Archaeology and Odin in Late Pagan Denmark: A Note

ABSTRACT: This article discusses archaeological evidence for the veneration of Odin in late pagan Denmark. According to place-name evidence Odin was totally dominant in public cult at this time, and was closely linked to warriors and kings. (Actual evidence for a relationship with the great cult cen...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Religionsvidenskabeligt tidsskrift
Main Author: Roesdahl, Else 1942-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Univ. 2022
In: Religionsvidenskabeligt tidsskrift
Year: 2022, Volume: 74, Pages: 385-395
Further subjects:B Odin worship
B equestrian graves
B Tenth-century Denmark
B weaponry
B chair pendants
B völur
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Summary:ABSTRACT: This article discusses archaeological evidence for the veneration of Odin in late pagan Denmark. According to place-name evidence Odin was totally dominant in public cult at this time, and was closely linked to warriors and kings. (Actual evidence for a relationship with the great cult centre at Lejre is uncertain.) However, a group of riders’ graves with weaponry from the tenth century represent a new burial custom for magnates, and it is argued that they relate to Odin and Valhalla. Female magicians, who have been convincingly identified in a series of Viking-Age graves, and miniature chairs, from which the once seated figure is usually missing, were probably also connected with Odin. Further, it has been suggested that miniature swords, spearheads and staves might have been Odinic symbols. Some figurative amulets, however, often featuring women in various guises and often interpreted as Valkyries, likely had an entirely different meaning.
RESUME: Artiklen diskuterer de arkæologiske vidnesbyrd om dyrkelsen af Odin i det sen-hedenske Danmark. Ifølge stednavnematerialet var Odin totalt dominerende i den offentlige kult på denne tid og nært forbundet med krigere og kongemagt. (Der er dog ingen sikre belæg for forbindelse med det store kultcentrum i Lejre.) En gruppe ryttergrave med våben fra 900-tallet, som især findes i Jylland, repræsenterer imidlertid en ny gravskik blandt stormænd, og der argumenteres for, at de relaterer til Odin og Valhal. Kvindelige magikere, der overbevisende er identificeret i en række vikingetidsgrave i Danmark og andetsteds i Skandinavien, samt miniaturestole, hvor den siddende figur som regel mangler, var sandsynligvis også knyttet til Odin. Det er desuden foreslået, at miniaturesværd, -spydspidser og -stave var symboler for Odin. Derimod har en gruppe figurative amuletter, der tit forestiller kvinder i forskellige situationer, og som ofte er tolket som valkyrier, formentlig en helt anden betydning.
ISSN:1904-8181
Contains:Enthalten in: Religionsvidenskabeligt tidsskrift
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.7146/rt.v74i.132112