What was paganism really like? Who were the gods and how were they worshipped? These are the questions Thor Ewing addresses in this fresh perspective on the pagan beliefs and rituals of the Viking and the Germanic world, a world which encompasses t only Scandanavia and Germany, but also Anglo-Saxon England. Gods and Worshippers explores ancient cult sites and religious gatherings, as well as burial customs and the rites of the dead, and it reveals the intimate links between religious and secular power. Using the surviving archaeological evidence as well as the recorded myths and poetry from the various regions, Ewing explores the realities of day-to-day worship, such as sacrifices and sacred space, as well as arguing that traditional magical-religious societies operated in parallel to mainstream society, according to their own distinctive morality and laws. The picture that emerges is that of a complex pattern of powers which are respected, houred, propitiated or even cajoled. It is in this relationship between powers and people that the religion exists, and though it takes many forms it is fundamentally one of respect, hour and worship - a relationship between gods and worshippers.
Thor Ewing studied medieval languages at the University of Durham and has published prize-winning translations of Old Norse poetry. He is the author of Viking Clothing (Tempus 2006), which has already reprinted.