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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

8. Ǫrvar-Odds saga 81 (Ǫrvar-Oddr, Ævidrápa, 11) — Oddr [Vol. 8, 896]

[All]: According to the saga prose (Ǫrv 1888, 28-31) the guide Oddr captured from the Permians told him the whereabouts of a large mound (haugr) on the bank of the river Dvina (ON Vína). This mound had been built up by the Permians practising rituals of birth and death; when someone was born, a handful of earth was placed on the mound, and when someone died, a handful of silver was added. Oddr sent off Guðmundr and his crew to travel up the river to the mound, while he remained behind and guarded their hostage. Knowledge of Permian religious ritual is reported in several Old Norse sources, including ÓH in Hkr (ÍF 27, 229-30), where such a mound is described in connection with the worship of the Permians’ god Jómali (cf. Karelian jumala ‘god’). See most recently the discussion by Tolley (2009, I, 54) and references there. 


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