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Krigarkvinna i det hedniska Norden: En undersökning av två samtida skildringar av sköldmön Ladgerd i den fornnordiska religionen
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology, History of Religions.
2015 (Swedish)Student paper other, 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The essay has its beginning in the source material that deal with ancient Norse religion before the people in the Nordic countries became Christian. The fact that there are no contemporary written or authentic sources available that can tell us something about the Norse religion during the Viking age is problematic. Archeological source materials is available, but tend to talk more about power relationships and social status than the old Norse religion and the way people practiced their faith. Medieval Christian writers are a source of knowledge of the Norse religion; however, they can only highlight the Norse religion from a Christian point of view and ways of evaluating the pagan faith, making them less reliable.

The written sources of this paper are based on the written by two medieval Christian writers, Saxo Grammaticus and Snorri Sturluson. These sources are among the first to treat the Norse religion process after the introduction of Christianity in Scandinavia. The survey is based on the Saxo Grammaticus history work "Gesta Danorum" as in the ninth book "Ragnar Lodbrok story" portrays the Amazon Ladgerd, the figure which the thesis directs its focus against, and Snorri Sturluson written collection of ”Heimskringla" which deals with Earl Haakon and his patron goddess Torgerd Holgabrud in battle of Hjoerungavaag year 986. The survey is also influenced by the Icelandic poetry from which Saxo Grammaticus' and Snorri Sturluson´s history writing originates.

In this essay, I use source criticism and a comparative method to study the relationships between the two sources and the way they depict the Amazon Ladgerd and Torgerd Holgabrud in the historic context. The essay can help to give a better understanding of the Amazon and the role women warriors have had in the ancient Norse religion, which future research can benefit from. With the support from earlier research on the ancient Norse religion, I can show that there is a connection between the two sources Saxo Grammaticus' “Gesta Danorum” and Snorri Sturluson’s "Heimskringla ". Both sources depict the Amazon and women warriors’ role in the ancient Norse religion - based on a Christian world view and feminine ideal.

The study shows several similarities between the Amazon Ladgerd and Torgerd Holgabrud, which can indicate that the two women warriors is the same History fairytale figure. The sources lead me on the track by another female, giantess Gerd, which proves Ladgerd´s and Torgerd Holgabrud's real character and origin. Saxo Grammaticus, Snorri Sturluson and the Icelandic poetry depictions of Ladgerd, Torgerd Holgabrud and Gerd is simultaneously a reflection of a pre-Norse ritual, the "blot", and a Norse royal ideology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 39 p.
Keyword [en]
Norse religion, Saxo Grammaticus, Snorri Sturluson, the Amazon, Ladgerd, Torgerd, Holgabrud, giantess Gerd blot Norse royal ideology
National Category
History of Religions
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-256042OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-256042DiVA: diva2:824416
Subject / course
History of Religions
Educational program
Freestanding course
Available from: 2015-06-22 Created: 2015-06-22 Last updated: 2015-06-22Bibliographically approved

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