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Aspects of Recent Research In Pagan Germanic and

Scandinavian Religion
Peter Buchholz

Source: ​The notion of "religion" in comparative research : selected proceedings of the XVIth
Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions, Rome, 3rd-8th
September, 1990​, pp. 383-393.

1. This short survey is intended as an orientation in a very complex and controversial field where
serious research has been going on since Jacob Grimm, ​Deutsche Mythologie ​(1835).

My survey deals with pre-Christian religion or religions in Scandinavia (including North

Germany, especially Schleswig-Holstein) from the ​Iron Age ​(ca 500 B.C.) up to medieval times.
The Old Icelandic/ Old Norse texts were written/recorded from the 12th century to the 15th. I
spoke of religions because there was probably no single uniform pagan Scandinavian religion in
the sense “religion” has acquired in Christianity or Islam.

The decision to exclude the ​Bronze Age ​is based on the most probable dating of linguistic
phenomena that are thought to be characteristic for the Germanic languages. There is evidence
for religious similarities in the areas where Germanic dialects were probably spoken. Such
phenomena include the names of some gods, e.g. those contained in the designations for the days
of the week. There may, however, also have been ​some ​religious continuity from Late Bronze to
Early Iron Age. ​1

Religious phenomena regarded by some scholars as common ​Indo-European h​ ave also been
excluded because a discussion of them would vastly transcend the scope of this article.​2 ​The
theories of the French Classicist and Indo-Europeanist, Georges Dumézil, fall under this
exclusion.​3 ​I would urge great caution in regard to the application to our sources of theories
developed in other areas. The history of research shows that such all-encompassing theories
often developed a momentum of their own, not always suited to the circumstances of a particular
time and place.​4 ​This eventually led to their falling into disrepute.

2. ​I shall now comment on the ​sources ​at our disposal for research in pagan Scandinavian
religion, with some stress on the time perspective, esp. with regard to elucidation of pre-Viking
times. This will complement the systematic survey (3) which is based on Viking and late pagan
phenomena. Such a method is also followed by Folke Ström,​5 ​in one of the best books available.
A.​​ The sources on which most handbooks are based are ​medieval Icelandic manuscripts,
containing prose narratives and verse of different kinds. This material, decisively influenced as it
is by its medieval writers or redactors, can nevertheless be used, with the necessary caution and
strict methodology, to unravel some aspects of pagan Scandinavian religion and mythology.​6

B. ​Such investigations should, however, not be done without taking account of other kinds of
source material. Some ​runic inscriptions f​ rom the 2nd century A.D. right into the Middle Ages
are valuable as contemporary testimony of magic and religious practices. Owing to the
fragmentary and often decayed state of these monuments, a definite reading is often extremely
difficult, and the most controversial inscriptions are often the most interesting ones in respect of
magic and religion.​7

C. ​Extremely significant for current research and prospects for future progress is another group
of sources: ​place names. ​This huge material has not by far been exhausted in respect of
information it may yield in regard to our topic.​8 ​Even the national place name inventories for
Sweden and Denmark are still not completely published (see however the collections in the place
name archives). The ​relative chronology o​ f place names is reasonably clear, whereas their
absolute chronology i​ s still a research problem in spite of some recent sectoral progress.​9
Significant for our purposes are place names whose second component denotes a holy place or
sanctuary of some kind, or a piece of land whose religious “use” or dedication is proved by the
first component being the name or designation of a god (​theophorous place names​).​10 ​Such
names are most valuable for a “religious geography” of pagan Scandinavia. Ideally places with
such names should be investigated by archaeologists. Examples of second components
designating pieces of land (or administrative units in the case of ​tún​) are ON ​-vin, -heimr, -land,
-akr, -bangr, -ey, -lundr, -berg, -siór. ​The first three of these designations (together with ​tún​) are
the oldest in relative chronology, and may have originated in the Roman Iron Age. second
components denoting a sanctuary are e.g. ON ​-vé, ​Goth. ​alhs ​(temple; ON cognates possible but
uncertain), ON ​-hof (​ temple building, late?), ​-stallr ​(sacrificial altar), ​-hǫrgr​ (stone heap as altar
and/or supporting an idol), ​-hjallr (​ a platform or scaffold), ​-stafr ​(“staff”: idol?). The distribution
of such names in the Scandinavian countries and regions varies vastly. Furthermore, the exact
locations to which such names refer may be unknown or may have shifted in the course of
(pre)history. Cooperation with other disciplines is thus essential.

