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Purchase Instant Access. View Preview. Learn more Check out. Volume 47 , Issue 1 January Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID. Forgot your password? She gave the name of Siggeum to the headland.
Every night she fills the great hall with demons, and I am one of them, sent to tell you this story. Dragons ate the bodies of the king and his daughters, and it was into dragons that some people believe they were transformed. Remember this, Soti, and tell your king, that King Harald of Sweden travelled this way long ago and was drowned in the Red Sea whirlpool along with all his followers: now he has come to take charge here, and to confirm my tale, I can tell you that his banner is kept here in the hall: Yngvarr must take it and send it back to Sweden so that the people there will no longer be in the dark about what happened to their king.
Tell Yngvar this, too, that he and most of his men will die on this expedition. You, Soti, are unrighteous, faithless man, and must remain here with us, but Yngvar will be saved by his faith in God. Instead he sees material riches guarded by dragons that had metamorphosed from humans and a hall filled with demons. This place manifestly denotes hell.
The drowning of a ruler in the Red Sea obviously evokes the destruction of the Pharaoh and his army as he pursues the escaping Israelites. An essential element here is the damnation allotted to the Egyptian ruler and the salvation awarded to the Israelites. This, in turn, firmly associates the Pharaoh with the devil.
Pharaoh and his army, who drowned in the Red Sea, denote the devil and the sins which for each person die in the water of baptism. The destruction of the satanic enemy signifies the temporary cleansing of sin in this life. See also the equation of Pharaoh with the devil in the eighth-century Anglo-Saxon poem Exodus.
For further Old English examples, see Hermann , As we abstain from sins through tears of repentance and obtain salvation, so those who do not are sunk in the deep of hell. Then we will arrive in the Promised Land out of the desert after forty winters and we will be led from the sins of this world to Paradise on account of our adherence to the Ten Commandments, which are fulfilled in the four Gospels.
Both are rulers who sink into the abyss of hell as attested in both Yngvars saga and the Old Icelandic Homily Book. Moreover, the fates of Yngvarr and King Haraldr are manifestly linked, as they travel the same route: the former drowns along with his Swedish companions while Yngvarr and some of his cohort succumb to a plague. Haraldr is dragged into damnation and hell through a whirlpool or vortex which is a familiar entrance into the nether world in both classical and medieval literature as well as in folk belief Kehnlel and Mencej , 69— The depiction of hell as a pit, chasm, or abyss was closely related to hell as a mouth of a monster.
See Schmidt , A whirlwind emanates from the land and spins his boat and surrounding waters before it sinks beneath the waves. Let us summarize this scene. The location evoked is the Red Sea. The latter are incarnations of princesses who are guilty of the mortal sins of cupidity and suicide while the third sister appears as a kind of queenly consort to King Haraldr.
In other words, the Pharaoh is a figure of the devil while Haraldr, in turn, is a type of both. The equation of the Pharaoh with Satan has already been noted. Suddenly the sailors were surrounded by mist and drawn into a huge vortex. The Frisians prayed to God for the salvation of their souls, and they were miraculously delivered from certain death Adam, — Peter Damian compares the mouth of the abyss os abyssi with the mouth of the devil who swallows the sinful Reindel , Ezekiel Lastly, the transformation of humans into dragons after their death, as in the case of Siggeus and his daughters, is an established motif in both classical and medieval literature Rauer , This is in two dream-stanzas from Hrafns saga Sveinbjarnarsonar, which was written around the middle of the thirteenth century.
These eschatological verses relate to visions experienced by two men around The Icelandic fragments, which likely date to the early twelfth century, depict serpents or dragons mauling or carrying humans in their jaws while Satan is depicted on his throne formed from such reptilian beasts. Svein stayed on for three years and before the time was up a great church had been completed in the city.
The only men we can call saints are those who shine in miracles after their bodies have been buried in the earth.
And I know from my own experience that Yngvar was steadfast in the holy love of God. Just as the Norwegian King was a saint despite the fact that he had apparently not performed any miracles, so the miracle-less Yngvarr was celebrated in the kingdom he helped to convert. Significantly, however, he does not dedicate the church solely to Yngvarr because the Swede is potentially only one of many holy men and women at the court of Christ whose sanctity is hidden from mortals.
The absence of such signs — most importantly miracles and visions — precluded any authoritative assertions about the fate of the deceased. Bishop Rodulph explains to Silkisif that Yngvarr cannot be celebrated as a holy man for he is not known to have worked any miracles.
If Yngvarr is indeed a saint then his status has been granted due honour, but if he is not then little damage has been done. This was duly seen as the precursor to the Feast of All Saints. Due to the unique nature of this feast it could be adapted to different purposes.
I know that God is merciful and His son will make good His promise, since I have placed myself daily in His hands, body and soul, and have done all that I could for my people. Both plague and witchcraft were directed more against me than the others, and when I am dead the plague will have run its course. Most notably, the dying Beowulf, though a heathen, recounts how he has lived an honourable life, claims in Beowulf ll. As Byrhtnoth faces his death in the Old English memorial poem The Battle of Maldon, composed not long after , he offers thanks to God for the good life he has lived and submits a prayer that his soul will not be harmed in the hereafter.
