The North is barbaric and sublime


Many associate the North with wealth and progress. But ancient stereotypes of barbaric Vikings and primitive ignorance are still alive and kicking, says Icelandic historian.

Ancient stereotypes of the far North as a barbaric and primitive place thrive together with more modern images of wealth and progress. (Painting: Norsemen Landing in Iceland, by Oscar Wergeland)

The North and the far North have had many and varied depictions thrown at them over the centuries. The region has moved from poverty to wealth, from enlightenment to romanticism, from being cold and barbarous to being warm and kind.

These different permutations of the North clearly illustrate the constant change in people’s images and stereotypes of the North.

“All these ideas were well known in earlier eras and they have survived to this day,” he says. “The North is simultaneously a utopia and a dystopia. We can argue that it is perhaps more correct to speak of many and various Norths rather than one individual North.”
By: Dann Vinther

ScienceNordic

Whole article: http://sciencenordic.com/north-barbaric-and-sublime