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August 25, 2007

The Bog Man

I was fascinated by this story and the photos in my National Geographic newsletter today. It’s about bodies discovered in Denmark’s bogs, most of whom seem to have been sacrifices. Check out the photo of the man with the battle hairstyle and the one with the red hair. (They think the bog has made the man’s hair turn bright red)

This is the link here


  1. Gabriele

    Oh, lovely bog bodies. :grin:

    I’ve seen a few myself in the museum in Schleswig. Fascinating.

  2. Tempest Knight

    Yesterday I went to Borders and saw something about this on a mag, so I picked it up and checked out the pics. Totally amazing!

  3. Amy Ruttan

    Bog people are very cool and interesting. I have no doubt they were sacrifices. The Celts were very into that, and they spread all over northern europe. The chosen would have been honoured (but terrified) to be sacrificed.

    Ok there’s me spouting off TMI. You can tell I write historicals, right?

  4. Gabriele

    The Germans sacrified humans, too. After the battle in the Teutoburg Forest, the captured Roman officers all ended up on altars and in the bogs. Though most of them had prefered to fall upon their swords earlier.

    I write historical fiction, too (not historicals as in romance is the main plot, but big, sprawling epic messes with the occasional love story thrown in :mrgreen: ).

  5. Shelley Munro

    I’ve seen a bog man in the British Museum. Fascinating.

    Amy – I guess it must have been an honor to be chosen but I’m glad I live now!

    Gabriele – falling on swords must have taken a bit of courage. One of the photos showed what they thought was a warrior with his special hair knot. That was interesting – my hair will never stay up but his survived hundreds and hundreds of years.

  6. Gabriele

    It was a honourable death for a Roman when there was no way out. Varus and most of his staff committed suicide – after three days of battle they knew they would never make it to the Rhine /Ems borders. The officers who didn’t got captured and sacrified. Though some must have been spared, I suppose mostly of centurion rank, because it’s said their families bought them free. Captured rankers were kept as slaves; and a few men escaped.

    Yes, I’m writing a novel about the Romans in Germania, why do you ask? :mrgreen:

    And I’ve found ways to get some characters out because I’ll need them later. :wink:

  7. Shelley Munro

    They used them as slaves, too? I presume families who wanted to buy captured soldiers back must have been a lucrative source of business for the victorious sides. I guess it was the poor soldiers who ended up sacrified or as slaves.

    It sounds like a tough life. We’re very lucky!

  8. Gabriele

    after what we can deduce from the sources, the surviving officers were sacrified, but I’m not sure if that included all the centurions (some sort of sergeants). Ranker soldiers were kept as slaves, but since those seldom had families with money beyond the daily needs, I don’t think many of them were bought free, so there must have been some captive officers that got ransomed – I assume centurions were the likely candidates.

    There must have been a number of them, because it is mentioned that those men were received back on Roman ground, but not allowed to enter Italy again (which left the provinces for them to live in). A strange decision by the emperor which makes me wonder if some things should not become known in Rome.

    Gotta love those sneaky politics. :wink:

  9. Amy Ruttan

    Oh I’m glad I live now and wasn’t chosen. I wouldn’t have been honored at all, I would have been uber pissed!

  10. Gabriele

    Maybe not, Amy. If you had grown up with the belief in fertility gods, human sacrifices and several bad years in a row and famine, and then been told you were chosen to die so that the next harvest would be better and your could tribe survive the winter, you might have accepted your fate, even been proud of it.

    It’s difficult for us to get into the mindset of people living 2000 years ago, but it can be an interesting challenge. My Romans, Germans and Picts have grown on me since I started writing that trilogy. They lived in a fascinating world. :smile:

  11. Gabriele

    *your tribe could

    Who let the typo demon in? :evil:

  12. Shelley Munro

    Interesting stuff. Politics is every where!