Beer and bling in Iron Age Europe


Beer and bling in Iron Age Europe.

ScienceDaily (Mar. 19, 2012) — If you wanted to get ahead in Iron-Age Central Europe you would use a strategy that still works today — dress to impress and throw parties with free alcohol.

Collaborating with the State Monuments Office in Tübingen, Germany, UW-Milwaukee Professor Bettina Arnold has excavated Iron-Age burial mounds in an area of southwest Germany where pre-Roman Celtic people lived. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Genetic History of Europe



 

 

The genetic history of Europe can be inferred from the patterns of genetic diversity across continents and time. The primary data to develop historical scenarios coming from sequences of mitochondrial, Y-chromosome and autosomal DNA from modern populations and if available from ancient DNA. European populations have a complicated demographic and genetic history, including many successive periods of population growth.

Relation between Europeans and other populations

According to Cavalli-Sforza’s work, all non-African populations are more closely related to each other than to Africans; supporting the hypothesis that all non-Africans descend from a single old-African population. The genetic distance from Africa to Europe (16.6) was found to be shorter than the genetic distance from Africa to East Asia (20.6), and much shorter than that from Africa to Australia (24.7). He explains:

…both Africans and Asians contributed to the settlement of Europe, which began about 40,000 years ago. It seems very reasonable to assume that both continents nearest to Europe contributed to its settlement, even if perhaps at different times and maybe repeatedly. It is reassuring that the analysis of other markers also consistently gives the same results in this case. Moreover, a specific evolutionary model tested, i.e., that Europe is formed by contributions from Asia and Africa, fits the distance matrix perfectly (6). In this simplified model, the migrations postulated to have populated Europe are estimated to have occurred at an early date (30,000 years ago), but it is impossible to distinguish, on the basis of these data, this model from that of several migrations at different times. The overall contributions from Asia and Africa were estimated to be around two-thirds and one-third, respectively”.

This particular model used an Out of Africa migration 100,000 years ago which separated Africans from non-Africans followed by a single admixture event 30,000 years ago leading to the formulation of the European population. The admixture event consisted of a source population that was 35% African and 65% East Asian. However the study notes that a more realistic scenario would include several admixture events occurring over a sustained period. In particular they cite the spread of farming from a source population in West Asia 5000–9000 years ago may have played a role in the genetic relatedness of Africans and Europeans since West Asia is sandwiched in between Africa and Central Asia. The model assumed an out of Africa migration 100kya and a single admixture event 30kya. However, most contemporary studies have more recent dates that place the out of Africa migration 50-70kya. The study also involved a direct comparison between Sub-Saharan Africans (Central Africans and Senegalese) and Europeans. North Africans population were omitted from the study as they are known to have both Eurasian and Sub-Saharan admixture. These considerations might help explain the apparent short genetic distance between Europeans and Africans.

A later study by Bauchet, which utilised ~ 10 thousand autosomal DNA SNPs arrived at similar results. Principal component analysis clearly identified four widely dispersed groupings corresponding to Africa, Europe, Central Asia and South Asia. PC1 separated Africans from the other populations, PC2 divided Asians from Europeans and Africans, whilst PC3 split Central Asians apart from South Asians.

♥ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_history_of_Europe ♥

pic ♥ The distribution of the V-13 sub-lineage of haplogroup E1b1b in Europe

Neopaganism in Europe


A study by Ronald Hutton compared a number of different sources (including membership lists of major UK organizations, attendance at major events, subscriptions to magazines, etc.) and used standard models for extrapolating likely numbers. This estimate accounted for multiple membership overlaps as well as the number of adherents represented by each attendee of a Pagan gathering. Hutton estimated that there are 250,000 Neopagan adherents in the United Kingdom, roughly equivalent to the national Hindu community.

Wiccans gather for a handfasting ceremony at Avebury in England.

