The indigenous religious traditions of the peoples of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic areas were and are very diverse. Despite their diversity, these traditions have often been presented as similar. In resent research, however, variations and local characteristics have gained increasing attention. The emphasis in this volume is exactly on differences and on nuances. Therefore, critical analyses of earlier research, different forms of source criticism, and comparative methods that look for more than just similarities are all applied as essential analytical tools.
Some of the chapters focus on aspects of the traditional cultures of these northern peoples, others are critical readings of research about them. The themes of the chapters that deal with traditional practices and narratives vary from hostage traditions to ancestor mountains, from bear rituals and sweat baths to the ritual drum. The research historical chapters discuss source critical and terminological problems, or consider the contributions of scholars in the emergence of what eventually become identified as religions.Book Details
This book aims to investigate the taking and giving of hostages in peace processes during the Viking Age and early Middle Ages in Scandinavia and adjacent areas. Scandinavia has been absent in previous research about hostages from the perspectives of legal and social history, which has mostly focused on Antiquity (the Roman Empire), Continental Germanic cultures, such as the Merovingian realm, and Anglo-Saxon England.
The examples presented are from confrontations between Scandinavians and other peoples in which the hostage giving and taking was displayed as a ritual act and thus became symbolically important. Hostages were a vital part of the peace processes and used as resources by both sides in the ‘areas of communication’ within the ‘areas of confrontation’. Literary texts as well as runic inscriptions, picture stones, place names, and personal names are used as source material.
‘It is a work of very high academic quality. It is based upon meticulous and thorough studies of a great variety of sources. The author has definitely a very good knowledge of the source material. It is a very good study of a previously neglected research field.’ — Thomas Lindkvist, Professor emeritus, University of GothenburgBook Details
The authors of the present volume, Myth, Materiality, and Lived Religion, focus on the material dimension of Old Norse mythology and the role played by myths in everyday life. More broadly expressed, the collection looks at the social, ceremonial and material contexts of myths. This topic has been underexplored in previous research on Old Norse myths, despite its important theoretical implications. However, discussions around materiality, in a more general sense, have for a long time been significant for historians of religion, especially archaeologists. Myth, Materiality, and Lived Religion seeks to make the case for the relevance of materiality to literary historians and philologists as well.
Questions relating to the theme of materiality and lived religion are posed in this book, including:
• What do myths tell us about the material culture of the periods in which they were narrated?
• What role did myths or mythical beings play in connection to, for instance, illnesses and remedies during the Viking Period and the Middle Ages?
• How did ordinary people experience participation in a more formal sacrificial feast led by ritual specialists?
The editors of this book are all associated with the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Genders Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden.Book Details