Category: Scandinavia

WE are proud to partner with the informative…

WE are proud to partner with the informative and fascinating The History of Vikings podcast! 

You can find their episodes here: http://thehistoryofvikings.com/historical-worship-of-the-norse-gods-with-dr-terry-gunnell/

EDDA: EDDA is a term used to describe two Icel…

EDDA: 

EDDA is a term used to describe two Icelandic manuscripts that were copied down and compiled in the 13th century CE. Together they are the main sources of Norse mythology and skaldic poetry that relate the religion, cosmogony, and history of Scandinavians and Proto-Germanic tribes. The Prose or Younger Edda dates to circa 1220 CE and was compiled by Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet and historian. The Poetic or Elder Edda was written down circa 1270 CE by an unknown author.

Snorri Sturluson’s work was the first of the two manuscripts to be called Edda, however, scholars are uncertain how this exactly came about. Snorri himself did not name it. The term, ‘Edda’, was later ascribed to Snorri’s work by a different author in a manuscript from the early 14th century CE, the Codex Upsaliensis, which contained a copy of Snorri’s Edda within it. Gudbrand Vigfusson, in The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue, quotes the Codex Upsaliensis as saying, “This Book is called Edda, which Snorri Sturlason put together according to the order set down here: First, concerning the Æsir and Gylfi.” The first use of the word ‘Edda’, that has thus far been located, was in a poem called the Lay of Righ (Háttatal), which was authored by Snorri. 

In this poem, the word ‘Edda’ is used as a title for “great-grandmother.” Multiple theories exist, but one suggests that the term may have become associated with Snorri’s manuscript because, like a great-grandmother, it carries a breadth of ancient knowledge and wisdom. Another theory that is more widely accepted by scholars today proposes that ‘Edda’ is closely associated with the word Oddi, which is the Icelandic town where Snorri grew up.

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GODS AND GODDESSES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: Freyj…

GODS AND GODDESSES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: Freyja

FREYJA (Old Norse for ‘Lady’, ‘Woman’, or ‘Mistress’) is the best-known and most important goddess in Norse mythology. Beautiful and many-functioned, she features heavily as a fertility goddess stemming from her place in the Vanir family of the gods (the other and main one is the Æsir family) along with her twin brother Freyr and father Njord, and stars in many myths recorded in Old Norse literature as lover or object of lust. 

She lives in Fólkvangr (‘Field of the People’), rides a carriage drawn by cats, and is connected not just with love and lust but also with wealth, magic, as well as hand-picking half of all fallen warriors on battlefields to go into Odin’s hall of Valhalla – the other half being selected by Odin himself. She likely played an important role in old Scandinavian religion.

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VIKING SHIPS:  VIKING ships were built by the…

VIKING SHIPS: 

VIKING ships were built by the Scandinavians during the Viking Age (c. 790 CE – c. 1100 CE) and were used both within Scandinavia and beyond for purposes ranging from being the most important means of transport to trade and warfare. Viking expansion, moreover, would not have been possible without ships. One of the most famous images connected with the Vikings is that of the dragon-headed longships, red-and-white striped sails giving it deadly speed and carrying its bloodthirsty warriors to their destinations of plunder.

However, Viking ships came in many different forms, among which there were big-bellied cargo ships and, indeed, the speedy longships which facilitated raiding and gave the Vikings the edge over their contemporaries, but which far from always had the intricately carved dragon-heads that are so entrenched in popular imagination. Annoyingly, the archaeological record paints a rather patchy picture, as wood is not headstrong enough to stand the test of time very well, and our knowledge of early Viking Age ships comes almost exclusively from a handful of ship burials, although later on in the Viking Age sunken ships pop up to broaden our knowledge a bit.

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VIKINGS: THE Vikings were diverse Scandinavian…

VIKINGS: 

THE Vikings were diverse Scandinavian seafarers from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark whose raids and subsequent settlements significantly impacted the cultures of Europe and were felt as far as the Mediterranean regions c. 790 – c. 1100 CE. The Vikings were all Scandinavian but not all Scandinavians were Vikings. The term Viking applied only to those who took to the sea for the purpose of acquiring wealth by raiding in other lands, and the word was primarily used by the English writers, not inclusively by other cultures. Most Scandinavians were not Vikings, and those who traded with other cultures were known as Northmen, Norsemen, or other terms designating their origin.

Beginning in 793 CE and continuing on for the next 300 years, the Vikings raided coastal and inland regions in Europe and conducted trade as far as the Byzantine Empire in the east, even serving as the elite Varangian Guard for the Byzantine Emperor. Their influence on the cultures they interacted with was substantial in virtually every aspect of life, most notably in the regions of Scotland, Britain, France, and Ireland. They founded Dublin, colonized Normandy (land of the Northmen) in France, established the area of the Danelaw in Britain, and settled in numerous communities throughout Scotland.

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