Was the Tollund Man a criminal? Was he hanged in order to get rid of him? Or was he a sacrifice to a god you wanted to stay on good terms with?
We have no written records from the time period when the Tollund Man was alive in Denmark, but around the same time in the Roman Empire in Italy there were people who could read and write. One of them was Cornelius Tacitus who wrote down the accounts he heard from people who went to Northern Europe to trade goods. The traders told him about the wild tribes - which is how the Romans regarded them - who lived up north.
Among other things Tacitus wrote: "They hang traitors and renegades in trees, cowards (yellow), combat evaders (afraid to go to war) and unnaturally immoral people they lower into filthy swamps and cover them with branches". Another account written down by Tacitus describes how a Germanic tribe, the Semnonans (from the northern part of Germany), sacrificed human beings.
Both accounts apparently apply to the Tollund Man and many of the other bog bodies. However, Tacitus wrote down the accounts approximately 400 years after the Tollund Man had died. If any of the information Tacitus provides us with is true in regards to the Tollund Man then it is probably the second of the two accounts. Because one thing is certain - the people who hanged the Tollund Man were not on bad terms with him - despite the fact that they actually hanged him! It is impossible to imagine that they would have carried him to the bog and carefully placed him in the sleeping position in which he was found, if they had regarded him as a criminal.