D. ​The results of ​archaeological excavations a​ re of course also utterly indispensable in any

account of pagan Scandinavian religion. Apart from the general sociological significance of
settlement e​ xcavations, one must take account of ​cemeteries ​and other ​burials. T
​ hese can
sometimes show beliefs and customs connected with burial, e.g. grave goods, “Charon’s coin”
(placed in the dead person’s mouth to pay for the journey to the beyond), burial sacrifices
(horses, dogs, even humans “accompanying” the dead), the position of the corpse in the
grave(e.g. In relation to the location of the underworld), and so on. The beliefs connected with
cremation ​or ​inhumation a​ re not at all clear, nor are the reasons for the not infrequent shifts and
transitions from one to the other.

Apart from the pictorial monuments, the most important group of archaeological finds is
connected with excavations of sanctuaries/places of public sacrifice of local or regional
significance.​11 ​Places that yielded most in this respect are the bogs and fens of Denmark,
Southern Sweden, and Northern Germany.

This may however only be due to the excellent (pre)conditions for preservation offered by bogs,
so that our picture may well be deceptive. There are here two clearly distinguished categories of
finds: 1. Men and women killed in various ways and then thrown or submerged in the lake/bog,
sometimes with precautions to prevent them from “rising” (e.g. fixing the corpse to the ground
by a kind of scaffold. Is this connected with the well-known ON conception of the “walking
dead”?) and 2. The great bog sacrifices (Celtic and Roman Iron Ages) of partly agricultural,
partly distinctly aristocratic-warlike character (Thorsberg in Northern Schleswig-Holstein,
Nydam, Vimose, Ejsbøl, Kragehul, Illerup, Rappendam in Denmark, Skedemosse, Röekillorna,
Gårdlösa in Sweden, and Oberdorla in Thuringia, Germany). The excavations of sacrificial
places like these have considerably advanced our knowledge of public cult and sacrifice in early
Germanic times.

E. ​Spectacular advances have been made since ca 1970 in the field of ​pictorial monuments, ​i.e.
the Migration Age ​gold bracteates ​(together with ca 2500 rectangular “guldgubber”) and (to a
lesser degree) the ​Gotland picture stones ​(the group with scenes from cult and heroic legend).
Besides these main sub-groups there are also pictorial weavings (Oseberg, Överhogdal) and
statues of gods (from large wooden idols to small metal “pocket gods”). The wooden idols were
occasionally found near or in a heap of stones reminiscent of the ON ​hǫrgr (​ cf. above - place
names - and below - systematic survey). Furthermore, there are the scenes on the sacrificial
kettle from Gundestrup, thought to be of Celtic provenience, and on the golden horns from
Gallehus (with a Germanic inscription), possibly influenced by Celtic conceptions. The late
Bronze Age rock carvings have recently been compared with Celtic material, e.g. horned gods
and the cult of the head.​12 ​Research on Celtic influences in Southern Scandinavia is definitely
very promising.

The most significant subgroup, however, are, apart from the Gotland stones (only some of which
have been convincingly “read”), the ca 900 gold bracteates (made from almost 500 different
dies!). The complicated system of religious beliefs and “techniques” that must have been
prevalent in Migration Age South Scandinavia is embodied in these amulets which probably
were made in some of the main sanctuaries (e.g. in Odense, ON Oðinsvé). These small works of
art were only “deciphered” recently with the aid of advanced photographic and enlargement
techniques.​13 ​They show a quite amazing continuity between medieval Old Norse word
traditions and Migration Age beliefs, but also significant traits not contained in the medieval
texts (which does not necessarily mean they were then actually unknown). One central religious
complex is connected with the god Odin and his characteristics, and centers around shamanism
as a very widespread cluster of techniques of establishing contact with the supernatural world, a
contact actually indispensable to any archaic religion.​14 ​Karl Hauck’s research on the gold
bracteates has advanced our knowledge of pagan Scandinavian religion to a degree once would
not have thought possible before.

3.​​ We shall now proceed to a ​survey of cultic phenomena. I​ t should be clear from the outset that
the data at our disposal are incomplete and fragmentary.

