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BLOOD EAGLE : The Grisly Viking Torture Technique Some historians dispute that it actually occurred.

 BLOOD EAGLE: The Viking Torture Method So Grisly Some Historians Don’t Believe It Actually Happened


Viking sagas recount the blood eagle ceremony, which involved keeping victims alive while slicing open their backs and pulling out their ribs, lungs, and intestines to form crimson wings.


  • Did the Vikings actually do the blood eagle?
  • Who invented blood eagle torture?
  • How painful was the blood eagle?
  • Is the blood eagle medically possible?


The Vikings didn't enter towns while floating on rainbows and moonbeams. If the Vikings' sagas are to be accepted, they ruthlessly tortured their traitors while advancing their conquests in the name of their deity Odin.



One fled town and never looked back if even the slightest hint of a blood eagle was mentioned.


Blood eagle is described in Viking sagas as one of the most agonising and frightening forms of torture imaginable. According to the narrative, "Earl Einar went to Halfdan and carved blood-eagle on his back in such a way that he pushed sword into his trunk by the backbone and cut all the ribs away, from the backbone down to the loins, and took the lungs from there.



• The Blood Eagle Executions' Past


The year 867 is regarded to be one of the first records of the blood eagle being used.


Aella, king of Northumbria (modern-day North Yorkshire, England), who started it all, was attacked by Vikings a few years prior. Ragnar Lothbrok, the head of the Vikings, was slain by Aella by plunging him into a snake pit.


In 865, Lothbrok's sons attacked England as retaliation. One of Lothbrok's sons, Ivar the Boneless, saw to it that Aella would be murdered when the Danes seized York.


It goes without saying that murdering him was insufficient. Ragnar, the father of Ivar, supposedly died a horrific death by a pit of snakes.


Ivar the Boneless planned to terrorise his adversaries and make an example out of Aella. He thus gave the cursed king over to the blood eagle.


Modern academics disagree whether or not Vikings actually used this horrible manner of ceremonial torture.


It would be tough to imagine that the blood eagle procedure could truly be carried out since it is so brutal and gory. There is no doubting that the ceremony was unsettling, regardless of whether it is purely literary fiction.


To prevent the victim from escaping or making quick movements, her wrists and legs were bound. After then, the assailant stabbed the victim by the tailbone and up toward the ribs.


Then an axe was used to carefully break each rib from the backbone, exposing the victim's internal organs.


The sufferer is said to have survived the entire surgery. What's more, the Vikings would next apply a saline stimulant—literally salt—to the open hole.


The torturer next ripped out the victim's lungs to give the impression that the individual had a pair of wings stretched out on his back after having all of the victim's ribs removed and spread out like enormous fingers.


The blood eagle appeared in all its grisly splendour as a result. The sufferer had transformed into a bloody, slimy bird.


More than just describing the torture technique is The Vikings. You may also see it being recreated, but be careful.


• The Blood Eagle's Sacred Ritual


The blood eagle was not only fought by King Aella. According to one researcher, at least four more important individuals from Northern European history perished in a similar manner.


Ivar the Boneless had also claimed the life of King Edmund of England. Because they were victims of Ivar the Boneless, Halfdan, son of King Haraldr of Norway, King Maelgualai of Munster, and Archbishop Aelheah were all said to have been tortured by blood eagles.


Vikings employed the blood eagle on their victims for two major causes. They initially thought it was a sacrifice to the god of battle and the father of the Norse pantheon, Odin.


Second and more logically, the blood eagle was carried out as a kind of retribution against dishonourable people. The Orkneyinga saga of the Vikings claims that Halfdan was defeated in battle by Earl Einar, who later tortured him with a blood eagle as he seized control of Halfdan's realm. Aella endured similar suffering out of revenge.


Before the Vikings could ever set foot in a settlement, the tales of the blood eagle, whether genuine or false, would have completely destroyed it.


If nothing else, the allegations of such torture would have established the Vikings as a supernaturally terrifying people who should not be underestimated.


• Ritual or Rumor?


Victims of the practice died in the 800s and 900s, possibly in the 1000s.


Written accounts, often ornate and said to be entertained during the long winter nights to the north, did not appear until the 1100s and 1200s.


The writers of the Viking saga listened to the stories and wrote them. Perhaps he embellished the brutality of the Vikings to make them more heroic.


Illustration of King Aila's messengers bringing news to the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok. Obviously, it didn't do any good. However, there may be merit to the Blood Eagle story.


The poets who wrote them were very specific in the method used. Sure enough, someone had actually tried this torture method because of the bloody description someone described.


A Danish historian, Saxo Grammaticus, describes the ritual as simply a means of carving an eagle into a victim's back and other details were added later and, "combined in inventive sequences designed for maximum terror."



Either the blood eagle was a real thing, or it was a propaganda tool. But either way, it was scary.


• Other Viking torture methods


The Vikings used torture methods other than the Blood Eagle. One was known as Hung Meat, which was as bad as it sounded.


The Vikings pierced the victims' heels, threaded ropes through the holes, and then turned them upside down. The piercing in the ankles was not only causing terrible pain, but blood had entered their hearts.


The fatal walk was another gruesome testament to the torture. One victim's abdomen was cut and a small portion of the intestine was taken out.


While the victim was walking around a tree, the torturer grabbed the victim's intestines. Eventually, the victim's entire intestinal tract will wrap around the tree.


Whether it was blood eagles, hanging flesh, or deadly walks, the Vikings knew how to set an example from their enemies.

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