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10916
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Published by: galaxy5111 on Feb 19, 2014
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03/06/2014

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 STRANDED IN MIÐGARÐR 
 
 Draugar 
 Folklore in Old Norse Sources
Submited for the degree of Master of Philosophy at the Centre for Viking and Medieval Studies University of Oslo May 2003 By
Fernando Guerrero
1
 
 
Contents
Chapter 1. - Introduction………………………………………………………….… 3 Chapter 2. - Survey of Previous Research…………………..……………………6 Chapter 3. - What is Life? What is Death? What is a
 Draugr 
? ………………….. 20 Chapter 4. - Different Kinds of
 Draugar 
………………………………….………… 38 4.1. -
 Haugbúar 
: The Honorable
 Draugar 
……………………….………..… 40 4.2. -
 Aptrg 
ngur 
: The ‘Other’ as a
 Draugar 
………………………...……… 60 4.3. - ‘
Uppsitjendr 
’: The Tamed
 Draugar 
…………………………….……… 85 4.4. -
Fyrirburðir 
: Non-Corporeal Revenants………………………..…...… 102 Chapter 5. -
 Eros
 and
Tanatos
: Sexual Reasons to Become a
 Draugr 
………….… 123 Chapter 6. General Conclusion…………………………………………………… 134 Appendix 1. - Uses of the Word “
 Draugr 
in Prose and Poetry………………...… 138 Appendix 1a. - Uses of the Word ‘
 Draugr 
in Poetry………………….....… 138 Appendix 2b. - Uses of the Word ‘
 Draugr 
in Prose……………………..… 144 Figures……………………………………………………………………………...… 147 Figure 1: The Stone from Lärbro, St. Hammars……..……………….....… 147 Figure 2: The Stone from Klinte………………………………………...….. 148 Bibliography……………………………………………………...………………… 149
2
 
Chapter 1
Introduction
The dead have no existence other than that which the living imagine for them. (Jean-Claude Schmitt)
There are several instances in which the Old Norse texts depict the dead as continuing their existence within the boundaries of Miðgarðr. These revenants were usually called
draugr 
 (pl.
draugar 
) and were considered to be of a physical nature. The
draugar 
 had many different activities that varied from killing people and cattle to staying inside their grave-mounds  protecting their treasure. The encounter with one of them usually ended in a wrestling match; but it was not an easy task to defeat then because, instead of being flimsy corpses, they possessed a superhuman strength. The belief in the existence of such creatures can be attested by some law  prohibitions against raising the dead.
1
 There are also several irregular burials in which the corpse was decapitated or the head was absent and this has been interpreted as a precautionary measure to prevent the return of the dead.
2
 Some bog burials (such as that of the Tollund man) have also  been interpreted as a way to keep the dead from rising again.
3
 Several grave-mounds were broken into, and sometimes the explanation is that they were entered to be robbed, but there are some evidences that show that in some instances that was not the purpose and they might have been entered to ‘kill’ the ‘inhabitant’ of the grave mound.
4
 The fear of the dead is present in cultures of all times, and the Old Norse society was not an exception. However, it is not my purpose in this dissertation to analyze if people believed or not in the existence of
draugar 
. Nor is my intention to clear up and interpret actual grave-mounds or irregular burials to prove that the corpses that they contained were believed to be revenants. My main aim in this study is to analyze the
draugar 
 as they were represented in literary sources and get a closer look at the mentality of the culture that created such creatures. I will open this study by summarizing the previous research that has been done in the area. However I will review only the main publications that have been devoted in to the study of
draugar 
 in particular, while other minor sources will be used later in the text.
1
 Cf.
 Norges Gamle Love
 I: 19; II: 308; II: 327.
2
 Cf. Carelli, Peter 2000: 77 ff.
3
 Cf. Ström, Folke 1942: 187-88.
4
 Cf. Brendalsmo 1992: 84 ff. and Brøndsted, Johannes 1960: 249.
3

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