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The Warrior In Old Norse Religion

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the role played by eschatology in the religious beliefs and politics of the ruling elites of Scandinavia in the late Viking Period. The focus is on the idea of Óðinn welcoming his heroes in Valholl, and on the cultural and political circumstances under which this myth functioned as ideology. The two poems focused on here, Eiríksmál and Hákonarmál, are the main evidence for the eschatological Óðinn mythology. The idea of afterlife of Hákonarmál is the same as that of Eiríksmál, but the chapter arguea that the way in which this idea is presented in Hákonarmál is influenced by the circumstance that king Hákon was or had been a Christian, by education or by conviction. The chapter also addresses the question whether the Valholl myth from Old Norse sources, in particular from Eiríksmál and Hákonarmál, was a widespread afterlife idea among Scandinavian elite groups.

Keywords:Óðinn mythology; Eiríksmál; Hákonarmál; Old Norse religion; Scandinavian elite groups; Valholl; Viking period



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