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of a future state of happiness and misery; and, moreover, that there were two abodes destined for each of these states. To the former belonged Valhala, the palace of Odin, where all were admitted who had died* a violent death, from the time of the creation of the world to the period of the universal dissolution of nature, and Gimle/ or the palace covered with gold, where the just were to enjoy delights for ever. On the
* ''The heroes," says the Edda, "who are received into the palace of Odin, have every day the pleasure of arming themselves, of passing in review, of ranging themselves in order of battle, and of cutting one another in pieces; but, as soon as the hour of repast approaches, they return on horseback, all safe and sound, back to the hall of Odin, and fall to eating and drinking. Though the number of them cannot be counted, the flesh of the boar, Servimner, is sufficient for them all; every day it is served up at table, and every day it is renewed entire. Their beverage is beer and mead j one single goat, whose milk is excellent mead, furnishes enough of that liquor to intoxicate all the heroes: their cups are the skulls of enemies they have slain. Odin alone, who sits at a table by himself, drinks wine for his entire liquor. A crowd of virgins wait upon the heroes at table, and fill their cups as fast as they empty them." Northern Antiquities, v. I. p. 120, and Edda Iceland. Mythol. 31, 33, 34, and 35.
other hand, Niflheim (from the Icelandic Nifl, evil, and Heim, home) is the first of the abodes of misery, which was only to exist till the renovation of the world; while the second, named Nastrond (the shore of the dead), was to continue for ever. :i'
Such Were the doctrines taught by the religion of the early inhabitants of Iceland, if we may give credit to the histories of their mythology that are handed down to us. I shall now say a few words of their places of worship and of their religious ceremonies. The former, called HofF, we are told by Arrigritn Jonas', were of great dimensions, and, for such,a country, of magnificent structure.. One of these, situated in the prefecture of Watzdal, in the 'northern part of the island, is spoken of as being brie hundred and twenty feet in length, and another, at Kialarnes in the south, sixty feet long. To each temple was annexed a small building or chapel, which was esteemed the most sacred place; for here the idols were kept standing upon a pediment, and around them were arranged the beasts that were to be sacrificed. The chief of these idols was Thotf,.who was placed hr the centre of the minor deities*. InaHaediately before the gods, also,. stood an altar ^ eased) with iron, lest it should be destroyed blithe continual fires. Here also- stood •a> . Wg€! brazen vessel^'iflr.'TBrhiohJcwas' poured the blood of the iietime;;; 'arid here; /too,. werte the purifyhig instruments (lustrica) and fchte brashes for sprinkling' the congregartion with) blood, togetherr with., a rung bf'sitreiy.'/o? of brassj twenty inches long, whichj.watt. held by those who made oathrf*. The victims?
.* What these deities were, or what was their number, does not seem to be rightly known. Arngrini Jonas mentions three, besides those who were invoked during the time that the rite was celebrated, which was always performed when a person made oath upon the most solemn occasion. " In veteri tamen juramenti formula, tres prater Thorum nomine notantur: Freyr,. Niordur, As. Quorum tertium, nempe As, existitno esse Odinum ilium famosum, inter divos ethnicos nor* postremum habltum dictum As, quod is Asianorum huc in septentrionem migrantium princeps fuerit: singu-' Fariter nempe As, at multitudinis numero Aesar vel Aeser dic! coeperurit." foactatus de Islandid. p. 430.
..> f When any person was suspected of having spoken falsely in an aflair of importance, he Was put to hit oath, and then his veracity was determined by making him stand under an oblong piece of turf, placed in slaughtered were generally sheep and oxen, and those parts which were not consumed in the sacrifice, were considered as belonging to the officiating priest. These animals, however, were not at all times looked upon as a sufficient atonement or propitiatory offering, whence it happened that, in case of any extraordinary crime, calling for extraordinary vengeance from the gods, the altar flowed with the blood of human victims, and, at Kialarnes, a deep pit or well was formed near the chapel, into which these unhappy
such a manner that it should form, over him, an arch, with its extremities touching the ground: if it supported itself without breaking, the man was declared worthy of belief, if otherwise, he was condemned. But when two or more persons were about to join in a covenant, the arched piece of turf was supported by a lance, and those engaged in the treaty placed themselves beneath it, where each with a sword drew blood fyom himself, and mingled it with that of his companions, as a sign of mutual faith. By this ceremony the most powerful compact was sworn and ratified; and, besides the mutual aid which, by this act, they were obliged to afford each other during life, if any were slain, the survivors, how many soever there might be, were bound, in the most sacred manner, to revenge his death by all the means in their power. Amgr'm Jonas, Tract. de Islandid.
wretches were cast, and which thence bore the name of Blotkelda. So, likewise, in the province of Thornes-thing, there was a similar excavation, in which were confined those who were destined to be offered as a sacrifice to the gods, and who were thence selected and killed upon a large stone, “cujus rei indignitatem,” says Arngrim Jonas, “saxum illud fertur colore sanguinolento nullo imbre abluto multis post seculis retulisse.” The same learned author, however, anxious in some manner to extenuate, if not to justify, the atrocities of his countrymen, asserts that human sacrifices were more common in other countries of the north than in Iceland, in which, he assures us, they took place only in two, provinces, and even there all the inhabitants did not join in them. Hiorleif, the companion of Ingulf, renounced altogether the worship of idols. Helgo, whose surname was Biole, a native of Kialarnes, a man of high rank, and descended from the Norwegian barons, did not countenance the religion of the pagans, but offered his protection to a christian exile from Iceland, whom he permitted to build a temple, and to dedicate it to St. Columbus