Norrön Fundamentalism


Hur kommer det sig att folk av sk “Norrön tro” är så förbannat nedlåtande? Tror dom att dom vet nåt som Forn Sed folk inte vet? Och varför ständigt spy galla över “nyandlighet” (något jag bara upplevt från Kristna annars)? Sköt er själva, läs en bokjävel…under tystnad.

Jag tar gärna en diskussion med ett av dom här puckona i religions historia, religions filosofi, etik, ontologi eller epistemologi när som helst.

The Tomte


A tomte (Swedish) (Swedish pronunciation:  or nisse (Norway and Denmark) (pronounced [ˈnìsːɛ]) is a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore. Tomte or Nisse were believed to take care of a farmer’s home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep. The Swedish name tomte is derived from a place of residence and area of influence: the house lot or tomt. The Finnish name is tonttu. Nisse is the common name in Norwegian, Danish and the Scanian dialect in southernmost Sweden; it is a nickname for Nils, and its usage in folklore comes from expressions such as Nisse god dräng (Nisse good lad, cf. Robin Goodfellow). Other names areTuftekall, Tomtegubbe or Haugebonde (“mound farmer”), all names connecting the being to the origins of the farm (the building ground), or a Burial mound. Those names are remembrances of the being’s origins in an ancestral cult.

tomte (Swedish) (Swedish pronunciation:  or nisse (Norway and Denmark) (pronounced [ˈnìsːɛ]) is a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore. Tomte or Nisse were believed to take care of a farmer’s home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep. The Swedish name tomte is derived from a place of residence and area of influence: the house lot or tomt. The Finnish name is tonttuNisse is the common name in NorwegianDanish and the Scanian dialect in southernmost Sweden; it is a nickname for Nils, and its usage in folklore comes from expressions such as Nisse god dräng (Nisse good ladcfRobin Goodfellow). Other names areTuftekallTomtegubbe or Haugebonde (“mound farmer”), all names connecting the being to the origins of the farm (the building ground), or a Burial mound. Those names are remembrances of the being’s origins in an ancestral cult.

I hate how the word “viking” i still used as a name for an ethnicity. A bit like calling all 19th century Americans “Cowboys” regardless of proffesion, station socially or geographical situation.


(Some) Asatru U.S style


I cant help it, sometimes when i see Amercan Heathens i feel like i´m watching some bad Viking LARP.

That goes for all the talk of “Folk” and all the “hails” too.

I dont know any Swedish people that greet eachother with “Hail” or “Hielsa” (witch just sounds like misunderstood Swedish).

As a general rule you can hardly distinguish between Swedish Christians,Heathens and the secular majority (not to mention those that are kind of a mix of these…..witch in a sense is our entire culture).

I should make clear that:

1: I do NOT intend to insult anyone here, Heathen,Christian or other.

2: Neither will i deliberatly call all “Folkish” Heathens racists or all “Universalist” Heathens airhead neo pagans (Besides, we actually ARE neo pagans per defenition, EVEN if we are reconstructionists or grew up in a culture saturated with the folklore and extentions of cult and myth as i am).

3: And i do not think the fact that American Heathenry differs from Swedish (generalizing my ass off here) is in anyway “bad” or “wrong”. On the contrary i think its good. The custom SHOULD be adaptable to individuals, circumstances, places and communities. It always was. Even within what is today the nation of Sweden, Heathen cult and customs differed depending on when and where.

You organize in kindreds, we dont,Some of you use terms like “Thorsman”, i have never heard a Swede, even one focusing on Thor calling himself that or having an “patron God” attitude towards it (individuals and even whole areas in Scandinavia sometimes focus on certain mights as etymology shows, but it seems very de emphasized in actual cult, even today in most cases).

Eplagarðr Kindred. Some Heathens dress in Norse garb at special occations, others dont (and sometimes its a matter of practicality rather than choice)

Non of this is what i´m talking about.

Its simply that when i watch an Asatru Kindred video where “the dangers of a monoculture” is discussed where one guy leads the meeting while another guy sits on a chair, doing his best “viking chieftain” with a girl with a logo T – shirt on each side of him, a model longship on a shelf above him and two drinking horns on a table……

…..it feels weird and a bit cult (in the modern use of the word, incorrect as it is) ,LARP ,survivalist…..”i wish i was part of something cool and had a special heritage”….alien, silly.

It also gives me a feeling of self indoctrination by pastor, evangelical style.

I have nothing against boat models or drinking horns and definetely not girls…..especially several of them and in combination with drinking horns (horny?), i guess i just wish fate (not faith), and a trust that our culture(s) are biological enteties that takes care of themself  quite well with much less attitude, roleplay, pretend uniqueness and heritage would more of a base.

Mock history,science or hertage is a much bigger threat to culture than another culture ever was.

Swedish Heathens performing Disa Blot at a boulder.

Dont believe me? Ask a viking. They loved to mix their culture with others.

