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12.06.2021

Snaptun Stone

The Snaptun Stone is one of the few depictions of Loki, the Scandinavian trickster god. The stone, found on the western border between Norway and Sweden, was carved around 1000 A.D. and depicts Loki with his lips pressed together.

This is almost certainly a reference to a story from chapter 25 of the Prose Edda. In the story, Loki makes a wager with the dwarf Brock and agrees that if he loses, Brock can have his head. Of course, he loses, and Brock and the dwarves come to claim what they promised. Heartily, as always, Loki said he was not shy about giving up his own head, but added that the dwarves could not have part of his neck. At this point, everyone debated which part of the head was the head, which part was the neck, and which parts were somewhere in the middle. No one could come to an agreement that everyone liked, so Brock let Loki keep his head (and neck). But as punishment for avoiding payment because of clever wordplay, he sewed Loki's lips together.

For all fans of rhetorical devices, this story spawned a continuum fallacy called the "Loki wager"-the unfounded claim that if a concept cannot be defined, it cannot be discussed. The delusion can be countered by establishing a reasonable working definition of the concept in question.

The Snaptun stone is currently on display in the "vǫlva cottage" in the permanent exhibition on the Viking Age at the Mesgard Museum, Denmark.

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