artikel 56

The Hunnestad Monument
Sudden Death and Divine Retaliation


ABSTRACT

Near the little town Ystad in Scania there is a place called Hunnestad. Towards the end of the Viking age there was raised runic stones and picture stones constituting an impressive monument. We know from the inscriptions that the monument was raised commemorating three men, all sons of Gunne Hand. With time the stones were dispersed. Now there are only three stones left at Kulturen in Lund. Luckily enough they and the others have been reproduced in books from the 17th century and onwards.
   It has been suggested that a person riding an animal depicted on one of the stones represents a giantess named Hyrrokkin. She had been summoned by the gods to help with Balder's funeral ship. The identification seems to be correct. The weird object over her head was already in 1967 identified as Balder's ship by Rudolf Broby-Johansen, but this observation seems to be completely forgotten.
   This article argues for the validity of these observations. There are, however, more to the monument than this. It is highly likely that more pictures on the stones has a connection to the world of Norse sagas. Snorre tells the story about the God Loke, responsible for the death of Balder, and how he is captured and bound until Ragnarok by the other Gods. This is done in a particularly inventive way. One of Loke's sons (Vale) is transformed into a wolf, and as a wolf he kills and tears out the intestines of his brother (Nare). There is a depiction on one of the stones representing an animal standing with the tongue out of its mouth, and its feet on some kind of "yarn". It is suggested that this animal is indeed a wolf, and the "yarn" is actually his brother's intestines. These were later used to tie down Loke.
   The Hunnestad Monument is, among other things, a story of death and revenge. It relates the death travel of Balder and the punishment of Loke. The monument is a complex one, however, and the discussion has only just started.

Bert Åkesson

For pictures see article 56 in Swedish


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