Viking Age Temple of Uppåkra


Archaeological finds - Uppåkra The excavations in Uppåkra just south of Lund has been found the remains of the heathen temple that stood here for hundreds of years before its demise in the late 900s. Then the entire area of the building could be dug up and then the place is intact from the recent burial was in this way for the first time a heathen temple could be studied in its entirety by purely archaeological methods. Remnants of the building itself consists of burying the poles and wooden walls that once existed on the site. Different floor layers have also been identified and it has also been able to establish that the temple over the centuries been subject to the necessary alterations. Materials have been around wood also been buried in the ground. - Exterior The building is not large, only 13 meters long and 6.5 meters wide. It has been slightly curved long walls of coarse, vertical oak planks, or “sticks”, which are buried in a trench in the earth at more than one meter deep. In every corner of the house has been a pole which was buried to considerable depth. The building’s middle section, which remained independent of outside walls, consisted of four huge timber posts. The holes for these are unusually wide and depth is very remarkable, more than two meters. The building had three entrances, two in the south and one in the north. Each opening has been framed by heavy side poles and the South West has also had a prime lot. This input should have been the temple’s main entrance. The wall trench and post holes found excavators a hundred so-called golden guys. These are thin, small gold plates engraved with human figures. Its size means that these gold plates can not have earned such as trading gold, but should have had with the then cult to do. That they found in a large amount of burial for Uppåkra temple pillars and wall planks suggest that you sacrificed those golden old men in connection with the construction of the temple. - Construction The building’s exterior walls have been in the so-called rod construction between sharp corner poles. The technique is familiar from found remains of stave churches in Lund from about 1050thThe following planks must have been the top fitted in a horizontal block of wood, so-called safe-conduct, which has been on corner poles. The deep trench that rod walls were set in and the deep holes for corner poles show that the building’s exterior walls must have been high. The holes are of course the task to resist lateral loads to walls not crashed down. In Hemse church on Gotland have been found preserved wall pieces in full length of three meters from the early wooden church. A height of the temple’s outer walls of up to four meters above the ground is therefore not impossible. The roof between the outer walls and the four corner posts that served as the supporting structure in mittornet should have been covered with wood shavings, which required a fairly steep roof. From a long wall to the tower wall, this should have risen about two feet. How high was the tower itself ? Two feet deep postholes indicate a very large structure, not least because the four pillars formed a square which enabled efficient bracing by check works. With a length of the posts on the suggestion of ten meters, the tower’s walls gone up more than three feet above the nave ridge. The above interpretation, here called Foteviksmodellen, the temple published in 2004. Another interpretation was published in 2006, here called the Lund model. The latter has the choice not to see the four middle pole FREQUENCY different dimensions and huge foundation depth as a design for a tower. The outer walls have instead entered into a mighty height, nearly six feet.  - Interior Inside the Uppåkra temple has been found a bronze beaker and a glass bowl. The approximately 20 cm high cup is decorated with bands of thin gold plate with stamped images. Glass dish comes from the area north of the Black Sea. The bowl, which is made with two layers of glass mass, can be dated to around 500 AD. 

Archaeological finds

– Uppåkra
The excavations in Uppåkra just south of Lund has been found the remains of the heathen temple that stood here for hundreds of years before its demise in the late 900s. Then the entire area of the building could be dug up and then the place is intact from the recent burial was in this way for the first time a heathen temple could be studied in its entirety by purely archaeological methods.

Remnants of the building itself consists of burying the poles and wooden walls that once existed on the site. Different floor layers have also been identified and it has also been able to establish that the temple over the centuries been subject to the necessary alterations. Materials have been around wood also been buried in the ground.

– Exterior
The building is not large, only 13 meters long and 6.5 meters wide. It has been slightly curved long walls of coarse, vertical oak planks, or “sticks”, which are buried in a trench in the earth at more than one meter deep. In every corner of the house has been a pole which was buried to considerable depth. The building’s middle section, which remained independent of outside walls, consisted of four huge timber posts. The holes for these are unusually wide and depth is very remarkable, more than two meters.

The building had three entrances, two in the south and one in the north. Each opening has been framed by heavy side poles and the South West has also had a prime lot. This input should have been the temple’s main entrance.

The wall trench and post holes found excavators a hundred so-called golden guys. These are thin, small gold plates engraved with human figures. Its size means that these gold plates can not have earned such as trading gold, but should have had with the then cult to do. That they found in a large amount of burial for Uppåkra temple pillars and wall planks suggest that you sacrificed those golden old men in connection with the construction of the temple.

– Construction
The building’s exterior walls have been in the so-called rod construction between sharp corner poles. The technique is familiar from found remains of stave churches in Lund from about 1050thThe following planks must have been the top fitted in a horizontal block of wood, so-called safe-conduct, which has been on corner poles. The deep trench that rod walls were set in and the deep holes for corner poles show that the building’s exterior walls must have been high. The holes are of course the task to resist lateral loads to walls not crashed down. In Hemse church on Gotland have been found preserved wall pieces in full length of three meters from the early wooden church. A height of the temple’s outer walls of up to four meters above the ground is therefore not impossible.

The roof between the outer walls and the four corner posts that served as the supporting structure in mittornet should have been covered with wood shavings, which required a fairly steep roof. From a long wall to the tower wall, this should have risen about two feet. How high was the tower itself ? Two feet deep postholes indicate a very large structure, not least because the four pillars formed a square which enabled efficient bracing by check works. With a length of the posts on the suggestion of ten meters, the tower’s walls gone up more than three feet above the nave ridge.

