Geoffrey E. Gilbert's
Genealogy of the Germanic Gods
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Geoffrey E. Gilbert.

Table 1. An Ancestor Table of the Ur-beings of Germanic Mythology
 Table 1. An Ancestor Table of the Ur-beings of Germanic MythologyTable 1. An Ancestor Table of the Ur-beings of Germanic Mythology
Red = Jotuns  
Orange = Daughters of Mimir and Urd
Yellow = Dwarves
Green = Aesir
Blue = Vanir
Purple = Elves
(Italics) = Female beings.
 (?) = Relationships or identities that are speculative or uncertain
 (????) = Names of unknown beings
  (+) Marital or extramarital sexual relationships
(↓)  Non-sexual or non-biological relationships such as foster parentage
Table 2. The Swan-maidens and the Sons of Ivaldi
Table 2. The Swan-maidens and the Sons of Ivaldi
Table 3. Heimdall’s Godchildren and the Sons of Halfdan  
Table 3. Heimdall’s Godchildren and the Sons of Halfdan  
I created these Ancestor Tables (Ger. Ahnentafeln) as part of a personal project to study Germanic mythology more deliberately. As someone of Germanic ancestry, I’ve always had what seems to me to be an instinctive love for the subject going back to my earliest memories. Now that I’m a father of my own family, I wish to pass on my love of the myths of my ancestors to my children. At the same time, I’ve come to realize that my earlier understanding of the subject was limited mostly to fairy tales, comic books, fantasy role-playing games, and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. With that in mind, I’ve since taken upon myself the the responsibility of gaining a more thorough understanding of the subject by learning what those myths actually are. Now that I have the time to do so, I’ve read and continue to read as many of the sources and resources as are available, and look for opportunities to discuss them with others who share the same love so that I can pass on this knowledge authentically. One particular challenge that became obvious to me when learning about Germanic mythology is that there is no one, single sourcebook containing all the various Germanic myths and legends — no Germanic “Bible”, as it were. The sources are found in several different languages, in many different forms (written, archaeological, or otherwise), and are often rendered differently by those who’ve attempted to translate them into modern English. A few years ago, I was fortunate to have discovered William P. Reaves’ excellent website Germanic Mythology: Texts, Translations, Scholarship, which is clearly a monumental labor of love. There, Reaves has collected most if not all of the available online sources, derivations, interpretations, analyses, and items of tangential interest in one well-organized location. I’ve spent countless hours reviewing this website and learning more about the lore.  At Germanic Mythology, I discovered XVIIIIth century Swedish author Viktor Rydberg and learned that he shared this same passion for the mythology; studied it thoroughly not as a professional scholar, but as an amateur poet determined to prove the independence of Germanic mythology from the Christian; and attempted to create one coherent epic beginning with the creation of the Alheimur (Icel. “universe”) and extending all the way to its destruction and rebirth at Ragnarök, the well-known Germanic apocalypse. The final version of Rydberg’s epic, Our Father’s Godsaga, is now available in English thanks to Reaves’ labors. I’d often wondered if there was such a work: Rasmus Anderson, in Norse Mythology: The Religion of Our Forefathers (1879), asked if someone would take up the task of giving us “northern art” (that is, a Germano-Norse epic) to complement the “southern” (Greco-Roman) and the “oriental” (Judaeo-Christian).  I’ve since learned about a few other attempts to do so, but I’m glad that Rydberg took up the challenge... if he was even aware of it! The result is an intriguing story that includes many elements that were both familiar and new to me.

