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Viking Funeral

  1. Mar 20, 2005 #1

    brewnog

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    Does anyone know any reason why my friend should not be able to have a Viking style funeral, where his burning corpse is sent floating down the Manchester Ship Canal in a Viking longboat (failing that, a wooden dinghy)?
     
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  3. Mar 20, 2005 #2

    Danger

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    Don't know what British law is like in that regard. Here, you'd need permits up the wazoo. If you just went ahead and did it, they'd get you for performing an indignity to a corpse, improper disposal of a corpse, fire regulation violations, probably some health board issues unless you can prove that nothing of him remains in circulation, water pollution and/or littering, and probably air pollution from the combustion. I would recommend making a big deal out of recreating a longboat as some sort of cultural history project, pull your plan off very quickly, and report it as an accidental fire (too late for the fire department, of course). The problem then would be, what if someone wants to know what happened to the body. I know that there is a minimum required temperature for a legal crematorium (around 1,500 degrees C., I think). Would he be satisfied with a legal cremation and having his ashes carried, perhaps in a torch, down the river?
     
  4. Mar 20, 2005 #3

    Astronuc

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    Why not the Mersey?
     
  5. Mar 21, 2005 #4
    lol your right..not a soul would notice.
     
  6. Mar 21, 2005 #5

    arildno

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    Eeh, what sort of Viking funeral is this supposed to be?
    They sure didn't do anything like this here in Norway..
     
  7. Mar 21, 2005 #6

    brewnog

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    The bit he wants to be dropped in is the confluence of the Ship Canal and the Mersey.

    Fantastic, a resident Viking. Perhaps you'd be willing to advise on longboat design?
     
  8. Mar 21, 2005 #7

    arildno

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    Hey, I did study fluid mechanics, but don't ever make the mistake of letting me design or (god forbid!) steer a boat, if you're planning to make a trip in that boat.
    I'm just saying this out of concern for your own welfare.
     
  9. Mar 21, 2005 #8

    Astronuc

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  10. Mar 21, 2005 #9

    arildno

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    Well, the ship burial mounds we've excavated in Norway shows no sign of burnt timbers, or that the bodies were burnt (at least, I never learnt that tid-bit in school)
    Nor can I recall any source material, like Snorri or Icelandic sagas which mention making a pyre out of a long-boat.

    But, as I write this, I seem to recall that this custom was present among Saxons; I wonder if the body in the Sutton Hoo find was burnt?.
     
  11. Mar 21, 2005 #10

    arildno

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    Here is a link to ancient burial customs I found:
    http://tanwayour.calafia.org/burial.html

    It seems that Anglo-Saxons were keen on the cremation business, but, somewhat surprising to me, the ancient norse cremation technique seems to have persisted into the Viking era (I've always thought the cremation in Scandinavia ended sometime 400-600 AD, but evidently, I'm wrong here).
    I only scanned the article, but couldn't find a direct quote supporting the use of longboats as a pyre among Vikings.
     
  12. Mar 21, 2005 #11

    Astronuc

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    IIRC, it was the 'viking' burial was used for chieftains or the highest warriors.

    And I do not think a long boat was used, unless it had been damaged (as in battle) beyond reasonable repair.

    I think they would have used smaller boats (like a dingy). I cannot imagine anyone trashing a longboat, as they were too valuable.

    See what contact with the Brits did! :biggrin:
     
  13. Mar 21, 2005 #12

    arildno

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    Actually, the Oseberg ship was most probably a ceremonial ship which never did any raids.
    It may well have been specifically built during the Asa-queen's reign to be her burial ship.

    The Gokstad ship was a typical raiding ship in its design ; a veteran who had made his fortune on the seas might well want to be buried in his old "flagship", which at the time of his death would have required such a major overhaul in order to be sea-worthy again that the next generation would rather spend their money on a brand new ship, instead of re-fitting their Daddy's old ship.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  14. Mar 21, 2005 #13

    Astronuc

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    Good point. Presumably it is the leader/captain of the ship. His crew would get the normal burial.

    Great link by the way on the burial customs.

    I definitely want to be cremated in the end.
     
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