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Oldest reference to Norse god Odin found on Danish gold treasure

Scandinavian scientists stated Wednesday that they’ve recognized the oldest-known inscription referencing the Norse god Odin on a part of a gold disc unearthed in western Denmark in 2020.

Lisbeth Imer, a runologist with the National Museum in Copenhagen, stated the inscription represented the primary strong proof of Odin being worshipped as early because the fifth century — no less than 150 years sooner than the earlier oldest recognized reference, which was on a brooch present in southern Germany and dated to the second half of the sixth century.

The disc found in Denmark was a part of a trove containing about 2.2 kilos of gold, together with massive medallions the scale of saucers and Roman cash made into jewellery. It was unearthed within the village of Vindelev, central Jutland, and dubbed the Vindelev Hoard.


Experts assume the cache was buried 1,500 years in the past, both to cover it from enemies or as a tribute to appease the gods. A golden bracteate — a sort of skinny, decorative pendant — carried an inscription that learn, “He is Odin’s man,” probably referring to an unknown king or overlord.

“It’s probably the greatest executed runic inscriptions that I’ve ever seen,” Imer stated. Runes are symbols that early tribes in northern Europe used to speak in writing.

The inscription "He is Odin’s man" is seen over the head of a figure on a golden bracteate unearthed in Vindelev, Denmark, in late 2020.

The inscription “He is Odin’s man” is seen over the pinnacle of a determine on a golden bracteate unearthed in Vindelev, Denmark, in late 2020. (Arnold Mikkelsen, The National Museum of Denmark by way of AP)

Odin was one of many fundamental gods in Norse mythology and was often related to battle in addition to poetry.

More than 1,000 bracteates have been present in northern Europe, in response to the National Museum in Copenhagen, the place the trove found in 2020 is on show.

Krister Vasshus, an historic language specialist, stated that as a result of runic inscriptions are uncommon, “each runic inscription (is) very important to how we perceive the previous.”


“When an inscription of this size seems, that in itself is wonderful,” Vasshus stated. “It offers us some fairly fascinating details about faith up to now, which additionally tells us one thing about society up to now.”

During the Viking Age, thought of to be from 793 to 1066, Norsemen often known as Vikings undertook large-scale raiding, colonizing, conquest and buying and selling all through Europe. They additionally reached North America.

The Norsemen worshipped many gods and every of them had varied traits, weaknesses and attributes. Based on sagas and a few rune stones, particulars have emerged that the gods possessed many human traits and will behave like people.

“That sort of mythology can take us additional and have us reinvestigate all the opposite 200 bracteate inscriptions that we all know,” Imer stated.

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