Tīw (*Tew or *Tue)

Old English Modern English
Name Tīw *Tew or *Tue
Pronunciation /ti:w/ /t(j)uː/
Etymology From Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz < Proto-Indo-European *deiwós “god” < Proto-Indo-European *dyew- “sky, heaven”. Cognate with Old Norse Týr, Old High German Ziu and Cyo, and Gothic Teiws.

Tīw is the one-handed god. His cognates in other Indo-European religions include the likes of Zeus, Jupiter, and Dyauṣ Pitrā. He is associated with justice, war, governance, and oaths and was equated historically with Mars.

His day of the week is Tuesday (< Old English Tīwesdæg), which was a calque of Latin diēs Martis.

His related Old English rune poem does not name him directly, but rather uses tir “glory, honour”.

[Tir] biþ tacna sum healdeð trywa wel
wiþ æþelingas a biþ on færylde
ofer nihta genipu næfre swiceþ.

[Tir] is one of the signs, holds faith well
with noblemen, on a journey is always
above night’s gloom, never fails.1Stephen Pollington, The Elder Gods: The Otherworld of Early England (2011) pg. 169

The earliest possible attestation of Tīw may be from a third century Roman altar near Hadrian’s Wall in present-day Northumberland:

DEO MARTI THINCSO ET DVABVS ALAISAGIS BEDE ET FIMMILENE ET N AVG GERM CIVES TVIHANTI VSLM

To the god Mars Thincsus and the two Alaisagae, Beda and Fimmilena, and the divine spirit of the emperor, the German tribesmen from Tuihantis willingly and deservedly fulfill their vow.

It is unknown if Mars Thincsus is, in fact, a precursor to Tīw, but Týr is later associated with the þing “assembly, council”. Previously this connection between the inscription and the god was considered doubtful, but is generally more accepted nowadays.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Stephen Pollington, The Elder Gods: The Otherworld of Early England (2011) pg. 169