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The Ghostly Troop And The Battle Over Death: William Of Auvergne (D. 1249) Connects Christian, Old Norse, And Irish Views

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Chapter Summary

One of historys most persistent themes is the belief that bands of the dead display themselves to inspire or frighten the living. Within the Roman Empire, many peoples, including the Romans, accepted cosmologies that included active roles for the dead. In Christian belief, resurrection defeats death, the afterlife of the saved seemed to transcend the affairs of this world. In this chapter, the author wishes to call attention to sources in which the depth of Christian appropriation is clearer than in those usually cited. The author introduces some Irish tales alongside the more commonly examined Germanic examples to consider the Ghostly Troop within the complex of popular ideas churchmen sought to contain. One writer who will figure prominently in the chapter is the bishop of Paris, William of Auvergne, who died in 1249. Sources in Old Norse preserve copious evidence for cavalcades of dead warriors, primarily Odins Einherjar.

Keywords: christian belief; ghostly troop; Irish Views; old Norse; William of Auvergne



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