The above interpretation, here called Foteviksmodellen, the temple published in 2004. Another interpretation was published in 2006, here called the Lund model. The latter has the choice not to see the four middle pole FREQUENCY different dimensions and huge foundation depth as a design for a tower. The outer walls have instead entered into a mighty height, nearly six feet.

– Interior
Inside the Uppåkra temple has been found a bronze beaker and a glass bowl. The approximately 20 cm high cup is decorated with bands of thin gold plate with stamped images. Glass dish comes from the area north of the Black Sea. The bowl, which is made with two layers of glass mass, can be dated to around 500 AD.

 

Birka


Birka on the island of Björkö, was the hub of the rich Mälardalenin the Viking Age. The shopping center was built in the 700’s and became aimportant international port for visitors from near and far. OnAdelsö, just across the bay, is Hovgården where the king lived.Birka World Heritage Site and Hovgården contains unusually high number of remnantsViking Age people.Since the late 1800s, archaeologists have examined the ancient remains of Birkaand Hovgården. The rich finds from the excavations tells of asociety with a strong hierarchy and large differences between both class andsex. They had extensive trade contacts with the outside world and it shows infindings.

Birka on the island of Björkö, was the hub of the rich Mälardalen
in the Viking Age. The shopping center was built in the 700’s and became a
important international port for visitors from near and far. On
Adelsö, just across the bay, is Hovgården where the king lived.
Birka World Heritage Site and Hovgården contains unusually high number of remnants
Viking Age people.

Since the late 1800s, archaeologists have examined the ancient remains of Birka
and Hovgården. The rich finds from the excavations tells of a
society with a strong hierarchy and large differences between both class and
sex. They had extensive trade contacts with the outside world and it shows in
findings.

 

Viking Age Social Organization


  Viking Social Organisation Viking social structure conformed to the Indo-European pattern by dividing people into classes; the rulers, the free and the unfree. This situation prevailed through the Vendel and Viking periods and was only significantly altered in the 11th century with the advent of unified kingdoms in the Scandinavian homelands.  Lowest in the social order were the thralls (male-thrall; female-ambatt) or slaves. Whilst the main sources for slaves were war, piracy and trade, their numbers also included those born into slavery and various criminals. A man who failed to discharge his debts could become the slave of his creditor until he redeemed his debt.Thralls had few rights and could hold no land, so instead of being fined for lawbreaking they were beaten, maimed or even put to death. However, a thrall did have some advantages over the freeman as the following laws show:  ‘Now a freeman and a slave who commit theft together, it is the freeman who is a thief and the slave shall not lose by it, for the man who steals with another man’s slave steals by himself.’ ‘A slave has greater rights than a freeman in one matter. A slave has the right to kill on account of his wife even though she is a bondmaid, but a freeman has not the right to kill on account of a bondmaid, even though she is his woman.’  Despite these advantages, the slave was still only considered chattel, as shown by other laws:  ‘If a man’s slave is killed , then no levelling oath need be sworn for him any more than for any other cattle belonging to a man, should that be killed.’ ‘If a master kills his own slave, he is not liable before the law unless he kills him during legally ordained festivals or in Lent, then the penalty is banishment.’  Although thralls legally commanded no wergild it was normal in England to pay the owner the price of eight cows if you killed his thrall; in Iceland the equivalent was eight ounces of silver; in Scandinavia the killer must make ‘restitution according to the value set on him [the slave] naked.’ Although unable to hold land a thrall could have possessions, money and time to do work for himself. Slaves were permitted to do business at public markets and to make private transactions if the value involved was less than oneortug (1/3 ounce of silver, 20 pence). In favourable circumstances he might hope to purchase, earn or be rewarded with his freedom. Marriage was permitted but the children would also be slaves. Ill treatment of thralls was regarded as an undesirable quality and most masters appear to have treated their slaves quite well. A slave was not allowed to bear arms except in the case of fighting off invaders; and the slave who killed such an enemy was to be rewarded with his freedom.  As the Viking Age wore on, and the influence of Christianity grew stronger, slavery became less common, especially with slaves of the same nationality or religion. Once released the freedman ( leysingi) was still not entirely free; he was still dependant on his former owner and family for a number of generations and could not institute legal proceedings against him. He needed a patron to protect his new found freedom and often looked to his former master to champion him. He could however gain full freedom by buying it with a larger payment than would otherwise be required. Alfred’s treaty with Guthrum at Wedmore in 886 AD set the wergild of a Danish freedman equal to that of a Saxon gebur (who sat roughly in the middle of society in the Ceorl class) at two hundred shillings. Above the freedman were the bondi and karls, the truly free land holding farmers. This class was a very broad one ranging from impoverished peasants to men of wealth and local authority. Whilst they could be sailors, hunters, traders or raiders they were still fundamentally farmers, even if absence and large holdings meant they required the labour of other men - both free and thrall. Their wergild at Wedmore was set as the same as English nobility, eight half-marks of pure gold. Although in theory a bondi had a farm of his own, in practice most young men had to live with their parents, or farm the lands of a large landholder. Such men still retained their status.  ‘These were the men who tilled land and raised stock, bore witness and produced verdicts, said aye or no on matters of public concern at the Thing (including matters as important as the election of a king or a change of religion), attended religious and lay ceremonies, made and bore weapons, manned ships, served in levies, were conscious of their dues and worth, and so impressed these upon others that as a free peasantry they stood in a class of their own in Europe.’  One stage above the bondi were those landowners with hereditary rights to their land. In Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles these were known as odalsbondi, in Norway as hauldr, and in England as holdas. Odal rights were fiercely maintained as they distinguished a family claim, and could not be usurped by jarls or even the crown (in Scotland odal rights survived into the eighteenth century!). The weregild for a Holdas was established in English courts as half that for an eolderman. The upper levels of Viking society were comprised of the various forms of aristocracy and the kings. The lowest rank of rulers were the landsmenn (roughly equivalent to the later medieval ‘baron’), known as styraesmen in Denmark. Originally the individual ship commanders, the later qualification for this rank was the ability to field and maintain forty armed men in the levy. The position was not hereditary and was gained through an oath of loyalty to the king, on whose behalf they held their authority. In Norway their ‘manbote’ (weregild) was fixed at six full marks of silver.  More frequently encountered is the title of jarl, a semi or fully independent lordship. As with the bondi some held lands by odal right of inheritance, others ruthlessly fought their way to power. In the early period there is little clear difference between powerful jarls and the many petty kings who flourished in Denmark and Norway. Later, in the eleventh century, under kings such as Harald Hardrada, the power-broking jarls were crushed. The Viking captain with his fleet and hirð was a thing of the past. The new chieftains were landed men who wished for stability and peace, members of a bondi aristocracy who supported centralised kingship. In the century after Harald Fairhair, no Norwegian king died peacefully in his bed or was succeeded by his son. Magnus became king in 1035 at the invitation of the people and came to peace with his uncle Hardrada. Hardrada’s death in 1066 was not the fault of his subjects, and his sons, grandson and great-grandsons all succeeded him in due order. The power and organisational abilities of the Christian Church also aided the king, to their mutual benefit. This influence increased throughout the eleventh century. As power centralised the royal estates were left in the charge of stewards, bryti, who formed a layer of local authority balancing that of the local landsmenn. The Danelaw Although under Scandinavian influence the Danelaw was an integral part of the English kingdom. Like the rest of England it was divided into shires, some massive like Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, others far smaller. The larger shires were divided into ‘trithings’ (a Scandinavian word for thirds) which gives us our modern ‘ridings’ in Yorkshire. The Midland shires and the shires of the south-east Danelaw conformed to the usual English patterns, as did the East-Anglian divisions of Norfolk and Suffolk. Much of the Danelaw, like the rest of England, was further subdivided into hundreds, and the basic fiscal and disciplinary business of the community passed through the hundred courts. However, where Scandinavian influence was strongest, such as Yorkshire and the Five Boroughs, the equivalent sub-division was the wapentake. Despite the differences in nomenclature of the sub-divisions, the legal system was much the same. Even in Scandinavia the legal system was not vastly different to that in England. The only major differences were in religion and, as the Danes were converted, even this difference grew less. This does not mean that the laws were identical, however, as one of Edgar’s codes permitted the Danes to exercise their rights ‘according to the good laws they can best decide on.’ The wapentakes were further subdivided into the Danish carucates, the land that could be ploughed by one plough team in a year, and bovates, the amount of land apportioned to a farmer contributing one ox to the eight-ox plough team. In Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk, traces of a further Scandinavian sub-division are to be found - the manslot (allotment to one free settler). Hundreds were still divided into hides. It is not clear exactly how warriors were recruited for the Here (army). It is likely that they may have been drawn on the ‘one man from several basic land units’ as was done in Saxon areas.

 

Viking Social Organisation

Viking social structure conformed to the Indo-European pattern by dividing people into classes; the rulers, the free and the unfree. This situation prevailed through the Vendel and Viking periods and was only significantly altered in the 11th century with the advent of unified kingdoms in the Scandinavian homelands.

* Two men resting in a boat pulled up onto land

Lowest in the social order were the thralls (male-thrall; female-ambatt) or slaves. Whilst the main sources for slaves were war, piracy and trade, their numbers also included those born into slavery and various criminals. A man who failed to discharge his debts could become the slave of his creditor until he redeemed his debt.Thralls had few rights and could hold no land, so instead of being fined for lawbreaking they were beaten, maimed or even put to death. However, a thrall did have some advantages over the freeman as the following laws show:

‘Now a freeman and a slave who commit theft together, it is the freeman who is a thief and the slave shall not lose by it, for the man who steals with another man’s slave steals by himself.’

‘A slave has greater rights than a freeman in one matter. A slave has the right to kill on account of his wife even though she is a bondmaid, but a freeman has not the right to kill on account of a bondmaid, even though she is his woman.’

Despite these advantages, the slave was still only considered chattel, as shown by other laws:

‘If a man’s slave is killed , then no levelling oath need be sworn for him any more than for any other cattle belonging to a man, should that be killed.’

