Very Rare Viking Elfshot Amulet, 9th-12th Century AD
This silver-gilt and banded stone pendant was worn as a magic amulet to protect against ‘elfshot’, which was thought to be an arrow or dart attack perpetrated by elves. These elf attacks were believed to be responsible for many painful human and animal maladies, the causes of which were still of course unknown at that time in history.
Elfshot was described as a sudden shooting pain, like the pain one would experience with rheumatism, arthritis or muscle cramps. Belief in elfshot persisted into the 20th century in rural areas, and as proof, country folk would sometimes find small arrowheads (the remains of Neolithic or Mesolithic flints, or naturally-occurring spear-shaped stones) that were believed to be the magical weapons that caused the afflictions. The belief in elfshot begins in the Pagan Germanic period and this amulet is a very early and rare example.
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