In this episode we conclude our discussion on Pagan practice in Iceland by exploring the close connections between the law and pagan beliefs. Along the way we talk about oath rings, the assemblies of the gods and a rather nasty conflict revolving around excrement.

Our recommended reading for this week is Viking Law and Order by Alexandra Sanmark. In this readable and beautifully illustrated book, Professor Sanmark reviews the latest archeological evidence for þing-sites throughout Scandinavia. This book highlights the similarities and differences of these sites and provides an excellent guide to these important locations. You should pick it up.

For more information and a full list of sources see our website: http://vikingagepodcast.com/law-and-belief-in-pagan-iceland

United States


00:00:00today's episode begins in a rather unlikely location a market tap situated along the southern coast of England known as we're at
00:00:13Wareham has a long history as a defensive center for the Regent and rightfully so the town is almost entirely enclosed by Mercy River Plains which are tough to navigate by an individual let alone buy an army the site is also home to a good Harbor which opens up into the English Channel making it an ideal location for trade and exchange not that any of this particularly mattered in the summer of 875 though when where and natural defenses were breached in the town became a refuge for a force of geeking are who are seeking shelter in the easily defended town
00:00:57this Force you traveled in a fleet of seven long ships have been recently defeated by King Alfred of Wessex a ruler who would go on to become known as Alfred the Great alford's forces defeated these Raiders in battle and managed to capture one of their ships in the aftermath but some of the Raiders managed to slip away and the survivors eventually made their way to where where they dug in and wait it out the cold winter months all about being watched closely no doubt by Alfred's forces
00:01:36in the following year likely fearing the cost of assaulting the formidable Camp King Alfred approached where in arranged to make peace the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tells Esther disagreements quote King Alfred of Wessex makes peace with the host they sueros on a sacred ring that they will leave Wessex speedily never before had the host sworn such an oath and quote unfortunately freaking out for it and even more unfortunately for the poor people of Wessex this Force had little interest in keeping to their agreement ocean Secret Rings apparently not understanding
00:02:21the chronicle continues on to tell us that this Force use the cover of their agreement to flea by night to the town of Exeter situated about 60 miles to the west of where
00:02:35of course our purposes here today we care much less about the gritty details of all of these machinations and much more about the Secret Ring upon which the span of decking are hats worn Narrows however long they actually kept to them this little detail mentioned almost in passing is Fascinate because it provides us with contemporary evidence of a sort of behavior that we read about in our much later Icelandic sources as you might remember in the description of our friend thorolf Master beards holes by the author of The Saga of the people of oilery it is a sacred ring which takes center stage in the building to jog your memory and I apologize to those of you who are listening to these episodes back-to-back we are told quote
00:03:31inside the main Temple was a structure built much like the choir in church is nowadays and in the middle of raised platform like an altar on this platform lay a solid ring wing 20oz upon which people had to swear all their owes it was the business of the temple priests to wear this ring on his arm at every public meeting there was a sacrificial Bowl in the platform to with a sacrificial twig shaped like a priest's aspergillum the blood of the animals killed as offerings to the gods to be sprinkled from the bowl and quote this account includes all of the key elements which we discussed last time in relation to sacrificial feast
00:04:21we read of the ritual killing of an animal a special Bowl to collect the blood of the unfortunate beast in a twig used to sprinkle. Blood all over the whole of it on to those who were taking part in the ritual these items in the home in which they were displayed or essential tools which allowed to go thee to fulfill their responsibility as a religious leader
00:04:48the altering is another important elements which is found in many Icelandic accounts which we deliberately did not focus upon in our last episode this is because the sacred ring displayed in a hose and worn by a goalie at their thing assemblies provides us with an important link between the legal and religious responsibilities of the gozar and furthermore it helps to demonstrate a wider connection between the law and religion in the Pagan Norse world
