UNDERSTANDING A FORGOTTEN GOD: THE ROLE OF ULLR
Abstract: Our understanding of the roles of the gods and goddess of Norse mythology varies greatly depending on the deity in question; some are only mentioned briefly in the written sources and other types of evidence need to be explored to examine their roles. One of the most enigmatic gods is Ullr, for whom onomastic and theophoric toponymic evidence illustrates a substantial cult was focused on in parts of Sweden and southern Norway, but completely absent in Denmark. Literary evidence gives an impression of a role in the enforcement of oaths, which when combined with toponymic evidence indicates a potentially significant socio-legal and protective societal role. The evidence seems to support a role for Ullr that was more important in pre-Viking society, with the god’s role declining following the seventh century.
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