“The sacrifice is performed as follows: Of every living creature of male
gender nine are offered, their blood is used to placate the gods.
The bodies are hung in a grove close to the temple. This grove is
thought so holy by the heathens that every tree is said to possess divine power
emanating from the death and decay of the sacrificed bodies.
There also hang hounds and horses along with people, and one Christian
has told me he saw seventy-two bodies hang there.”
This is how
the German church historian Adam of Bremen described the cult in Old Uppsala in
the 1070s. He himself was never there; his account is based on hearsay.
the sacrificial feasts was compulsory, but Christians could pay their way out
of attending. Adam writes that the sacrificial feast was every nine years, and
drew attendants from “all the provinces of the Swedes”.
Was the golden temple a hall?
He also mentions
a golden temple on the site:
“This people have a famous temple called Uppsala, not far from the town
of Sigtuna. At this temple, which is completely covered in gold, the people
worship three gods.”
of them, Thor, has his throne in the middle of the hall. On each side of him
sit Odin and Frey.
Adam never used the word “temple”. In his Latin text he wrote “triclininium”,
meaning “dining hall”. Possibly the temple was actually a hall for meetings and
Read on about Old Uppsala church