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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Thunor and Irmin Suggested as Ancestors of the Thuringii

There may be an association between the God Thunor and the ancient Germanic tribe of the Thuringii and certainly there has been some speculation about this by scholars in the past. Like all Germanic tribes they did of course wander over Germania but they finally settled in the area of Germany now known as Thuringia or Thüringen to give it its German name. This modern German state or Land borders Lower Saxony or Niedersachsen in the Harz Mountains.

The word Thuringii consists of 2 elements, Thur and ing. This would seem to suggest that those who called themselves Thuringii were the sons of Thur, Thor or Thunor. This idea has been subject to a certain amount of speculation by German scholars in the 19th century and has been repeated by more recent scholars such as Frithjof Sielaff and others (see The Baiuvarri and Thuringi: An Ethnographic Perspective, 2014 by Janine Fries-Knoblach and Heiko Steuer).

The earliest historically testifiable king of the Thuringii is Bisinius (450-500), the 5th and last one Frisud who lived about 100 years later. After this the Thuringii were conquered by the Franks who appointed dukes to govern them. However the legendary history of the rulers of the Thuringii stretches further back than Bisinius. Predecessors appear such as Merwig II, Weldelphus, Merwig I, Erpes, Hoger, Thurus and Irmin. I don't know how much credence should be given to this information as it is difficult to track down sources but it is interesting that at the head of the legendary ancestry of Bisinius, the first historically identifiable king, we have the God Irmin and Thunor is reckoned as His son, from which the Thuringii allegedly derive their name. This would therefore suggest that they belonged to the Irminone division of Germanic tribes or they were descended from earlier tribes that belonged to this division.