The blood eagle is very famous in northern mythology. It is a Viking torment that consists of opening the rib cage in the back, separating the ribs from the spine and thus extracting the lungs of the victim, who is supposed to be alive.
According to legend, this Viking treatment is the one used by the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok to execute King Aelle of Northumbria to avenge his father's death. It has also inspired several world literatures, including that of Robert E. Howard in the famous "Conan the Barbarian".
However, it seems that the blood eagle would not have a historical reality. It was the monks who first talked about it in Europe. They were the main victims of the Viking invasions. Therefore, the popularization of this appalling ordeal, the blood eagle, was mainly aimed at denigrating and demonizing the Vikings, the pillagers of the north.
In other Scandinavian literary sources, there are also many passages mentioning the blood eagle. However, some researchers believe that this could be the result of a mistranslation of certain texts or a figure of speech indicating the death of an enemy.
In any case, the blood eagle is nowadays inseparable from the many stories of northern mythology.
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