Historical knowledge

The images on the Golden Horns

The Golden Horns are decorated with numerous mysterious figures arranged in rows. It is unclear whether the motives can be interpreted as a long and unfolding story. The figures include various creatures: centaurs, humans with horned helmets, jumping animals, riders and a three-headed figure carrying an axe. A mixture of cryptic motifs are represented, which are difficult to decode today. It is often assumed that the figures reflect different myths, which to us have an unfamiliar content.  The first interpretation of the motifs was undertaken by Ole Worm in the 17th century. He believed that the longest horn was a war trumpet from King Frode Fredegod’s time, and that the pictures functioned as an exhortation to people about virtue and good morals.

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