Odin from Mesinge © Oestfyns Museer
Odin from Mesinge © Oestfyns Museer

Odin with Horns, Birds or Dragons?

Yet again an intriguing Viking figurine has been found on the island of Fyn in Denmark. This time it is a rare Odin with a ‘horned’ helmet

Recently a fine figurine measuring 5 cm was found by a amateur archaeologist working a field near Mesinge in the Eastern part of the Island of Fyn in Denmark.

The figure shows a dainty man with well-combed pageboy hair, a small beard and slightly irregular eyes (judging from the published photos). One of the more impressive features is a huge headgear with what appears to be horns.

However, studying the figure from the back shows that it is not a helmet, but a headgear (diadem) with attached “horns” which might have ended in birds or dragons. The “horns” on the new figurine have been broken; however, they do look much like other comparable figures found at Tissø (Denmark), Uppåkra (Sweden), Levide (Gotland) and Staraja Ladoga in Russia.

The archaeologist in charge of the find – Malene Refshauge Beck – believes that the new find belongs to this group of ring brooches and that it should probably be dated between AD 7-800.

Other finds, which represent a possible context for the new find, are the metallic matrixes found at Torslunda on Öland, which show a warrior clad in a helmet with “horns” ending in birds. Another such figure can be seen in the Oseberg Tapestry. Yet another “horned” Odin is depicted on the Buckle found at Finglesham in Kent

It is believed these warriors dressed up like Odin to indicate their capability to enter into an ecstatic trance state in order to fight as crazed dogs, wolves, bears or bulls. Another explanation is that these warrior-dancers dressed up like Odin in order to emulate his capabilities as seiðmann – seer.

SEE MORE:

 

READ MORE:

Ancient Germanic Warriors: Warrior styles from Trajan’s Column to Icelandic Sagas
By Michael P. Speidel
Routledge 2004

 

 

 

Iron Age Myth and Materiality: An Archaeology of Scandinavia AD 400-1000
By Lotte Hedeager
Roputledge

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