In Norse * mythology, Aegir, also known as Hlér or Gymir, was the god of the sea, the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon* and the Roman god Neptune*. Aegir and his wife, Ran, caused death at sea. The Norse, a seafaring people who knew well the sea and its many dangers, valued Aegir highly. They also appreciated him for his reputation as a giver of banquets and a brewer of strong drink. The name aegir comes from the Norse word for "sea."

primeval from the earliest times

deity god or goddess

Aegir was a primeval god, more ancient than many other Norse deities. He often appears in art as a thin old man with clutching hands and long white hair that resembles sea foam, although he is sometimes shown as a giant. Aegir and Ran carried a net with which they could trap seafarers and pull them down to their underwater kingdom. Drowned sailors were said to dine at Aegir's banquet hall. The underwater couple had nine daughters—the ocean waves—with names such as Howler and Grasper.

See also Norse Mythology ; Poseidon .

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