Rydberg was also responsible for perhaps a greater literary achievement: Investigations into Germanic Mythology, Volumes I and II (UGM, after the work’s title in Swedish). Having read UGM (Vol. I was translated into English by Anderson, and Vol. II by Reaves), I’ve gained a profound appreciation for Rydberg’s epic method and consider him, along with the Brothers Grimm, to be essential reading for anyone serious about studying authentic Germanic mythology. Taken in conjunction with using an Eddic poetry-based understanding of Norse Cosmology, as well as a healthy dose of comparative Indo-European mythological studies, I think that this is modern man’s best hope for gaining as thorough an understanding of the subject as possible. Another challenge to gaining a thorough understanding of the mythology stems from the fact that the characters found therein can have multiple names, even in the same language, which can complicate identifying who he (or she) is and how he relates to the other characters and events in the stories. One of the purposes behind creating these Tables is to help remove some of this built-in confusion by providing a ready reference of most if not all of the major characters and their familial relationships. A second purpose was to help force me to learn more about each, individual being. Before including these characters from the mythology, I researched each one, his relationship to the other characters, his role and actions in the source material, as well as his ultimate fate. By doing so, and by laying it all out visually, I think I’ve gained a greater and more thorough understanding and appreciation for each character, his motivations, his biases, and (to me) some possible insight as to why he might have taken the decisions and actions that he did, for better or for worse. Moreover, it has allowed me to create a more solid foundation for extrapolating and imagining possible motivations and actions for things that are not found in the mythology... which brings me to my third purpose. In accordance with my intent to pass these stories along to my children, I’ve decided to write my own version of Germanic mythology’s grand epic. To take nothing away from the excellent, insightful, and entertaining work done by others including Rydberg, just as the process of drafting the family trees for all these beings has helped me gain a greater understanding for each of them, so too has it caused me to re-imagine the course of events from beginning to end, fleshing out the story itself. My starting point was Rydberg’s Overview of Germanic Mythology’s Epic Order, but I’ve gone well beyond that now. I’ve made some small progress in putting pen to paper, but the vast majority of the work is still ahead of me. I’ve almost certainly made mistakes in drafting these Tables; and while I consider the majority of the information I’ve presented accurate to the sources, I also consider them to be works-in-progress. They’re a “95% solution”: I don’t know if anyone can ever render the various identities and genealogical relationships of these mythological beings with 100% accuracy, but I think I’ve come pretty close. As an aspiring author, I’ve also taken a bit of artistic license in attributing spouses to certain beings that either don’t have them otherwise, or where the sources are ambiguous, unclear, or silent on the matter. I’ve indicated in the notes below where I’ve done so and why. At face value, taking this approach might seem to contradict my purpose of passing on the tradition of Germanic Mythology accurately: I leave it to the reader as to whether or not this has compromised the overall effort.

Geoffrey E. Gilbert
   Winterfilleth 2020

1 — The color code is: red for the Giants (Jotuns and Thurses), orange for the daughters of Mimir and Urd, yellow for the Dwarves, green for the Aesir, blue for the Vanir, and purple for the Elves. This “rainbow” ordering of colors mirrors, roughly, the order in which each class of beings was created or came into being. For simplicity, in the case of “mixed marriages” the offspring take the father’s color unless otherwise noted. Names in italics indicate females. Relationships about which I’ve speculated or of which I’m unsure are indicated by a single question mark (?). Names of unknown beings are indicated by four question marks (????). I’ve opted to use a plus sign (+) rather than an equals sign (=) to indicate marital or extramarital sexual relationships. Arrows (↓) indicate non-sexual or non-biological relationships such as foster parentage, as in the case of Vingnir, Hlora, and Thor; or godparentage, as in the case of Heimdall.
2 — The names included in the Tables themselves, are with few exceptions, in Old Norse or modern Icelandic. I’ve tried to include the names of most of the more prominent, well known, and otherwise relevant beings. In many cases, I’ve given more than one name for the same being to help in cross-referencing certain relationships, though obviously I could not include them all. Those names are presented in English transliterations or other versions I prefer in these notes. Some such versions might not be intuitively obvious to those already familiar with the subject. For example, for stylistic reasons I like to use the Old High German name “Frija” for the name of Odin’s wife, and the more English “Dwalin” for Mimir’s son Dvalin. Where possible, I’ve tried to place each generation of beings on the same horizontal level in order to give further context to their relationship with each other. For example, I put Bolthorn on the same level as Aurgelmir in order to imply their identity with one another. I put Fornjot at the same level, too, though I’m not currently of the opinion that Fornjot is Aurgelmir. The ordering from left to right of siblings is meant to imply birth order, eldest to youngest. Thus, Thrudgelmir on the left is shown to be the eldest of Aurgelmir’s offspring, with Mimir and Urd being a younger set of twins. Likewise, the common naming of Odin, Vili, and Ve, or Odin, Hoenir, and Lodur is instead set forth as Lodur, Hoenir, and Odin, with Lodur as the eldest and Odin as the youngest son of Bor. This has relevance in my own imagination and interpretation of the theme of birth order and the role that primogeniture and ultimogeniture appear to have in causing enmity among siblings, particularly brothers.
