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Pre-Christian Religions of the North: Sources

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The account describes a ship burial. The Norwegian King Haki is burned in his ship along with dead men and weapons, before being floated out to sea.


[excerpt from] Yng ch. 23b

23b. [Dauði Guðlaugs konungs]

Haki konungur fékk svo stór sár að hann sá að hans lífdagar mundu eigi langir verða. Þá lét hann taka skeið er hann átti og lét hlaða dauðum mönnum og vopnum, lét þá flytja út til hafs og leggja stýri í lag og draga upp segl en leggja eld í tyrvið og gera bál á skipinu. Veður stóð af landi. Haki var þá að kominn dauða eða dauður er hann var lagiður á bálið. Sigldi skipið síðan logandi út í haf og var þetta allfrægt lengi síðan.

King Haki had received such great wounds that he knew that his days were numbered. Then he had one of his galleys loaded with slain men and weapons. He had it moved out to sea, with the rudder shipped and with hoisted sails, and had a funeral pyre of resinous wood piled on the ship and fired. The wind blew from the land. By that time Haki was dead, or nigh unto death, when he was laid on the pyre. Then the ship stood blazing out to sea; and this event was celebrated for a long time thereafter.

[status: referenced copy]



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.


(Contributed by Anna Millward.)


Main text: Ynglinga saga

Attributes: Cremation Burial Ship Weapon

Named things:

Text sections: Hkr Yng 23bII


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