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date: 20 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Religion and religious practices were indissoluble aspects of life and death within Anglo-Saxon society. They provided an inbuilt function of the world view of its peoples before the acceptance of Christianity in England between the late sixth century and the late seventh century ad. Fertility rites, shamanism, and belief in ghosts and spirits, ancestor-worship, and gods liable to intervene actively in the affairs of the living, appear to be the chief components. This article discusses Anglo-Saxon pre-Christian religion covering idols, cult sites, sacrifices, and offerings in Scandinavia and Germany; images and iconography in Anglo-Saxon England; human and animal sacrifice; votive offerings; sanctuaries or shrines and furnished burials; and male ‘priests’ and female witches.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon pre-Christian religion, religious practices, human and animal sacrifice, votive offerings, shrines, burials, male priests, female witches

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