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Hierophanies in the Vinland Sagas: Images of a New World
The fabled land of Vinland is mentioned in legends. Described as a place of immense natural wealth with abundant pastures, wild grapes, self-sown wheat and rivers and lakes full of salmon, one gains the impression of an earthly paradise where all wants could be met. This paper asks whether the Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows (Newfoundland, Canada) could be considered a sacred space, as delineated by the twentieth century religious historian Mircea Eliade. In his research into hierophanies, a feature of his definition of sacred space, Eliade documents the widespread use of vines as a hierophany, suggesting that the presence of vines in the Vinland Sagas may not be literal but used as a metaphor for something symbolically more significant.