Per leggere la versione italiana di questo articolo clicca qui!
Translation by Sonia Francesconi.
As known and exposed in the detailed Looijenga’s article, from 100 B.C. to 500 A.D. the practice of offerings developed in all the large swamps: Thorsberg, Nydam, Ejsbøl, Porskær, Illerup, Hedelisker in Jutland and Vimose and Kragehul on Funen (Lønstrup 1988: 97).
According to Ilkjær (1996), in the period between 200 and 250 A.D., the objects offered in the bogs of Illerup, Thorsberg and Vimose comes from regions other than the immediate surrounding area.
We think that the objects are spoils of war. The spearheads found in Illerup and Vimose are Scandinavian origin, while the Thorsberg’s ones could comes from a southern region (Düwel 1992).
The Thorsberg’s finds are mainly composed of buckles and other objects as umbons of shield which were part of the same votive offerings. Nine model of umbons has Roman origin, in an area under their influence.
The fibulae are generally found in the northern part of the Elbe region and in the Rhine/Weser area.
Therefore the army whose equipment was deposited as a votive offering of war booty originated in the area between Lower Elbe and the Rhine (see Lønstrup 1984).
The Roman military goods has been found also in the Vimose swamp between the deposits around 160 AD, that means, from the transition period between the older and younger Roman Iron Age (Ilkjær 1996).
This is also the site where a runic object was found, the harja comb (160 AD), from Funen, southern Jutland or northern Germany (Ilkjær 1996a: 68, 73).
Regarding to funerary goods around 200 AD, it seems plausible to assume that they were given by the local inhabitants. These gifts are precious pins, including five rosette pins and an arched fibulae, all of them with runes (Stoklund 1995).
These precious pins were found in the graves of the women of Skåne, Sealand and Jutland. Sealand’s three fibulae were found in graves along with many imported Roman luxury items.
In case of the umbons of Thorsberg’s shield there are two possibilities illustrating by Looijenga: either the runes were carved by the blacksmith during the manufacturing process, or they were added after ritual destruction and shortly before the object was deposited in the Thorsberg swamp.
The latter case is based on the impression that the runes appear to be crossed by a scratch or groove caused by the destruction.
However, the manufacturers’ signatures have been mostly exposed, or are written in clear and ornamental runes: on weapons (Illerup, Ash Gilton, Chessel Down II, Schretzheim III, Thames Scramasax); on a box of amulets (Schretzheim I); on several pins (such as Udby, Nøvling, Donzdorf); on a wooden box (Garbølle); and on Gallehus’ golden horn.
This makes Thorsberg’s hidden inscription exceptional. However, a new discovery by Pforzen, in 1996, shows an inscription on the inner side of an ivory ring that was attached to a bronze disc.
The inscription, the formula hidden from view was : aodliþ:urait:runa
This makes it plausible that the engraved runes were essentially real formulas to be deposited in ritual act in the marshy area. In the Viking period people buried the gold to take with them to the kingdom of death, along with horses, dogs, ships, weapons and chariots. The purpose was to present the goods to the gods, in order to propitiate them on their arrival in the afterlife.
Gold bracelets played a big role and were produced in large quantities, approximately during the second half of the 5th century and the beginning of the 6th and belong to an archaeological context of valuable offerings and gifts.
Archaeologists see them as amulets, although they can also be interpreted as gifts and as political or diplomatic gifts. These bracelets also reflect a high social status (Gaimster 1993).
In a network of gift exchange these could be served as special gifts, although it is not clear on what kind of occasion. Moreover, they may have formed an important part of a religious system, where the concept of “sacred kingship” should certainly not be overlooked (Seebold 1992).
The bracelets are the exact mimesis of imperial coins and medallions of the Constantine dynasty, which ended in 363 AD. (Axboe 1985) .
These bracelets can be considered elements of the existing gifts exchange system among the European élite.
The first runic writing was not used as a means of communication in the modern sense of the word.
The iconography shows scenes from mythology or has a political connotation, perhaps denoting ideal leadership, and the runes support it in some symbolic way. The Roman connection is also reflected in the use of symbols of power and Roman letters.
Roymans (1988) states that “gods, myths and rituals are important for the integration of society and the legitimation of values and norms. Religion guarantees coherence, stability and continuity”.
Hedeager (1992) claims that “these finds were a political medium, used in contexts where politics was in evidence, as in the great feasts linked to religious ceremonies and the oath of loyalty”.
An umpteenth act that confirms the synchrony existing between Rune and Opera Magica that tends to move the political axioms of the time.
Some photos are extracted from:
For more information:
Laugrith Heid, La Stregoneria dei Vani, Anaelsas edizioni.
Laugrith Heid, Kindirúnar, Le Rune della Stirpe, Il Grimorio Necromantico, Anaelsas edizioni.
Laugrith Heid, Rún, i tre aspetti di una Runa, Anaelsas edizioni.
Laugrith Heid, Helvíti Svarturgaldur, Manuale pratico di Opera Necromantica Nord Europea, Anaelsas edizioni.
Laugrith Heid, Tröld*R: il Fjölkynngisbók. Magia, Stregoneria e Folk Nord Europeo, Anaelsas edizioni.
*Shares without reference to the source are subject to complaint, since the elements of copyright established by italian law are infringed*