A smaller number is suggested by the results of the 2001 Census, in which a question about religious affiliation was asked for the first time. Respondents were able to write in an affiliation not covered by the checklist of common religions, and a total of 42,262 people from England, Scotland and Wales declared themselves to be Pagans by this method. These figures were not released as a matter of course by the Office of National Statistics, but were released after an application by the Pagan Federation of Scotland. From a British population of 59 million this gives a rough proportion of 7 Pagans per 100,000 population. This is more than many well known traditions such as RastafarianBahá’í andZoroastrian groups, but fewer than the ‘Big Six’ of ChristianityIslamHinduismSikhismJudaism and Buddhism. It is also fewer than the adherents Jediism, whose campaign made them the fourth largest religion after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.

The UK Census figures do not allow an accurate breakdown of traditions within the Pagan heading, as a campaign by the Pagan Federationbefore the census encouraged Wiccans, Heathens, Druids and others all to use the same write-in term ‘Pagan’ in order to maximise the numbers reported. The PaganDASH campaign actively worked with the ONS to amend the rules for The 2011 UK Census, allowing pagans to write their denomination in the form “PAGAN – path”. This was to reduce problems as encountered in the 2001 Census such as a range of Neopagan paths being counted under atheist.

Census figures in Ireland do not provide a breakdown of religions outside of the major Christian denominations and other major world religions. A total of 22,497 people stated ‘Other religion’ in the 2006 census; and a rough estimate is that there are 2,000–3,000 practicing Pagans in Ireland as of 2009. Numerous Pagan groups – primarily Wiccan and Druidic – exist in Ireland though none are officially recognised by the Government. Irish Paganism is often strongly concerned with issues of place and language.

A neopagan graveyard in Iceland

Paganism in Scandinavia is dominated by Ásatrú (Forn SedFolketro). The Swedish AsatruSociety formed in 1994, and in Norway theÅsatrufellesskapet Bifrost formed in 1996 and Foreningen Forn Sed formed in 1999. They have been recognized by the Norwegian government as a religious society, allowing them to perform “legally binding civil ceremonies” (i. e. marriages). In Denmark Forn Siðr also formed in 1999, recognized in 2003 and in Sweden Nätverket Gimle formed in 2001, as an informal community for individual heathens. Nätverket Forn Sedformed in 2004, and has a network consisting of local groups (blotlag) from all over Sweden.

In German-speaking Europe, Germanic and Celtic Paganism co-exist with Wicca and Neoshamanism. Paganism in Latin Europe (France, Italy, Spain) focuses on Neo-Druidism and Esotericism based on megalith culture besides some Germanic Pagan groups in areas historically affected by Germanic migrations (Lombardy). Paganism in Eastern Europe and parts of Northern Europe is dominated by Baltic and Slavicmovements, rising to visibility after the fall of the Soviet Union (except for Latvian Dievturība which has been active since 1925). Since the 1990s, there have been organized Hellenic groups practising in Greece.

A ceremony at the annual Prometheia festival of the Greek polytheistic group Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes, June 2006.

The Church of the Guanche People is a Pagan sect founded in 2001 in the city of San Cristobal de La Laguna (TenerifeCanary Islands,Spain). According to its followers this organisation aims to revive and spread the pagan religion of the Guanche people. It was founded by a group of Canarian citizens, devotees of the goddess Chaxiraxi. The Church of the Guanche People performs baptisms and weddings according to aboriginal Guanche forms. On December 14, 2003, the first wedding for more than 500 years was held according to the aboriginal Guanche rite on the island of Tenerife. In 2008 the group had approximately 300 members.

Germanic Role In The Fall Of Rome:


Role In The Fall Of Rome:Some of the Germanic tribes are frequently credited in popular depictions of the decline of the Roman Empire in the late 5th century. Professional historians and archaeologists have since the 1950s shifted their interpretations in such a way that the Germanic peoples are no longer seen as invading a decaying empire but as being co-opted into helping defend territory the central government could no longer adequately administer. Individuals and small groups from Germanic tribes had long been recruited from the territories beyond the limes (i.e., the regions just outside the Roman Empire), and some of them had risen high in the command structure of the army. Then the Empire recruited entire tribal groups under their native leaders as officers. Assisting with defense eventually shifted into administration and then outright rule, as Roman government passed into the hands of Germanic leaders. Odoacer, who deposed Romulus Augustulus, is the ultimate example. The presence of successor states controlled by a nobility from one of the Germanic tribes is evident in the 6th century - even in Italy, the former heart of the Empire, where Odoacer was followed by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, who was regarded by Roman citizens and Gothic settlers alike as legitimate successor to the rule of Rome and Italy.

