Talk:Norse funeral

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Good article Norse funeral has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 13, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on April 2, 2008.


The Vikings often immolated their dead leaders in ship burials, known from archaeology and notably from the account of Ibn Fadlan.

It is not clear: Immolation says it is burning, ship burial seems to mean literal burial (on land).--Patrick 22:23, 13 April 2006 (UTC)


The cultural references look a bit spoiler-y to me. Isopropyl 03:42, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Comment on "lady" in the article[edit]

Is the term lady appropriate because the woman is of a high status, or is it a mislabelling of woman or female? I'm not familiar with Viking cultural terminology, so my 21st Century perception may be wrong. In either way, this may need clarifying - appropriate terminology, not my 21st C perceps! ;~) LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:18, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

It is because she was of high status. Some say that she was a queen, while others say that she was a Völva, two positions that were not contradictory.--Berig (talk) 15:27, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I have replaced 'lady' with 'woman' and added that she was a queen or priestess (as per the Oseberg Ship Burial article). In my opinion the only current use of 'lady' is as an actual title: Lady Mary, Lady Smith. Awien (talk) 16:22, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I see. Thanks for the correction.--Berig (talk) 16:23, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm overstating it a little, but other uses are really limited. Cheers! Awien (talk) 16:30, 3 April 2008 (UTC)


GA review (see here for criteria)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
    minor changes needed
  7. Overall:
  • Image:Haugsetting.jpg and Image:Haugsetting2.jpg should have Fair use tag, not copyrighted, also use fair use rationale template if possible. The name of author is also required.
  • improve img cap. "Alternatively, the deceased were incinerated inside a stone ship." is confusing. Name the place too, if possible. Img captions should stand on their own too.
  • Lead should be expanded.
  • "Death has always been a critical moment for those bereaved, and consequently a case of death is surrounded by taboo-like rules. Family life has to be reorganized and in order to master such transitions, people use rites." seems to be OR. Seems like a comment rather than a fact.
  • A single account is described in too much detail and many redundant words. in "Ibn Fadlan's account." The account retold in "Human sacrifice". A case of WP:UNDUE. Soln: Rewrite deleting unneccessary details e.g. "Thereafter, an old woman named the "angel of death" put cushions on the bed. She was responsible for the ritual and she was the one who would kill the thrall girl. (later told again) She was an old witch, who was stocky and dark" can be re-written as "An old witch named "angel of death", responsible for the ritual, put cushions on the bed." similarly " Everything was incinerated." after "the relatives of the dead chieftain arrived with a burning torch and set the ship aflame." and before "Afterwards, a round barrow was built on top of the ashes".

* "in which the temperature reached 1,400 degrees centigrade; much higher than modern crematorium furnaces attain." seems to be OR. needs ref.

  • "The soul" talks about general notions of death in Norse culture, not the funeral itself. I suggest renaming the article somethimg like "Viking funeral and conception of death" (not the best one). Think about a better one. --Redtigerxyz (talk) 14:56, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for looking into the article. As for Ibn Fadlan's account I don't think it is a case of WP:UNDUE, because it is the only eyewitness account ever recorded, but I will see what I can do to shorten it further. As to your suspicions of OR, the sections are referenced, and I thought that it was only necessary to add references on the bottom of the referenced text. I will try to improve the article according to your evaluation in the next few hours.--Berig (talk) 16:23, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Ibn Fadlan's account as a whole is not UNDUE. the repetition of its details is an UNDUE. Please shorten "Ibn Fadlan's account", removing UNDUE details like was the witch dark etc. and redundant words. Leave a note on my talk when done.--Redtigerxyz (talk) 16:39, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
As for the pics, the invaluable Betacommandbot was very concerned by the use of fair use tags for other images from the same source (see [1]). I then learnt that the present tag was the most appropriate one, and it is indeed the tag that best corresponds to how the copyright owner (a Norwegian government owned college) wants them to be used[2].--Berig (talk) 19:01, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
PS, I have added some even better tags, as the pics are definately PD in the US. I hope that this clears the pictures of any copyright problems.--Berig (talk) 09:15, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
PPS, since I see no reason why these two pictures should stop this article from reaching GA status and in order to avoid any possible further objections against the pics, I have removed them and added a new pic to the lead.--Berig (talk) 09:32, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

IMO, Image:Semiradski.jpg would be a better lead img. Just a suggestion.--Redtigerxyz (talk) 06:37, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I have tried to address your concerns now. I hope the present version is more satisfactory.--Berig (talk) 08:05, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
PASS.--Redtigerxyz (talk) 11:57, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Not restricted to vikings[edit]