A. The concept of “sacred, holy” in pagan Scandinavia.

There are two etymologically distinct Germanic and Old Norse groups of terms denoting the
concept of “holy”. One is ON (adj.) ​heilagr.​ This clearly denotes a sacrality referring to the gods.
Some early attestations of the word are proof of this, e.g. ​heilagt tafn (​ “the holy sacrifice”, i.e.
the god Baldr: ​Úlfr Uggason Húsdr ​9), ​heilagt full Hrafnásar (​ “the holy cup of the Raven-God”,
i.e. the mead of poetry: ​Hofgarða-Refr ​2), ​heilakt land ​(“the holy land”, i.e. the realm of the
gods: ​Grímnismál​ 4). oN ​helgi ​denotes 1. Holiness, inviolability (​hofshelgi ​“holiness of the
temple”, ​þinghelgi ​“holiness of the assembly”), and is 2. A personal name ​Helgi ​(of kings and
heroes) which must indicate some kind of “holiness” e.g. by office (“Sacral kingship”?) or by
having been dedicated to a god.

The second group of terms appears as the noun ON ​vé​ (see above: place names) and the verb
vígja. Vé c​ learly has the meaning of “sanctuary”, which is not only attested from early Skaldic
poetry onwards, but also in place names (mostly theophorous ones) where it denotes the
sanctuary of a god (e.g. Oðinsvé, “Odin’s sanctuary”, Odense on Fyn, Denmark). The runic stone
of Glavendrup, Fyn (10th century) probably mentions a ​ku þa uia​ (ON ​goða véa)​ , a “priest of the
sanctuaries”. The verb ​vígja i​ s used in the Christian sense of “to bless, consecrate”; otherwise we
have mainly the god Þórr “sanctifying” the bride with his hammer (​Þrymskviða​ 30) or
“sanctifying” runes (in several late inscriptions). The exact connotations of this are not clear
(Christian influence in the inscriptions?), nor is the “sanctifying” of dead men (as a protection
against them, Hervarar saga), but the transfer of some power may well be the intention. Such an
interpretation would provide magical connotations. But then, it is without any doubt impossible
to rigidly separate magic and religion in pagan Scandinavia.

B. The sacred locality

It is clear that sacred localities include sanctuaries and temples, but we shall deal with the latter
under a separate heading.

Sacred localities (often used, of course, for public cult - as sanctuaries - and private worship) are
as a rule situated where there is some special feature of the landscape, “outstanding” as a
mountain, grave-mound (some prehistoric burials are of considerable size), stone, tree, spring or
lake. It is quite conceivable that contact with the unseen powers was thought to be facilitated by
elevation (mountains) or subterranean connections (wells, lakes, also trees and stones). The dead
in their burial mounds also provided a separate “point of contact” with the beyond. Odin was
apparently (also worshipped on mountains. Wells and lakes are probably the most important
subgroup of sacred localities. This is mainly evident from excavations of South Scandinavian
bog and lake sanctuaries​,15 ​but also e.g. from an important text ​16 ​which mentions human
sacrifices in a well for oracular purposes (​schol. 138)​ . Near that well there stood a huge
perennially green tree said to be of unknown origin (​schol. 138​). Forests could also be regarded
as sacred (cf. e.g. place names on ​-lundr)​ . Cultivated fields very probably were used for seasonal
vegetation or fertility cults (cf. e.g. place names on ​-akr ​and ​-vin)​ linked (by the place names) to
specific gods connected with fertility (​Niǫrðr, Freyr, Freyja​) or about whom very little is known
(​Ullr, Ullinn​).

C. “Sacred” animals
When speaking of “sacred” animals, we should be conscious of the fact that the information
provided by our sources is insufficient to establish a sacrality of certain animals or a worship of
animals (as gods or otherwise). Some animals were probably regarded with awe, e.g. the bear.
Gods, especially Odin, could appear in animal shape (bear, horse, snake, boar, birds, etc.), as
could, through special procedures, warriors or magicians. It was also thought possible to have
sexual relations with such (real or imaginary) animals.

The sacrificial animal par excellence of the warrior and aristocratic class was the horse. Eating of
horse meat was part of the sacrificial meal (and expressly allowed to continue after the
conversion of Iceland!). Aristocratic burials and the mass sacrifices in Danish bogs contain
numerous horses. Horse racing connected with burial ceremonies and/or periodic cults could be
the explanation of place names like ​Skedevi ​and ​Skedemosse ​(cf. ON ​skeið “​ race, race course”)
and even of some Bronze Age pictorial monuments (in the Kivik grave). In the “ordinary”,
agricultural milieu, the main sacrificial animal was the sheep (ON ​sauðr​). It was cooked (ON
sioða “​ to cook”: ​sauðr​) and eaten as part of the sacrificial meal. A text from medieval Gotland
informs us that smaller cult communities were called ​suþnautar “​ cooking companions”.

