Vikings wanted!! Volunteer crew needed for Expedition America 2016 – no murder or pillage included

viking-533x400

Their amazing ships enabled a few hundred thousand Scandinavians to shape world history.
They were the first great world explorers in the western hemisphere.  Most of western Europe has a Viking heritage of one sort or another. The Dragon Harald Fairhair  is a large Viking longship built in the municipality ofHaugesund, Norway. The Dragon Harald Fairhair brings the seafaring qualities of a warship from the old Norse sagas to life. It is a ship that combines ocean-crossing sailing capabilities with a warship’s use of oars.

Construction and maiden voyage

The Vikings left almost no record of how they built their ships and how they sailed them.

Building began in March 2010. The launching of the longship took place in the summer 2012. Because no one today has real experience handling a Viking ship of this size, the initial period will be one of exploring how to sail and row the ship, and for experimentation with the rigging along the coast of Norway. In summer 2014 the longship made its first real expedition from Norway to Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club, Wallasey, Wirral, Merseyside, and back via various locations around the coast of the British Isles including the Isle of Man, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

Read more here.

Haggis originally brought to Scotland by Vikings, an award winning Scottish butcher argues

slatur

ICELANDIC “SLÁTUR” A Scottish butcher argues the Scottish national dish, Haggis, was originally brought to Scotland by Vikings, making it a descendant of the Viking delicacy still eaten in Iceland, slátur. Photo/Arnþór Birkisson.

A Scottish butcher who has spent the past few years researching Haggis recipes argues it dates back to the Viking invaders of the British Isles the UK newspaper The Telegraph reports. The paper argues the research of award-winning Scottish butcher Joe Callaghan, who has spent the last three years studying haggis shows “Scotland’s national dish is an ‘imposter’… invented by Vikings”. Callaghan also argues the original Scottish ingredient is deer, not sheep.

The “natonal dish of Scotand”, invented by Vikings
Haggis is a dish very similar to the Icelandic delicacy slátur: A sausage made by stuffing a sheep’s stomach with diced innards of sheep, liver as well as lungs and heart, mixed with a oatmeal, onion, pieces of sheep suet (solid white fat) as well as seasoning. Haggis is considered the “national dish” of Scotland, occupying an important place in Scottish culture and national identity.

Read more here.

Old Norse (Dǫnsk tunga)

runestone

 

Old Norse, the language of the Vikings, is a North Germanic language once spoken in Scandinavia, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and in parts of Russia, France and the British Isles. The modern language most closely related to Old Norse is Icelandic, the written form of which has changed little over the years, while the spoken form has undergone significant changes.

Thanks to Omniglot.

Happy Lindisfarne Day!

vikings-plundering

June 8, 793
Viking raiders sack Lindisfarne Abbey

On June 8th, 793 CE, Viking raiders sacked and pillaged the monastery on the isle of Lindisfarne, an act that historians mark as the “official” start of the Viking Age. There had actually been a few raids in the years prior to this act but some scholars believe that this raid was unique because it may have been an act of revenge for Charlemagne’s brutal campaign of genocide and forced conversion in Frisia. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has this to say about the raid:

“In this year dire forewarnings came over the land of the Northumbrians, and miserably terrified the people: these were extraordinary whirlwinds and lightnings, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air. A great famine soon followed these omens; and soon after that, in the same year, on the sixth of the ides of Ianr, the havoc of heathen men miserably destroyed God’s church on Lindisfarne, through rapine and slaughter.”

So hoist a drink high and drink to the memory of the brave adventurers who would terrify Europe for nearly 300 years as they changed the world forever!

Nice posting at  An Ásatrú Blog by 

FROM TRADING TO PLUNDER RAIDS

call

The Norsemen were well known in northwestern Europe as peaceful and respectable traders, at least for several hundred years prior to 800AD. But in the late 700’s this peaceful activity evolved into plundering raids instead. The Vikings started to attack and plunder monasteries, towns and areas along coastlines. In the year 793 they attacked the Lindisfarne monastery and in the following year the Jarrow monastery.
Many theories have been launched concerning why the Vikings started with the plundering raids. Since the 1930’s, recommended books studying this question have maintained that over population was responsible for this activity. Later, this theory was supplemented with an explanation to the effect that there was also a spirit of adventure and a need for discovery.

Torgrim Titlestad, while discussing the issue in a book (Titlestad, Kampen om Nordvegen, 1996) , has suggested an alternative explanation. He has maintained that the Vikings were not beset by vulgarity, brutality or voracity; thereby becoming brutal murderers and rapists – so called “galloping coarseness”. First, he shows that The Vikings did not surpass their contemporaries in Europe in vulgarity and brutality. If anything, it was to the contrary. For example, The French king, Charlamange (Karl the Greate) (747 – 814 AD), cut off the heads of 4500 Saxons in one day. He first had them baptized, so their souls could find salvation before being decapitated. (These Saxons were executed because they didn’t accept the Christian faith).

