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In March, Sweden released a postage stamp in their Viking Age series showing the Buddha sitting in a lotus. Why? In 1954, a small bronze Buddha statue was found in Sweden by a team of archaeologists. It is now believed that the figure (from 5thC Kashmir, India) traveled for two or three centuries before ending up in the possession of a Viking.
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Way cool!!!
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Part 2 of my photo-essay on J.R.R. Tolkien Archives at Wheaton College: follow link for amazing Tolkien collection + photos of C.S. Lewis items, including original wardrobe that inspired "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"!

Art by Brothers Hildebrandt
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Excerpted from The Local (Norway)

An ornate viking sword on display for the first time at Oslo's Museum of Cultural History may have belonged to one of the Viking warriors Denmark’s King Canute hand-picked to attack England.

The sword, found during a dig in Langeid in southern Norway in 2011, but only publicised this month, is so lavishly embellished with gold, silver and copper alloy that archeologists believe it must have belonged to a powerful man. 
“Even before we began the excavation of this grave, I realised it was something quite special. The grave was so big and looked different from the other 20 graves in the burial ground,” said Camilla Cecilie Wenn, who coordinated the dig.
“But when we went on digging outside the coffin, our eyes really popped. Our pulses raced when we realised it was the hilt of a sword! And on the other side of the coffin, the metal turned out to be a big battle-axe. Although the weapons were covered in rust when we found them, we realised straight away that they were special and unusual.”
Wenn’s team also found fragments of silver coins in the grave, one of which was a penny minted under Ethelred II in England, dating from the period 978-1016. Battle-axes similar to the one found in the grave and dating from the same period have been found in the River Thames in London. 
Archeologists speculate that these axes were lost in the river or even deliberately thrown into it during the series of attacks on England by the Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard and his son Canute. 
According to Zanette Glørstad, a project leader at the museum, the sword is unusually ornate.  “The sword is 94cm long, with a well-preserved handle, wrapped with silver thread and with the hilt and pommel at the top are covered in silver with details in gold, edged with a copper alloy thread,” she said. 
It is decorated with large spirals, various combinations of letters and cross-like ornaments. The letters are probably Latin, but what the letter combinations meant is still a mystery. At the top of the pommel, there is a picture of a hand holding a cross. 
“That’s unique and we don’t know of any similar findings on other swords from the Viking Age,” Wenn said. “Both the hand and the letters indicate that the sword was deliberately decorated with Christian symbolism."
She speculates that the sword was produced outside Norway and brought back to the country by a prominent warrior who was then laid to rest in a pagan burial ground.  According to the museum, gold is rarely found on swords from the Viking Age, although Vikings treated their weapons as status objects.

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If it's a pagan burial site, might the design still possibly be a hand holding a hammer?
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from Sörla Þáttur (14th century)

There was a man called Farbauti who was a peasant and had a wife called Laufey. She was thin and meagre, and so she was called "Needle." They had no children except a son who was called Loki.

He was not a big man, but he early developed a caustic tongue and was alert in trickery and unequalled in that kind of cleverness which is called cunning. He was very full of guile even in his youth, and for this reason he was called Loki the Sly.

He set off to Odin's home in Asgard and became his man. Odin always had a good word for him whatever he did, and often laid heavy tasks upon him, all of which he performed better than could have been expected. He also knew almost everything that happened, and he told Odin whatever he knew.

Read the free eBook containing the story:
"Stories and Ballads of the Far Past: Icelandic and Faroese"
Free to download from The Norse Mythology​ Online Library
In "Sagas & Þættir" section at

Image: Loki by Carl Emil Doepler
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+Joe Naylor thats true what with them actually being from troy and what not by that point.
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Part 1 of my photo-essay on J.R.R. Tolkien Archives at Wheaton College is now up. Follow link to see Tolkien's desk (where he wrote The Hobbit), an original letter (about his friendship with C.S. Lewis & other authors), art work & more.
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Excerpt from The Local

Danish archaeologists have found 2,000 gold spirals buried in a field in Zealand (Denmark) that they suspect were used to adorn the ceremonial garbs of sun-worshiping priest-kings during the Bronze Age.

The 2,000 gold spirals that were found have been dated as originating between 900-700 B.C. Each spiral is made up of pure gold thread and measures up to three centimeters in length. The entire find weighs between 200-300 grams.

“Maybe the spirals were fastened to threads lining a hat or parasol. Maybe they were woven into hair or embroidered on a ceremonial garb. The fact is that we do not know, but I am inclined to believe that they were part of a priest-king’s garb or part of some headwear,” Flemming Kaul from the Danish National Museum said in a press release.