Role In The Fall Of Rome:

Some of the Germanic tribes are frequently credited in popular depictions of the decline of the Roman Empire in the late 5th century. Professional historians and archaeologists have since the 1950s shifted their interpretations in such a way that the Germanic peoples are no longer seen as invading a decaying empire but as being co-opted into helping defend territory the central government could no longer adequately administer. Individuals and small groups from Germanic tribes had long been recruited from the territories beyond the limes (i.e., the regions just outside the Roman Empire), and some of them had risen high in the command structure of the army. Then the Empire recruited entire tribal groups under their native leaders as officers. Assisting with defense eventually shifted into administration and then outright rule, as Roman government passed into the hands of Germanic leaders. Odoacer, who deposed Romulus Augustulus, is the ultimate example.

VG

The presence of successor states controlled by a nobility from one of the Germanic tribes is evident in the 6th century – even in Italy, the former heart of the Empire, where Odoacer was followed by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, who was regarded by Roman citizens and Gothic settlers alike as legitimate successor to the rule of Rome and Italy.

 

Charlemagne and the Franks


Charlemagne and the Franks The Franks were a Germanic tribe in western Europe that began to conquer other tribes. Clovis was a Frankish king who united most of present day France and western Germany. Clovis converted to Christianity about 496 and forced his subjects to accept the faith. Muslims had conquered Spain, and in 732 they crossed the Pyrenees Mountains and attempted to conquer France. Frankish ruler Charles Martel kept the Muslims from invading France, but if Martel had been defeated, the history of Europe might have been very different. Charlemagne or Charles the Great, was Charles Martel’s grandson and the greatest of the Frankish kings. In an era when most men were little more than five feet tall, Charlemagne stood six feet, four inches. He expanded the kingdom of the Franks into Spain and Central Europe. Charlemagne’s goal was to unite all of the Germanic tribes into a single Christian kingdom. When the Lombards attacked the papal territory in 774, Charlemagne marched into Italy and defeated the Lombards, and rescued the Pope. On Christmas Day, 800, Pope Leo III repaid Charlemagne for defeating the Lombards. As Charlemagne rose from prayer, Leo placed a crown on his head and proclaimed him “Augustus,” emperor of the “Holy Roman Empire.” The coronation united Christendom under Charlemagne’s rule, but it troubled him. If the Pope had the power to crown Charlemagne king, did the Pope also have the right to remove the crown? When Charlemagne named his son as his successor, he presided over the ceremony himself and did not invite the Pope. When Napoleon was about to be crowned Emperor of France in 1804, he took the crown from Pope Pius VII and set it on his head himself. Charlemagne never learned how to read or write, but he wanted to recapture the glory of the Roman Empire. He set up schools throughout his empire and provided funds that allowed monks to copy the works of Greek and Roman authors. Charlemagne’s empire crumbled soon after his death, and the promise of returning the glory of Rome to Western Europe soon faded. The term Holy Roman Empire was used to describe different Frankish and German lands for another ten centuries, but it could be argued that after Charlemagne, it wasn’t holy, it wasn’t Roman, and it certainly was not an empire. In 1806, Napoleon prepared to oust Francis II from his title as Holy Roman Emperor, so Francis renounced his title and decreed himself emperor of Austria. 

 

Charlemagne and the Franks

CharlemagneThe Franks were a Germanic tribe in western Europe that began to conquer other tribes. Clovis was a Frankish king who united most of present day France and western Germany. Clovis converted to Christianity about 496 and forced his subjects to accept the faith.

