Burial arrangements and conceptions about the afterlife in Old Norse literary sources from the 9th to the 14th century, with reference to the role of birds of prey played therein
MetadataShow full item record
Death and the dead were an important part of life in Viking Age Scandinavia (AD 793–1066). This study gives an overview of different literary sources that depict burial customs, the information they provide concerning concrete ideas related to such burial practices, and refers to the role which birds of prey played therein. In his historiographic early 13th century writings, Snorri Sturluson (1179–1241) states the purpose of grave mounds and grave monuments as memoria. Furthermore he states that grave goods accompany the deceased to the afterlife which is also implied by other sources. Several texts agree on the idea that cremation allows the deceased to enter the afterlife. The information provided by Old Norse and Latin literature from the 9th to the 14th century can to some extent be verified by the 8th century Old English epic poem Beowulf and the 9th century account of the Arab traveller Ibn Fadlan.