JÖTNAR (old ice. Jötnar, singular Jötunn)
in Germanic (Scandinavian) mythology giants from two groups (not clearly distinguishable). Their existence preceded the time of gods (see YMIR), or fell at the time of the very beginning of divine rule over the world (see BERGELMIR; BÖLTHORN; VAFTHRUDNIR; VÖLVA; the anonymous owner of ➚ Svadelfari); sometimes they are called Thurs (“Giants”) and ➚ Hrimthurs. Race of Jötnar, revived after the flood, inhabited ➚ Jötunheim and was hostile to ➚ Aesir, constituting a part of the “still life”. Jötnar vainly tried to capture ➚ Freya, ➚ Idunn and her golden apples (see THJAZI). They also constantly attempted on the life of ➚ Thor, their main adversary and vanquisher (see HRUNGNIR; GEIRRÖD-1; SKRYMIR). Although they still owned many treasures desired by Aesir (see SKALDAMJÖD), they were not marked by excessive intelligence (old Icelandic thurs “giant” compare to Danish tosse “simpleton” and Swedish dialect tuss “nitwit”). Thus, gods often emerged victorious from the conflicts with them. Jötnar women were generally repulsive (see ANGRBODA; HYRROKIN), but – on the contrary – beauty of some of them were legendary. Hence, they became the Aesir lovers or wives (see SKADI; GERD; GUNNLÖD).