Late Viking-Age Dragon-Slayers: Two Unusual Urnes-Style Brooches from Sjælland, Denmark

Anne Pedersen, Sigmund Oehrl

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In 2003 and 2007, two brooches were discovered during metal detector surveys on Sjælland, Denmark. Both represent a horseman; the one intact brooch showing the rider killing a serpent-like animal with his spear. The beast is clearly associated with the Urnes style, dating to about 1050–1100. The meaning of the motif is discussed on the background of early medieval dragon slayer narratives and imagery. The iconography of equestrian saints has a long tradition in Continental Germanic and Scandinavian art. Migration and Merovingian Period depictions were incorporated into a pagan iconography, whilst the Urnes style was used in definite Christian contexts. It is possible that the two brooches represent a very early depiction of Saint George in Scandinavia. Together with other finds, they add new perspectives to our understanding of the adoption of Christian iconography and narratives in Scandinavia
TidsskriftMedieval Archaeology
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)322-367
Antal sider46
StatusUdgivet - 2021


  • Viking Age
  • Viking Age jewellery
  • Christianization