Images of animals (snakes and ravens) served as insignia in battle. It is quite likely that weapons
were thought to have (or to have been “given”, e.g. by naming or inscribing them) attributes of
beasts or birds of prey (as “attackers”). Weapons could also be given to kings and heroes by gods
(esp. Odin).
D. Sanctuaries and temples
We have already dealt with some designations of sanctuaries which the place names have

It makes sense to assume that a sanctuary was somehow demarcated in the landscape. This could
be achieved by a fence or poles (OGutn ​stafgarþr ?​ ). The one category of “nature sanctuaries”
best investigated by archaeologists is that of lake or bog sanctuaries.​17 ​Such sanctuaries are
known in South Scandinavia and North Germany from the Bronze Age until just after the Late
Roman Iron Age. Apart from different kinds of sacrifices, many contain idols of which some
were still standing in or on stone heaps. Such a stone heap was most probably called a ​hǫrgr i​ n
ON (cf. also place names). In a most important Eddic text (​Hyndlolióð 1​ 0), the goddess Freyja
says of a hero:

He raised a ​hǫrgr f​ or me
piled with stones;
now all that rock
has turned to glass;
he reddened it anew
with blood of oxen;
always Ottar put faith
in goodness.

The ​hǫrgr ​was thus intimately connected with bloody sacrifices and apparently also with fire, to
both of which its glass-like surface must be ascribed. We do know that sacrifices connected with
fire were also performed in the sanctuaries of Gårdlösa and Röekillorna.​18

Structures of some kind, e.g. enclosures or a roof, could be erected so that the ​hǫrgr w ​ as the
centre (cf. ​Grímnismál​ 16, where the god ​Niǫrðr r​ ules over “high-timbered ​hǫrgr”​ ). Such
structures could be small, or larger in the case of more important sanctuaries which could
sometimes be the forerunners of a Christian church,​19​​ e.g. the temple of Uppsala as described by
Adam of Bremen,​20 ​or the temple of Maere in Trøndelag,​21 ​where the post-holes were
apparently “consecrated” by burying amulets in them. There is of course no automatic
conclusion that an early Christian church was always erected on exactly the same site as a pagan
temple, and one must bear in mind that a temple building was just one of the many forms of

E. Idols and Cult Requisites

Quite a number of pagan Scandinavian idols have been excavated,​22 ​dating from the Bronze
Age to Early Medieval times. Most are archaic wooden sculpture, distinguished from a mere pole
by faces and distinct sexual attributes. One (Rude Eskildstrup, 6th century AD) displays a triple
neck ring (a ruler’s attribute?). Medieval historical and literary sources also mention idols of
different gods with specific attributes. It is possible that some idols had clothes put on them (for
specific occasions??). One saga describes anointing of idols, and later folklore also preserves
traces of sacrifices to wooden figures. Idols may have been carried around in processions.

ON ​stallr ​or ​stalli w

​ as apparently a general term for the exact place where the sacrifice took
place, a kind of pagan “altar” about which we do not know anything exact (cf. however the ​hǫrgr
above, and the “altar” of Stora Hammars).​23 ​In ​Ynglingatal 1​ 2, a king is called ​vǫrðr véstalls
(the guardian of the holy altar). An important requisite was the ring, apparently both part of the
priest’s attire and also kept on or near the altar. Oaths were sworn “on the ring” (e.g. touching
it?). Such rings could be dedicated to specific gods (Þórr, Ullr). Another most important cult
object was the sacrificial kettle, evidently necessary for the cooking of sacrificial meat and for
collecting the blood. Such kettles could also be called ​hlautbolli “​ oracular bowl” as the blood
could be used for oracles.

F. The Ceremonies
To link with the preceding chapter, the purposes of a sacrifice were mainly: to placate the gods
(who were also actually thought to be dependent on the sacrifices), to avert catastrophes, to
secure success in war, and to procure “a good harvest and peace” (ON ​ár ok friðr)​ . This was
often, of course, connected with the universal desire to know the future. Such predictions could
be based on the behaviour of the victim or on properties of its blood or specific organs. When we
consider the incontestable etymological connection between Ger. ​Los, E ​ ngl. ​lot o​ n the one and
ON ​hlaut ​“sacrificial blood” on the other hand, it is reasonable to assume the casting of lots and
performing of other rites to learn one’s future “lot” in connection with sacrifices to which the
gods were thought to be attracted.