00:05:22it is exactly these connections that we are going to focus on today
00:05:35hello everyone and welcome back to the Viking age podcast my name is Lee and this is Children of Ashton law and beliefs and Pagan Iceland this is the fourth and final part of our mini series covering Pagan practice in the Icelandic free state the last time out we explored the unfortunately bigger evidence which is available to us regarding the form and function of Norse Pagan ritual placing a particular focus on what appears to have been the most important class of rituals the sacrificial or bloat feast
00:06:20we explored various accounts of pagan bloat feasts we talked about their similarities and differences and we came up with a general picture about the form of these rituals and their possible purpose as already mentioned today we are going to expand our Horizons bit and discuss the ways in which religious ritual interact with the legal and political life of the Icelandic free state how did these spheres interact during the Pagan. And what did the role of the go that are look like as both religious and political leaders
00:06:59let's begin with what according to some Scholars maybe the oldest text we have concerning the role of the Icelandic go there this text comes down to in the hopes book manuscript of the land mammal book which appears have been produced sometime in the mid-to-late 1200 but it is likely based on older now lost manuscripts in spite of the rather late date of this text the section we are concerned with which is called its laws May well have its origins in the 900 but more on that in just a moment's
00:07:40for now let's look at the text itself quote a ring of 2 ounces or more should be on the stall in each principal hold each go they should you wear that ring on his arm at all established assemblies in which he himself should participate in reading it beforehand and Gore from the blood of the Beast he personally sacrifice their everyone who needed to perform legal duties there at court should previously swear a note on that ring it then continues on specifying the oath to be smart you should say quoting the oath now I name witnesses that I swear an oath on the ring a lawful oh so help me for a yard and the almighty God in so far as I shall prosecute this case or defend it or bear witness or give Burdick's or past sentences as I
00:08:40the most right in true and closest the law and perform all lawful acts that fall upon me while I am at the assembly and quote note the similarities between Miss accounts and not which we read in The Saga of the people of oilery both specify the sacred Rings should be stored in each principal whole body should wear this ring to all the assemblies and that legal oats are to be sworn upon it
00:09:13however is John I feel Stine's The sculptor whose work I recommended in our last episode notes this passage is much more precise in the account which is found in The Saga of the people of Oilerie that tail seems have been based on a vague partially remembered tradition in contrast at least as Jonathan steinsson beliefs based upon its precise legal language which doesn't have strong presidents elsewhere the passage of the Arts laws possibly a genuine relic of the 900 remembered precisely and preserved in much later menu Scripts
00:09:57whether or not this assessment is accurate and I am certainly not qualified to make any judgment on that front these sources provide us with a template from which we can seek further Evidence specifically we should look for evidence of sacred rings and any connection between them thing assemblies in the swearing of clothes or the maintenance of law
00:10:37the ring was a powerful symbol in Viking age Scandinavia as we've discussed in the past arm rings of silver and gold or among the most prized gifts which were exchanged between leaders and their followers
00:10:53indeed in the highly symbolic language of scalding poetry he successful king or Chieftain was often referred to as a ring give her a ring breaker or even a ring Destroyer indicating their generosity in time this trait specifically to the Rings which they gift it to their followers weather precious metals from which these Rings were forged or certainly desirable on their own the emphasis which is placed on the form of these metals that is they were Rings indicates that are Marines were seen as more than a simple monetary reward given by a grateful leader it seems that gold and silver rings served as a symbol of the bonds of loyalty which tied together a leader and their followers they were physical representations of the O's which they had made to one another
00:11:52this symbolism is Hindu that in a stanza which was composed by the scold thorbjorn horn clothing who describes how King Harald finehair is poets were equipped he says quote one sees from there deer in from their gold rings that they were on friendly terms with the King they possess red cloaks painted Shields swords wrapped in silver male shirts woven with rings gilded sword straps and engraved helmets Rings which Harold shows for them