Just as Beowulf and Byrhtnoth, Yngvarr sacrifices his life for his own people or at least seeks to atone for past sins through his death which terminates the plague. But we need not look to Old English heroic poetry for relevant comparisons. From the early days of Christianity in the North, the fate of the departed was of importance to the laity as is vividly testified by numerous eleventh-century rune-stones from Sweden, including a few raised in memory of the followers of the historical Yngvarr.
Such rune- stones were sometimes raised in conjunction with a bridge where the latter not only served a practical function but may also have symbolized the passage of the deceased soul from this life to Paradise Lund Moreover, these themes are presented within the context of a secular career. The underlying question is how such a figure could attain eternal life.
The main features of Yngvars saga have been shown against the background of Christian literature familiar to Icelandic ecclesiastics around the turn of the twelfth century. In other words, this address does not provide proof one way or the other about the intended audience; see Berg , 44— This Gautr embarks on a pilgrimage to Rome, and on the way he is joined by a compatriot pilgrim called Gauti.
One version refers to the episode having been translated from Latin. In any case, Gautr and Gauti become lost in the desert where the latter falls ill and dies. Gautr continues until he arrives at the bank of a great river across which he sees a beautiful monastery.
Exhausted following his deliverance from the desert, and unable to cross the river, Gautr falls asleep. In a dream vision an old man appears to Gautr and tells him he will find a boat which will bring him to the opposite bank of the river. Gautr heeds this advice. Before Gautr reaches the monastery he comes to a beautiful stone house where an old hermit resides. Gautr explains it was commonly held that the King had drowned when he fell into the sea and was dragged down by the weight of his armour. The hermit makes light of this explanation.
The hermit admits that he is, but that he has since given up his royal status. The former King asks the Norwegian to bring his sword and belt to Norway as evidence of his survival. Gautr is then provided with a guide who escorts him from the monastery and its environs. The account is suffused with biblical allusions where, most obviously, the two pilgrims seeking salvation re-enact Exodus. Gauti plays no obvious role in the story apart from dying in the desert on the way to the Red Sea.
The significance of his participation is nevertheless clear. Gauti is struck down by an illness and expires in the desert while Gautr emerges from the wilderness. But they did not reach it because of their sins Deut. Many of them died in the desert before they came to the Promised Land. Gautr, however, is only able to cross the river and reach this realm following a dream vision. The text is strangely specific about the time at which Gautr falls asleep by the riverbank and experiences the vision. Indeed to anyone lost in the desert for days such matters would hardly have been of great significance.
It seems that Icelanders translating from Latin occasionally opted for the more literal translation to stress the religious significance of the timing of a particular event. Rubrum mare transitum est; sed adhuc in eremo vitae praesentis ante faciem hostes occurrunt. We leave already our past sins behind us, as the Egyptians died on the shore [of the Red Sea]. And as in those days the Christians had received their freedom and their inheritance of Paradise, so in the fiftieth year the Jews had received their freedom and their inheritance of the Promised Land.
And in light of the idyll that awaits him beyond the river, it is surely justified to see this as an allusion to the Israelites crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land as they emerge from the desert. For instance, in a vision in the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, a work well known in late twelfth- century Iceland, a bridge connects the land of Hell or Purgatory to Paradise.
The two are divided by a foul-smelling river across which can be seen beautiful dwellings on the paradisiacal side Unger , Whilst the method of crossing the river may vary, the underlying message remains the same: the traveller can only succeed through a combination of his or her efforts and divine grace. Gregory explicitly likens their deliverance to that effected by Joshua who, through divine intervention, led the Israelites across Jordan into the Promised Land.
He said that he was alive and served God faithfully in a certain monastery. He showed them a knife and a gold ring to confirm the story. Both episodes take place in the vicinity of the Red Sea: the palace of Siggeum is located on a headland between the river and the Red Sea, while the monastery appears to stand on the bank of a river which runs into the same waters. The exact geographical location is not essential.
What is, however, is the evocation of this sea that is associated with salvation. Further correspondance between the episodes can be noted. The main protagonists in both are minor characters: one is a pagan whose damnation is foreseen, and the other is a devoted Christian whose salvation is suggested. Both bear witness to scenes which relate to royal figures. Rather, like the Israelites, he must strive towards his salvation through penitence.
Then we will arrive in the Promised Land out of the desert after forty winters and we will be led from the sins of this world to Paradise because of our adherence to the Ten Commandments, which came to fulfilment in the four Gospels, just as four times ten fill forty. Gunnlaugr Leifsson may have carefully timed this progression. The close connection between the two in medieval times hardly needs emphasizing.
Only Copenhagen, AM 4to contains this episode in its entirety. Such ideas became common in twelfth-century monastic circles. Honorius of Autun d. Honorius, Gemma Anima, col. As a hidden secret place this cloister bears the image of Heaven, in which the just are segregated from sinners just as those who profess the religious life are separated in the cloister from secular persons. Monasteries, moreover, foreshadow the heavenly Paradise. This location, briefly visited by Gautr, is both temporal and spiritual.
