This very interesting find in Denmark has turned into somewhat of a controversy. A 2 inch tall silver figurine, of what everyone agrees depicts a god in Norse mythology, is called “totally unique” and “must be counted among the most outstanding finds from prehistoric Denmark” by the Roskilde Museum is now being debated as to who the actual character is.
The options are Odin, Freya, Frigga, or my favorite Odin in a dress. Here are the arguments:
In the official press release, the Roskilde Museum in Denmark says the 10th century statue is Odin.
Here is a portion of the press release translated into English:
The Nordic god, the supreme god who is pictured here, is evident from the two birds sitting on the chair’s armrest. It is Odin’s two ravens, Hugin and Munin, who flew out every day to return home in the evening to tell Odin about all that had happened that day.
The artfully executed chair is Odin’s throne, or throne called Hlidskjalf. It gave Odin magical powers, and from it he could gaze out across the world. These attributes are associated with Odin in his capacity as the ELSE and omniscient god. Depictions of Odin on his throne has so far been reserved for 1800 century national romanticism and the late 1900-century comics, but now we have the Viking Age’s (750-1050 AD) own version!….The decoration on Odin’s neck and chest may be the gold ring Draupner that every ninth night dripped eight new rings.
Swedish archaeologist, Dr. Martin Rundkvist, beleives the figurine is most definetely a female. In in blog entry “Odin from Lejre? No it’s Freya!” he says:
So you’re a metal detectorist and you find a silver figurine at storied Lejre in Denmark. It depicts a person sitting in a high seat whose posts end in two wolves’ heads. And on either arm rest sits a raven. The style is typical for about AD 900. So when you hand the thing over to the site manager, he of course exclaims, “Holy shit! It’s Odin!”. And that’s what he tells the press.
Until somebody like me comes along and points out that it’s a woman.
She’s wearing a floor-length dress. And a shawl. And four finely sculpted bead strings. This is a standard depiction of an aristocratic lady of the later 1st Millennium.
Odin in drag:
Vikingrune.com, a website dedicated to “Norse vikings and all things Scandinavian” blogs a few different ideas.
The most exciting feature of the figurine were two birds on the armrests of the throne and two beasts forming its backrest. These were immediately interpreted as Odin’s two ravens Huginn and Muninn, and Odin’s two wolves, Geri and Freki. The person on the throne could be no one else than Odin himself…
There are other versions as well. Odin might have been depicted in a dress, since in Norse mythology he is known for “unmanly” magical practices (Odin is also mentioned to be dressed up as a woman to seduce Rind). The left eye of the figurine seems to be damaged, which points to Odin and no other Norse god or deity.
Also according to Vikingrune.com
However, it also might be Frigg, wife to Odin, who sits on her husband’s throne when Odin is away,
And then we are left with a final question: could this be an image of a viking age female ruler? Quite fascinating arguments.