00:12:30and quit giving this Association the linking of arm rings and bonds of loyalty it is perhaps unsurprisingly that we read in later sources it certainly loads were also to be sworn upon ring it is noticeable though they both the Icelandic sources and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle are careful to note that those were sworn upon secret or Hoe lyrics a distinction which is not attached to gifts given by leaders to their followers
00:13:07instead he's always Rings appear to have been connected to the gods and the law specifically there seems have been a close connection between Earth rings and a poorly understood Pagan God name for instance in the Attic poem out of the Vita a woman named goudron who is an absolutely fascinating character by the way Chris is her husband Attila and yes it is that Attila for murdering her brothers she says you deserve what's coming to you it's hella for breaking the owes you and got our swore to each other long ago you swore by the sun to be faithful by Odin's Hill you swore by The Ring of on the day we were wet
00:14:01and quote
00:14:03well we don't know much about the God his name is only mentioned in passing in the sources he appears to have once been an important date particularly in eastern Scandinavia who's importance had Wayne by the time our sources were written luckily for us Archaeology is able to shed some additional light on this issue in the connection between the God and Earth Rings is further strengthened by archaeological finds at a site called Lila live a little cold side of pool in southern Sweden
00:14:43during excavations which were conducted at this site which appears to have been in use during the 400 and 500 see a number of small iron amulets the type one might wear on a necklace or bracelet or uncovered included in these were a number of Thor's hammer amulets along with 67 miniature ring which were very likely symbols intended to be worn by devotees of Old Well far from conclusive by themselves these fines when combined with the written sources available to us seem to indicate that certain Rings were indeed deemed to be sacred possibly in connection with the God and that it was upon these Rings which sacred O's were made
00:15:35a final connection between Rings sacred spaces in the law can be found and what is been described as the oldest written law provision in Scandinavia the rather remarkable ring was found hanging on the door to force the church and hussing Allen's Sweden haven't been place there sometime in the Middle Ages although as we shall see the object itself is far old measuring about a foot and a half or 43 centimeters in diameter this ring is forged in tirely from Iron and it is simply decorated with a few smaller rings and swirls which have been fixed to it most importantly for our purposes someone carved a rather intriguing Rooney conscription into the surface of this ring
00:16:30the style of these rooms is typical of the 800 and well there remains some disagreements most Scholars seem to concur that the force of ring most likely dates from that time. Now the inscription itself is not simple to decipher or translate but Stephane Brink provided the following translation in 2008 which appears to have been generally accepted a quick warning the language used here is somewhat cryptic but hang in there with me the pay is going to be worth it according to Professor brick the inscription reads quote one talks into or a stop in fine for restoration of a cult sight in a valid State for the first time to Oxon in for Aura the second time but the third time for oxen in a Torah and all property
00:17:30suspension if he doesn't make right that the people are entitled to demands according to the law of the people that was decreed and ratified before but they made onions from pasta Novick from horse Bible car and quote based upon this translation it appears that this inscription is intended to lay out what fine should be levied against one who disturbs or desecrates the Colts act if this is accurate than this one artifact rings together all of the themes that we have been discussing so far today that is both Rings sacred spaces and the Law plus given the early date of this object we can be reasonably sure it's inscription was conceived of and carved in a genuinely Pagan context
00:18:28important distinction which moose are written sources famously Lac did the force of ring once hang on the door to a pagan Coke building before it was moved on to the door of the church was it place there to Mark the boundaries with Sacred Space into clearly a numerate the punishments for violating that space this is certainly one possibility one made all the more plausible by the fact that similar Rings although these unfortunately lack inscriptions have been found near by the hose on Earth Shadow poker in Yaris.