‘If a master kills his own slave, he is not liable before the law unless he kills him during legally ordained festivals or in Lent, then the penalty is banishment.’

Although thralls legally commanded no wergild it was normal in England to pay the owner the price of eight cows if you killed his thrall; in Iceland the equivalent was eight ounces of silver; in Scandinavia the killer must make ‘restitution according to the value set on him [the slave] naked.’

Although unable to hold land a thrall could have possessions, money and time to do work for himself. Slaves were permitted to do business at public markets and to make private transactions if the value involved was less than oneortug (1/3 ounce of silver, 20 pence). In favourable circumstances he might hope to purchase, earn or be rewarded with his freedom. Marriage was permitted but the children would also be slaves. Ill treatment of thralls was regarded as an undesirable quality and most masters appear to have treated their slaves quite well. A slave was not allowed to bear arms except in the case of fighting off invaders; and the slave who killed such an enemy was to be rewarded with his freedom.

* Bondi and son

As the Viking Age wore on, and the influence of Christianity grew stronger, slavery became less common, especially with slaves of the same nationality or religion. Once released the freedman ( leysingi) was still not entirely free; he was still dependant on his former owner and family for a number of generations and could not institute legal proceedings against him. He needed a patron to protect his new found freedom and often looked to his former master to champion him. He could however gain full freedom by buying it with a larger payment than would otherwise be required. Alfred’s treaty with Guthrum at Wedmore in 886 AD set the wergild of a Danish freedman equal to that of a Saxon gebur (who sat roughly in the middle of society in the Ceorl class) at two hundred shillings.

Above the freedman were the bondi and karls, the truly free land holding farmers. This class was a very broad one ranging from impoverished peasants to men of wealth and local authority. Whilst they could be sailors, hunters, traders or raiders they were still fundamentally farmers, even if absence and large holdings meant they required the labour of other men – both free and thrall. Their wergild at Wedmore was set as the same as English nobility, eight half-marks of pure gold.

Although in theory a bondi had a farm of his own, in practice most young men had to live with their parents, or farm the lands of a large landholder. Such men still retained their status.

‘These were the men who tilled land and raised stock, bore witness and produced verdicts, said aye or no on matters of public concern at the Thing (including matters as important as the election of a king or a change of religion), attended religious and lay ceremonies, made and bore weapons, manned ships, served in levies, were conscious of their dues and worth, and so impressed these upon others that as a free peasantry they stood in a class of their own in Europe.’

One stage above the bondi were those landowners with hereditary rights to their land. In Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles these were known as odalsbondi, in Norway as hauldr, and in England as holdas. Odal rights were fiercely maintained as they distinguished a family claim, and could not be usurped by jarls or even the crown (in Scotland odal rights survived into the eighteenth century!). The weregild for a Holdas was established in English courts as half that for an eolderman.

The upper levels of Viking society were comprised of the various forms of aristocracy and the kings. The lowest rank of rulers were the landsmenn (roughly equivalent to the later medieval ‘baron’), known as styraesmen in Denmark. Originally the individual ship commanders, the later qualification for this rank was the ability to field and maintain forty armed men in the levy. The position was not hereditary and was gained through an oath of loyalty to the king, on whose behalf they held their authority. In Norway their ‘manbote’ (weregild) was fixed at six full marks of silver.

*A Karl equipped for battle

More frequently encountered is the title of jarl, a semi or fully independent lordship. As with the bondi some held lands by odal right of inheritance, others ruthlessly fought their way to power. In the early period there is little clear difference between powerful jarls and the many petty kings who flourished in Denmark and Norway. Later, in the eleventh century, under kings such as Harald Hardrada, the power-broking jarls were crushed. The Viking captain with his fleet and hirð was a thing of the past. The new chieftains were landed men who wished for stability and peace, members of a bondi aristocracy who supported centralised kingship. In the century after Harald Fairhair, no Norwegian king died peacefully in his bed or was succeeded by his son. Magnus became king in 1035 at the invitation of the people and came to peace with his uncle Hardrada. Hardrada’s death in 1066 was not the fault of his subjects, and his sons, grandson and great-grandsons all succeeded him in due order. The power and organisational abilities of the Christian Church also aided the king, to their mutual benefit.

This influence increased throughout the eleventh century. As power centralised the royal estates were left in the charge of stewards, bryti, who formed a layer of local authority balancing that of the local landsmenn.

The Danelaw

Although under Scandinavian influence the Danelaw was an integral part of the English kingdom. Like the rest of England it was divided into shires, some massive like Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, others far smaller. The larger shires were divided into ‘trithings’ (a Scandinavian word for thirds) which gives us our modern ‘ridings’ in Yorkshire. The Midland shires and the shires of the south-east Danelaw conformed to the usual English patterns, as did the East-Anglian divisions of Norfolk and Suffolk.

Much of the Danelaw, like the rest of England, was further subdivided into hundreds, and the basic fiscal and disciplinary business of the community passed through the hundred courts. However, where Scandinavian influence was strongest, such as Yorkshire and the Five Boroughs, the equivalent sub-division was the wapentake. Despite the differences in nomenclature of the sub-divisions, the legal system was much the same. Even in Scandinavia the legal system was not vastly different to that in England. The only major differences were in religion and, as the Danes were converted, even this difference grew less. This does not mean that the laws were identical, however, as one of Edgar’s codes permitted the Danes to exercise their rights ‘according to the good laws they can best decide on.’

The wapentakes were further subdivided into the Danish carucates, the land that could be ploughed by one plough team in a year, and bovates, the amount of land apportioned to a farmer contributing one ox to the eight-ox plough team. In Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk, traces of a further Scandinavian sub-division are to be found – the manslot (allotment to one free settler). Hundreds were still divided into hides.

It is not clear exactly how warriors were recruited for the Here (army). It is likely that they may have been drawn on the ‘one man from several basic land units’ as was done in Saxon areas.

 

Blot


The blót (Old Norse neuter) refers to Norse pagan sacrifice to the Norse gods and the spirits of the land. The sacrifice often took the form of a sacramental meal or feast. Related religious practices were performed by other Germanic peoples, such as the pagan Anglo-Saxons. The blót element of horse sacrifice is found throughout Indo-European traditions, including the Vedic Indian, Celtic, and Latin traditions.  The verb blóta meant “to worship with sacrifice”,[3] or “to strengthen”.[4] The sacrifice usually consisted of animals, in particular pigs and horses. The meat was boiled in large cooking pits with heated stones, either indoors or outdoors. The blood was considered to contain special powers and it was sprinkled on the statues of the gods, on the walls and on the participants themselves. It was a sacred moment when the people gathered around the steaming cauldrons to have a meal together with the gods or the Elves. The drink that was passed around was blessed and sacred as well and it was passed from participant to participant. The drink was usually beer or mead but among the nobility it could be imported wine. The old prayer was til árs ok friðar, “for a good year and frith (peace)” They asked for fertility, good health, a good life and peace and harmony between the people and the powers.  Modern adherents of the reconstructionist religions Theodism and Ásatrú continue to practice the ritual of blót, which is one of the most important ritual observances of their religion, in addition to symbel.

The blót (Old Norse neuter) refers to Norse pagan sacrifice to the Norse gods and the spirits of the land. The sacrifice often took the form of a sacramental meal or feast. Related religious practices were performed by other Germanic peoples, such as the pagan Anglo-Saxons. The blót element of horse sacrifice is found throughout Indo-European traditions, including the Vedic IndianCeltic, and Latin traditions.

 

The verb blóta meant “to worship with sacrifice”, or “to strengthen”. The sacrifice usually consisted of animals, in particular pigs and horses. The meat was boiled in large cooking pits with heated stones, either indoors or outdoors. The blood was considered to contain special powers and it was sprinkled on the statues of the gods, on the walls and on the participants themselves.

It was a sacred moment when the people gathered around the steaming cauldrons to have a meal together with the gods or the Elves. The drink that was passed around was blessed and sacred as well and it was passed from participant to participant. The drink was usually beer or mead but among the nobility it could be imported wine.

 Sacrifice (via Old French from Latin sacrificium, from sacra ”sacred rites” + facere, “to do, perform”) is the religious practice of offering food, objects (typically valuables), or the lives of animals or people to the gods as an act of propitiation or worship. While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering (Latin oblatio) can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artefacts. For offerings of liquids (beverages) by pouring, the term libation is used.  In modern Heathen /  Pagan religions like Wicca and Neo Druidry animals are NEVER sacrificed, EVER. Both in modern and historical religions Oblatio and Libation has been the most common (and human sacrifice the least common). Livestock would have been expencive and sacrificed at the bigger celebrations. Human sacrifice was mostly common in times of dire danger and panic.  Among Polytheistic reconstructionism animal sacrifice is a matter of debate but many are for it IF it is performed by a butcher, hunter, farmer or anyone else with a PROFFESSION including slaughter. It should be said too that both in historical times, and now, the meat is eaten (as opposed to popular belief). Generally only the blood, fat or something similar (or maybe portions of the meat) is set aside for the Gods. Sacrifice is not meant to leave you without.   The practice of sacrifice is seen in the oldest records. The archaeological record contains human and animal corpses with sacrificial marks long before any written records of the practice. Sacrifices are a common theme in most religions, though the frequency of animal, and especially human, sacrifices are rare today. Literally anything of some value may be a sacrifice in some religion’s practices. The more valuable the offering, generally, the more highly the sacrifice is regarded but the more difficult to make. On a day-to-day basis, offerings may be quite simple indeed: flowers, candles, incense, spilling some of the drink from a cup before drinking. Commonly, the most valuable sacrifices have been that of lives, animal or human.  The Latin term came to be used of the Christian eucharist in particular, sometimes dubbed a “bloodless sacrifice” to distinguish it from pagan practices of “blood sacrifice”. In individual pre-Christian ethnic religions, terms translated as “sacrifice” include the Indic yajna, the Greek thusia , the Germanic blōtan, the Semitic qorban/qurban, etc. The term is also used metaphorically to describe selfless good deeds for others or a short term loss in return for a greater gain, such as in a game of chess. Recently it has also come into use as meaning ‘doing without something’ or ‘giving something up’ (see also self-sacrifice)

The old prayer was til árs ok friðar, “for a good year and frith (peace)” They asked for fertility, good health, a good life and peace and harmony between the people and the powers.