Apart from the sacrifice itself as the main ceremony, there were most probably hymns to the
gods and also dances. We only have traces: some hymns to Þórr​24 ​and possibly invocations of
other gods (e.g. ​Sigrdrífumál ​3-4 possibly a hymn to all gods?). One can speculate that there
were songs to induce new priests into their office ​Hávamál​ 146-163, ​Sigrdrífumál 6​ -13, 15-17,
etc.). There was certainly also the dance, but the written sources are almost silent.​25 ​Gold
bracteates show that, as with the shamans, dance was one of the techniques necessary to attain
ecstasy.​26 ​We can assume that the priests made use of such techniques.
The saga of Olaf the holy contains the ​Vǫlsa þáttr​ which describes the veneration of a horse
phallus (​Vǫlsi​) in which the lady of the house plays a leading role. The ​vǫlsi​ is passed around,
and verses are recited, e.g. the following:

Here you can see

a good stout ​vingull (​ phallus)
chopped off from
the horse’s father.
For you, serving-maid,
this Vǫlsi will be
lively enough
between the thighs.

The refrain is “May Mǫrnir accept this sacrifice.” Mǫrnir is some divine being (or beings)
connected with fertility cults.

Sacrifices could be inanimate (e.g. agricultural produce like butter or seed, parts of utensils like
ploughs, horses’ attires, weapons) or animate (sheep, horses, even, at important occasions,
humans). Animal sacrifices were connected with a sacrificial meal establishing a communion
between the participants. The sacrifice itself could apparently be conducted with or without the
blood flowing, the latter by choking (strangulation?), to judge from the sacrificial terminology.​27
Some parts of the animal were reserved for the gods (e.g. heads, hooves?). The bones were
sometimes split to get at the marrow, sometimes left intact (to “resuscitate” the animal in order to
secure abundance of meat?). Drinking was evidently also connected with the sacrificial meal; the
drinks could be dedicated to specific gods.

There is abundant archaeological proof for ​human sacrifices ​in pagan Scandinavia (in the bog
and lake sanctuaries).​28 ​Adam of Bremen and e.g. the ​Guta saga ​and ​Gutalagen a​ re also
considered reliable in this respect. People were killed in different ways (e.g. hanging, stabbing,
drowning, breaking of backbone). This was evidently not an everyday occurrence but linked to
important occasions like ceremonies in major sanctuaries relating to “matters of state” as
successes or failures of the king, a crisis (drought, famine, invasion), or perhaps in respect of the
re-enactment of some primordial event (Baldr’s death, or the creation of the world from the
dismembered giant Ymir). We even have indications for ritual cannibalism (splitting of human
bones in some early sanctuaries). A human sacrifice to Odin is depicted on the Gotland picture
stone of Stora Hammars,​29 ​and several times described or alluded to in the literature (e.g.
Gautreks saga ​7).
Periodic celebrations could be conducted every nine years (as in Uppsala and Lejre). In the
course of one year, there were probably three main sacrifices (with local and regional differences
regarding the exact time): in autumn, in mid-winter (Yule), and at the beginning of spring. In
some cases there was a fourth sacrifice in mid-summer. We have a rather detailed description by
the Roman historian Tacitus (​Germania c​ h. 40) about the (Danish) cult of a goddess Nerthus
(equated with Terra mater, “Mother Earth”). The idol is carried round the country in a wagon;
finally everything is ritually washed, and the assisting slaves (who might have represented the
male partner in a pair of fertility gods) are drowned. The name of the goddess Nerthus is
connected with ON​ Niǫrðr,​ a male god connected with fertility.​30

G. Priests
There has been some controversy whether there were Germanic and pagan Scandinavian priests.
Much of that controversy, however, evolves around questions of priesthood as a sacral “office”
in the sense of the more fixed social and religious structures of India with its rigidly separated
castes and pagan Gaul with its highly organised priestly class. There certainly were pagan
Scandinavian priests in the sense of ​Persons ​(​male and female​) ​with priestly functions. S
​ uch
priests are already mentioned e.g. in Tacitus,​31 ​and then quite frequently in Icelandic sagas (the
term is ON ​goði, q​ uite unambiguously connected with​ goð/guð​ “god”). The dignity of ​goði ​could
be inherited and was perhaps originally connected with ownership of the place of sacrifice.
Besides the ​goðar, t​ he sagas mention​ gyðjur ​“priestesses”. The texts support the assumption that
these were particularly active in fertility cults.​32

