Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Temple at Uppsala

The Temple at Uppsala was a semi-legendary cultic site in Gamla Uppsala, near modern Uppsala, Sweden, that was formed to worship the Norse gods of prehistoric times. The temple is sparsely recognized, but it is referenced in the Norse sagas and Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum. It is also described by Adam of Bremen. These images might, however, be influenced and biased by the Biblical stories and recollections of the Ancient Roman temples.

The chief controversies regarding the temple focus specifically on determining where in Old Uppsala the temple was located and whether or not it was a building. Some believe that the temple was puzzled with the hall of the Swedish kings. Churches were usually built and consecrated on top of older pagan temples and other sites that witnessed ritual behavior. During an excavation of the present church, the remains of one, and possibly several, large wooden buildings were found beneath the church's foundation.Snorri Sturluson wrote that the temple had been built by the god Freyr, who allegedly used to reside at Uppsala. Snorri and Saxo Grammaticus both claimed that it was Freyr who began the tradition of human sacrifices at the temple site. The Norse sagas, Saxo Grammaticus and Adam of Bremen describe the sacrifices at Uppsala as popular festivals that attracted people from all over Sweden. Many of these sources provide accounts of human sacrifice for the Norse gods.

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