Chapter 4 of Eiríks saga rauða has long drawn the attention of scholars due to its detailed description of a seiðr, a rare occurrence in Íslendinga sǫgur as well as in sagas of other genres. The protagonist of the scene, a Greenlandic seiðkona named Þorbjǫrg, is depicted as a social functionary who creates a relationship with the supernatural world and acquires a deeper knowledge and foreknowledge concerning the surrounding area, for the benefit of the local community. The performance takes place during a great famine at the beginning of the eleventh century, and the semi-public ritual had the purpose of predicting when the dearth would come to an end. It consisted – among other things-of a ritual meal: a porridge of kid’s milk and of the cooked hearts of all the living creatures that inhabited the area. The present paper aims at casting light on this specific aspect of Þorbjǫrg’s seiðr, and at contextualizing it within a wider literary and historical landscape. The intention is to integrate traditional interpretations with observations on the importance of sympathetic magic in ancient and medieval Europe, and particularly in medieval Scandinavia.

Eaten Hearts and Supernatural Knowledge in Eiríks saga rauða

MARASCHI A
2018

Abstract

Chapter 4 of Eiríks saga rauða has long drawn the attention of scholars due to its detailed description of a seiðr, a rare occurrence in Íslendinga sǫgur as well as in sagas of other genres. The protagonist of the scene, a Greenlandic seiðkona named Þorbjǫrg, is depicted as a social functionary who creates a relationship with the supernatural world and acquires a deeper knowledge and foreknowledge concerning the surrounding area, for the benefit of the local community. The performance takes place during a great famine at the beginning of the eleventh century, and the semi-public ritual had the purpose of predicting when the dearth would come to an end. It consisted – among other things-of a ritual meal: a porridge of kid’s milk and of the cooked hearts of all the living creatures that inhabited the area. The present paper aims at casting light on this specific aspect of Þorbjǫrg’s seiðr, and at contextualizing it within a wider literary and historical landscape. The intention is to integrate traditional interpretations with observations on the importance of sympathetic magic in ancient and medieval Europe, and particularly in medieval Scandinavia.
2018
MARASCHI A
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/853584
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact