Sunday, March 30, 2014

History mystery: Uppsala a Religious Site in Gamla Uppsala

Uppsala 1
The temple at Uppsala was a religious site in Gamla Uppsala – Old Uppsala which is near the modern Uppsala, in Sweden and was created to worship the Norse gods of prehistoric times. The most famous image of Uppsala is based on Adam of Bremen’s detailed description in the history of the Archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen relating his account on the famous pagan center which had been studied and discussed for centuries creating the fantasy of many historians as well as laymen.

The temple is documented in other sources though it is referred in the Norse sagas and Saxo Grammaticus Gesta Danorum. The main controversies relating to the temple is aimed on determining if the pre Christian society of Sweden had any temples and if so where in the Old Uppsala were they situated. Some are of the belief that the temple was confused with the hall of the Swedish kings which were located around ten meters to the north of the present church.

Cathedral Church Built on same Location

Uppsala 2
The Archbishopric of Sweden in 1164, established at Gamla Uppsala, was once the political centre of the Svear kingdom during the late Iron Age and also a stronghold of pre Christian cult and their symbolic decision was portrayed through the construction of one of the largest churches in Scandinavia. At Gamla Uppsala, the cathedral church was built on the same location as the famous pagan temple, described by Adam of Bremen during the early 1970s and though they are still retained in present time’s textbooks and elsewhere, its conclusion is erroneous. Many churches in Scandinavia were built in the vicinity of the older pagan sanctuaries though there is little or any evidence that churches were built and consecrated over them.

Famous Temple Ubsola

Uppsala 3
Adam of Bremen relates that the Swedes had a famous temple, Ubsola that was situated near a large tree having wide branches which were always green and no one had any indication of its species. Besides it was a well which was probably used in performing the sacrifices where a living man was immersed in the well. It was their belief that if the man would disappear, the gods would answer their prayers. This was a little distance from the towns of Sigtuna and Birka and a golden chain was around the temple hanging over its gable, the chain of which could be seen glittering far and wide whenever anyone approached it.

Inside the temple, decorated with rich gold, stood three statues of gods, the most important being Thor, who sat on a throne in the centre. Besides him sat the gods Odin also called Wotan and Frey called Fricco, by Adam. While Thor is said to govern air, thunder, lightning, winds, rain, good weather and harvest, Odin is related to fury, bringing in war and strength against enemies. Frey is related to peace and pleasure, is represented by a statue with immense phallus. Thor is compared to Jupiter and Odin’s statue which is armed is compared to Mars by Adam. The people also worshipped heroes who were elevated to gods like King Erik where an account of him is given in Vita Ansgari.

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