"Middle-enclosure." The home of the human race, and one of the nine worlds or realms of Norse cosmology. To the north lies Niflheimr and to the south Múspell. The eddic poem Grímnismál tells how the sons of Borr created the earth from Ymir's flesh, the sea from his blood, the hills from his bones, the plants and trees from his hair, and the heaven from his skull. They then took the giant's brows and formed Miðgarðr for the sons of man.
Snorri Sturluson writes that the earth is ring-shaped without, and round about her lies the deep sea; and along the strand of that sea the gods gave lands to the races of giants for habitation. On the inner earth they made a citadel round about the world against the hostility of the giants, and for their citadel they raised up the brows of Ymir, and called that place Miðgarðr. The first man and woman, Askr and Embla, received a dwelling-place under Miðgarðr.
In the ocean that surrounds Miðgarðr lives the earth-encircling serpent Jörmungandr, who is also known as the Midgard Serpent. The rainbow bridge Bifröst links Miðgarðr to Ásgarðr, the realm of the gods.
In Hárbarðsljóð Thor states that he protects Miðgarðr from the jötnarr:
- In the east I was,
- and slew the Jötun brides,
- crafty in evil,
- as they to the mountain went.
- Great would have been the Jötun race,
- had they all lived;
- and not a man
- left in Midgard.
A kenning for Thor is Defender of Miðgarðr.
- Grímnismál, 40-41.
- Gylfaginning, 8, 9.
- Hárbarðsljóð, 23.
- Völuspá, 4.