Another group of sources of significance for the priestly function are place names, not only
theophorous place names connected with important administrative centres,​33 ​but also names
containing apparently priestly designations.​34

Furthermore, we have to consider some runic inscriptions, e.g. Glavendrup (10th century) ​kuþa
uia​ (​goða véa)​ , “the priest of the sanctuaries”, Rök (early 9th century) ​uiauari ​“the guardian of
the sanctuaries”, Snoldelev (same dating)​ þulaR a Salhaugum ​“of the ‘speaker’ at S.” (see
below), and Nordhuglen (ca 400 AD) ​ek gudija ungandiR “​ I, the priest, immune against

The priest in this inscription cannot be harmed by evil sorcery because he is the stronger
magician. The word (ON) ​þulr ​“speaker” points in the same direction: the speaker of magical
and sacral formulas, often at assemblies. ​Hávamál 1​ 11 expresses it thus:​35

It is time to speak from the speaker’s chair, at the spring of knowledge from the past. I
saw and was silent, I saw and took thought; I listened to the speeches of men. I heard
them consider the mysteries of the past, nor were they silent about the future, at the High
One’s hall, in the High One’s hall…

The designation of ​þulr, ​the inscription of Nordhuglen, numerous aspects of the cult of Odin,​36
of “magic” in Old Norse sources,​37 ​and of the scenes on gold bracteates,​38 ​they all pint in the
same direction: the fundamental significance of ​shamanism ​in ON religion and cult. It was
essential for the person initiated into the contact with the unseen, to have a command of those
techniques that helped him (or were believed to do so) to reach the state of ecstasy which was
desirable or even necessary to perform sacrificial or other tasks most efficiently. Ecstasy as a
means of establishing contact with the beyond is much older than pagan Scandinavian religion.
That it remained so much alive in pagan Scandinavian pictorial monuments and even in texts
committed to parchment in the 13th century, is not only astonishing, but also proof of its
fundamental significance in religious anthropology.​39


