« AnteriorContinuar »
to death. Olaus 18 Tretelger, another prinee, was burnt alive to Woden. They did not spare their own children. Harald the son of Gunild, the first of that name, slew two of his children to obtain a storm of wind.
" He did not let," says 39 Verstegan, to sacrifice two of his sons unto his idols, to the “ end he might obtain of them such a tempest at
sea, as should break and disperse the shipping of “ Haruld king of Denmark.” Saxo Grammaticus mentions a like fact. He calls the king Haquin ; and speaks of the persons put to death, as two very hopeful young princes : 40 duos præstantissimæ indolis filios, hostiarum more, aris admotos, potiunde victoriæ causá, nefaria litatione mactavit. Another king slew nine sons, in order to prolong his own "' life ; in hopes, I suppose, that, what they were abridged of, would in great measure be added to himself. Such instances however occur not often : but the common victims were without end. Adam
38 Snorro Sturleson. above. Chronic. Norvegicum.
Johannes Magnus, lib. 1. cap. 12. Romæ. 1554. Accidit nonnunquam reges ipsos eâdem sorte delectos immolari. He speaks of it as faustissimum regno sacrificium.
39 Antiquities. Antwerp. 1605. pag. 81.
40 Saxo Grammaticus. lib. 10. pag. 183. Soræ 1644. Patris nomine, quàm patriâ, carere maluit.
41 Qlaus Wormius. pag. 28. Rer Sueciæ Aune nouem filios Othino mactavit, ut ætatis obtineret prorogationem.
Bremensis, speaking of the awful grove at Upsal, where these horrid rites were celebrated, says, that there was not a single tree, but what was reverenced, as if it were gifted with some portion of divinity: and all this, because they were stained with gore, and foul with human putrefaction. 42 Lucus tam sacer est gentilibus, ut singula arbores ejus ex morte del tabo immolatorum divinæ videantur. The same is observed by Scheiffer in his account of this place. 43 Deorum sacer ille lucus erat : in arboribus singulis Dii ipsi habitare credebantur : ergo ad earum ramos corpora illa, veluti munera quædam Diis gratissima, suspendebant.
The manner, in which the victims were slaughtered, was diverse in different places. Some of the 44 Gaulish nations chined them with a stroke of an
The Celtæ placed the man, who was to be offered for a sacrifice, upon a block, or an altar, with his breast upwards; and with a sword struck him forcibly across the sternum : then tumbling him to the ground, from his agonies and convulsions, as well as from the effusion of blood, they
42 Adam Bremensis de situ Daniæ. cap. 234.
43 Scheiffer of Upsal, and Eric Olaus above. Corpora verò in luco quodam proximo suspendebant, putantes arbores ipsas ex morte immolatorum divas et sacras.
44 Strabo, lib. 4. pag. 303.
formed a judgment of future 4s events. The 4 Cimbri ripped open the bowels ; and from them they pretended to divine. In 47 Norway they beat mens brains out with an ox-yoke. The same operation was performed in 48 Iceland, by dashing them against an altar of stone. In many places they transfixed them with arrows. After they were dead, they suspended them upon the trees, and left them to putrefy. One of the 49 writers, above quoted, mentions, that in his time, seventy carcases of this sort were found in a wood of the Suevi. Dithmar of Mersburgh, an author of nearly the same age, speaks of a place called Ledur in Zeeland, where there were every year ninety and nine persons sacrificed to the god so Swantowite. During these bloody
45 Παραδοξον και απισον εχεσι νομιμον.-Ανθρωπον γαρ κατασσεισαντες τυπτύσι μαχαιρα κατα τον υπερ το διαφραγμα τοσον: σπεσοντος τε πληγέντος, εκ της πτώσεως, και το σπαραγμό των μελων, ιτι δε της τε αιματος φυσεως, το μελλον νο8σι. Diod. Sicul. lib, 5.
46 Strabo. lib. 7. pag. 451.
7 Dudo of St. Quintin, quoted by Olaus Wormius. lib. 1. cap. 5. Juga boum unâ vice diriter icebantur in capite.
48 Arngrim Jonas. Crymogæa, seu Rerum Islandic. descriptio. Hamburg. 1609. lib. 1. cap. 4, 7.
See Bertholinus de causis contemptæ apud Danos mortis. Hafniæ. 1699. lib. 2. cap. 1. pag. 218. lib. 3. cap. 3. pag. 662.
49 Adam Bremensis de situ Daniæ. cap. 234. He flourished in the tenth century.
so Lib. 1. pag. 12. Dithmar was born A. D. 976.
festivals a general joy prevailed; and banquets were most royally served. They fed; they caroused; and gave a loose to indulgence, which at other times was not permitted. “ Dum sacrificia hæc peragebantur, varii adhibiti sunt ritus, et litationis modi : convivia celebrata magnifica : pars sanguinis postibus illita : pars adstantibus propinata. They imagined, that there was something mysterious in the number nine : for which reason these feasts were in some places celebrated every sa ninth year; in others every s3 ninth month; and continued for nine days. When all was ended, , they washed the image of the deity in a pool ; on account, I suppose, of its being stained with blood, and then dismissed the assembly. Their servants were numerous, who attended during the term of their feasting, and partook of the banquet. At the close of all, they were smothered in the same pool, or otherwise made away with. On which Tacitus remarks, how great an awe this circumstance must
St Olai Wormii Monumenta Danica. lib. 1. cap. 5. pag. 28.
The like in Tacitus. Læti tunc dies-- Non bella inibant, non arma sumebant : clausum omne ferrum : pur et quies tunc tantum nota ; tunc tantum amata. De mor. Germ. lib. 40.
52 Erici Olai Hist. Sueonum Gothorumque. pag. 2. Dithmar of Mersburgh, above.
53 Olaus Magnus. lib. 3. cap. 6. Antverp. 1558. Erat olim in sacrificiis Gothorum, fc.-numeri novenarüi observatio admodum accepta.- Omni nono mense solenniorem venerationem impendebant.
necessarily infuse into those, who were not admitted to these mysteries : 54 Arcanus hinc terror, sacra ignorantia, quid sit illud, quod tantùm perituri videbant.
These accounts are handed down from a variety of authors in different ages : many of whom were natives of the countries, which they describe ; and to which they seem s strongly attached. They
54 Tacitus de moribus Germ. cap. 40.
ss Such was Arngrim Jonas, born amid the snows of Iceland ; yet as much prejudiced in favour of his country, as those, who are natives of an happier climate. This is visible in his Crymogea; but more particularly in his Anatome Blef kiniana. I have in my possession this curious little treatise, written in Latin by him in his own country, and printed Typis Holensibus in Islandia Boreali. Anno 1612. Hola is placed in some maps within the Arctic circle, and is certainly not far removed from it. I believe, it is the farthest north of any place, where arts and sciences have ever resided. They attended monsieur Maupertuis to Tornca : but that was only a transient visit. They seem at Hola in some degree to have made their abode. This book is a defence of his country against the invectives of Dithmar Blefkin ; and is written with great spirit, and in a style superior to what might be expected from a country so rude, and so remote. In bis Crymogea he is obliged to acknowledge, that human sacrifices were offered
in Iceland: but he tries at all rates to extenuate the fact, and to make it appear not a general practice. Cæterùm illa immanitas, illæ Saturni hostia, haud diu durasse apud Islandos videntur: et sanè nec alibi usitata, quàm in duobus locis assignatis, imò nec ejus provincia incolis omnibus, ubi exercita est. Crymogæa. lib. 1. cap. 6. pag. 64. Impress. Hamburgi. Datum er Islandia Boreali. 1609.