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Try for free Already registered? Log in. Flag comment Cancel. Delete Comment Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Cancel Delete comment. But before we get there…. The blood eagle has always been divisive. In essence it boils down to whether it is a literary affectation, or an identifiable and locatable deed preserved in saga literature with lots of shades of grey between the two.
I will let those who wish to read about it go back to our previous article, but suffice it to say that there are at least three physiological barriers to surviving once the process of cutting the ribs had begun. My personal opinion is that, if this mutilation were undertaken as described, then it was not for the benefit of the tortured person who was long dead before the worst occurred but a visual display for the communities who had supported them, of what awaited those who displeased these viking lords.
These types of problematic heroes in saga literature tend to be characterised as lazy in their childhoods, performing wild deeds of strength in response which do little to negate that reputation for laziness, but do demonstrate potential and a destiny that other men do not possess. So Asbjorn and Orm both grow up over the next half a page! He was a great troll and ate human flesh, and it was believed that he could not beaten by mortal men, no matter how many they were; but even more formidable was his mother, a coal-black she-cat as big as the biggest of sacred oxen.
The troll, his mother the giant cat, the fact that he is reputed to be immortal and looks upon people as a food source — naturally, given his apparent ability to entirely ignore an obvious warning, Asbjorn wants to go check it out. While Orm initially persuades him against it, once the two men separate in their journeying, Asbjorn heads straight back to Saudoy with 24 men, and that is really it for the lad and his mates. She was coal-black in colour and rather fierce-looking, for it appeared that fire burned in her mouth and nostrils … The cat then leapt into the tent at them and grabbed one after another, and it is said she swallowed some of them and tore others apart with the claws and teeth.
Three men do escape the massacre, likely because our author realised that he would need someone left alive to go tell Orm of the tragedy.