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Was The Macabre Viking Blood Eagle Torture Really Used?

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Blood eagle. This is the name of one of the most famous Viking tortures and many of you will have seen for the first time in the TV series “Vikings.” Was the macabre ritual – certainly not suitable for the weak of the stomach – really being implemented? Or is it just a Viking myth?

The torture, according to some Norse sagas, consisted in separating the victim’s ribs from the spine, which had to be broken in order to make them look like a pair of bloody wings. Later, the lungs were taken and laid on the shoulders. Yes, very terrible.

The torture “Blood Eagle” is mentioned for the first time in a poem written in ancient Norse and Latin. “He struck an eagle on his back and a sword was put into the chest cavity. Here he cut all the ribs down to the loins and pulled out the lungs through the cut. That was the death of Halfdan,” one can read from an Icelandic source of the twelfth century. Another text, from Denmark of the 12th century, speaks of a torture ritual that had a “likeness of an eagle” on the back of a victim.

No archaeological evidence of torture has ever been discovered before. Using a computer simulation, however, some researchers have also shown that the ritual is anatomically possible. “Anatomically speaking, you will be surprised at how much skin can be cut and removed without significant blood loss,” said Dr. Monte Gates, author of the School of Medicine study at Keele University.

“However, the next step – that is, the one where you start cutting ribs along your back – would surely have killed the person almost immediately. This is because the main artery that serves the whole body, the chest aorta, is located along the side of the spine where the ribs would be cut. Cutting this artery would immediately precipitate blood pressure throughout the body, including the brain,” the expert finally states.

I mean, the blood eagle could be a fantasy, but it’s definitely creepy. By the way, given the subject, here are the most famous false myths about Vikings. While, you know that most likely it was the Vikings who discovered America?

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