Muslims had conquered Spain, and in 732 they crossed the Pyrenees Mountains and attempted to conquer France. Frankish ruler Charles Martel kept the Muslims from invading France, but if Martel had been defeated, the history of Europe might have been very different.

Charlemagne or Charles the Great, was Charles Martel’s grandson and the greatest of the Frankish kings. In an era when most men were little more than five feet tall, Charlemagne stood six feet, four inches. He expanded the kingdom of the Franks into Spain and Central Europe. Charlemagne’s goal was to unite all of the Germanic tribes into a single Christian kingdom. When the Lombards attacked the papal territory in 774, Charlemagne marched into Italy and defeated the Lombards, and rescued the Pope.

On Christmas Day, 800, Pope Leo III repaid Charlemagne for defeating the Lombards. As Charlemagne rose from prayer, Leo placed a crown on his head and proclaimed him “Augustus,” emperor of the “Holy Roman Empire.” The coronation united Christendom under Charlemagne’s rule, but it troubled him. If the Pope had the power to crown Charlemagne king, did the Pope also have the right to remove the crown? When Charlemagne named his son as his successor, he presided over the ceremony himself and did not invite the Pope. When Napoleon was about to be crowned Emperor of France in 1804, he took the crown from Pope Pius VII and set it on his head himself.

Charlemagne never learned how to read or write, but he wanted to recapture the glory of the Roman Empire. He set up schools throughout his empire and provided funds that allowed monks to copy the works of Greek and Roman authors. Charlemagne’s empire crumbled soon after his death, and the promise of returning the glory of Rome to Western Europe soon faded. The term Holy Roman Empire was used to describe different Frankish and German lands for another ten centuries, but it could be argued that after Charlemagne, it wasn’t holy, it wasn’t Roman, and it certainly was not an empire. In 1806, Napoleon prepared to oust Francis II from his title as Holy Roman Emperor, so Francis renounced his title and decreed himself emperor of Austria.

 

Germanic peoples-origin


 Germanic peoples-origin  Bronze Age:Regarding the question of ethnic origins, evidence developed by archaeologists and linguists suggests that a people or group of peoples sharing a common material culture dwelt in a region defined by the Nordic Bronze Age culture between 1700 BCE and 600 BCE. The Germanic tribes then inhabited southern Scandinavia, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg,  but subsequent Iron Age cultures of the same region, like Wessenstedt (800 to 600 BCE) and Jastorf, are also in consideration. The change of Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic has been defined by the first sound shift (or Grimm’s law) and must have occurred when mutually intelligible dialects or languages in a Sprachbund were still able to convey such a change to the whole region. So far it has been impossible to date this event conclusively.  Petroglyph, Boat-Axe culture, pre-Viking, Vitlycke, Bohuslan, Sweden, Bronze Age. One of the most frequently occuring motifs in rock carving is the ship, often highly decorated and manned with rowers. Among the proposed interpretations are that of the ship carrying the sun across the sky and that of a funeral cult. Here a fleet of ships is depicted. The precise interaction between these peoples is not known, however, they are tied together and influenced by regional features and migration patterns linked to prehistoric cultures like Hügelgräber, Urnfield, and La Tene. A deteriorating climate in Scandinavia around 850 BCE to 760 BCE and a later and more rapid one around 650 BCE might have triggered migrations to the coast of Eastern Germany and further towards the Vistula. A contemporary northern expansion of Hallstatt drew part of these peoples into the Celtic hemisphere, including nordwestblock areas and the region of Elp culture (1800 BCE to 800 BCE).At around this time, this culture became influenced by Hallstatt techniques of how to extract bog iron from the ore in peat bogs, ushering in the Pre-Roman Iron Age.  The expansion of the Germanic tribes 750 BC - AD 1 (after the Penguin Atlas of World History 1988): Settlements before 750 BC New settlements by 500 BC New settlements by 250 BC New settlements by AD 1. [Top pic: Bronze axe with runic motif from Gotland,Sweden]

 

Germanic peoples-origin

 

Bronze Age:

Regarding the question of ethnic origins, evidence developed by archaeologists and linguists suggests that a people or group of peoples sharing a common material culture dwelt in a region defined by the Nordic Bronze Age culture between 1700 BCE and 600 BCE. The Germanic tribes then inhabited southern Scandinavia, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg,  but subsequent Iron Age cultures of the same region, like Wessenstedt (800 to 600 BCE) and Jastorf, are also in consideration. The change of Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic has been defined by the first sound shift (or Grimm’s law) and must have occurred when mutually intelligible dialects or languages in a Sprachbund were still able to convey such a change to the whole region. So far it has been impossible to date this event conclusively.