00:19:07take it all together this evidence helps us to place the oath Rings we read of in are Icelandic in English sources into proper context simply put there appears to have been a genuine Pagan tradition of rings which were regarded as special and sacred and many of these objects appear to have been closely associated with the law and particularly but the administering of owes
00:19:37down our discussion of the force of red also leads us nicely into our next topic you see the force of ring enumerates the penalties which one faced for violating a Sacred Space
00:19:51well and Tegan Iceland and elsewhere in Scandinavia for that matter it appears that the thing site the home of legal assemblies and one of the venues in which the goes are recalled upon to Don their oath rings does it sell used as a Sacred Space in which violence was prohibited in respect was demand
00:20:16we know from Gratis our favorite 13th century collection of Icelandic legal codes the killing or wounding individuals well as thing was in session with it heavier penalties than the same action would at other times for instance regarding the springboard thing assemblies we are told quote All The Chieftains who belong to the assembly are to come to the beginning of the assembly the chief Jamie was the duty of formal inauguration there is to inaugurate the assembly on the 1st evening they come to the assembly well a man is at the assembly is personal compensation is doubled for insults and for all inflicted injury the chief to mr. State what the assembly boundaries are and he is to inaugurate the assembly in the same way as the general assembly and he is to State what the assembly is called
00:21:16and quote
00:21:18this passage is tell it and not just because it really over uses the word assembly but no hear that the increased fines for insult an injury are included within careful prescriptions regarding the inauguration of an enumeration of the spatial bounds of the assembly this indicates that different Behavior was expected from individuals who were within the assembly boundaries during the duration of the Gathering in special rules were enforced to ensure compliance
00:21:53of course this is not particularly surprised after all one of the primary purposes of the thing was create a neutral space in which legal cases could be judged and resolved it wouldn't do to have individuals who were involved in Feud's simply coming to blows while they waited for formal judgments
00:22:18however there is some evidence that the secret nature of things sites went deeper than mere practicality and was informed at least in part by religious consideration
00:22:45the most complete example of this we can turn once again to the tale of thoralds muster beard as it is told in The Saga of the people of Audrey misource we read that quote Thoreau used to hold all his courts on the point of the head land worth or had come ashore and that was where he started the district assembly this place was so holy that he would let no one desecrated either with blood shed or with excrement and for a pretty they used a special rock in the sea witch they called pritzker and quote
00:23:27now this language is reminiscent of other prohibitions against violence some of which we have discussed in previous episodes for instance on number book describes health or had the old after dismantling his home in Norway arrived in Iceland in quote declared the whole Fjord sacred justices place in Morehead bet forbidding people to take any life there except for domestic cattle and quote
00:23:59similarly Toro Foster beer while settling down in Iceland declared that Helga fell Holy Mountain was so sacred that quote no one was allowed even to look at it without first having washed himself and no living creature on this mountain neither man nor Beast was to be harmed until of its own accord and quote in other words the assembly site on thorsness was granted the same honor and demanded the same respect as these other explicitly sacred sites indeed apparently the assembly site was so sacred that the presence of not only blood
00:24:47also excrement was viewed as an affront know where does it seem according to The Saga of the people of Horry anyway it's such prohibitions were treated lightly indeed a few years after Thor off Master beard had died and his son the excellently names thorstein Todd biter took over his go thee a bloody conflict erupt it with the status of the assembly site as the core point of disagreement now before we get into this I want to warn you that the following passages will feature a lot of unfamiliar names none of which are particularly important for us here today all you need to keep in mind is that this conflict was between the thorny sings the supporters of thorstein called bite in the keala clings the supporters of arrival family
