Category: vikings

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/

The Life & Legend of Ragnar Lothbrok with Dr. …

The Life & Legend of Ragnar Lothbrok with Dr. Elizabeth Ashman Rowe: undefined

Big Boat Find in Sweden

Two ship burials have been discovered on a construction site near Sweden’s eastern coast, and one appears to be intact! In the intact tomb have been discovered the remains of a man, a horse, and a dog, who had all been placed in the vessel’s stern. Artifacts found included horse equipment, an ornate comb, a sword, a spear, and a shield.

The boat in the second tomb is thought to have measured about 23 feet long, and been slightly larger than the boat in the other burial, but it was damaged by previous construction at the site. Such high-status burials are thought to date to the Vendel Period (550–800 CE) or the Viking Age (800–1050 CE).

SAGA: The Old Norse word saga means ‘story’, ‘…

SAGA: 

The Old Norse word saga means ‘story’, ‘tale’ or ‘history’ and normally refers specifically to the epic prose narratives written mainly in Iceland between the 12th- and 15th centuries CE, covering the country’s history as well as Scandinavia’s legendary past. A few sagas were also written in Norway but in either country their usually anonymous writers shaped their stories in high-quality, nuanced prose, leading the saga to now be considered one of the prime vernacular literary genres of Medieval Europe. Poetry is generally included, too, which helps point out the influence older, oral traditions of storytelling are thought to have had on the saga’s development.

Although the heyday of Old Norse saga composition lay in the 13th century CE, the tales often dive back through the ages into the times of ancestors, heroes and legendary kings, spanning from prehistory through the Viking Age (c. 790-1100 CE) – including the settlement of Iceland – to the writers’ own times. History and fiction are often mixed in a sort of Gordian knot that is hard to disentangle, and the stories have as their playground not just Iceland but also Scandinavia, the British Isles, the North Atlantic (including Greenland and North America), the Mediterranean, Russia and the Middle East.

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Archaeologists Announce Largest Viking Ship Ev…

A new Viking ship burial has been discovered in Norway. Using ground-penetrating radar, archaeologists recently found one of the world’s largest Viking ship graves, resting a mere 0.5 meters beneath a farmer’s field. That’s just 1.5 feet!

The digital visualization reveals a large, possibly well-preserved ship, 20 meters long. And it appears to be embedded in a complex of at least eight other burial mounds, and underneath that lay five longhouses. This is not just one find, but a treasure trove of finds.

But back to the ship. Only three well-preserved Viking ships have been found previously in Norway. And they were all excavated long ago, with the techniques available at the time. That makes this find precious: an intact, very large ship burial found at a time when we have techniques like ground-penetrating radar, soil geochemistry, and radiometric dating. As of right now, no excavations are planned. Archaeologists are concerned about what exposure to the air could do to the site.

GODS AND GODDESSES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: Freyr…

GODS AND GODDESSES OF THE ANCIENT WORLD: Freyr (Fertility god in Norse Mythology) 

FREYR (Old Norse for ‘Lord’, sometimes anglicised as Frey) is the main fertility god in Norse mythology, his connection with harvests, sun and rain, virility, weddings, and his rule over wealth securing him an important position within the predominantly agricultural Viking Age Scandinavian society (c. 790-1100 CE). This makes him the most prominent god of the Vanir family (the other family being the Æsir). Freyr’s link with fertility is not just of a personal nature but is very much connected to the land and its produce, too, which helps explain why there is such ample evidence of a cult of Freyr. Son of Njord and twin brother of Freyja, Freyr overshadows both of these fellow Vanir gods when it comes to evidence of active worship; many place names bear his mark, and sacrifices and devotion ring out loud and clear from both the literature and the archaeological record, especially pertaining to Sweden. With his alternate name Yngvi-Freyr, he was even seen as the mythical ancestor of the Swedish royal dynasty of the Ynglings.

Freyr, who is married to the giant-daughter Gerðr whom he has a son, Fjölnir, with, is famously accompanied by a boar (sometimes depicted with golden bristles and named Gullinborsti) and also owns the highly useful ship Skíðblaðnir. A more versatile god than he would seem at first glance, Freyr’s abilities also reach beyond the domain of fertility and extend to the battlefield; myths describe his military prowess, and his death comes in battlewith the giant Surtr during the Ragnarök, the final destiny of the gods in which the known world is destroyed.

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mapsontheweb:

mapsontheweb:

Viking Scotland 1104-1469.

Vikings Appreciated Their Wives

Women during the Viking Age were living in a male-dominated society. But that didn’t mean they were not appreciated.  The inscription found on a stone in Hassmyra, Sweden – the only verse found on a Swedish inscribed stone that commemorates a woman – certainly seems to show that “women’s work” was essential and valued:

The good farmer Holmgaut had this raised in memory of his wife Odindis.
A better housewife
will never come
to Hassmyra
who arranges the estate.
Red Balli carved
these runes.
She was a good sister
to Sigmund.

It’s All Germanic To Me

Both Old English and Old Norse were part of a Northwest Germanic language group. The languages were similar until the 400s CE, when the Anglo-Saxon invasion of England made English part of the West Germanic language group – like German instead of like Norwegian. But Old English and Old Norse followed the same phonological rules. Which meant they changed in predictable, and similar, ways.

Which means that during the Viking Age in England, Old English and Old Norse were mutually intelligible. Not only were the English being raided, invaded, and occupied, but the warriors who were doing so could be understood, speaking a strange version of their own tongue.

Probably just made the Great Dane Army’s job easier. Isn’t it nice for threats to make people quake in fear, instead of just making them confused.

VIKING AGE GREENLAND: GREENLAND was drawn into…

VIKING AGE GREENLAND: 

GREENLAND was drawn into the Viking Age and settled by Norse Vikings in the late 980s CE, their presence there lasting into the 15th century CE. Despite its ice-riddled geography, the Norse managed to carve out a living for themselves in these unforgiving lands by seeking out verdant pockets along the south-western coast, founding both the so-called Eastern Settlement (which is located, confusingly, in the south of West-Greenland) and the Western Settlement, some 650 km further north along the west coast in the present-day Nuuk region.

Around 75% of Greenland’s immense surface – which totals around 1,350,000 square km, making it the world’s largest island – is covered by inland ice, which gangs up with slabs of drift ice floating along the coasts to make any sane person think twice about moving there just for fun. Glaciers and mountains function as natural boundaries, making inland travel far from straight-forward. With a mostly arctic climate boasting mean temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius in the warmest months with only some of its areas poking above this, Greenland is not exactly ideal for growing such staples as grain, and there are few trees.

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