"Enclosure of the Æsir." The abode of the Æsir, the gods of Norse mythology. The name appears only twice in the Poetic Edda (in Þrymskviða and Hymiskviða), and most information comes from Snorri Sturluson. In Gylfaginning, Snorri says that after the creation of the world from the body of Ymir, and after the creation of Miðgarðr, the gods made for themselves in the middle of the world a city which was called Ásgarðr, and there they dwelt and their kindred. In its midst they made a place called Iðavöllr, and a court in which their twelve seats stand, and another, the high-seat for Odin. It is the location of Glaðsheimr, Vingólf, and others — Snorri envisions it as containing all the abodes of the gods. It is also the home of the tree or grove called Glasir.
An elaborate story in Gylfaginning, chapter 42, refers to Ásgarðr as an enclosure or citadel constructed by a giant builder with the help of his horse Svaðilfari. It would offer protection against the traditional enemies of the gods, the hill-giants and the frost-giants, should they come in over Miðgarðr.
The precise location of Ásgarðr is unclear. It often appears as another region of Miðgarðr, but separated from the outer region of Útgarðar, for in several stories the gods simply ride out of Ásgarðr into the world of men. It also seems possible for giants to enter Ásgarðr. Skaði traveled there to avenge the death of her father, Þrymr snuck in the steal Thor's hammer, and Hrungnir rode after Odin until he had come in beyond the gates of Ásgarðr. The Æsir invited him to drink, but Hrungir became drunk and boasted that he would lift up Valhalla and carry it to Jötunheimr, and sink Ásgarðr. On other occasions, Snorri makes Ásgarðr a celestial realm that is linked to others by the rainbow-bridge Bifröst.
After Ragnarök, the destruction of the world, the surviving gods shall dwell at Iðavöllr, where Ásgarðr was before.
In Skáldskaparmál, Thor is called "Defender of Ásgarðr and Midgarðr." Snorri also quotes a verse by the tenth-century Icelandic skald Þorbjörn dísarskáld:
- Bravely Thor fought for Ásgard
- And the followers of Odin.
Snorri says that the city the Æsir built — Ásgarðr — was called Troy by men.
- Gylfaginning, 9, 14, 42, 53.
- Hymiskviða, 6.
- Skáldskaparmál, 1, 4, 17, 34.
- Þrymskviða, 19.