00:25:44other than that I would suggest that you primarily focus on the conflict itself in the language which is used to describe it in this passage before we get started in case it wasn't clear yes this is a conflict about poop I mentioned how weird and wonderful the sagas are anyway we are tolls quote one spring at the Thor's Nessa sembly thorgrim Catholic son and his brother-in-law as gear of all the leaders of the kalakand declared publicly that they would no longer tolerate the arrogance of the thorn essings and meant to ease themselves they're on the grass just as they would at any other meat it even though the thorn essay so full of their own importance. Their land was more sacred than any other in Breda fewer the gala clings let it be known that they were planning to waste
00:26:44no more shoe leather on trips to any offshore scary when they felt it a man's nature when thorstein called biter leader of the thorn essings heard about this having no intention of allowing them to desecrate the field his father Thorold at held sacred above all of his land he gathered his friends around him with the idea of borrowing the Bella twins from the assembly ground by force today attempt to desecrate the tail then continues quote that evening after they had eaten the Celtic Ling's took their weapons and went out to the headlamp as soon as Thor scene in his men saw them turning off from the path to the scary they ran for their weapons and chased after them shutting challenges and abuse and saw them coming and closed up ready to defend themselves with the thorn essings went for them so fiercely and the Calico
00:27:44things were forced back from the field down onto the beach there they turn to face their attackers in the fighting began in real Earnest there were fewer of the Kellogg Ling's Buffet at all the best fighting men and quote at this point other neighbors intervened and managed to break up the fight and they yell at killings were allowed to leave the site unmolested this was not the end of the matter however as we are told quote it was impossible to arrange peace terms as neither side was willing to offer them in each kept threatening to attack the other at the first opportunity the spot where they had bought for the thorn essings had taken their stent with suits with blood and break the stalemate Thor Geller a powerful Chieftain would close ties to both parties was brought in to arbitrate a solution
00:28:43after extensive consultation in negotiation Thor declared that no compensation would be paid by other side for the killings which had taken place in quote fealty set I've been defiled by the spelling of blood in MD so the ground there was now no holier than any other and quote sword gallier then made various arrangements to tie the two sides closer together and hopefully to avoid future Bloodshed finally he stated that thorstein called biter should choose a new location for the thing given that the old site had been thoroughly desecrated by the blood which had already been spilt the feud was descended and peace was restored the Regent and in conclusion we are told quote this was when they move the assembly to the east side of the head lift where it is still held
00:29:43inventoried Gellar instituted the quarter quarts he decided that the court for the West quarter that is for all the people in the westfjords should meet there to the circle where the court used to sentence people to be sacrifice can still be seen with Thor's Stone inside it on which the victim's backs were broken and you can still see the blood on the stone there was this assembly place was held to be highly sacred people were not forbidden to ease themselves there and quote
00:30:18guess we can see how according to this one source anyway the things site was held to be sacred and then if enough blood was spilled there then it was Dean's better to Simply abandon it entirely and to relocate the site to somewhere which had not been so spoiled these concerns certainly seem to have gone above and beyond any practical consideration for the safety of assembly participants indeed in this is simply my speculation what may have begun as simple procedures intended to ensure the safety of assembly goers may have evolved in hardened over the centuries
00:31:04to include not only the center of the law in the community but if the gods and goddesses themselves
00:31:13indeed the connections between the thing in the Divine do not end with the sacred nature of the thing site in fact according to several of the poems preserved in the poetic Edda it seems that Pagan icelanders may have believed that their gods and goddesses with themselves make their judgments and consult each other in times of crisis at a thing of Their Own
00:31:57now you're never provided with an explicit location for the gods thing site but it seems to have been a rather prominent location within Asgard The Fortress of the Gods in according to the poem grimness small it was closely associated with in dressy the great ash tree which stands at the center of Asgard and connects the various worlds of Norse myth in this poem we are told quote Court in Orem and there was two Kettle baths door must be through these each day when he Journeys to judgments close by the ash in dress you since the ACR Bridge Burns all the flame in the hallowed Waters seeds glad and golden glare and ski Bremer silver top and Senior
00:32:54diesel in flowerhorn near Golden Top and Lightfoot these are the horses he asks your ride each day when they journey to judge close by the ash ignacia
00:33:10and quote
