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PCRN

Pre-Christian Religions of the North: Sources

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King Aun, a legendary Swedish king, is granted a long life if he sacrifices a son to Óðinn every ten years, and name a district after the number of sons he sacrifices. The Swedes forbid King Aun from sacrificing a tenth son, so he dies and is buried in a mound.

text

[excerpt from] Yng ch. 25b

25b. [Dauði Auns konungs]

Hálfdan konungur varð sóttdauður að Uppsölum og er hann þar heygður. Eftir það kom Aun konungur enn til Uppsala. Þá var hann sextugur.

Þá gerði hann blót mikið og blét til langlífis sér og gaf Óðni son sinn og var honum blótinn. Aun konungur fékk andsvör af Óðni að hann skyldi enn lifa sex tigu vetra. Aun var þá enn konungur að Uppsölum tuttugu vetur.

Þá kom Áli hinn frækni með her sinn til Svíþjóðar, sonur Friðleifs, á hendur Aun konungi og áttu þeir orustur og hafði Áli jafnan sigur. Þá flýði Aun konungur í annað sinn ríki sitt og fór í Vestra-Gautland. Áli var konungur að Uppsölum tuttugu vetur áður Starkaður hinn gamli drap hann. Eftir fall Ála fór Aun konungur aftur til Uppsala og réð þá ríkinu enn tuttugu vetur.

Þá gerði hann blót mikið og blótaði öðrum syni sínum. Þá sagði Óðinn honum að hann skyldi æ lifa meðan hann gæfi Óðni son sinn hið tíunda hvert ár og það með að hann skyldi heiti gefa nokkuru héraði í landi sínu eftir tölu sona sinna, þeirra er hann blótaði til Óðins. En þá er hann hafði blótað sjö sonum sínum þá lifði hann tíu vetur svo að hann mátti ekki ganga. Var hann þá á stóli borinn. Þá blótaði hann hinum áttunda syni sínum og lifði hann þá enn tíu vetur og lá þá í kör. Þá blótaði hann hinum níunda syni sínum og lifði þá enn tíu vetur. Þá drakk hann horn sem lébarn.

Þá átti Aun einn son eftir og vildi hann þá blóta þeim og þá vildi hann gefa Óðni Uppsali og þau héruð er þar liggja til og láta kalla það Tíundaland. Svíar bönnuðu honum það og varð þá ekki blót. Síðan andaðist Aun konungur og er hann heygður að Uppsölum. Það er síðan kölluð Ánasótt ef maður deyr verklaus af elli.

King Halfdán died in Uppsala of a sickness and was buried in a mound. After that, King Aun returned to Uppsala. At that time he was sixty years of age. Then he made a great sacrifice to have a long life, dedicating and sacrificing his son to Óðinn. King Aun was given an answer by Óðinn, to the effect that he was to live another sixty years. Then King Aun ruled in Uppsala for another twenty years. Then Áli inn frænki (Áli the Bold), the son of Friðleifr, invaded Sweden with an army. Some battles were fought, and Ali was always victorious. Then King Aun fled a second time from his kingdom and went to West Gautland. Áli was king in Uppsala for twenty years before Starkaðr hinn Gamli (the Old) slew him.

After Áli's fall King Aun returned to Uppsala and ruled over it for another twenty years. Then he performed a great-sacrifice, sacrificing his other son, and was told by Óðinn that he would continue to live if he sacrificed him a son every tenth year; and also, that he was to name some district after the number of sons he had sacrificed to Óðinn. And when he had sacrificed seven of his sons he lived on for ten years in such a fashion that he could no longer walk and had to be carried in a chair. Then he sacrificed his eighth son and lived for another ten years, but bed-ridden. Then he sacrificed his ninth son and lived for another ten years, and had to drink from a horn like an infant. Then Aun had one son left and wanted to sacrifice him, and also dedicate to Óðinn Uppsala and the districts adjoining it and call it Tíundaland. But the Swedes forbade him to do that, so no sacrifice was made. Then King Aun died. He is buried in a funeral mound at Uppsala.

[status: referenced copy]

commentary

context

This episode occurs within the longer narrative Ynglinga saga, the first in the collection of kings’ sagas known as Heimskringla which were probably compiled by the 13th-century Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson.

commentary

(Contributed by Anna Millward.)

tags

Main text: Ynglinga saga

Attributes: Sacrifice Sacral kingship Mound Burial naming the landscape Death

Named things: Óðinn Aun

Text sections: Hkr Yng 25bII

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