Viking Arm Ring Meaning: A Purse or An Oath?

According to the archaeological evidence, the Viking arm ring was a common item in the Viking society. The Viking arm ring meaning, however, varies from viewpoint to viewpoint. Some believe that it was just a Viking purse while the others believed it was an oath between the earl and his people. Looking into the tales and myths to find out the Viking Arm Ring meaning is awesome.

Viking Arm Ring as a purse

Viking arm ring was a common part of the Viking jewelry. And in their society, the Viking jewelry was not merely an object to decorate and better personal appearance. Rather, Viking jewelry had a close connection with their religious belief. For example, the Vikings made their Mjolnir hammer pendant as their lucky charm and wishing for Thor’s presence in their life.

Viking arm ring meaning as a purse or an oath ring? Viking arm rings from the Silverdale Hoard, Lancashire, England. The hoard consisted of 200 silver pieces of jewelry and coins.
Viking arm rings from the Silverdale Hoard, Lancashire, England. The hoard consisted of 200 silver pieces of jewelry and coins.

Moreover, the scholars agreed that the Vikings used their jewelry, especially their arm ring, as their purse. If we are now using the purse to keep the money, the Vikings used their arm ring as their store of value to trade. The Vikings would hack off pieces from their arm ring to trade for the goods they wanted in the market.

So generally, the Vikings would use their arm ring to keep their “money” as we do with our purse and wallet.

Viking Arm Ring as an oath

Beside serving a realistic purpose, the Viking arm ring as the scholars believe served as an oath.

When a Viking boy came of age, they would meet their earl in a gathering and receive their arm ring. The Viking earl or king would give these little boys the Viking arm rings to show his generosity. The Viking boys receiving these gifts would have to swear their loyalty to the war-band leaders.

In some Viking kenning, we might catch sight of the “gold giver” which is somewhat confused. But actually, the “gold giver” is the kings/earls. The ritual of giving the gold/bronze arm ring presented the generosity of these chieftains. They were so wealthy that they had to rid of their gold.

Viking artifact of the Viking arm ring with complicated pattern
Viking artifact of the Viking arm ring with complicated pattern

The common Viking artifact of the Viking arm ring is the flatten cuff bracelet or twisted bracelet. Seldom do the archaeologists excavate the Viking arm rings with intricate patterns.

Though the practice of giving the arm ring and wearing the arm ring as a symbol of loyalty to the earls remains a matter of debate. It is an awesome try to link the Viking arm ring meaning with the solemn vow of fealty.

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