“Viking Prayer” memes

This Meme (and others with similar texts) is often shared on “Viking” or Heathen Facebook pages.

If you look in the bottom it says that it is a “Viking (Norse) prayer 4 B.C. – 4 A. D”. Let us start there. The Viking Age was started in the 8th century to the 11th century, so dating is all wrong.

The prayer is very loosely based on a travel account by the Arab Ibn Fadlan from the 10th century and the movie The 13th Warrior. Since it is changed a lot from Ibn Fadlans text, it cant be said to be a “Viking Prayer”.

The Prayer is based on a quote from the movie The 13th Warrior (1999) staring Antonio Banderas as Ibn Fadlan. The movie was based on Michael Chritons 1976 novel “Eaters of the Dead: The Manuscript of Ibn Fadlan Relating His Experiences with the Northmen in AD 922”. The book is loosely based on Beowulf and a travel account by the Arab Ibn Fadlan from the 10th century.

The “Viking Prayer” is in a part of the movie where a Viking is being buried and part of the ceremony is the sacrifice of an enslaved girl and is used again in the fight at the end of the movie.

Link to the Funeral https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0twvVmJKTJY

And a link to the second time the qoute was used in the movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9fKW0drmcM

So in the movie, the “prayer” is ““Lo, there do I see my father. Lo, there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers. Lo, there do I see the line of my people, Back to the beginning! Lo, they do call to me. They bid me take my place among them, In the halls of Valhalla! Where the brave live forever!”. You will notice that the meme has changed the from the one used in the movie. I can not say if the text of the meme is in the book since I do not have it.

The prayer in the movie is loosely based on a prayer in Ibn Fadlans account, where an enslaved girl is sacrificed (like in the movie).  The enslaved girl is getting a lof of alcoholic beverage to drink and as part of the ceremony, she is lifted to look into the afterlife. “The Viking Prayer” is inspired by the translation Ibn Fadlan is given. In the Ibn Fadlan text, the “prayer” is given this way.

Then I asked the interpreter what she had done.  He answered: ‘The first time they lifted her she said: “Look!  I see my father and mother.”  The second time she said: “Look!  I see all my dead relatives sitting round.”  The third time she said: “Look!  I see my master in Paradise, and Paradise is beautiful and green and together with him are men and young boys.  He calls me.  Let me join him then!”’ Source: https://ethicsofsuicide.lib.utah.edu/selections/ibn-fadlan/

If you putt the meme against the Ibn Fadlan source, there are some differences.

The first one is: There is no mentioning of Valhalla. Chrichton who made “The eaters of the dead” just assume that the group of Scandinavians Ibn Fadlan would use the name Valhalla for their paradise. That is not certain. We don’t really know who “The Rus” that Ibn Fadlan meat really was. They might have been living In eastern Europe for one or two generations and even if they were Scandinavian “Vikings” who just sailed out from Sweden, then they might not have seen the afterlife as the medieval Icelanders did looking back centuries later. There are also no enemies mentioned in the Ibn Fadlan source.

If you read the Ibn Fadlan quote again the “paradise” the enslaved girl is mentioning is green, it has her family and her master with men and boys. I don’t see the hall Valhalla with dead warriors drinking and fighting.

The “prayer” gets a whole new feeling when they add Valhalla, dead enemies and phrase it in a King James Bible language. it cannot be said to be the same prayer anymore and is therefore not a Viking Prayer.

Another popular meme with the “prayer” from The 13.th Warrior

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