Blood Eagle: The worst punishment of the Vikings.

Blood Eagle: The worst punishment of the Vikings.

If you are a very sensitive person, please take care of it.

Surely you have all heard of the Vikings. The Vikings are a well-known Scandinavian naval community that raided, plundered, and traded in various parts of Europe. Because they are cruel, their methods of punishment are also severe. The Blood Eagle is arguably the Vikings’ worst punishment. In this article, we are going to talk about this punishment.

According to Viking legends, when the Vikings captured a city, their enemies were brutally tortured in the name of the god Odin. Considering the history of the Blood Eagle execution, an old report states punishment had been given in 867 AD.

King Ragnar (Credit by

Blood Eagle: the Vikings’ worst punishment

Speaking of this punishment, according to the most famous legend who is believed to have faced this punishment, The Vikings have punished King Aelle of Northumbria (Today part of United Kingdom) by Blood Eagle punishment. The reason he was sentenced to this was that he had killed by throwing Ragnar Lothbrok, a great leader of the Vikings into a pit containing snakes.

So in 865 AD, the sons of Ragnar invade England in retaliation. When the Danes captured York city, Ragnar’s son, Ivar the Boneless, made sure to kill Aelle. Not only did he really want to kill him, but he also wanted revenge for throwing his father into a snake pit. So Ivar wanted to scare his enemies with Aelle’s death. Thus, he sentenced to punish King Aelle with Blood Eagle.

King Aelle

How the Blood Eagle is executed

The victim’s arms and legs are tied to prevent him from escaping or suddenly slipping during this punishment. Then, the person who wants to revenge stabs the victim’s spine and ribs. After that, each rib is carefully removed from the spine with an ax. It completely displays the victim’s internal organs to the outside. The most important thing is that the victim is alive when the whole process is doing (Weak people can die during this process). And the worst part is that to increase the victim’s pain, the Vikings put salt in the gap between the wounds. It does not end there, and then the victim’s ribs are cut off and displays like a pair of wings. The torturer then pulls out the victim’s lungs and places them on the victim’s shoulder. At the end of it all, the victim looks like a bird, drenched in blood.

Credit by

King Aelle was not the last one who had faced the punishment of the Blood Eagle. Historians believe that at least four other prominent figures in Northern European history suffered the same fate. King Edmund of England was also a victim of Ivar the Boneless. Halfdan the son of King Haraldr of Norway, King Maelgualai of Munster, and Archbishop Aelheah were also believed to had been tortured by Blood Eagle because they too were considered victims of Ivar.

Why did the Vikings use such a punishment?

The Vikings had two main reasons why they used Blood Eagle as a punishment method for their enemies. The first reason is that they believed in it as a sacrifice to Odin, the father of the Norse mythical gods and god of war.

The second and most plausible reason is the belief that Blood Eagle punishes people who do not deserve to be honored.

The Vikings did not use this method of punishment for only their opponents. It is also believed that the sentence was handed down to a member of their own group who committed a major offense. According to Viking beliefs. If the victim screams in pain while the sentence is in effect, they will not be able to enter Valhalla after death.

Blood Eagle punishment in the Vikings TV series

This sentence is used twice in the world-famous Vikings series, which aired on the History Channel.

The first scene was Ragnar used this punishment for Jarl Borg in season 2. And he faced his punishment bravely and he didn’t make any noise. Therefore, according to the belief of the Viking community, he will enter Valhalla.

The second scene had Ivar used this punishment for King Aelle in season 4.

And also Ubbe went to punish Naad with this punishment. But he did not do that because of Naad’s weak behavior.

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