Gudarnas platser : Förkristna sakrala ortnamn i Mälarlandskapen
Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis is the employment of a material-based investigation to create a platform for further research into sacral place-names in Scandinavia. The objective has been to delimit and evaluate a corpus of potential sacral place-names within an area selected for study, i.e. the provinces of Södermanland, Uppland and Västmanland in central Sweden.The main problem concerns the delimitation of the material, and for this purpose a number of criteria for identifying pre-Christian sacral place-names are established. They should: (1) contain elements with sacral lexical meaning, (2) appear in a pre-historic name setting, (3) be formed according to recognised semantic patterns for sacral place-names and (4) contain elements with known connections to prehistoric Scandinavian religion.The thesis comprises a discussion of about 25 sacral elements that occur in place-names, including several names of gods such as Tor, Oden and Frö (Frey). In this discussion an emphasis is put upon questions of demarcation, that is the problems of how to linguistically discern these name-elements from others, and—due to the occurrence of polysemy—to establish when a certain element has a sacral meaning and when it has not. Emphasis is also put upon what is labelled as the local context of the names, that is the complex of other place-names, geographical positions, archaeological sites and finds, of which the sacral place-names form a part. This latter discussion is summarised in the last chapter, where recurrent tendencies in the material are represented by three typical settings: (1) The normal Iron Age settlement. (2) The centre of the community, where the sacral place-name indicates a place of central ritual significance in an egalitarian community. (3) The aristocratic centre, where the sacral place-name is connected with an aristocratic central place.
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