Petroglyph

Petroglyph, Boat-Axe culture, pre-Viking, Vitlycke, Bohuslan, Sweden, Bronze Age. One of the most frequently occuring motifs in rock carving is the ship, often highly decorated and manned with rowers. Among the proposed interpretations are that of the ship carrying the sun across the sky and that of a funeral cult. Here a fleet of ships is depicted.

The precise interaction between these peoples is not known, however, they are tied together and influenced by regional features and migration patterns linked to prehistoric cultures like Hügelgräber, Urnfield, and La Tene. A deteriorating climate in Scandinavia around 850 BCE to 760 BCE and a later and more rapid one around 650 BCE might have triggered migrations to the coast of Eastern Germany and further towards the Vistula. A contemporary northern expansion of Hallstatt drew part of these peoples into the Celtic hemisphere, including nordwestblock areas and the region of Elp culture (1800 BCE to 800 BCE).

At around this time, this culture became influenced by Hallstatt techniques of how to extract bog iron from the ore in peat bogs, ushering in the Pre-Roman Iron Age.

map

The expansion of the Germanic tribes 750 BC – AD 1 (after the Penguin Atlas of World History 1988): Settlements before 750 BC New settlements by 500 BC New settlements by 250 BC New settlements by AD 1.

[Top pic: Bronze axe with runic motif from Gotland,Sweden]

 

How did Viking Age people really look?


I have tryed to gather pictures enough to give an idea of how viking age people dressed and equiped themselves. Note “viking age”  (since the term is used)”Viking” is a proffession, not the ethnicity witch is “Norse”.
Only a small percentage actually went in viking (about 7% of the population).

Norse man.

Norse woman

Wool and linnen where usual materials.

Often cloakes, brooches, glass beads and pendants where added for decoration.The sleeves on this one suggests that it´s a bit later.

(via wyrdsister)

 Viking womanby ~VendelRus  Model: Cajsa

Viking womanby ~VendelRus

Model: Cajsa

Research by archeologist Annika Larsson has shown that imported clothes and fabrics where in use among those few that could afford it.

Norse man and woan with clothes of foreign influence.

”They combined oriental features with Nordic styles. Their clothing was designed to be shown off indoors around the fire,” says textile researcher Annika Larsson, whose research at Uppsala University presents a new picture of the Viking Age.

Vikings. The one in the fron is probably wealthy since he owns a sword.

When it came to arms the typical armor would have been padding or leather, if you could afford it maille (mistakenly referred to as chain mail by some) and a helmet with a nose guard or a mask like protection.

Weapons where the spear and an axe called “bearded axe” who could also be used as a tool.

Swords where unusual and would have cost as much as a whole farm.Those that one usually let it become a family heirloom.

The swords had the shape called a “spatha” but longer and actually, most Europeans used rather similar swords at the time (so the term “Viking sword” is not entirely correct).

The shield was round with a buckle in the middle.

Typical viking age helmet.

From the movie “Skaldmöld”From the movie “Skaldmöld”

Håkan Norhjelm showing viking age fighting techniques.Håkan Norhjelm showing viking age fighting techniques.

This guy has all the equipment you can ask for. If you look at Norman knights

and knights in general, not much changes for hundreds of years with the armor.

