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07 February 2008

Trivia: Origin of the Hammer and Gavel

So, where did the Hammer and Gavel come from?

These days, the hammer and gavel is mostly associated with the words 'Court adjourned' and 'Going, going, gone!'
Daniel Bray of the Sydney Gild -Hall at Sydney University has spent a long time looking into this and he has come up with the following:

"The cult of Thor had gained in popularity through the Viking Age, so that by the tenth century, he was venerated above all other gods in most parts of Scandinavia. Unlike the grim and aristocratic Odinn, Thor was a god of the people, and a friend of landowner and peasant alike.

Thor was patron ofjustice, his oath-ring could seal any contract, the Althing assembly of Iceland was opened on Thor's day (Thursday). Thor was seen as a protector, defending the old order of the heathen landowners and petty nobles from the predations of the land-grabbing, power-hungry and zealously Christian Kings of Norway.

Wearing the sign of the hammer, then, was not just a symbol of one's trust in Thor, it was also an instrument of his protection"

These days, any ol' agent can carry one!

For more information, see "Hammer in the North: Mjollnir in Medieval Scandinavia", by Daniel Bray.
Yours in propoerty.

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