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Kings, chieftains and public cult in pre-Christian Scandinavia

Lasse C. A. Sonne

Early Medieval Europe: Volume 22, Issue 1, pages 53–68, February (2014)

The article addresses the question of the performance of pre-Christian public cult by political leaders in early medieval Scandinavia. This question is traditionally discussed within the larger theoretical frame of sacral kingship in early medieval Scandinavia. In this article, the key contemporary evidence is presented and discussed with the conclusion that the sources do not show political leaders performing pre-Christian public cult. Instead, the evidence shows that political leaders participated in private religious rituals whose performance, however, was not connected with political leadership per se.

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