Modern adherents of the reconstructionist religions Theodism and Ásatrú continue to practice the ritual of blót, which is one of the most important ritual observances of their religion, in addition to symbel.

 

Symbel / Bragafull


 Symbel / Bragafull - Acknowledging ourselves and our acomplishments In Christian thinking “boasting” is seen as something to be avoided, not so in pre Christian Norse culture. Or i should correct myself, boasting in this case is not the empty claims and exagerations we normally associate with the word, but an acknowledging of our own acomplishments AND the help of the Gods and ancestors. In other words a thanksgiving of sorts ,notice that there is no sacrifice in Symbel, since it is not a prayer for something but a thanks for what is allready given. We acknowledge our own part in the acomplishment and thus strenghten ourselves. The Gods are not doing everything for us since they´re not our servants. Gods and men co exist. Thus WE have a place in the equation. At the end of Symbel / Bragafull oaths are often taken, thus further empowering us. These vows are BINDING and taken very seriously. Symbel involved a formulaic ritual which was more solemn and serious than mere drinking or celebration. The primary elements of symbel are drinking ale or mead from a drinking horn, speech making (which often included formulaic boasting and oaths), and gift giving. Eating and feasting were specifically excluded from symbel, and no alcohol was set aside for the gods or other deities in the form of a sacrifice. Accounts of the symbel are preserved in the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf (lines 489-675 and 1491–1500), Dream of the Rood and Judith, Old Saxon Heliand, and the Old NorseLokasenna as well as other Eddic and Saga texts, such as in the Heimskringla account of the funeral ale held by King Sweyn, or in the Fagrskinna. The bragarfull ”promise-cup” or bragafull ”best cup” or “chieftain’s cup” (compare Bragi) was in Norse culture a particular drinking from a cup or drinking horn on ceremonial occasions, often involving the swearing of oaths when the cup or horn was drunk by a chieftain or passed around and drunk by those assembled. The names are sometimes anglicized as bragarful and bragaful respectively. That the name appears in two forms with two meanings makes it difficult to determine the literal meaning. The word bragr ’best, foremost’ is a source for its first element. The form bragafull (but not bragarfull) can also be interpreted as ‘Bragi’s cup’, referring to the Bragi, god of poetry, though no special connection to Bragi appears in any of the sources.

 

Symbel / Bragafull – Acknowledging ourselves and our acomplishments

In Christian thinking “boasting” is seen as something to be avoided, not so in pre Christian Norse culture.

Or i should correct myself, boasting in this case is not the empty claims and exagerations we normally associate with the word, but an acknowledging of our own acomplishments AND the help of the Gods and ancestors.

In other words a thanksgiving of sorts ,notice that there is no sacrifice in Symbel, since it is not a prayer for something but a thanks for what is allready given.

We acknowledge our own part in the acomplishment and thus strenghten ourselves.

The Gods are not doing everything for us since they´re not our servants. Gods and men co exist.

Thus WE have a place in the equation.

At the end of Symbel / Bragafull oaths are often taken, thus further empowering us. These vows are BINDING and taken very seriously.

Symbel involved a formulaic ritual which was more solemn and serious than mere drinking or celebration. The primary elements of symbel are drinking ale or mead from a drinking horn, speech making (which often included formulaic boasting and oaths), and gift giving. Eating and feasting were specifically excluded from symbel, and no alcohol was set aside for the gods or other deities in the form of a sacrifice.

Accounts of the symbel are preserved in the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf (lines 489-675 and 1491–1500), Dream of the Rood and Judith, Old Saxon Heliand, and the Old NorseLokasenna as well as other Eddic and Saga texts, such as in the Heimskringla account of the funeral ale held by King Sweyn, or in the Fagrskinna.

The bragarfull ”promise-cup” or bragafull ”best cup” or “chieftain’s cup” (compare Bragi) was in Norse culture a particular drinking from a cup or drinking horn on ceremonial occasions, often involving the swearing of oaths when the cup or horn was drunk by a chieftain or passed around and drunk by those assembled. The names are sometimes anglicized as bragarful and bragaful respectively.

That the name appears in two forms with two meanings makes it difficult to determine the literal meaning. The word bragr ’best, foremost’ is a source for its first element. The form bragafull (but not bragarfull) can also be interpreted as ‘Bragi’s cup’, referring to the Bragi, god of poetry, though no special connection to Bragi appears in any of the sources.