00:33:12it is worth noting here the interests which is placed upon how the gods travels to the site where they sat and judgments UC travel to the thing site was a critical concern for icelanders this can be really seen in the many Provisions which are found in gragas which regulate travel to and from the thing in dictate that shelter and Aid should be provided to all assembly participants during their Journeys
00:33:44it seems that this very real world concern is echoed in Norse myth furthermore we seen the stands about Thor that the thing side of the Gods was enclosed at least partially with water once again this is a feature which we see echoed and less exalted more worldly things such as Alexandra Stan Mark covers extensively in her excellent book Viking Law & Order anything sites across Scandinavia or partially or fully enclosed by running water making many of these sites into what Professor send Mark Coles symbolic Islands
00:34:31the most relevant example of this from an Icelandic perspective anyway would be thingvellir which lay alongside the Waters of the exora river a barrier would certainly brings to mind the seething hallowed Waters which store across is each day to reach the thing of the Gods and major take away here is that in descriptions of a mythological location the place of judgments of the gods and goddesses we can see many elements which are common two things site which were attended by mere mortals these similarities cease with the physical location
00:35:15many of the actions which the gods and goddesses take at their thing assemblies very closely mirror the activities we read of at very human things this is perhaps best illustrate in the poem voluspa which tells of the beginning and of the inevitable end of the world specifically or stanzas from this poem use a recurring theme indicate the gods and goddesses have gathered at their things site to consult one another and decide upon the correct course of action I'm going to read you these stanzas in the order in which they occurred in the poem and I'll be omitting stances which lay in between them for reasons of space send Focus however I do highly recommend that you check out a copy of both stuff for yourself to see these sentences and their proper context
00:36:14I've linked my favorite English translation in the show notes although I'm going to be working from a slightly different translation here and that will be linked up as well so I'm stanza for evolve Spa in all the powers went to their Thrones of Destiny High holy gods and deliberate is this tonight and her children they give their names morning they called one another midday afternoon and evening to tally up the years and quote
00:36:53it's been covered extensively one of the principal functions of the thing was to debate and it knocks the laws of the land here we see the high holy gots Gathering and deliberating together to lay down what can be seen as the most essential of laws time itself interesting this implies that the gods thing existed before even time itself I like the central importance later on in the poem and stands and I me again read of the Gods gathering together to create something fundamental in new quote that all the powers when's their Thrones of Destiny High holy gods in deliberated this
00:37:47who should shape the troops of dwarves from premiers blood from Blaine's Limbs and quote
00:37:56no the next two senses which utilize the same Motif occur back to back later on in the poem their stances 24 and 25 respectively and they have a distinctly different Focus rather than the law these dances and four sides of the Gods gathering together to deliberate and handle disputes and crises whichever is it quote it all the powers went to their Thrones of Destiny I holy God and deliberated this weather the last year were obliged to render tribute in all the gods were obliged to pay the price then all the powers when's to their Thrones of Destiny I only got
00:38:46deliberated this who had mixed the whole sky with Mischief or given odds girl the goddess Freya to Giants kid and quote in these stanzas we see the Gods Not legislating or create it would rather reacting to disputes deliberating how best to resolve decided who to blame once again this picture fits rather nicely with what we know of human thing assemblies from the Icelandic sources they served both to create and enact the law into arbitrate and resolve conflicts within the community in this way we see the social and political realities of the Norse World reflected in its pagan mythology
00:39:39or as gnanaloka put it in her excellent article thing goes the mythological thing site quote assembly site is a Cornerstone for the realm of the Gods in the cosmos in because of just this key position of the thing the world of the Gods is portrayed as a social and institutional system I would just argue that the role of the thing in the thing site within the mythological text reflects the position of law with indoor society and that through their grandpa cyst on the things the mythological text communicate in ethical framework within which ideals of coal activity for dominate many outstanding questions remain regarding the ideological position of myth in the Old Norse religion but in the case of the thing there many indications that suggests that the society's mythology the field