The article does not say that the vikings had other funeral customs than other norse during the viking age. Neither is it probable that they had. Note that the viking article says that the term viking refers to the traders and raiders, not the whole population of Scandinavia. Suggestion: Move to Funeral in viking age Scandinavia. --Etxrge (talk) 17:23, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

"Viking funeral" is the conventional term in English and should be used per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (use English): "Use the most commonly used English version of the name of the subject as the title of the article".--Berig (talk) 17:49, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
PS, if we google the name "Viking funeral" and compare it to your suggestion we get:
"Viking funeral": 45,900[3]
"Funeral in viking age Scandinavia": 0 (no results found)[4]
Consequently, it would be against Wikipedia conventions to change the name.--Berig (talk) 18:19, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Its even more funny when one of the more famous stones, which was to honor a dead man during the vikingage after his funeral, states he was a viking watcher: he was appointed as a guard against vikings. Its really funny you want to call him a viking, and that no reader is aloud to understand that that definition is falsely used and wrong. When did google start becoming a source for medevial history knowledge? Dan Koehl (talk) 00:54, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

EDIT: if you search on google for "napoleon short" you will get over 2 460 000 hits, although he was of normal height. It was a conventional term in English as well, that he was short, although its not true... Dan Koehl (talk) 00:58, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

I see that you refer to U 617, a Swedish runic inscription that may have been raised in memory of one of the Thingmen (who protected the English against fellow Scandinavians). I hope that you will eventually come to terms with the fact that the term Viking in modern English has little to do with the use of the word víkingr in Old Norse.--Berig (talk) 08:28, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Berig, so far, I have understood hat the wikipedia should describe vikings, and not the word viking. The description of the word vikings belongs in the and there may of course the british langauge misunderstanding of the term be fully presented, together with all myths and desinformation about the word. But the description of true vikings in this article is a mixture of true facts and misyunderstandings and myths, but still presented for the uncritical reader as facts about vikings, not the word. This only leads to misunderstandings and a pseudo knowledge about vikings, according to my point of view. Secondly, this view is presented as the only thruth, making the article POV, although modern historians has questioned "facts" about vikings for over 10 years now. To make the article NPOV it must be divided into two parts, the "classical" misunderstandings" and the true facts about vikings, those two views can not be merged, mixed and presented together in the article, they can only clearly make people unerstand the problem if they are divided from each other. OR, even better, the article should be written about true vikings, and not british langauge misunderstandings of the word.

Dan Koehl (talk) 15:19, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Dan, Wikipedia is not the place for correcting what "viking" means in English.--Berig (talk) 15:49, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
For different reasons, I lean towards renaming the article to something along the lines of Norse funerary customs. Personally, it irks me when people use "viking" when they mean "Norseman", but it is also true, as Berig notes, that that is common usage in English (even among scholars- Gwyn Jones' pivotal History of the Vikings being just one example). By the same token, we refer to various cultures by shorthand names that refer to only one, non-universal portion or aspect of that culture - such as Mycenean Greece, Inca civilization, Urnfield culture, or Kievan Rus'. Calling it the Viking Age is just something everyone does, accurate or not.
But, in point of fact, Viking funeral means something specific in the popular mind- the burning of a warrior in his boat, on the water, with his weapons and belongings around him. This is probably the least common Norse funeral rite and I only recall it appearing in a single medieval source (but I forget which), but for whatever reason it's captured public imagination and that's what people think of when they hear "viking funeral".
This article covers a very wide and diverse array of inhumation and cremation customs which differed drastically according to period and region. So "Viking funeral", even putting aside the issue of whether it's accurate nomenclature, is probably not the best title for the article as it is generally understood to mean only a single, very unusual form of funeral rite. Briangotts (Talk) (Contrib) 20:42, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I think you are right. I suggest Norse funeral instead since it's a simpler name, and "Viking funeral" will redirect there.--Berig (talk) 10:21, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Not restricted to the Viking Age[edit]

The funerary customs described in this article are not restricted to the Viking Age in Scandinavia. Many of the practices were also conducted in the Nordic Iron Age and in the Nordic Bronze Age even. Bronze Age stone ships are know from Sweden in particular. It is Original Research to limit "Norse funerals" to the Viking Age only. No such division is made in archaeology. There are some differences in preferred practices, and the Viking Age perhaps introduces a few new funerary customs in the Norse culture, but that is not to say the funerary practices of the Norse are to be restriced to the Viking Age specifically. RhinoMind (talk) 12:41, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Overall, I really miss a proper definition of what the term "Norse" actually comprise. Here on Wikipedia, it is often falsely assumed that the use of the term "Norse" is somehow restriced to the Viking Age in Scandinavia, but that is Original Research and not backed up by anything. RhinoMind (talk) 12:41, 11 September 2016 (UTC)