The disc bears the inscription: “He is Odin’s man,” said Christer Vashus, a linguist who helped decipher the runic inscription. He added that it also contained a name or surname “Jaga” or “Jagaar”, which was probably the king or ruler of the place where the bracteate was made.
This “could tell us something about people’s relationships with their gods and possibly how divine rule was organized in Scandinavia at this time,” he said.
Although it was known that Odin as a concept or deity had existed for centuries before Bractate was created, Vashus said it was “really very exciting.”
“Carver really knew how to shape the runs to be perfect, simply perfect,” he said. “They’re perfect.”
The bracket also displays a swastika, an ancient symbol used throughout the Iron Age and later co-opted by German nationalists and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.
Odin appears in many pre-Christian barbarian belief systems in northern Europe for centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire in the west. They were known as Woden to the Saxons who colonized England in the 5th and 6th centuries, and as Uoden in Old Dutch.
Some traditions place him as the father or ruler of the gods. The Prose Edda, one of the main sources of Norse mythology, refers to Odin as “the Allfather”.
“Odin is the highest and greatest of the Æsir [the primary group of Norse gods]: He rules over all things, and as powerful as other gods, they all serve him as children obey a father,” it says.
The Edda was based on Old Norse tradition but was written in 13th-century Iceland, long after the Vikings had converted to Christianity.
Odin’s sons included Thor, the god of thunder, who was the inspiration for Marvel’s comic book series and film series of the same name.
Some modern Icelanders still practice the old Norse pagan religion: in 2016 work began on a temple in honor of the gods.
Vashus states that the bracteates may have been buried to hide them from enemies or as a tribute to appease the gods.
“It’s a huge amount of gold, so it must have been a very serious situation that they wanted to rectify,” he said.
“We know that there was a huge volcanic eruption in 536 AD and there were at least two more that blocked out sunlight. There would have been a famine in areas dependent on grain and cereals,” he said. “We also It is known that in 541 AD a plague similar to the Black Death came.
He noted that at the time “Scandinavia was mainly an area where they relied on oral tradition, so it was not a very literate society and we have very few written sources from this part of the world at this time.”
As a result, the disc, he said, “advances our knowledge a little bit further which is very exciting.”