1. Cf. e.g. Hilda R.E. Davidson, ​Scandinavian Mythology, r​ ev. ed. Feltham: Newnes 1982;
Jan de Vries, ​Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte I​ -II. berlin: W. de Gruyter 1956-57
[1970]; Edgar C. Polomé, ​Germanic Religion and the Indo-European Heritage, M ​ ankind
Quarterly 26, 1985, 19055; id., ​Germanic Religion, ​in ​The Encyclopedia of Religion,
New York 1987, Vol. 5, 521-536; Marianne Görman, ​Nordiskt och keltiskt.
Sydskandinavisk religion onder yngre bronsålder och keltisk järnålder, D ​ iss. Lund 1987.
2. For Indo-European traces in Germanic religion cf. e.g. Polomé, ​art.cit.; ​Åke V. Ström
and Haralds Biezais, ​Germanische und Baltische Religion, ​Stuttgart: Kohlhammer 1975
(to be used with caution); de Vries, ​op.cit.
3. For Dumézil cf. Peter Buchholz, ​Perspectives for Historical Research in Germanic
Religion, ​History of Religions 8, 1968, 111-138; Carol Clover and John Lindow, ​Old
Norse - Icelandic Literature. A Critical Guide, I​ thaca-London: Cornell Univ. Pr. 1985;
Polomé, ​art.cit.; ​Ström-Biezais, ​op.cit.; d​ e Vries, ​op.cit.; ​E.O.G. Turville-Petre, ​Myth
and Religion of the North, L​ ondon: Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1984.
4. Cf. Buchholz, ​Perspectives, cit.; i​ d., ​Im Himmel wie auf Erden. Gedanken zu Heiligtum
und Kultprovinz in der frühgeschichtlichen Religion Skandinaviens, A ​ cta Germanica 7,
1972, 1-17; id., ​The Religious Geography of Pagan Scandinavia. A New Research
​ ediaeval Scandinavia 5, 1972, 89-91; id., ​Forschungsprobleme germanischer
Project, M
Religionsgeschichte, ​Christina Albertina (Kiel) 18 (N.F. 2), 1975, 19-29; de Vries, ​op.cit.
I, 54 f.
5. Folke Ström, ​Nordisk hedendom. Tro och sed i förkristen tid, G ​ öteborg: Akademiförlaget
6. Cf. Clover-Lindow, ​op.cit.
7. Cf. Erik Moltke, ​Runes and their Origin: Denmark and elsewhere, C ​ openhagen 1985.
8. Cf. Buchholz, ​Religious Geography, cit.; V ​ ibeke Dalberg (eds.), ​Bebyggelsers og
bebyggelsenavnes alder. NORNAs niende symposium i Københaven 25-27 oktober 1982,
Uppsala: NORNA 1984; de Vries, ​op.cit.
9. Cf. Dalberg, ​op.cit.​; Lars Hellberg, ​Hedendomens spår i uppländska ortnamn,
Ortnamnssällskapets i Uppsala Årsskrift 1986, 40-71.
10. Cf. list in de Vries, ​op.cit. ​II, 475-479.
11. Cf. P.V. Glob, ​The Bog People, ​Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Pr. 1969; Herbert Jankuhn (Hg.),
Vorgeschichtliche Heiligtümer und Opferplätze in Mittel- und Nordeuropa. Bericht über
ein Symposium in Reinhausen bei Göttingen vom 14. Bis 16. Oktober 1968, G ​ öttingen:
Vandenhoeck 1970; Herbert Jankuhn, ​Archäologische Beobachtungen zur Religion der
festländischen Angeln, i​ n ​Studien zur Sachsenforschung, H ​ ildesheim: Lax 1977, 215-234;
Karl Hauck, ​Zur Ikonologie der Goldbrakteaten I​ -XX. see selected list in: id., ​Die
Veräanderung der Missionsgeschichte durch die Entdeckung der Ikonologie der
germanischen Bilddenkmäler, ​<Westfalen> (Münster) 58, 1980, 227-307; id.,
Bilddenkmäler zur Religion, i​ n ​Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde​ 2 (1976),
577-590; id., ​Brakteatenikonologie, ​in ​Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde​ 3
(1978), 361-401; id., ​Überregionale Sakralorte und die vorchristliche Ikonographie der
Seegermanen,​ Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Göttingen I. Phil.-hist.
KI. 1981, Nr. 8, 205-253, plates 1-17; id., ​Varianten des göttlichen Erscheinungsbildes
im kultischen Vollzug erhellt mit einer ikonographischen Formenkunde des heidnischen
Altares, F​ rühmittelalterliche Studien 18, 1984, 266-313, plates XI-XXX; id., ​Gudme in
der Sicht der Brakteatenforschung, F ​ rühmittelalterliche Studien 21, 1987, 147-181, plates
XXII-XXV; Hans Emil Lidén, ​Utgravingen av Maere kirke. Nord-Trøndelag Historielag
Årbok for 1969, ​Steinkjer 1971, 18-58; Olaf Olsen, ​Hørg, hov og kirke. Historiske og
arkaeologiske vikingetidsstudier, ​København: Luno 1966 (important review by C.J.
Becker and A.E. Christensen in Historisk Tidsskrift, København, 1967, 439-452); F.