The excavation area – located in the Boeslunde district in southwestern Zealand – has been a veritable treasure trove of archaeological finds. This latest discovery makes it the area where the most gold jewellery and artefacts – in terms of sheer weight – have been recovered from the north European Bronze Age.

“It shows that this place had a very big significance for Bronze Age people when they chose to sacrifice several kilos of gold here,” said Christensen.

Flemming Kaul from the National Museum also believes that the area had some sort of religious significance as a place where Bronze Age worshippers carried out rituals and sacrifices to the higher powers.

“Maybe the priest king had a golden bracelet around his wrist, and the gold spirals adorned his cape or his hat, where during rituals they shone like the sun. The sun was one of the holy symbols in the Bronze Age and gold was presumably seen as having some sort of particular magic power. It is colored like the sun, it shines like the sun, and because gold lasts forever, it was also seen as containing some of the Sun’s power,” Kaul said.  

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dread beads
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Have them in circles
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Your host spent Sunday enjoying the lyrical beauty of Germanic culture at Milwaukee's German Fest​. Prost!
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Excerpted from Discovery News

Archaeologists excavating an Iron Age settlement on the Baltic island of Bornholm in Denmark have unearthed a unique enameled bronze clasp. Cast as a flat piece of bronze and decorated with green enamel and glass disks in brilliant red, yellow, and black colors, the brooch is shaped like an owl and dates between 100-250 A.D.

“The bird’s big black glass pupils seem to stare directly back at you. Its large, luminous eyes are made even more dramatic by the stunning inlays of orange glass around the pupils,” write Ulla Lund Hansen, a leading scholar in the field of Roman Iron Age research, and Christina Seehusen, archaeologist at Bornholm Museum.

The rare brooch, which measures just 1.5 by 1.5 inches, would have been used to fasten a man’s cloak. It was found in the Roman-age soil deposits of an ancient house in September 2014, but only now the find was made public.

“It is very uncommon to find such items in a settlement context in Denmark. We usually find these things only in burials. The settlement was unusual in itself, as it was extremely well preserved compared to typical standards,” Seehusen said.

The brooch, or fibula, was probably made along the Roman frontier that ran along the Danube and the Rhine in what is now Germany. How it ended up on Bornholm, an island in the middle of the Baltic Sea, remains a mystery.

“We can only guess who the original owner was and how it came to be preserved on the island,” Seehusen said.

The unusual piece represents a personal item, which is very rarely found outside the borders of the Roman Empire. It was possibly owned by a person who served as a mercenary in the Roman army in the northern provinces. With its unusal shape and bright colors, it probably provided its owner with a great level of prestige.

“Perhaps it was lost or maybe it was deliberately hidden for reasons known only to its owner. Most likely, we will never know the brooch’s full story,” Seehusen said. “It is possible that Germanic mercenaries in the Roman territories somehow adopted Roman traditions of symbolic jewelry.” 

The majority of such clasps was found in frontier forts in what is now Germany, but small numbers were also found in various European countries.

“They are nonetheless extremely rare in Northern Europe,” Seehusen said.

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O'er the sea from the north
there sails a ship
with the people of Hel,
at the helm stands Loki.
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There is a fate worse than death, and being on a ship with them is it.
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Unfettered will fare the Fenriswolf,
and fall on the fields of men...

Hákonarmál (Eyvindr skáldaspillir, 10thC)
Photo: sculpture by Thomas Dambo
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Excerpted from BBC News

A £1.4m European Union grant awarded to a Viking project based in Shetland is a "major boost" to the Isle of Man, Manx National Heritage (MNH) have said. The EU Creative Europe Culture grant of €1.96m has been given to the Shetland Amenity Trust for its four year "Follow the Vikings" project.

It will celebrate Viking heritage throughout Europe. MNH Director Edmund Southworth said it gives the island a "significant platform" to promote its history. Shetland Amenity Trust is the lead partner in the project which will promote Viking history across 12 countries.

Jimmy Moncrieff, from Shetland Amenity Trust, said: "We and our partners, including Manx National Heritage, have been working for years to make transnational Viking heritage more accessible and understandable to a worldwide audience. I am absolutely delighted."

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Old High German, recorded 10thC (but certainly older)

Phol and Wodan rode into the wood;
the foreleg of Baldr's horse was dislocated.

