The Raven Flag was used by Vikings, and may have been flown to strike fear in their enemies by invoking the power of Odin. The chief Norse god Odin had two ravens named Huginn and Muninn. Each morning they would fly across the entire world, and then come sit on Odin’s shoulders at breakfast, telling him all they saw and heard. This is why Odin was sometimes called Rafnagud (raven-god).
The Vikings mostly regarded the raven as a positive symbol, since battle and harsh justice were viewed with favor by the Norse. It was believed that the Raven flag had a magical power to transform itself in times of war to predict victory for those who carried it. There is a story about the sons of Ragnar Lothbroc and this flag. Ragnar was a Viking king and hero, and the story goes that his sons avenged his death by invading England in 867. The sons of carried a Raven banner called Leodbroga, meaning “terror of the land.” The flag had a raven that flapped its wings to signal victory.
Another tale of the flag involves King Canute, when in 1016 he triumphed at Assundun in Southeast England. It is said his “…banner was woven of the cleanest and whitest silk and no picture of any figures was found on it. In case of war, however, a raven was always to be seen, as if it was woven into it. If the Danes were going to win the battle, the raven appeared, beak wide open, flapping its wings and restless on its feet. If they were going to be defeated, the raven did not stir at all, and its limbs hung motionless.”
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