 When people think of Viking age weapons, they usually think first of the battle axe, and the image that forms in their mind is a massive weapon that only a troll could wield. In reality, battle axes in the Viking age were light, fast, and well balanced, and were good for speedy, deadly attacks, as well as for a variety of nasty tricks.  The axe was often the choice of the poorest man in the Viking age. Even the lowliest farm had to have a wood axe (right) for cutting and splitting wood. In desperation, a poor man could pick up the farm axe and use it in a fight. Axes meant for battle were designed a bit differently than farm axes. The photo to the left shows two reproduction axes based on 10th century finds, while the photo on the right shows a historic 10th century axe head. Axe heads were made of iron and were single edged. A wide variety of axe head shapes were used in the Viking age. The sketch to the right shows three different 11th century axe heads, while the photo to the left shows three earlier axe heads. In the early part of the Viking era, the cutting edge was generally 7 to 15cm (3-6in) long, while later, axes became much larger. The cutting edge of the largest of the axe heads shown to the right is 22cm (9in) long. The edge of this axe is made of hardened steel welded to the iron head. The join line is clearly visible in the sketch and in the historical axe head. The steel permitted the axe to hold a better edge than iron would have allowed. Some axe heads were elaborately decorated with inlays of precious metals, notably the Mammen axe head. The head is decorated on every flat surface with inlays of gold and silver and was found in a rich grave that dates from the year 971.When people think of Viking age weapons, they usually think first of the battle axe, and the image that forms in their mind is a massive weapon that only a troll could wield. In reality, battle axes in the Viking age were light, fast, and well balanced, and were good for speedy, deadly attacks, as well as for a variety of nasty tricks.

The axe was often the choice of the poorest man in the Viking age. Even the lowliest farm had to have a wood axe (right) for cutting and splitting wood. In desperation, a poor man could pick up the farm axe and use it in a fight.

 The spear was the most commonly used weapon in the Viking age. It was often the choice of someone who was unable to afford a sword.  During the Viking age, spear heads took many forms. The photo to the left shows a modern reproduction, typical of the late Viking age. The top photo to the right shows an 11th century spearhead, while the bottom photo to the right shows a 10thcentury spearhead. Earlier spearheads were about 20cm (8in) long, while later ones were as long as 60cm (24in). In chapter 55 of Laxdæla saga, Helgi had a spear with a blade one ell long (about 50cm, or 20in). He thrust the blade through Bolli’s shield, and through Bolli. The photo below shows an assortment of Viking era spear heads, illustrating the variations in size and shape. The top-most spearhead in the photo is 38cm (15in) long, giving a sense of scale.  In chapter 8 of Króka-Refs saga, Refur made a spear for himself which could be used for cutting, thrusting, or hewing. Refur split Þorgils in two down to his shoulders with the spear. Some spear heads, including all those in the photo above, had “wings” on the head, useful for a variety of tricks. These are called krókspjót (barbed spear) in the stories. Grettir used a barbed spear with a blade so thin and long that he was able to pierce all the way through Þórir and into Ögmundur with a single thrust, right up to the wings. Both men were killed by the thrust, as is told in chapter 19 of Grettis saga. The spear was the most commonly used weapon in the Viking age. It was often the choice of someone who was unable to afford a sword.

During the Viking era, helmets typically were made from several pieces of iron riveted together , called a spangenhelm style of helm. It’s easier to make a helmet this way, requiring less labor, which may be why it was used.During the Viking era, helmets typically were made from several pieces of iron riveted together , called a spangenhelm style of helm. It’s easier to make a helmet this way, requiring less labor, which may be why it was used.

