(Also Hler, Gymir in the Lokasenna, Ægir in Old Norse)
Aegir is the Norse god of the sea, or the ruler of the seas. Like many deities, he is also the personification of the ocean (without a good or evil association of the role). This god's anger caused storms and sinks ships. Sometimes, he would leave his palace under the waters and rise above the waves to capture sailors. Aegir and his wife (and sister), Ran, would use nets to drag the men down to their underwater kingdom. Because of this, captains would give coins to their crew so that if the ship sank, the sailors would have gifts for the gods. When a ship wrecked, the Skalds (Viking poets) said it had gone into "Aegir’s wide jaws". It is speculated that early Saxon sailors offered human sacrifices to the god before ship voyages.
This deity is usually depicted as an old man with claw-like fingers and a long white beard. His head is crowned with seaweed and he holds a spear. He lives in a palace in the ocean near the island Hlesey, where he is always surrounded by mermaids. Aegir and Ran have nine daughters who were the waves, and two servants: Fimafey and Beyla. Aegir’s brothers are Kari and Logi (Loki).
Within his halls, the floors are covered in gold to provide light (rather than fire). It is because of this that gold was often called "Aegir’s fire". It is there that Aegir entertained the Aesir in the winter, serving the deities brewed ale from cups that were always full. He was famed for his hospitality and for his ale (he is considered the patron of brewing). The ocean was sometimes called "Aegir’s brewing vat".
Though Aegir is sometimes listed among them, he is not one of the Aesir. In the Norse myths, he is typically named a Vanir or a Jotun god. He seems to predate all deities except for the fire-god Lurg. Aegir was formed in Ginnungagap, the void between Muspellheim (land of the fire giants) and Niflheim (the cold underworld). Lurg’s fires melted the ice in Niflheim, which filled in a void and created the first ocean (Aegir). It was this ocean that gave rise to the first beings: Ymir and Audhumla.
A curse against Aegir, spoken by Loki:
"Ale madest thou, Aegir, but not ever shalt
henceforth brew for a banquet:
all that thou hast this hall within
may flames set on fire
and burn on thy back!"