The Gold Bracteates of the Migration Period

The Gold Bracteates of the Migration Period are among the most intriguing finds of all Germanic history. Leaving behind the largely non-pictorial Pre-Roman and Roman Iron Age, the number and quality of figural images exploded rapidly with the beginning of the Migration Period thanks in large part to the Gold Bracteates. This wind of change had a very obvious origin: it came from the South, from the Roman Empire, the largest and longest-lasting superpower in the history of Europe.

An Old Saxon Wodan image north of Bremen

Northwest of Bremen, where the river Hunte leads into the Weser, lies the town of Elsfleth (see map in fig. 1), which has been attracting attention among archaeologists for several years. There, on an inconspicuous field in the area of the former embankment wall of the river, interesting finds have been made at regular intervals for quite some time. In addition to a large quantity of pottery, it is the countless metal finds that characterize the site called “Hogenkamp”.

Wodan and the Scandinavian Warlords

The dominant role of Wodan as the “Allfather” in Old Norse literature is a well-known fact or perhaps even common knowledge. Nevertheless, Heathenism has constantly been changing in symbiosis with its culture and society over the centuries, and so has the concept of Wodan. The question is: how did he become the alfǫðr Óðinn of the late Viking Age and which position did he have in the preceding eras?