This study is devoted to the fascinating story of the drinking horn and how it was used in western culture from Antiquity to modern times. In special focus are the still preserved drinking horns from medieval Scandinavia, of which a large collection is exhibited in the National Museum of Denmark. My original plan was to present this unique collection to an international audience, but I soon realized that the subject had deep roots. in the history of western culture, so it ended up in a much broader study about the use of drinking horns in Europe back to Classical Antiquity, but with special emphasis on the Middle Ages. The study includes written sources and literature, as well as depictions of drinking horns in art. A catalogue of the drinking horns in the National Museum's medieval collection is printed at the end of the book. The use of drinking horns was concentrated in Scandinavia, Germany and England, whereas the tradition never was resumed in southern Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire. As a consequence of this, northern Europe is the main field of research in this study.
Throughout millennia the spectacular appearance of these great horns has attracted much attention, and dramatic tales and stories are attached to several of them. Mountings in gilt silver and fanciful supports testify to their high esteem, and they have always been used for memorial events or as an official token of welcome.