3 — Also, I’ve used the theory “Lodur = Surt”. This theory was introduced to me by William Reaves, who got it from his friend and fellow-mythologist Carla O’Harris.
4 — Granted, not every aspect of the mythology needs a rational explanation. Nonetheless, to aid in giving the epic a greater sense of realism (as mentioned above), I’ve provided certain beings with spouses who, as far as I know, have never before received them. In the eldest days, the possible candidates are quite limited, so some improvisation was necessary. Perhaps the most unorthodox suggestion I’ve made is to imply that Aurgelmir and Audhumbla together are the natural parents of Thrudgelmir, Mimir, and Urd. Thus, I’ve imagined Audhumbla to be an actual female man-like (“humanoid”) being whose milk gives Aurgelmir the potency to generate their offspring. “Audhumbla + Buri” is likewise an improvisation to identify Buri’s wife and Bor’s mother. Interpreting Audhumbla’s character in this manner seemed fitting to me, among other reason but for the simple fact that she is the only female being that we know of who was present at the beginning of time; both Aurgelmir and Buri are male beings who have children; and males by definition do not bear children. I also think that the idea of Audhumbla as one female desired by two males sets up a natural tension borne of sexual jealousy among this trio — not in a Romantic, Victorian “love triangle” sense, but from the standpoint of sheer survival in an ancient, savage world. If left otherwise unresolved, this tension could (and in my imagination did) erupt in murderous violence. Moreover, in Vedic tradition there is a motif of an evil king slaying the first cow (Sw. Urkon) being considered the primary offense. Likewise, I imagine the death of Audhumbla to be the key event which causes the division of the gods and the giants into mutually-opposed, hostile camps, setting into motion the entire chain of events which leads ultimately to the Götterdämmerung at the end of time. It seems probable to me that Buri and probably Bor were the primary objects of that violence during the events leading to Audhumbla’s death. Thus, the slaying of Ymir (Aurgelmir’s name among the gods) by Odin and his brothers becomes justified: they were in fact seeking vengeance for the murders of their father, grandfather, and grandmother; and then the Sons of Bor use the body of their defeated enemy to create the world.
5 — Following this logic, Thrudgelmir likewise needed a wife. I’ve suggested Urd, whom I think would most likely have been espoused against her will. Bergelmir, as Hrimnir, has a wife named Hyrja though her origin is not explained. Therefore, I’ve identified her as one of Mimir and Urd’s 12 daughters (see note 7, below, re: Verdandi), whose espousal likewise might have occurred against her will. The theme of taking brides without their consent occurs elsewhere in the epic, so I think it wouldn’t be unheard of at this point. For the purist, these interpretations can be easily disregarded in the Tables. Audhumbla may simply remain the primeval cosmic cow, while Aurgelmir, Thrudgelmir, and Buri can somehow remain fecund bachelors.
6 — I’m currently unsure of how to classify Buri and Borr, so I’ve kept them in black (normal) text for now.
7 — My interpretation of the “Greater Norns” — the Fates of Germanic mythology — is based on the “crone, mother, maiden” motif which seems to fit the “past, present, future” implied aspect of the Urd, Verdandi, Skuld trio even if it isn’t explicitly defined that way in the mythology. Urd is an ancient, powerful being, one of the eldest in the mythology, so a “past”/“crone” aspect seems easily justifiable. The Valkyries as unmarried women/maidens also seems to leave room for Skuld (who is also a Valkyrie) in the “maiden”/“future” role. The “missing link” is Verdandi: who might she be? Mimir and Urd together had 12 daughters, only two of whom are named: Nott and Bodvild. It seems possible to me that Verdandi could be one of the remaining ten. But who is Skuld’s father? Skuld is the foremost Valkyrie listed in Voluspa 30. This, taken together with her role as a Norn, could imply that Skuld held some sort of primacy amongst the Valkyries. If so, then who would be a likely candidate to father the such a prominent Valkyrie? I’ve omitted the Dwarves and the Giants as possible fathers, which leaves the Sons of Bor. It’s perhaps significant to point out that Mimir and Urd’s eldest daughter Nott is already known for having been espoused to both Lodur and Hoenir and becomes the ancestress of both the Elves and the Vanir, respectively. Odin, the youngest son of Borr, either could have taken or could have been assigned Verdandi as his mate even if only for the purpose of fathering Skuld, the third Norn but first of the Valkyries. Again, there is no proof of this theory, and the reader is welcome to dismiss it at his discretion.
