Thursday, March 30, 2017

((Odroerir: The Heathen Journal decided to add yet another feature to our site.  We will be showcasing short blurbs, video clips, and even preserving our facebook posts which contain quotes or interesting information under a category which we have decided to name Mimir.  We just thought it would be catchy to name the place where we archive our posts for people to bring up and look through after the “Wise, remembering one” who keeps secret wisdom in Eddic poetry.))

It has been five years since this figurine was discovered, but it has not received as much attention as some others, so we decided to give it a little showcase of its own.

We introduce you to “Odin” from Lejre.  Is it meant to represent Odin?  We don’t know.  When it was first found, it was the center of a debate, because it wore a “dress”.  The following excerpt is taken from the article “En sølvfigurin fra Lejre i Danmark”, written by Tom Christensen of the Roskilde Museum, and published in the journal Viking Vol. 2010. for the Norwegian Archaeological Society.

“The cast figuring, 1, 75 cm high and weighing 9 grams, is made of silver with niello decoration. It was found in 2009 during Roskilde Museum’s excavations in Lejre on the island of Zealand. Lejre is known from Norse literature and medieval Danish chronicles as the residence from where the first royal Danish family, the mythical Scildings, reigned the country.  The excavations revealed buildings up to 60 metres long, clearly emphasizing the importance of late Iron Age and Viking Age Lejre, c. 500-1000 AD. The style and manufacturing of the figuring date it to around 950.

in the drawing, the head gear appears similar to a helm, and what appears to be a curling moustache is shown. Drawing: Rune Knude/Zoomorgraphic

In the drawing, the head gear appears similar to a helm, and what appears to be a curling moustache is shown. Drawing: Rune Knude/Zoomorgraphic

The figuring is composed of three main elements: a chair, two birds and a sitting person.  The chair has four corner posts decorated with stylized animal heads (one is missing). There are also two animal heads placed symmetrically on top of the back of the chair. It is clearly a depiction of a Nordic high seat- the throne of Odin, lidskjalv, is an obvious possibility.  The two birds draw their attention to the person on the throne.  They are not part of the throne, but naturalistic images, and with their strong beaks they resemble Odin’s two ravens Hugin and Munin.

Two images depicting male´s in similar attire.  The figure on the right also wears rings around the neck similar to that of the Lejre figure.  Figure on the left was found at  Trønninge and the figure on the right is from Rude Eskildstrup.

Two images depicting males in similar attire. The figure on the right also wears rings around the neck similar to that of the Lejre figure. Figure on the left was found at Trønninge and the figure on the right is from Rude Eskildstrup.

The person in the high seat is wearing a long dress (or something resembling a dress) and a cloak.  On his breast jewelry consisting of four strongly profiled rings is seen.  Both cloak and dress are decorated with bands. Around his neck you see a heavy ring, probably a golden necklace.  On his head he wears a hat.  Under his nose one notices a horizontal thickened line which the author interprets as a moustache. Hat and moustache are often seen on images of gods from the Nordic and Slavic regions. It seems likely that the figurine represents Odin in his high seat with his two ravens, attributes relating to Odin in his capacity as the wise ruler; a symbolism which is also demonstrated by the whole composition of the figurine.”

We like the similarities and differences between these three images.  It’s funny to note that Þór appears to have been the most popular god among Iceland’s settlers, Freyr was most influential in Sweden, and Óðinn was most influential among the Danes. (this is a fun observation.  We don’t know if these images ARE of the gods.):

Odin?  Found at Lejre, DK. Photo:Ole Malling. Copyright Roskilde Museum

Odin? Found at Lejre, DK.
Photo:Ole Malling. Copyright Roskilde Museum.

Thor?  Found in Eyjafjörður, Iceland.

Thor? Found in Eyjafjörður, Iceland. Copyright Þjóðminjasafn Íslands.

Freyr?  Found at Rällinge, Sweden. Photo: Christer Åhlin at The Museum of National Antiquities

Freyr? Found at Rällinge, Sweden.
Photo: Christer Åhlin. Copyright The Museum of National Antiquities, Sweden.

More can be read here:

Odin Fra Lejre