TViking Swords  More than anything else, the sword was the mark of a warrior in the Viking age. They were difficult to make, and therefore rare and expensive. The author of Fóstbræðra saga wrote in chapter 3 that in saga age Iceland, very few men were armed with swords. Of the 100+ weapons found in Viking age pagan burials in Iceland, only 16 are swords. A sword might be the most expensive item that a man owned. The one sword whose value is given in the sagas (given by King Hákon to Höskuldur in chapter 13 of Laxdæla saga)was said to be worth a half mark of gold. In saga age Iceland, that represented the value of sixteen milk-cows, a very substantial sum. Swords were heirlooms. They were given names and passed from father to son for generations. The loss of a sword was a catastrophe. Laxdæla saga (chapter 30) tells how Geirmundr planned to abandon his wife Þuríðr and their baby daughter in Iceland. Þuríðr boarded Geirmund’s ship at night while he slept. She took his sword, Fótbítr (Leg Biter) and left behind their baby. Þuríðr rowed away in her boat, but not before the baby’s cries woke Geirmundr. He called across the water to Þuríðr, begging her to return with the sword.  He told her to “take your daughter and whatever wealth you want.”She asked, “Do you mind the loss of your sword so much?”“I’d have to lose a great deal of money before I minded as much the loss of that sword.”   “Then you shall never have it, since you have treated me dishonorably.”  The photo to the left shows a reproduction of a Viking era sword. The original on which it is based was found in east Iceland and dates from the 10th century. The sketches to the right show some of the variations in size and shape that existed in Viking era blades and hilts. The photo below shows five Viking era sword hilts, illustrating the variations in guards and pommels that existed during the Viking age. The hilts are generally classified using a system devised by Jan Petersen and published in 1919. Since a given style was in use only during a given period, the hilt style can be used to help date a sword.  The crossguard of the middle hilt has been pulled up to reveal the details of the shoulder, where the blade narrows to form the tang. reproduction swordTViking Swords

More than anything else, the sword was the mark of a warrior in the Viking age. They were difficult to make, and therefore rare and expensive. The author of Fóstbræðra saga wrote in chapter 3 that in saga age Iceland, very few men were armed with swords. Of the 100+ weapons found in Viking age pagan burials in Iceland, only 16 are swords.

n the Viking age, fighting men used large, round, wooden shields gripped in the center from behind an iron boss. A reproduction shield is shown to the left, and a historical shield from the Oseberg ship to the right. Shields represent one of several instances where the literary sources and archaeological sources do not agree on how Viking weapons were constructed. The Norwegian Gulaþing and Frostaþing laws specify the construction of a shield. The shield should be made of wood with three iron bands and a handle fastened to the back side by iron nails. A later revision of the law says that the shield should be made of a double layer of boards (tvibyrðr), and the front should be painted red and white.  A few shields have survived from the Viking age, notably the shields from the Gokstad ship, which date from the 10th century. The ship was equipped with 32 shields, several of which survive intact. They were made from a single layer of planks butted together, with no iron bands, and the fronts were painted black and yellow. Typical Viking shields were 80-90cm (32-36 inches) in diameter. Some were larger, such as the Gokstad shields, which were 94cm (37in) across. Based on surviving remnants, some of the smaller shields appear to have been as small as 70cm (28in) in diameter. All the surviving examples are made from solid butted planks, although literary evidence, such as the 10th century Frankish poem Waltharius, and the Gulaþing laws, suggests that shields were made of laminated wood. No archaeological evidence supports this style of construction during the Viking era in Norse lands. Surviving shields are made from spruce, fir, or pine. Again, literary evidence contradicts and suggests that shields were made with linden wood (Tilia, commonly known as basswood in North America). The word lind (linden) is used to mean “shield” in poems such as Völuspá , and the term lindiskjöldr (linden shield) is used in some sagas. Linden certainly has advantages over other species of wood for shield use. It is lightweight and does not split as readily under impact as do other types of wood. The Gokstad shields were approximately 7mm (1/4in) thick near the center and were chamfered so they were thinner at the edges. Most surviving shields are in the range between 6mm (1/4in) and 12mm (1/2in) thick, although shields thicker than 30mm (1-1/8in) have been found. n the Viking age, fighting men used large, round, wooden shields gripped in the center from behind an iron boss.

I hope this has given a picture of the ancestors a bit clearer than that of the fantastic and romantic remnants of the Victorian era.

 

Our heritage, ANY heritage is worth preserving or understanding.

Without a past how can we navigate towards a future?

fuckyeahnorsemen:  Viking ship at Gudvangen, Norway (by scott photos)

Viking ship at Gudvangen, Norway (by scott photos)