This would have been especially marked in scenes where the Bishop preached to pagans and neophytes. In the third year he delivers a sermon in Sigtuna where the inhabitants had lapsed in their adherence to Christianity. Just as God created the world from nothing so, through grace, even apostates can attain salvation. On Good Friday he has a bath prepared and hears a voice admonishing him for bathing on the very day Christ was nailed on the Cross.
The Bishop tells him that regardless of the riches and reputation he accrues on his journey, it is his steadfast adherence to Christianity that will matter the most. Oddr derived from each of these whatever he thought most interesting. Gunnlaugr and Oddr are in no way unique in using biblical and patristic material in this early phase of Nordic literary activity Weber ; Torfi Tulinius , 90— The peculiarity of Yngvars saga is difficult to explain unless this authorial input is appreciated. Moreover, it is not surprising that the influence of crusading literature on Yngvars saga has been suggested.
The warriors-cum-crusaders wading through dangerous terrain and assorted sins could be compared to a monastic band of brothers. The stark difference between the stationary, celibate, peaceful monks and the itinerant and bellicose Vikings would have made the impact of these parallels all the more striking and, indeed, amusing. See also Glazyrina As noted by Robert Cook —93, , it is not correct to see Yngvarr as a Christian missionary. This parallel has also been noted in Bandlien , The Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle was translated in Iceland into Old-Norse at an early date, perhaps even at the end of the twelfth century Foote Quod si fecerint, ab inimicis suis, id est a daemonibus, se noverint superandos et aeterna morte plectendos.
Meredith-Jones , [Those who fell into intoxication and lasciviousness typify the priests that war against vice, but suffer themselves to be overcome by wine and sensual appetites till they are slain by the enemy the devil, and punished with death. In both texts the Christians battle a giant and clash with exotic pagans. Before his death Yngvarr requests that his wealth should be divided amongst the poor, the Church, and his only son. Charlemagne similarly donates gifts to the poor and the local Church shortly before expiring. Roland and his army fast and pray for seven days before they capture the city of Grenoble, while Yngvarr and his retinue do so for six days before defeating a giant.
The similarities between Yngvars saga and the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle are not specific enough to show that the latter text had an impact on the former. But one theme which manifestly unites Yngvars saga and the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle is a concern with the salvation of secular warriors. Aspects of Yngvars saga certainly correspond to the Books of Exodus and Joshua.
Shortly thereafter Turpin has another vision in which the demon and his host return empty handed. See Meredith-Jones , — As previously noted, a pivotal episode in Yngvars saga takes place near the shores of the Red Sea where the drowning of the Egyptian Pharaoh is evoked. Although the Nordic crusaders were of little practical use to Christendom — when they finally reached the Holy Land, the Third Crusade was well and truly over — the writer uses the expeditio to show how warriors can aspire to and attain salvation.
At this point the text evokes the escape from Egypt, the division of the Red Sea, the demise of the Pharaoh, and the conquest of Jericho; see Meredith-Jones , — Although it is not clear how this chapter relates to the main text, it nevertheless represents a fitting conclusion in light of the preceding description of travel through pagan territory.
See Walpole , — Fulcher of Chartres d. This biblical analogy is, however, problematic in light of its evocation of the fate of the Pharaoh and his army. If the survivors of the shipwreck correspond to the saved Israelites, who nevertheless had a long journey ahead of them, where does this leave the drowned crusaders? Fulcher relates that their salvation had been shown on the ship-wrecked corpses by crosses imprinted on the chest and between the shoulders. He highlights Good Friday as the day of the disaster. This day, just like the crossing of the Red Sea, celebrates the hope of universal salvation and, more specifically in this case, the redemption of the crusaders Gertz — 20, — Thus in the Divine Comedy the Pilgrim begins his long journey to salvation on Good Friday but only after receiving divine aid as he finds himself lost and in despair in the wilderness, which follows his metaphorical crossing of the Red Sea Singleton Sveinsson , 90— Sveinsson , 89— This she does by adopting the habit of a nun and an anchorite in the place which prefigures Paradise, Helgafell.
The writer of the Historia de profectione Danorum in Hierosolymam was concerned with the redemption of his secular peers and applied recently acquired learning to argue his case. For this purpose he borrowed elements from a topical tradition which presented penitential pilgrimage as a way for the warrior class to gain salvation. More specifically, the crusaders essentially re-enacted, and, indeed, were seen to transcend, the experience of the Israelites following the fleeing from Egypt Green , — Within this tradition, however, the author could, and indeed was impelled to, apply biblical analogues which justified the actual, less than glorious, fate of the expeditio which he had heard about in oral telling.
In Yngvars saga, in turn, the Exodus theme accentuates the uncertainty of salvation for those who live in the secular world and their necessity for repentance and divine grace in attaining the everlasting hereafter. This is precisely the perspective adopted in Historia de profectione Danorum in Hierosolymam as it portrays the Nordic crusade Skovgaard-Petersen , 50—