Read the rest of this interesting article written by Bryan at Ásatrú World.

26th MAY 865 AD, THE VIKINGS INVADE ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND

Extract from THE GREAT HEATHEN ARMY “Ivar the Boneless and the Viking invasion of Britain”

Ivar “The Boneless” now the head of the formidable Ragnarsson clan gathered together a large coalition of Viking warlords under his father’s sacred Raven Banner. The objective of the fore coming campaign was to conquer and settle the Island of Britannia. The Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of England would face the initial Viking onslaught. Out of the fog of the North Sea Ivar’s massive fleet of some 10,000-15,000 battle hardened Norsemen landed on the East Anglian shore. East Anglia may have been chosen for strategic reasons, being a much smaller Kingdom than that of Northumbria, Mercia and Wessex.

ivan

 

It would have been unable to resist the Great Heathen Army without help from the neighbouring Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms. Also it may also have been an easier rendezvous point for the Viking contingents coming from Frisia and the other parts of continental Europe.

ivan-the-boneless
The East Anglian landings fooled King Ælla that he was not the target of Viking aggression. Ivar’s heathen host spread out across the land and forced the King of East Anglia, Edmund to negotiate and provide the Vikings with horses and provisions.
Ivar and the army wintered in East Anglia and gathered intelligence on events in Northumbria. All was not well in the Northern Kingdom for King Ælla was in the midst of a civil war with Osbert, another contender for the Northumbrian crown. With the Northumbrians divided, Ivar “the Boneless” decided the time was right to launch a surprise attack.

ivan-England_Great_Army

Thanks to Ásatrú World @ Facebook

Fashionable Vikings Loved Colours, Fur, and Silk

vikingekvinde_roed_kjole_dame

The Vikings were skilled warriors, traders, and explorers, but a more fashionable side might also have existed.

The year is 873 and Frida is deciding what to wear. Her new red dress is finally ready, as are her freshly polished shell-shaped brooches designed to hold it in place at her shoulders. The dress is the newest cut in Viking fashion.

Of course, we don’t know exactly how such a scenario played out. Nevertheless, to a Viking woman, Frida’s dress in vibrant red with matching brooches could have been hugely popular. In fact, red and blue were among the most popular colours in the Viking Age.

But did the Vikings really have fashion on the mind?

“Yes,” says Ulla Mannering from the Centre for Textile Research at the National Museum in Copenhagen.

Fashion in Viking times was different from how we perceive it today, where the wardrobe changes from year to year, she explains, but we can see a form of ‘fashion’ from the archaeological finds from that time.

“The Vikings had trends and tendencies that we today might call fashion. Viking fashion changes slowly through time. It does not mean that they threw out all their old clothes, but we do see new colours, decorations, or costume shapes materialise over time, “said Mannering.

Read more here.

‘Tonight I fear not the Vikings’…

An Early Irish Poem

viking-longboat-art-by-david-seguin

(art by David Seguin)

Fullscreen-capture-26012015-125407

The poem along the top margin of an 9th century Irish manuscript (source)

‘Is acher ingáith innocht .

fufuasna faircggae findḟolt

ni ágor réimm mora minn 

dondláechraid lainn oua lothlind’

(The original Irish text of the poem.)

‘Bitter is the wind tonight

It tosses the ocean’s white hair

Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway 

Coursing on the Irish sea‘

(A translation by Kuno Meyer)

This anonymous poem underscores the dread people of those times felt about Viking raids.  Monastic communities were the first places the Northmen would raid.  The unarmed monks offered no protection for the gold and riches that were collected there.  A stormy night on the sea would, for the time, ensure a safe nights rest.

This poem is written in the margins of an Early Irish manuscript that now resides in the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. Most likely dating from around 850 AD, the text may have been complied in a northern Irish monastery such as Nendrum or Bangor (both in Co. Down).

Source : Irish Archaeology

More Than Raiders

viking roots

Horrific accounts spread of the strength and frenzy the North men inflicted upon their victims. These raiders became known as Vikings and the era in which they embarked on their campaigns.

