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Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe

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Fragments of ancient belief mingle with folklore and Christian dogma until the original tenets are lost in the myths and psychologies of the intervening years. Hilda Ellis Davidson illustrates how pagan beliefs have been represented and misinterpreted by the Christian tradition, and throws light on the nature of pre-Christian beliefs and how they have been preserved. The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe stresses both the possibilities and the difficulties of investigating the lost religious beliefs of Northern ...

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Overview

Fragments of ancient belief mingle with folklore and Christian dogma until the original tenets are lost in the myths and psychologies of the intervening years. Hilda Ellis Davidson illustrates how pagan beliefs have been represented and misinterpreted by the Christian tradition, and throws light on the nature of pre-Christian beliefs and how they have been preserved. The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe stresses both the possibilities and the difficulties of investigating the lost religious beliefs of Northern Europe.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415049375
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures
Introduction 1
1 Help from Archaeology 11
Sacred space 12
The burial at Vix 14
The ship-burial at Sutton Hoo 17
The ball at Yeavering 22
The Strettweg Wagon 24
The Gundestrup Cauldron 25
The memorial stones of Gotland 31
The contribution of archaeology 35
2 Glimpses of the Gods 37
Early amulets 37
Stones from the Roman provinces 45
Myths and monuments 50
Naming after the gods 54
Divine names and titles 59
3 The Gods in the Myths 64
Sources of the myths 64
The divine world 67
Myths of the divine community 71
Myths of Odin 76
Myths of Thor 79
Myths of Loki 84
Other deities in the myths 85
4 The Cults of the Northern Gods 87
Communal worship 88
Cults of the battle-gods 95
The cult of Odin 98
The cult of Thor 101
The cult of Freyr 103
5 Goddesses and Guardian Spirits 107
The cult of the Great Goddess 108
The local goddesses 113
Guardian spirits 117
The cult of the dead 122
6 Contacts with the Otherworld 127
The early centuries 128
Funeral symbolism 134
Communication with the Otherworld 136
Holy places 138
Fitting the pieces together 142
7 The Interpreters 144
The medieval Christian viewpoint 144
The first collectors 145
The solar myths 146
Ritual and myth 149
The structure of myth 152
The approach of Dumezil 153
Outside influences 155
Conclusion 160
Bibliography 163
Index 172
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