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The famous Viking ritual of torture ‘blood eagle’ has been for decades cataloged by scientists as a legend. However, a recent study reveals that the bloody rite is possible and was likely performed by Norse warriors.

Scientists reveal viking ‘Blood Eagle’ torture ritual is anatomically possible
Sacrificial Scene on Hammars. — Image: Creative Commons

Scientists from Keele University (UK) and the University of Iceland they investigated recently this practice and concluded that, while it cannot be definitively proven whether the ritual actually occurred, this unpleasant way of dying appears “anatomically possible.”

Aprenda sobre os vikings lendo uma das obras da livraria especializada Livros Vikings

It is a practice carried out by these warriors to their most hated enemies, which consisted of opening the victim’s back and separating the ribs from the spinal column, before extracting the lungs through the resulting wounds. The final ‘flutter’ of open lungs on the extended ribs it supposedly resembled the movement of the wings of a bird, hence the name eagle.

The ritual, which has appeared in the television series ‘Vikings’ and in the recent video game ‘Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’, has long been studied by scientists, however, definitive archaeological evidence confirming its execution has never been found. because even the Vikings themselves did not keep any records, exposing their achievements only in spoken poetry and in the sagas that were first written centuries later.

However, this new study published in the magazine Speculum, he makes an approach to the ritual based on a sociocultural analysis of Viking culture and a careful reevaluation of the nine medieval accounts of the ritual, in line with the use of an anatomical modeling computer program to recreate extreme versions of the blood eagle, simulating the effect of each step of torture on the human body.

The analysis of the sources of the time indicates that this type of ritual would not necessarily be out of the ordinary and clearly shows that Viking culture was not limited to displaying death, it also reflected a cultural obsession with showing honor and prestige.

According to scientists, a specific type of Viking spearhead hooked ends it could have been used as a tool to quickly ‘loosen’ the rib cage out from the spine. However, even if the ritual were performed carefully, the victim would have died very quickly. Therefore, any attempt to reshape the ribs into ‘wings’ or to remove the lungs would have been made on a corpse and that last ‘flapping’ would not have occurred.

The blood eagle ritual appears to have been a practice carried out only in exceptional circumstances, the specialists conclude.

SOURCE: Market Research Telecast

"Scientists Reveal Viking ‘Blood Eagle’ Torture Ritual Is Anatomically Possible". Market Research Telecast. Moscow, 20 dec. 2021. 20 dec. 2021. <>.

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