Ström, ​op.cit.
12. Cf. Görman, ​op.cit. a​ nd also Peter Buchholz, ​Odin, Celtic and Siberian Affinities of a
Germanic Deity, ​Mankind Quarterly 24, 1984, 427-437, concerning other Celtic
13. Cf. Hauck, ​Zur Ikonologie der Goldbrakteaten, cit.
14. Cf. Buchholz, ​Schamanistiche Züge in der altisländischen Überlieferung, d​ iss. Münster
1968; id., ​Odin, cit.; ​Hauck, ​Zur Ikonologie, cit.; ​id., ​Bilddenkmäler, cit.
15. Cf. Jankuhn, ​Vorgeschichtliche Heiligtümer, cit.
16. Adam of Bremen, ​Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum I​ V, 26-27, and ​schol.
138, 139, 141.
17. Cf. Jankuhn, ​Vorgeschichtliche Heiligtümer, cit.
18. Cf. Jankuhn, ​Vorgeschichtliche Heiligtümer, cit.
19. Cf. Lidén, ​op.cit.; ​Olsen, ​op.cit.
20. Cf. Turville Petre, ​op.cit., 2​ 44 f.
21. Cf. Lidén, ​op.cit.; ​Olsen, ​op.cit.
22. Cf. Jankuhn, ​Vorgeschichtliche Heiligtümer, cit.; d​ e Vries, ​op.cit., a​ nd particularly
Hauck, ​Überregionale Sakralorte, cit.
23. Plate in Buchholz, ​Forschungsprobleme, cit., 26.
24. Cf. de Vries, ​op.cit.
25. Cf. however Saxo V, 154 about the lascivious body movements connected with the cult
as Uppsala.
26. Hauck, ​Zur Ikonologie, cit.; i​ d., ​Bilddenkmäler, cit.; ​Buchholz, ​Schamanistiche Züge, cit.
27. Cf. Jankuhn, ​Vorgeschichtliche Heiligtümer, cit.
28. Cf. Jankuhn, ​Vorgeschichtliche Heiligtümer, cit.
29. Buchholz, ​Forschungsprobleme, cit., 26.
30. Heinrich Beck (ed.), ​Germanenprobleme in heutiger Sicht, ​Berlin-New York: W. de
Gruyter 1986, 281.
31. Germania​ ch. 7,10,11 and 40.
32. On the function of the 10th century ​goði​ cf. the important article by Jón Hnefill
Aðalsteinsson, ​Blót and þing. The Function of the Tenth Century goði, ​Temenos 21,
1985, 23-38
​ .B. the connection here between “secular” and sacral!
33. Cf. Hellberg, ​art.cit.; N
34. Cf. Lars Hellberg, ​Hedniska prästtitlar i svenska ortnamn. P ​ aper read at the Åbo
conference on Encounters between Religions in Old Nordic Times on 19th August 1987,
but not published in the proceedings of that conference.
35. Cf. Buchholz, ​Odin, cit.
36. Cf. Buchholz, ​Odin, cit.
37. Cf. Buchholz, ​Schamanistiche Züge, cit.
38. Hauck, ​Zur Ikonologie, cit.; i​ d., ​Bilddenkmäler, cit.
39. Further bibliography on the topic of this paper includes Régis Boyer, ​Yggdrasill. La
religion des anciens Scandinaves, P ​ aris: Payot 1981; Peter Buchholz, ​Bibliographie zur
alteuropäischen Religionsgeschichte 1​ 954-64, Berlin: W. de Gruyter 1967; continued by
Jürgen Ahrendts for 1965-69 (publ. 1974) and by Wilfried Flüchter for 1970-75 (publ.
1985); Carl Martin Edsman, ​Opening Address ​in: Tore Ahlbäck (ed.), ​Old Norse and
Finnish Religions and Cultic Place-Names (​ see below), p. 9-34; ​Die Goldbrakteaten der
Völkerwanderungszeit. I​ , 1 ​Einleitung; I​ , 2 ​Ikonographischer Katalog (Text); ​I,3
Ikonographischer Katalog (Tafeln), M ​ ünchen: Fink 1985 ff.; B. Jørgensen, ​Dansk
Stednavneleksikon I​ -III, København 1981-83; Nordisk samarbeissnemnd for humanistik
forskning (NOS-H_, ​Innstilling om Forkristen nordisk religion, O ​ slo: Norges
Allmennvitenskapelige Forskiningsråd 12.9.1986 (unpublished ms.); Tore Ahlbäck (ed.)
Old Norse and Finnish Religions and Cultic Place-Names. Based on Papers read at the
Symposium on Encounters between Religions in Old Nordic Times and on Cultic
Place-Names at Åbo, Finland, on the 19th-21st of August 1987, ​Åbo 1990; Magnus
Olsen, ​Farms and Fanes of Ancient Norway, ​Oslo: Aschehoug 1928; ​Reallexikon der
Germanischen Altertumskunde,​ 2nd ed. Berlin, New York: W. de Gruyter 1968 ff. (in
progress); J. Sandnes-Ol. Stemshaug, ​Norsk stadnammleksikon, ​Oslo 1980; Birgit Sawyer
et. al. (eds.), ​The Christianization of Scandinavia. Report of a Symosium held at Kungälv,
Sweden, 4-9 August 1985, ​Alingsås: Viktoria 1987; Ola Stemshaug, ​Naum i Noreg, O ​ slo:
Det Norske Samlaget 1973; <Frühmittelalterliche Studien> (Berlin-New York) 18, 1984
(the complete volume is devoted to sacrifice in prehistoric Central and Northern Europe).