The 10th century chronicle of the violent, orgiastic funeral of a Viking chieftain
The Vikings then built an earthen mound over the burned vessel. Modern archaeologists have been hoping to find it for decades.
When a Viking king died, 400 men and 40 slave girls died with him, Fadlan wrote.
Keep in mind this death rite or orgy that Ibn Fadlan described was for a chief, and it happened among the warriors and leaders of the Viking society who were in the Volga viking. Presumably the farmers, hunters, bakers, craftsmen and other plain folk—the great majority of Viking society—did not practice this lurid death celebration. Also, this was one Viking group at one point in the 260-year history of the Viking raids and settlements, and we have no way of knowing how many Viking groups practiced these wild funeral celebrations over their vast territories.
Featured image: “The Funeral of a Viking,” painting by Frank Dicksee, 1893 (Wikiart photo)
By Mark Miller