The Northern Way

Grimm's Teutonic Mythology

Chapter 9

Chapter 9: Zio, (Tiw, Tyr)

(Page 1)

The ON. name for dies Martis, Týsdagr [[Týrs-Day, i.e. Teusday]], has the name of the Eddic god Týr (gen. Týs, acc. Tý) to account for it. The AS. Tiwesdæg and OHG. Ziestac scarcely have the simple name of the god left to keep them company, but it may be safely inferred from them: it must have been in AS. Tiw (1) in OHG. Zio. The runic letter T î, Ziu, will be discussed further on. The Gothic name for the day of the week is nowhere to be found; according to all analogy it would be Tivisdags, and then the god himself can only have been called Tius. These forms, Tiu-s, Tiw, Tý-r, Zio make a series like the similar þiu-s, þeow (þiw), þý-r, dio = puer, servus.

If the idea of our thundergod had somewhat narrow limits, that of Zio lands us in a measureless expanse. The non-Teutonic cognate [Aryan] languages confront us with a multitude of terms belonging to the root div, which, while enabling us to make up a fuller formula div, tiv, zio, yield the meanings 'brightness, sky, day, god'. Of Sanskrit words, dyaus (coelum) stands the closest to the Greek and German gods' names Zeuj, Tius.




Nom.        dyaus        


      Voc.         dyaus    


      Acc.         divam    

          D…#a , D…a           Tiu
      Gen.         divas          

     Di#Òj , DiÒj

      Dat.          divê      

          Di#… , Di

      To the digammated and older form of the Greek obique cases there corresponds also the Latin Jovem, Jovis, Jovi, for which we must assume a nom. Ju, Jus, though it has survived only in the compound Jupiter = Jus pater, ZeÝj pat»r. For, the initial in Jus, Jovis [pronounce j as y] seems to be a mere softening of the fuller dj in Djus, Djovis, which has preserved itself in Dijovis, just as ZeÝj presupposes an older DeÚj which was actually preserved in the Æolic dialect. These Greek and Latin words likewise contain the idea of the heavenly god, i.e., a personification of the sky. Dium, divum is the vault of heaven, and Zeus is the son of heaven, OÙranoà uƒÒj, oÙr£nioj, ZeÝj a„qšri na…wn (see Suppl.).

But apart from 'dyaus, Zeus and Jupiter,' the three common nouns dêvas (Sansk.), qeÒj and deus express the general notion of a divinity; they are related to the first three, yet distinct from them. The Lat. deus might seem to come nearest to our Tius, Zio; but its u, like the o in qeÒj, belongs to the flexion, not to the root, and therefore answers to the a in dêvas. (2) Nevertheless deus too must have sprung from devus, and qeÒj from qe#Òj, because the very q instead of d in the Greek word is accounted for by the reaction of the digamma on the initial. In the shortness of their e they both differe from dêvas, whose ê (=ai) grew by guna out of i, so that the Lith. dievas comes nearer to it. (3) But the adjectives d‹oj (not from d… oj, but rather for d…#oj) and dîvus correspond to dêvas as dîves dîvitis (p. 20) to dêvatas (deus). This approximation between dîvus and deus serves to confirm the origin of deus out of devus or divus with short i (see Suppl.)(4) Still more helpful to us is the fact that the Edda has a plur. tîvar meaning gods or heroes, Sæm. 30ª 41ª; rîkir tîvar (conf. rich god, p. 20), Sæm. 72ª 93ª; valtîvar, 52ª; sigtîvar, 189ª 248ª; the sing. is not in use. This tîvar, though not immediately related to Týr, yet seems related to it as d‹oj, qeÒj, qe‹oj are to ZeÚj; its î is established by the fact that the ON. dialect contracts a short iv into y; thus we obtain by the side of tiv a tîv, in Sanskrit by the side of a div a dêv, and in Latin by the side of deus a dîvus, these being strengthened or guna forms of the root div, tiv (splendere). (5) If the earthborn Tuisco, the ancestral god of our nation, stands (as Zeuss p. 72 has acutely suggested) for Tivisco, Tiusco, it shews on its very face the meaning of a divine heavenly being, leaving it an open question whether we will choose to understand it of Wuotan or any other god, barring always Tius himself, from whom it is derived (see Suppl.).

The light of day is a notion that borders on that of heaven, and it was likewise honoured with personification as a god: Lucetium Jovem appellabant, quod eum lucis esse causam credebant; Festus sub v. To begin with, dies (conf. interdiu, dio) is itself connected with deus and divus; Jupiter was called Diespiter, i.e., diei pater, for the old gen. was dies. Then the word in the sing. fluctuates between the masc. and fem. genders; and as the masc. Ju, Dju with the suffix n, is shaped into the fem. forms Jûno for Jovino, Djovino, and Diana, just so the Lith. name for day, diena, is fem., while the Slav. den dzien, dan, is masc. The Teutonic tongues have no word for sky or day taken from this root, but we can point to one in Greek: Cretenses D…a t¾n ¹mšran vocant (call the day Zeus), ipsi quoque Romani Diespitrem appellant, ut diei patrem; Macrob. Sat. 1, 15. The poetic and Doric forms ZÁna, ZhnÒj, Zhn…, and Z©na, ZanÒj, Zan…, for D…a, DiÒj, Di , correspond to the above formations; (6) and the Etruscans called Jupiter Tina, i.e. Dina; O. Müller 2, 43 (see Suppl.).  


1. It might have been Teow, from the analogy of þeow to þýr. Lye quotes, without references: Tiig, Mars, Tiiges- vel Tiis-dæg, dies Martis. The Epinal glosses brought to light by Mone actually furnish, no. 520 (Anzeiger 1838, p. 145), Tiig, Mars; also Oehler p. 351. The change of letters is like that of briig, jusculum, for brîw; and we may at least infer from it, that the vowel is long, Tîg. (back)

2. Kuhn, in Zeitschr. f. d. alt. 2, 231, has rightly pointed out, that Zio can be immediately related only to dyaus and ZeÚj, not to deus and qeÒj; but he ought to have admitted that mediately it must be related to these last also. That div was the root of Zeus, had already been shown by O. Müller in Gött. anz. 1834, pp. 795-6.  (back)

3. Conf. piemu poimh, and kiemas kèmh háims.  (back)

4. If, as hinted on p. 26, d‹oj deus were conn. with dšw, the notion of binding must have arisen first out of the divine band, which is hardly conceivable.  (back)

5. Sometimes, though rarely, we find another ON. dîar [[gods or priests]], Sæm. 91ª. Sn. 176. Yngl. saga cap. 2; it agrees with qeÒj more than with d‹oj.  (back)

6. We know to what shifts Socrates is driven in trying to explain the forms ZÁna and D…a (Plato's Cratylus p. 29, Bekker); qeÒj he derives from qe‹n, currere (p. 32).  (back)

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