Armed for the voyage

Yesterday we opened our new exhibition about the Viking Age boat burial tradition. As part of the opening ceremony, the Ásatrúagoði from Kjalsnes performed a sort of farewell blessing that she also uses at funerals for members of the Ásatrú here in Iceland. This funerary rite includes depositing beside the dead certain prized possessions.

The mayors of Reykjanesbær and Sandgerði put sand from Hafurbjarnastaðir inside the boat. Then I laid a shield near the skull of the man - his skull actually has iron stains from where it touched a shield boss. Böðvar laid an axe at his side, and Gunnar laid a sword.

In the Viking Age, death was seen as a journey, just like other journeys. And a person set off on such a voyage well armed. I suppose if you expected to meet Oðinn or Þór when you got to the other side, and to be greeted by a beautiful Valkyrie, you would want to show up with your proper armaments. Not of course because you planned to fight with them, but because one wants to show off one's status and skill as a sign of respect to the status and skill of those they meet.

Comments

Kristin Parisardama said…
I would like to be burried with my MacBook Pro:)
Jon said…
Nice article in today's IR about it.
Lissy said…
Hey Jon, thanks for that. I had not seen it! And Kristin, I suppose I would probably take my Kitchen Aide.

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