Did vikings sacrifice christans or is that just propoganda

Oct 2019
62
United States
Depictions of human sacrifice on Stora Hammars stones vouch for the christians. Ahmed ibn Fadlan claims he saw a Norse suttee, which is human sacrifice. So they sacrificed humans, and if christians are human, they might qualify for blot.
 
Oct 2019
62
United States
Also, Tacitus records the Germanics sacrificed prisoners to their god of death by hanging, and the Stora Hammars stones depict hanging in the same frieze as a human blot. Odin hanged himself to himself; the idea is there, so I don't see any reason for doubting the christians. Its probably true that every 9 years 9 human blots were performed at Uppsala, until this became impossible.
 
Jan 2012
428
South Midlands in Britain
They may have sacrificed people, but would the religion of the people they sacrificed matter to them?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,758
There has always a bit of a problem with lack of archaeology to confirm the accounts if Viking age human sacrifice. The accounts that are contemporary were written by non-Norse Christians. The accounts from Norse sources are later and also Christian.

Just now there has however been the first find of what does look like confirmation of human sacrifice, in Sweden from a place called Ströja outside the town of Norrköping – four human crania from beheaded individuals in what has been concluded to be ritual circumstances. It's Iron Age and so a couple of centuries older than the Viking Age proper though.
 
Oct 2019
62
United States
They may have sacrificed people, but would the religion of the people they sacrificed matter to them?
Maybe sometimes, maybe never.
Just now there has however been the first find of what does look like confirmation of human sacrifice, in Sweden from a place called Ströja outside the town of Norrköping – four human crania from beheaded individuals in what has been concluded to be ritual circumstances. It's Iron Age and so a couple of centuries older than the Viking Age proper though.
We've had evidence since the 1940s of the well sacrifices Adam of Bremen had heard about from excavations at Trelleborg. AlpinLuke's link and the vid above go into this.

Evidence of germanics offering human sacrifices prior to the viking age also come from bogs.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,758
Maybe sometimes, maybe never.

We've had evidence since the 1940s of the well sacrifices Adam of Bremen had heard about from excavations at Trelleborg. AlpinLuke's link and the vid above go into this.

Evidence of germanics offering human sacrifices prior to the viking age also come from bogs.
Yes, well, broad enough geography and long enough timeline will ensure that.

There are no finds of this kind from Sweden. So far there is one late Stone Age find ("the Raspberry Girl"), and now this new mid-Iron Age find, but still nothing from the late Iron Age (Viking).

As I said, the textual sources to this from the Viking age period (Scandinavian late iron age) are all non-Norse Christians, like Adam of Bremen. And he was writing specifically about Uppsala and Sweden. They're excavating a 70 000 m2 of settlement at Old Uppsala right now, and there is diddly squat evidence of any human sacrifice from what according to Adam was Pagan Ground Control Nr 1.

Tacitus description of the cult of the godess Nerthus is actually more compelling that Adam of Bremen's account, since there the archaeology is there to back it up.

Viking Age ship graves should contain human sacrifices, going by fx the account of Ibn Fadlan. But while there are certainly sacrificed horses and dogs, so far no human remains.

And since the finds of sacrificed human remains are stone, bronze and early iron age, and from the regions south and west of Scandinavia, it still raises the thorny question of what is supposed to be regarded as maybe "Celtic" or "Germanic"?

For most of the 19th c. the Danes were all officially Celtic, not a Germanic in sight. That was of course because the Danes were happy enough to maintain they had nothing at all in common with the ferkin' Germans at the time. The Germans returned the compliment by adoring the Swedes and Norwegians. And the closer in time and further north and east we move, the more the evidence of human sacrifice seems to dry up.
 
Mar 2014
1,993
Lithuania
I don't see why not. On another side of the Baltic sea Baltic tribes still occasionally practiced human sacrifices in 13 th century. It seems that custom was already disappearing, there couple of mentions from Christian sources that after some battle army demanded to sacrifice prisoner for the Gods. Usually it is mentioned that Warleader was reluctant to do that, but army gets what army wants. (My guess that commander would prefer ransoming important prisoner instead of burning him with pile of armor and weapons for the Gods)
 
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