8 — Also, there are “Lesser Norns” who are drawn from the Aesir, the Elves, and the Dwarves. As the Dwarven Norns are drawn from “Dwalin’s daughters”, this also implies that the Dwarves can take wives and that there must be female Dwarves. (Whether or not they have beards, I’ve not yet established!) Thus, I’ve included Dwalin’s daughters, though none are named.
9 — I’ve assumed a total of seven and possibly nine Dwarves created by Mimir without the aid of a wife or lover. That there are seven Dwarven sons of Mimir is implied by the medieval myth of the Seven Sleepers. The possibility of nine sons of Mimir arises from the fact that two unnamed sons were slain by Volund during the latter’s captivity later in the epic, though there are yet Seven Sleepers who will awaken at Ragnarok. Moreover, multiples of three (3, 6, 9, 12) tend to be more prevalent in Germanic Mythology; so it would be fitting if there were nine Dwarves, at least originally, rather than seven. It is equally possible that those two sons were the natural sons of Mimir and Urd. For now, however, I’ve included them in the Dvergar, under Mimir alone.
10 — The genealogy of the Elves is perhaps the most difficult to establish. Using Rydberg’s theory that the Elves originate with Lodur (as Mundilfari) via Heimdall, Heimdall’s identity and relationships become important to establish. Heimdall had nine mothers. Somehow, Lodur begat Heimdall upon those nine beings collectively: how he did so is a “mystery of the faith”. Lodur (as Delling “Dawn”) together with Nott (“Night”) created Dag (“Day”). From Reaves’ website, Eysteinn Björnsson suggested that Heimdall is actually Dag. However, it seems impossible for Heimdall to be both the son of nine mothers and of one, especially when the one is not named as one of the nine. To resolve this discrepancy, I’ve imagined that Heimdall was “born twice”, at two different times: by the same father, but by different mothers. Following Rydberg, we know that Heimdall was born of the holy friction fire created by Lodur (Mundilfori) with Heimdall’s nine mothers. After a time, Heimdall (as Scef) was sent to Midgard in a boat as a child to bring that same fire, as well as culture, social hierarchy, and organization to the early Germanic people. After his mission to Midgard was completed, he died, and his body was set in the same boat in which he arrived and pushed out to sea. And yet, that is not the end of Heimdall’s story. He is alive later in the epic as guardian of the Bifrost, and will confront Loki at the final battle during Ragnarok. Thus, somehow Heimdall must have returned to life after dying in Midgard. I imagine it’s possible that Lodur (Delling) and Nott “recreated” Heimdall in his second incarnation as the “Day”, allowing him to reclaim Sol as his wife (perhaps after some adventure) and earning the epithet “Glen” (“the Gleaming One”) for literally having brought light and enlightenment to Mankind. This of course begs the question how this is possible and under what circumstances; for now, I’ve left the matter unresolved. Heimdall is, afterall, something of an enigma.
11 — As an aside, while Lodur is considered to be the forefather of the Elves, and Lodur is also Heimdall’s father, Heimdall is considered to be one of the Vanir: not the Elves. Hoenir is the forefather of the Vanir. Consequently, I’ve “corrected” this discrepancy by putting Heimdall’s name in purple text — that is, as one of the Elves. I listed Aegir’s nine daughters alongside Heimdall’s nine mothers, though there’s no known direct correlation between any of them. Two of Heimdall’s mothers — Gjalp and Greip — are the daughters of a being named “Geirrod” (not Aegir), so it’s unclear to me if all of the daughters are siblings. Greip is also the mother of the Sons of Ivaldi. Thor slew both Gjalp and Greip during his adventure to Geirrod’s homestead. This would, to me, be a factor contributing to the enmity between the Aesir and the Elves, though Heimdall himself is not recorded as having become hostile to Thor. Jarnsaxa (another of Heimdall’s nine mothers) becomes Thor’s lover, and by him the mother of Magni. The identity of Modi’s (Thor’s son’s) mother is not stated in any of the sources: I’ve simply assumed that Magni and Modi are twins solely upon the basis that their names alliterate; and therefore, Jarnsaxa is Modi’s mother as well.