Then Sintgunt and Sunna, her sister, sang over it,
then Friia and Volla, her sister, sang over it.

Then Wodan sang over it, for he could do that well:
be it dislocation of bone, be it an ailment of the blood,
be it dislocation of the limbs:

Bone to bone, blood to blood,
limb to limb, as if they were glued!
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The Norse Mythology Google+ Page
Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried is a writer on mythology and religion. A Norse mythologist and musician in Chicago, he teaches courses on mythology, religion, J.R.R. Tolkien and Richard Wagner for Newberry Library's Continuing Education Program. He taught Norse mythology at Loyola University Chicago and Norse religion at Carthage College, where he was founder and faculty advisor of the Tolkien Society.

Karl's website, The Norse Mythology Blog, was named the world's Best Religion Weblog in 2012, 2013 and 2014. It is the first religion blog to enter the Weblog Awards Hall of Fame. In addition to original articles and interviews on myth and religion, the site features projects such as the Worldwide Heathen Census 2013, a first attempt to estimate current numbers of adherents of the modern iteration of Norse religion.

Karl's work on mythology and religion has been published in Herdfeuer (Germany), Interfaith Ramadan (Italy), MythNow (Joseph Campbell Foundation), On Religion (UK), Religion and Ethics (Australia) and Reykjavík Grapevine (Iceland). He wrote all definitions relating to Ásatrú (Norse religion) in the Religion Newswriters Association's Religion Stylebook.

Karl has been interviewed on myth and religion by the BBC, Daily BeastHistory Channel, OnFaithPublic Radio International's The World, Strings Magazine, Chicago Public Radio's Morning Edition, Raven Radio, Viking Magazine and Wired Magazine. He has been a featured lecturer on literary and musical interpretations of Norse mythology at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wagner Society of America and Wheaton College.

A member of the Religion Newswriters Association, Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, Tolkien Society (UK), and Viking Society for Northern Research (UK), Karl is also the Official Norse Mythologist of the Stephanie Miller Show.

Karl holds degrees in literature and music from University of California at San Diego, University of Wisconsin at Madison and University of Texas at Austin. He studied literature and art history at Loyola University Chicago Rome Center in Italy and has taken Icelandic language courses through University of Iceland's distance learning program. He recently received an academic scholarship from University of Chicago Divinity School and is now working on an MA in Religion.

2012, 2013 & 2014 Weblog Awards: Best Religion Weblog
Weblog Awards Hall of Fame: First religion blog to enter the Hall of Fame
Chicago Public Radio: "[Karl's] one of the country’s most respected researchers and lecturers on Norse mythology."
Chicago Humanities Festival: "Seigfried is a prolific chronicler of the world of Norse mythology."
Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth): "[Karl's] probably a better Guardian of Asgard than I am."
Jóhanna G. Harðardóttir (Ásatrúarfélagið): "Hér er rétti maðurinn á ferð til að kenna Norræna goðafræði í US."
Syracuse University iSchool: "This is an entertaining and enlightening blog to follow for anyone interested in Norse mythology."
Weaving Wyrd: "His questions are thought-provoking, and his scholarly bona fides are pretty impressive."
Bob Freeman: "Best Esoteric Website 2013: For anyone with an interest in Norse culture, myth, and magic, there is no better place to visit on the web."
The Wild Hunt: "If you aren’t already reading Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried's amazing The Norse Mythology Blog, then you've been remiss. The blog is one of the most content-rich affairs for lovers of Norse mythology I’ve ever seen."
Tales of a GM: "This is an amazing resource for anyone interested in the history and culture of Northern Europe. The Norse Mythology Blog is such a brilliant combination of modern issues and ancient sources. If you have any interest in Norse culture or mythology, then you must visit Dr Seigfried’s site."
Vancouver Sun: "The best blog on faith and spirituality may be one about a so-called ‘dead’ religion, Norse mythology. The Norse Mythology Blog reflects deep knowledge of this ancient religion, along with an affable spirit. [Karl] knows everything one would ever want to know about Thor, Odin, Frey, Loki, Frigg, Freya and countless more Norse gods, goddesses and mythological hangers-on."
City Magazine (Serbia): "Ako vas je ikada makar malo zainteresovala istorija i kultura severne Evrope, a naročito njena istorija, ovde ćete naći mnogo više interesantnog štiva nego što biste se ikada nadali. Posebno je interesantno da uspeva da poveže savremene momente sa prastarim izvorima."


Questions? Contact Karl through the Contact page at The Norse Mythology Blog.