AD 1000; —Courtesy of the National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik
Deity, common to all the early Germanic peoples, who appeared as a great, red-bearded warrior of tremendous strength. The son of Odin (according to some legends) and Jord, the earth goddess, he was the implacable foe of the harmful race of giants but was benevolent toward humans. His name is the Germanic word for thunder. His great weapon was his hammer, Mjollnir. His greatest enemy was the world serpent Jörmungand, which he was destined to kill, and be killed by, in the Ragnarök. Thursday is named for Thor.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Thor, visit Britannica.com.