12 — Concerning Aegir (a Sea-jotun), he is apparently the son of a being named Fornjot, and he has brothers Logi (a Fire-jotun) and Kari (an Air- or Wind-jotun). I’ve seen Fornjot identified as possibly Aurgelmir/Ymir, but that would have to mean that Aurgelmir had more children than Thrudgelmir, Mimir, and Urd; and there’s no evidence to suggest that, that is the case. Perhaps Fornjot is either Mimir or Thrudgelmir. I think it’s unlikely that Fornjot = Mimir. I’m not sure about Fornjot = Thrudgelmir, but I don’t think so at this time. Thus, for now, Fornjot is noted as being distinct from Aurgelmir and Thrudgelmir, though this does leave open the question of his ancestry. Interestingly, Logi also appears among Suttung/Skrymir/Utgard-Loki’s retinue in the Mythology.
13 — Concerning Suttung (Surt ungr or “Surt the Younger”), as the son of Surt/Lodur he must have a mother, but none is given. I’ve used Elli, the old Jotun who wrestles with Thor, as Suttung’s mother even though she does not seem to command the respect that a mother would be expected to have at Suttung’s court. Also, I have no answer as of yet as to Elli’s origin. However, she wrestles successfully against Thor, so she must be a being of immense power, of a greater order than Thor. This implies to me very ancient giant, possibly Fornjot’s unnamed wife. (Fornjot is, literally, “ancient giant”, and Elli means “old age”.) To a certain extent, that might also explain why Logi appears in the company of Suttung: they could be half-brothers through their mother.
14 — The names of the nine valkyries listed as Odin’s daughters by Frija are taken from Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (RN) and I’ve translated them into Old Norse. I know RN is derivative and is not considered canonical. In RN, Odin begets the Valkyries on Erda, instead; and Erda (OHG “earth”) = Jord (ON “earth”), so it didn’t seem completely unbelievable to me that Odin could have fathered Valkyries with his actual wife. Again, this is artistic license on my part. I do like the idea of nine “riders”; again, nine being an important and perhaps holy number to the ancient Germanic peoples. Also, the Jotun Aegir has nine daughters as well, so it wouldn’t be unprecedented for another being of similar stature to have nine daughters. In any case, if the reader thinks this idea problematic, he can substitute names of other Valkyries of his choosing, or ignore the idea altogether.
15 — Using the proposed genealogy of the Elves at Reaves’ website (, I’ve made Sigtryg and Ivaldi the sons of Ulf. Furthermore, Rydberg stated that Ivaldi’s mother was Rusla “the Red Maiden”, the mortal daughter of King Rieg of Telemark. I’ve included her name in the Tables as a placeholder: I’m not sure that the timing will make sense with her identified thusly, although the name could be based on some other mythological character.
16 — I’ve named Loki’s daughter “Leikin-Hel”, in a manner similar to how Suttung is also named “Utgard-Loki”. It was Rydberg who identified Loki’s daughter not as Hel (“Hel” is another name for Urd), but as “Leikin”. As she has no other name, one could easily drop the suffix and simply refer to her as “Leikin”, though this is currently an unfamiliar name for this particular being. My use of “Leikin-Hel” will hopefully help the reader maintain the link between Loki’s dauther and her role as the queen of Niflhel (where damned souls go for torment in the Germanic afterlife). The being Hel (that is, Urd) is distinct from Leikin-Hel: Hel is Mimir’s wife and thus queen of Jormungrund (the Underworld); she is the mother of Natt, Bodvild, and their sisters; she’s the mother of the sons of Bor; and she’s the foremost of the Norns. “Hel” is also another name for the Underworld.