00:40:39important ideological function and quote
00:40:51returning now from Asgard to Iceland by circling back to the role of the go there at the thing in the implications of this role or both law and religion in Iceland as we have already discussed in this episode and others the gozar were responsible for organizing and inaugurating their local Vore thing and they were the primary participants during the proceedings of the annual all thing as we learn today according to our written sources an important part of the goes ours role at both of these assemblies was to bring with them their secret 03 deeper than expected to read in this ring in the blood of an animal who was sacrificed at the things
00:41:48and all of those who saw Rose during the assembly were expected to swear them on this rent
00:41:56given the close connections between religion the law thing assemblies it is reasonable to ask what purpose is active sacrifice health
00:42:08unfortunately none of the Icelandic sources which mentioned sacrifice performed by the Go-Go's our provide us with much information about the exact purpose of this ritual you can however finding intriguing hits in fog Erskine a history of the kings of Norway written in that country around the same time is heim's kringla which is snorri sturluson work on the same subject has many of the same sources are Christina who's author is unknown in snoreeze heimskringla appear to have been composed more less independently of one another
00:42:51accordingly there elements in emphasis in each text which is lacking in the other this is evident in the account Augustina provides us of Kingda Kong the good in his conflict with the people of trondelag we discussed snoreeze account of King hakan last time and while Fargo skeena is largely consistent with the same basic facts of its accounts is difference in these differences are quite relevance to our discussion today for the key near the few we've actually read part this account way back in our conflict and Things episode but it is well worth revisiting it now in its proper context
00:43:42we are told quote King icon succeeded the kingdom of Norway 2 years after his father died he was blessed with both popularity in prosperity he established laws overall Norway but the help of Thor leads the wise and otherwise met and King Olaf the Saints still made use of the greater part that was lost in the 16th year of his Reign he held a well-attended assembly at Mari entry on time and at the assembly the Tron dear the people that run the luck of the King 2 choices is he should sacrifice according to the custom of earlier Kings and so observe what was laid out of old to bring prosperity and peace
00:44:34or else they would drive him out of the Kingdom if he was not willing to lead them in this as in government or in the receiving of taxes the King was certainly not willing to do this the Kings friends and a great company mediated between the parties and ask the Bon dear the farmers at the assembly to show for Barrett's to the king they said how beneficial there the word was for his followers in a great leader or law and Customs were concerned on the other side they are To the King Tamela rate the complaints it except just a little piece for the sake of Concorde so that the Heathen worshippers would not consider him responsible for the downfall of the lock
00:45:22out of the goodness of his heart and for the love of his friends he did as they asked and parts hook of the sacrifice and quote
00:45:33this accounts we find all of the same elements we discussed last week that is Tim Hawkins refusal to sacrifice and the anger in resistance which this starts in the people of trondelag they feared that his failure to sacrifice would threaten the peace and prosperity of the Kingdom however augustina's accounts also highlights a key concern which is largely missing from snoreeze tail that is a fear the king icons failure to sacrifice with lead to a quote downfall of the law
00:46:15if this source is to be believed that a sacrifice which was performed to inaugurate a thing not only serve to preserve peace and prosperity much as the sacrifice performed in a bloat Feast what it also was essential upholding the laws of the land as the individuals were primarily responsible for performing both of these essential rituals would have held considerable responsibility for the well-being of their communities and of course they would have also gained considerable Prestige and social status for upholding these Beitel responsibilities
00:46:59indeed based upon all the sources which we have examined both today and throughout the series it appears that the Icelandic goes our position themselves not only as political and legal leaders but also as a religious leaders and their communities they built and maintained hose they organized and presided over bloat feasts and they inaugurating their assemblies with sacrifices to the gods and goddesses who would maintain peace prosperity in the sanctity of the lot it is worth noting before we wrap things up then not all Scholars agree that this picture of the Go-Go's our car spawns neatly to reality during the pagan.
