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A Viking Shrine based upon the account of Ahmad ibn Fadlan

A Viking Shrine.

We are very fortunate to have  an account written by Ahmad ibn Fadlan, a 10th-century Arab traveler who met Norse travellers on the Volga and gives us an interesting account of a shrine in one location.

He wrote: “When the ships come to this mooring place, everybody  goes ashore with bread, meat, onions, milk and intoxicating drink and  betakes himself to a long upright piece of wood that has a face like a  man's and is surrounded by little figures, behind which are long stakes  in the ground. The Rus prostrates himself before the big carving and  says, "O my Lord, I have come from a far land and have with me such and  such a number of girls and such and such a number of sables", and he  proceeds to enumerate all his other wares. Then he says, "I have brought you these gifts," and lays down what he has brought with him, and  continues, "I wish that you would send me a merchant with many dinars  and dirhems, who will buy from me whatever I wish and will not dispute  anything I say." Then he goes away.

If he has difficulty selling his wares and his stay is  prolonged, he will return with a gift a second or third time. If he has  still further difficulty, he will bring a gift to all the little idols  and ask their intercession, saying, "These are the wives of our Lord and his daughters and sons." And he addresses each idol in turn, asking  intercession and praying humbly. Often the selling goes more easily and  after selling out he says, "My Lord has satisfied my desires; I must  repay him," and he takes a certain number of sheep or cattle and  slaughters them, gives part of the meat as alms, brings the rest and  deposits it before the great idol and the little idols around it, and  suspends the heads of the cattle or sheep on the stakes. In the night,  dogs come and eat all, but the one who has made the offering says,  "Truly, my Lord is content with me and has consumed the present I  brought him."

The picture above is a reconstruction based upon this description but also includes elements from other religious sites known from Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

 

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Lore-and-Saga Living history services and resources for schools, museums and heritage sites. Viking and Roman in school sessions and craft demonstrations. teachers notes and worksheets. Vikings, Saxons, Romans, national curriculum, invaders and settlers, key stage 2, history, teachers information, living history interpreter, in school sessions, storytelling, Roman resources, educational presentations, Viking lore, runes, Roman lore, Viking saga, living history interpretation, Viking resources, Odin, Viking crafts demonstrations, Roman cookery display, Viking silverwork, Roman games, chronology, Viking games, Roman school visits, Viking runes, national curriculum history key stage two, Viking school visits
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