17 — Also, with regard to Loki’s and Gullveig’s genealogy... Gullveig, as Heid, is the daughter of Hrimnir; and I’ve seen Hrimnir identified as Bergelmir. Hrimnir’s wife is identified as Hyrja (whom I’ve suggested is a daughter of Mimir and Urd). Loki is the son of Farbauti and Laufey/Nal. It’s possible that Loki = Hrossthjof, and that would mean Hrimnir = Farbauti: possible, and if so, either Laufey/Nal is another name for Hyrja or she is another female being altogether. (Perhaps another of Mimir’s unnamed daughters?) I think that if Farbauti = Hrimnir, then it’s more likely that Laufey/Nal and Hyrja are two distinct female beings, since Loki is also supposed to have two brothers (Byleist and Helblindi) who are not listed as sons of either Hrimnir or Bergelmir. Either way, that would make Loki and Gullveig either full siblings or half-siblings. Of course, Loki and Gullveig could not be siblings at all. Loki and Gullveig’s children — Fenrir, Jormungand, and Leikin-Hel — are listed. As Gullveig is identified as Ran (the wife of Aegir), Loki and Gullveig’s monstrous children are half-siblings to Aegir’s nine daughters, the nine Wave-maidens.
18 — Of minor note, Rind (whom Odin bewitches and rapes in order to father Vali) is the daughter of Billing; and Billing can be identified with Hoenir, Odin’s brother. If true, this would make Rind not a Jotun, but one of the Vanir, possibly another daughter of Hoenir and Natt.
19 — With regard to Eir, I’ve listed her as a sister to Njord and Frija, though this is nowhere stated in the lore. She could simply be part of Frija’s entourage.
20 — Also, I’ve indicated Grid the mother of Vidar (by Odin) as possibly the (bastard?) daughter of Geirrod. As such or perhaps because of her relationship with Odin, she could have been excluded from her kinsmen; and that could explain why she was willing to give Thor aid and comfort during his adventure to Geirrod’s homestead.
21 — Regarding the matter of Tyr’s unnamed wife, I’ve included her as Sigyn, known to be Loki’s wife from Lokasenna. This is a theory advanced by William Reaves.
22 — Concerning Heimdall’s godchildren, I use the term "godchildren" to describe the relationship between Heimdall, Thrall, Karl, and Jarl. It could be that he was their natural father, or it could be that he just hallowed their parents marriage by virtue of visiting them and accepting their hospitality. Rigsthula suggests fairly strongly the possibility of Heimdall (interpreted as Rig) having fathered Thrall, Karl, and Jarl by sleeping between their parents, while their mothers nonetheless became pregnant; yet it does not state this explicitly. To me, any tale of serial, divine cuckoldry would bring dishonor upon the fathers and could not be portrayed in a positive light. Consequently, I interpret the events of Rigsthula as Heimdall visiting Ai’s, Afi’s, and Fadhir’s households, spending time with them as an honored guest, blessing each marital union, and thereby sanctioning the three traditional classes of ancient Germanic society. Again, the chart can be read and interpreted either way.
23 — With regard to the Sons of Halfdan, it’s important to remember that there are two, not three, natural sons: Gudhorm (by Groa) and Hadding (by Almveig). Swipdag/Od is Groa’s son by Egil whom Halfdan slew before taking Groa captive and later impregnating her with Gudhorm. It’s highly doubtful that Swipdag considered himself Halfdan’s son in any meaningful way. Moreover, the fact of Egil’s slaying and Groa’s captivity and impregnation is what sets up the conflict among Swipdag and Halfdan’s sons.
24 — Another item of possible interest is the alignment of Swipdag, Gudhorm, and Hadding as lords (jarls?) of the Ingvaeonians, Irminonians, and Istvaeonians with the three branches of the Northwestern Germanic languages: North Sea Germanic (“Ingvaeonic”), Elbe Germanic (“Irminonic”), and Rhine-Weser Germanic (“Istvaeonic”). I’ve provided a map (“Epic Heroes and Germanic Dialects”) to supplement these Tables that demonstrates how and where these lords and languages would be found, roughly. The map includes the Eastern Germanic (“Gothic”?) people under Hamal son of Hagal (who fostered Halfdan at Skjold’s request and was present during Halfdan’s kidnapping of Groa, and later provided refuge to Hadding during the war between Swipdag and Halfdan’s sons) as well as the Northern Germanic (“Norse”?) people under the kingship of Asmund son of Swipdag.
Map 1. Epic Heroes and Germanic Dialects abt. A.D. 1