00:47:49they argue that because of the late in Christian origins of our sources this picture of the gozar is likely distorted and may or may not actually correspond reality personally or whatever little that's worth I find this view quite valid and I think it is extremely likely that the view we have of the goes are in our sources is distorted and could easily for all we know the entirely wrong but this is For Better or Worse the best that we can do even what we have available to us and personally I do think there is value in exploring it if nothing else to gain an understanding as to how the Pagan go there are understood by Norwegian and Icelandic authors in the twelve and thirteen hundred
00:48:45I hope that after listening to these episodes you do too
00:48:51I'll wrap up this episode and this mini-series with a final points which has been on my mind while I was writing these episodes you see throughout the series I've been making a distinction between the secular world that is political social and economic concerns in the 1/2 in the religious worlds on the other I chose to do this because well this podcast is targeted at a modern audience and these are common distinctions which we are well used to in the modern Western World at least in theory and often enough in practice we separate secular and religious concerns
00:49:38the Catholic pope is a religious leader and the prime minister of the UK is a secular what these fears certainly can overlap and interact a pastor can also be a prominent political figure and a politician's views may be informed by her face but they are conceptually distinct it is not at all clear that any such distinction existed in Pagan Iceland in Old Norse the Pagan religion was referred to Simply as born Seether or anxious and this really captures the fact that Norse paganism appears to have been first and foremost a way of doing things of actions and beliefs which to those who are performing them anyway I'd always been done that way
00:50:32these beliefs and actions intermingled in a mess themselves with every aspect of life and it's unclear whether a pagan Icelander would have been able to articulate any meaningful distinction between a secular law in a religious custom they were both simply aspects of Lawrence either there was a way that things were done or is John F. Henson succinctly puts it in the conclusion of his article loten thing the function of a 10th Century Goethe quote by Chief conclusion from the study of sacrifices assemblies the office of go there in the 10th century is that the function of the go there was many sided extending to matters later distinguished as religious or social
00:51:25both functions or a natural part of their Duty whether they were presiding over cases at assemblies or sacrifice in a cult Center and quote
00:51:37next time we are going to see how the go there and Icelandic Society at large reacted as Christian missionaries scents and in Bolden by sending Norwegian kings began to arrive and preached to the people if I slipped from there we will then dive head-first into the conversion and christianization of the island I do hope that you'll join me then
00:52:11before you go have a few of the usual housekeeping items to run through first of all you may have noticed a difference and hopefully improvements in the sound quality of this episode I have started working with the fine folks over at Stater Productions and they are helping me to edit and master this episode obviously I haven't heard it yet at the time of recording but I'm really excited to be working with them and I think it's going to be a really great improvements so please let me know what you think second I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Betsy for becoming the latest Patron on patreon thank you so very much no I'm recording this episode a little bit earlier than I normally do since well you are all listening to this I am actually going to be in the UK to see the British museum that Nottingham Viking exhibit
00:53:11and attend the yorvick Viking Festival I bring this up because a I am just stupid excited to go I leave the week after next ends just can't wait be I'd let you invite you to be on the lookout on social media probably more Twitter but I'll post on Twitter and Facebook for pictures and video of awesome Viking stuff that I see during my trip really excited to share that with you guys and so be on the lookout for that and finally if you've become a patron in the last week or so I may have missed you in the show cuz again I'm recording this sick couple weeks before it'll go out but you're not I'll get you next time if you would like to become a patron and help support all of the work which goes into the show you can head on over to our website Viking age podcast.com and click on the become a patron link
00:54:08any and all support is more than appreciate it I'm finally I would just like to thank you each and everyone of you for listening to this episode of The Viking age podcast app to catch you next time to explore the story of early Christianity and I hope you have a great few weeks Everyone by

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Sharing the History of The Viking Age, one podcast at a time.
We are covering the History of Scandinavia during the Viking Age. We're exploring Raiding, Trading and Settlement of Scandinavians abroad as well as the culture and society of the Norse homelands.
Join us to learn more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the people, for better or worse, history knows as the Vikings.
United States
58 episodes
since Apr, 2016
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Lee Accomando, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.


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