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Names of swords in Icelandic sagas
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
2017 (English)In: EASR Annual Conference : Communicating Religion: University of Leuven 18-21 September 2017, 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Named weapons of different origin and purpose occur in the Old Norse mythology, and some of them are better known than others: Thor's hammer Mjolnir and Odin's spear Gungnir, just to name a few. But named weapons are also present in the more mundane Icelandic sagas, and it suggests that the practice of giving individual names to objects was something that occurred among real people in the Viking society. The named swords, spears and axes, which we can read about in the Icelandic sagas, are not portrayed as especially supernatural. They are, however, sometimes talked about in a special way and considered to be extraordinary in one way or another.What kind of name did people give to weapons, and what might have been the purposes for doing so? It is possible that some weapons told a story through their names and that they because of that also brought fame and glory to their owners. It is also conceivable, considered how some of the swords and spears are described in the Icelandic sagas, that named weapons were seen as almost life-like. This paper discusses some thoughts regarding named weapons in the sagas, the purposes for giving names, and if this practise might tell us something about how people in the Viking age viewed these named, possibly presumed life-like, objects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Old norse religion, Icelandic sagas, Viking Age society
National Category
History of Religions
Research subject
Humanities, Study of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-68088OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-68088DiVA: diva2:1143954
Conference
EASR Annual Conference : Communicating Religion : University of Leuven 18-21 September 2017
Funder
Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse
Available from: 2017-09-24 Created: 2017-09-24 Last updated: 2017-09-25Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf