Óðinn from Lejre — or?

In: Numen
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  • 1 University of Copenhagen, Saxo Institute, Karen Blixens Vej 4, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
  • 2 University of Copenhagen, Institute for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, Karen Blixens Vej 4, bygn 10 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark

A small statuette of a seated person was discovered in Denmark in 2009. According to the accepted interpretation, this is a representation of the Norse god Óðinn, but the authors of the present article propose that it may instead represent a pre-Christian prophetess, a vǫlva. Regarding the methodology of the identification of divine images, the authors argue that a particular god is not identified by an attribute, but rather created by the said attribute, as only the presence of a particular attribute can define the god. Caution should be taken when attempting to identify any image or icon with a particular god or goddess, especially in the field of Norse archaeology, as clearly identifying attributes are usually missing.

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