The Underworld and the Afterlife

By Mark David

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The Underworld and the Afterlife is Volume 1 in the Viking Legends and Norse Mythology Source Book series. For the ancient Scandinavians, death was part of life: In many ways, it was a society based on a system of belief concerning the dead and the gods who ruled the realms between which man passed in life and death. For the late iron-age people of Scandinavia – well before, in fact Viking times – the folk of the land believed each tree, each rock had a spirit attached to it and that when dead, life passed back to the land from where it came from. In Viking times, burial sites of ancestor worship often featured the device of the boat carrying the dead to the halls of Valhalla. Of this we can only speculate, since the sagas that have come down to us, mostly from Icelandic sources, are only fragmentary. Scholars do not have any answers to the question whether the dead would remain for some time in the grave and later depart for the realm of the dead, what the purpose of the grave goods was, or if ‘the ship in the barrow’ was to transport the deceased to the realm of the dead. The Norse were driven by their beliefs, they conditioned what they thought and what they did. For the Norse, the concept of the afterlife was a very real part of the lives of people for whom superstition was a way of life. In this first volume of Viking Legends and Norse Mythology, The Underworld and the Afterlife, I examine the key myths: legends like the living undead, the Draugar, the destinations in the afterlife. I weave threads linking sagas to beliefs, eye witness reports to legends, covering Scandinavian, Northern Germanic and Anglo-Saxon Norse sources, amidst the backdrop of Viking and pre-Viking folk superstition.


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The Underworld and the Afterlife is Volume 1 in the Viking Legends and Norse Mythology Source Book series. For the ancient Scandinavians, death was part of life: In many ways, it was a society based on a system of belief concerning the dead and the gods who ruled the realms between which man passed in life and death. For the late iron-age people of Scandinavia – well before, in fact Viking times – the folk of the land believed each tree, each rock had a spirit attached to it and that when dead, life passed back to the land from where it came from. In Viking times, burial sites of ancestor worship often featured the device of the boat carrying the dead to the halls of Valhalla. Of this we can only speculate, since the sagas that have come down to us, mostly from Icelandic sources, are...


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eTEXT book on Viking Legends and Norse Mythology: In the 21st century as in the 8th and 9th, nothing ever stands still. Wikipedia is a wonderful resource, as are online libraries of the world’s historical texts, but there are no narratives linking different articles together. This book is one such narrative, drawing on many other publications and linking to online digital resources such as the ones available to us from Project Gutenberg and Sacred Texts online.

In the Norse universe, nothing is straight, nothing is linear and nothing is ever really done. Similarly, this publication is not necessarily a linear ‘from A-to-B’ read. It can be, but is intended to be ‘open’, in the respect that it can be accessed in any order by theme.

This publication is published as an eTEXT book (more than just an eBook) intended for the mobile-digital audience using the benefits of hyperlinking. In the text, hyperlinks are used to take the reader to sources. Wikipedia and the elementamundi.com↵ site is used to support original research, providing more information and graphical-visual content.

eTEXT digital resource link with the world’s online resources and every effort is and will be made to keep these links up-to-date and relevant.

By clicking on the footnote numbers, it will take you direct to the notes at the end of the publication. Clicking on the note in the notes, will take you back to where the footnote is seen in the text, back to where you left off.


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eTEXT book on Viking Legends and Norse Mythology: In the 21st century as in the 8th and 9th, nothing ever stands still. Wikipedia is a wonderful resource, as are online libraries of the world’s historical texts, but there are no narratives linking different articles together. This book is one such narrative, drawing on many other publications and linking to online digital resources such as the ones available to us from Project Gutenberg and Sacred Texts online.

In the Norse universe, nothing is straight, nothing is linear and nothing is ever really done. Similarly, this publication is not necessarily a linear ‘from A-to-B’ read. It can be, but is intended to be ‘open’, in the respect that it can be accessed in any order by theme.

This publication is published ...


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British Mark David is both an author and historical researcher who goes the final mile to access remote places, chart them and bring them alive in the telling his tales. An admirer of culture and history, Mark David has spent many years crafting his passions and universes before releasing his books. Mark is writing a new comprehensive series on the Vikings and Norse Mythology, using much of the material developed researching his fiction project The Elements. The Viking and Norse books arise from much of the source material gathered over the years, part of his quest to write ‘The Lord Of The Rings in the real world’, to envisage and realize a hard-boiled world as anything from fantasy – but founded on real Kings and beliefs that became legendary, legend turning to myth.


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British Mark David is both an author and historical researcher who goes the final mile to access remote places, chart them and bring them alive in the telling his tales. An admirer of culture and history, Mark David has spent many years crafting his passions and universes before releasing his books. Mark is writing a new comprehensive series on the Vikings and Norse Mythology, using much of the...


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