The first and ensuing encounters with Vikings were chaotic episodes filled with violence, leaving the English in fear and anguish. To such a degree that descriptions, like the two above, are either overly exaggerated or ambiguous or both. Nonetheless these poor reports became the common idea associated with Vikings. As raids continued, in similar fashion, the extensive suffering experienced by the English and their religious beliefs incited a strong bias towards the Norsemen. For well over the prior 100 years before the Viking raids began England was wholly Christian. These new raiders were pagans and as a result the Christian monks (Viking victims) used their non-Christian beliefs to demonize their assailants. Some regarded the Vikings as a judgment from God for the sins of the people, quoting Prophet Jeremiah predictions that, “out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all inhabitants of the land .” Their writings and depictions became aggrandized. They portrayed Vikings as bands of crazed heathens, intent on destroying and plundering benevolent Christians. This, like the conventional perception of Vikings, contains some truth, but lacks an objective and complete summary of the Scandinavian marauders. Yes, the Vikings were pagans and they attacked Christian settlements maliciously, but more for the wealth located at monasteries as opposed to their religious beliefs. Further, to arrive on the shores of Western Europe and the surrounding area from Scandinavia was no easy task. The Vikings had to cross the North and Baltic Seas to accomplish their exploits. To do so they had to build sturdy ships that could handle the voyage and transport the Vikings safely.
For sheer ship-wrighting skill, there was nothing that surpassed the Viking long ship, like the one found in a burial mound at Gokstad, Norway dated to be 9th century. This type of ship was used by Vikings to cross the seas to the new lands in the west and south. These ships had to ability to sail across the North Atlantic, as well as row up river mouths to surprise inland settlements. The ships were well built and able to endure the harsh seas that surrounded their points of departure. Without their dependable ships, Viking wouldn’t have been able embark, must less succeed, on their voyages to raid or settle distant lands. They were completely reliant upon their waterborne transport. It was vital for them to become skilled sailors. Their nautical accomplishments seemed to be over looked by the Vikings victims. Obviously, they knew the Viking arrived from the seas and were astonished at that, but the capabilities of their vessels were rarely mentioned, nor were their exceptional navigating abilities. The scribes were more concerned with reporting the bloodshed and financial loss they endured, rather than the Vikings nautical prowess.
The Vikings took full advantage of their sailing abilities and for more than 200 years dominated the long-distance trade routes of northern Europe. Through trade and commerce many significant innovations and changes were introduced to Scandinavia during this period. The development of a well-organized trading system with internal routes centered on shipment and points of assembly influenced early town growth. Prior to the Viking Age Scandinavian people lived in small, primarily agricultural settlements. Establishing prosperous trading posts provided the stability to sustain permanent settlements for the Vikings. From these settlements a wide variety of goods were traded. Locally available raw materials such as furs, iron ore, schist for making weathering stones, soapstone for domestic cooking equipment, salt fish, sealskins, walrus ivory, timber and tar were in high demand in western Europe . Furs, honey, wax, ivory and slaves (some captured in the west) were exported to Byzantium and the east. In turn they would import silk, spices and jewelry obtained during their eastern enterprises. Wine, glass, pottery and weapons from western and central Europe were traded abroad as well. Silver was one of the most coveted metals in Scandinavia during the Viking age. One of the most magnificent silver hoards found on Gotland contains rings, brooches, beads and pendants, along with more than 1,000 Islamic, German, Bohemian, Byznatium and English coins (5). The Vikings provided an effective and diverse trading service either directly or indirectly to European and Middle East inhabitants. So, although Vikings tormented Europeans, they were also responsible for many of the commodities and exotic goods they possessed and utilized. Either the Vikings were taking the livelihood of Europeans or they were exchanging merchandise that provided for it. Quite a paradox, a real Jӧrmungandr in Norse terms.

Ulf-Krakuson had been blown far off course by intense storms on his voyage from Norway to Iceland, which led to sighting Greenland. It was this account that motivated Eric the Red to embark on the excursion. Eric was successful in his quest and returned to Iceland three years later in search of settlers to found a new colony on the land Eric dubbed Greenland. It is said that Eric recruited enough volunteers to make up an expedition of 25 ships and set sail in A.D. 985. Only 14 of the ships completed the journey around Cape Farewell to reach the sheltered fjords where there was safe harborage, good fishing and land for pasturage . This was the Eastern Settlement, where Eric selected the most favorable sites for himself. His farm became the settlement’s political center; however, some of the settlers continued to sail westward along the coast approximately 650 kilometers until they reached the shelter of Godthåbsfjord . Here they established the Western Settlement which was located farther north than the Eastern Settlement with small clusters of farms lying between the two. Among the settlers who sailed with Eric’s original expedition were the parents of a man named Bjarni Herjolfsson, who later that year set out from Iceland to join them. In similar fashion to Ulf-Krakuson, his ship was blown off course. He proceeded westward until he came in sight of a flat land covered in trees, which he creatively deemed Markland (“Forestland”). However, Bjarni did not land, but turned northward up the coastline and then east to Greenland. Leif the Lucky, son of Eric the Red, would be the first Norsemen to make landing in North America some ten to fifteen years later by retracing Bjarni’s previous journey. After finding the forested coast Bjarni described he continued on for two further days, eventually arriving at a headland to the southwest he named Vinland (“Vineland”) because of flourishing wild grapes or berries found there. Leif and his band spent the winter before they returned to Greenland.

Thanks given to Viking Roots.