 


 Everyday Life in the Iron Age What was Life like in the Iron Age?  In the Iron Age they used a plough called an “ard”. Extra large picture. More illustrations. © Niels BachPloughing with an ard. Big picture© Lejre Experimental Centre Almost everybody in the Iron Age was involved in farm work and that goes for women and children, too. In order to prepare the land people used a special kind of plough, an ard, which was pulled by a couple of oxen. That was probably the men’s part of the work. Very few people were actual artisans. The most important of the artisans was probably the blacksmith and next to him were the people who did the peat-digging. They were important because the peat was used for melting out bog iron. The women were very skilled at making earthenware vessels. The earthenware vessels were used in connection with cooking and for trading. It took a long time to grindthe grains to make flour.Big picture The women also took care of the food and made sure there was enough laid up for the cold winters. They milked the cows, made bread and cheese and dried meat and fish. A lot of time was spent on harvesting the fields - the grain had to be threshed first, after which the kernels were grinded to flour on a stone grinder. In a mortar - a big stone with a round hole - they grinded seeds and nuts to small bits, so they could be used for porridge and bread. The leader of the community held a position which entitled him to not participate in the daily work of taking care of the land and the livestock. He had to train the men for war and make sure that the laws of the tribe were observed as well as be a kind of minister in the village. The women had many children during their childbearing years but only few of the children survived. Out of a family of 10 brothers and sisters only two or three children lived to have children of their own. Most people died before they had turned 45. Even at the time of the Tollund Man they digged peat in the bog. Extra large picture. More illustrations.© Niels BachThe goats needed to be milked. Big picture© Lejre Experimental Centre The boys and girls had to watch the livestock and help around the house which included fetching firewood for the fireplaces. The children of the Iron Age played like all children but we don’t know much about the games they played. In a grave which held the body of a young child, Silkeborg Museum discovered a rattle made of clay. Games which made use of dice and a board with glass pieces were also very popular. We don’t know how much time the children spent on playing. It is very likely that as soon as they were old enough they were put to work - tending the livestock, picking berries, cleaning the stable, spreading manure on the fields and collecting firewood. The day wasn’t divided into work and fun - the two were mixed together. Girl wearing a dress from the Iron Age.Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre People got up when the sun rose and the cock crowed. They probably started the day by feeding the livestock. The manure that had accumulated over night had to be gathered and spread on the fields. In the wintertime some of the livestock, sheep and pigs would be in the stable right next to where the people ate and slept. In the summertime most of the residents’ lives were probably spent outdoors. In the evening the livestock would be shooed inside the fence surrounding the village after which it was closed. As the sun was setting people would gather around the fireplace and listen to stories before going to bed. People slept on low plank beds around the fireplace and the sound of the livestock munching would mix with the residents’ snoring.

 

Everyday Life in the Iron Age

What was Life like in the Iron Age?

 

Click for extra large pictureIn the Iron Age they used a plough called an “ard”. Extra large pictureMore illustrations. © Niels BachPloughing with an ardPloughing with an ard. Big picture
© Lejre Experimental Centre

Almost everybody in the Iron Age was involved in farm work and that goes for women and children, too. In order to prepare the land people used a special kind of plough, an ard, which was pulled by a couple of oxen. That was probably the men’s part of the work.

Very few people were actual artisans. The most important of the artisans was probably the blacksmith and next to him were the people who did the peat-digging. They were important because the peat was used for melting out bog iron.

The women were very skilled at making earthenware vessels. The earthenware vessels were used in connection with cooking and for trading.

It took a long time to grind the grains to make flourIt took a long time to grind
the grains to make flour.
Big picture

The women also took care of the food and made sure there was enough laid up for the cold winters. They milked the cows, made bread and cheese and dried meat and fish.

A lot of time was spent on harvesting the fields – the grain had to be threshed first, after which the kernels were grinded to flour on a stone grinder. In a mortar – a big stone with a round hole – they grinded seeds and nuts to small bits, so they could be used for porridge and bread.

The leader of the community held a position which entitled him to not participate in the daily work of taking care of the land and the livestock. He had to train the men for war and make sure that the laws of the tribe were observed as well as be a kind of minister in the village.

The women had many children during their childbearing years but only few of the children survived. Out of a family of 10 brothers and sisters only two or three children lived to have children of their own. Most people died before they had turned 45.

Click for extra large pictureEven at the time of the Tollund Man they digged peat in the bog. Extra large pictureMore illustrations.
© Niels BachThe goats needed to be milkedThe goats needed to be milked. Big picture
© Lejre Experimental Centre

The boys and girls had to watch the livestock and help around the house which included fetching firewood for the fireplaces.

The children of the Iron Age played like all children but we don’t know much about the games they played. In a grave which held the body of a young child, Silkeborg Museum discovered a rattle made of clay. Games which made use of dice and a board with glass pieces were also very popular.

We don’t know how much time the children spent on playing. It is very likely that as soon as they were old enough they were put to work – tending the livestock, picking berries, cleaning the stable, spreading manure on the fields and collecting firewood. The day wasn’t divided into work and fun – the two were mixed together.

Girl wearing a dress from the Iron AgeGirl wearing a dress from the Iron Age.
Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre

People got up when the sun rose and the cock crowed. They probably started the day by feeding the livestock. The manure that had accumulated over night had to be gathered and spread on the fields.

In the wintertime some of the livestock, sheep and pigs would be in the stable right next to where the people ate and slept.

In the summertime most of the residents’ lives were probably spent outdoors. In the evening the livestock would be shooed inside the fence surrounding the village after which it was closed. As the sun was setting people would gather around the fireplace and listen to stories before going to bed. People slept on low plank beds around the fireplace and the sound of the livestock munching would mix with the residents’ snoring.