Bragi


“Bragi” by Carl Wahlbom (1810-1858).
Bragi is the skaldic god of poetry in Norse mythology.
Bragi is generally associated with bragr, the Norse word for poetry. The name of the god may have been derived from bragr, or the term bragrmay have been formed to describe ‘what Bragi does’. A connection between the name Bragi and English brego ‘chieftain’ has been suggested but is generally now discounted. A connection between Bragi and the bragarfull ‘promise cup’ is sometimes suggested, as bragafull, an alternate form of the word, might be translated as ‘Bragi’s cup’. See Bragarfull.

Bragi is shown with a harp and accompanied by his wife Iðunn in this 19th century painting by Nils Blommér.

Snorri Sturluson writes in the Gylfaginning after describing OdinThor, and Baldr:

One is called Bragi: he is renowned for wisdom, and most of all for fluency of speech and skill with words. He knows most of skaldship, and after him skaldship is called bragr, and from his name that one is called bragr-man or -woman, who possesses eloquence surpassing others, of women or of men. His wife is Iðunn.

In Skáldskaparmál Snorri writes:

How should one periphrase Bragi? By calling him husband of Iðunnfirst maker of poetry, and the long-bearded god (after his name, a man who has a great beard is called Beard-Bragi), and son of Odin.

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.


Dundee academics reconstruct Viking woman’s face


“Academics at Dundee University have helped recreate the face of a Viking woman whose skeleton was unearthed in York more than 30 years ago.

The facial reconstruction was achieved by laser-scanning her skull to create a 3D digital model.

Eyes were then digitally created, along with hair and a bonnet, to complete the look.

The project was part of a £150,000 investment at York’s Jorvik Viking Centre.

The Dundee academics were brought in by the centre’s owners, the York Archaeological Trust, as part of a project to bring York’s Vikings to life.

The female skeleton used was one of four excavated at Coppergate in York.

The reconstruction process was carried out using specialist computer equipment which allowed the user to “feel” what they were modelling on screen. The anatomy of the face was modelled in “virtual clay” from the deep muscles to the surface.

Dundee University researcher Janice Aitken took the digital reconstruction and added the finishing touches.

‘Research capabilities’
She explained: “I use the same sort of software as is used to create 3D animations in the film industry. I digitally created realistic eyes, hair and bonnet and added lighting to create a natural look.

“It is very satisfying knowing that the work we create at Dundee University will be seen by thousands of visitors to Jorvik and being part of a process which can so vividly help people to identify with their ancestors.”

The reconstruction now features in York Archaeological Trust’s new Investigate Coppergate exhibition, which examines the Vikings’ diet and investigates the diseases from which the Vikings suffered.

The exhibition also looks at the final battles of the Viking age in York that heralded the end of the Viking era and the coming of the Normans.

It features skeletal remains showing battle wounds and a full skeleton with evidence of severe trauma, alongside discussion about how they died.

Sarah Maltby, York Archaeological Trust director of attractions, said: “Archaeological research capabilities have moved on considerably since the original Coppergate excavations which took place over 30 years ago.

“The new exhibition areas mark a shift in how archaeological finds are analysed and the techniques available to researchers.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-13064786

Halfdan’s Viking Mead Recipe


“Ale has too often been praised by poets.
The longer you drink, the less sense your mind makes of things.”

–Ancient Viking Hávamál Proverb

       Halfdan’s Viking Mead Recipe   

  Mead (Honey Wine) – 5 gallon recipe

 8-10 lbs pure raw honey (for light, delicate Mead) (or)
 12-13 " " " " (for medium sweet Mead) 
(or) 15-16 "" " " (for very sweet or alcoholic Mead)
 4-5 gallons purified spring water (not distilled)
 3 tsp. yeast nutrient (or 5 tablets)
 1 tsp. acid blend (combination malic/citric acid) 
5-7 oz. sliced fresh gingerroot (1 finger's length)
 1/4 tsp. fresh rosemary (optional, as desired) 
5-6 whole cloves (optional, asdesired) 
1-2 vanilla beans (optional, as desired)
 cinnamon/nutmeg (optional, as desired) 
lime/orange peels (optional, as desired) 
crushed fruit (peaches, strawberries, grapes, etc.) 
1 tsp. Irish Moss(to clarify Mead)
 1/2 tsp. clear gelatin (to clarify Mead) 
1 spotted newt's tail (optional, asdesired :) 
1 packet yeast (champagne or ale yeast) 

Heat spring water 10-15 minutes till boiling. Stir in honey, yeast nutrients, acid blend, and spices (rosemary, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lemon peel). Boil for another 10-15 minutes, (overcooking removes too much honey flavor), skimming off foam as needed (2 to 3 times during last 15 minutes). After 15 minutes, add Irish Moss or clear gelatin to clarify. After last skimming, turn off heat, add crushed fruit, and let steep 15-30 minutes while allowing mead to cool and clarify. After mead begins to clear, strain off fruit with hand skimmer and pour mead through strainer funnel into 5 gallon glass carboy jug.

Let cool to room temperature about 24 hours. After 24 hours, warm up 1 cup of mead in microwave, stir in 1 packet “Red Star” Champagne, Montrechet, or Epernet yeast (or Ale yeast in order to make mead ale), and let sit for 5-15 minutes to allow yeast to begin to work. Add this mead/yeast mixture to carboy jug and swirl around to aerate, thereby adding oxygen to mead/yeast mixture.

Place run-off tube in stopper of bottle, with other end of tube in large bowl or bottle to capture “blow-off” froth. Let mead sit undisturbed 7 days in cool, dark area. After initial violent fermenting slows down and mead begins to settle, rack off (siphon off) good mead into clean sterilized jug, leaving all sediment in bottom of first jug. Attach airlock to this secondary carboy. After 4-6 months, mead will clear. During this time, if more sediment forms on bottom, good mead can be racked off again to another clean sterilized jug.

When bottling, in order to add carbonation, add either 1/4 tsp. white table sugar per 12 oz bottle, or stir in 1/2 to 1 lb raw honey per 5 gallons mead (by first dissolving honey with a small amount of mead or pure water in microwave).

Enjoy! Skål!Source: http://www.blue-n-gold.com/halfdan/meadrecp.htm

Discussion on Loki Part 1 – 4


Loki is indeed not your “average” trickster. In many ways, Odin himself is more like the traditional trickster than Loki is. Odin changes shape, deceives, lies, and tricks people far more often than Loki. Loki is more the sneaky, clever god of randomness than a true trickster. Odin teaches with lessons and challenges. Loki teaches with a swift kick to the groin.

Småland [Province of Smolandia],Sweden


Map
The provinces of Sweden withSmåland highlighted
Coat of Arms
Land Götaland
Maincorresponding county Kronoberg County
Kalmar County
Jönköping County
Indigenous dialect(s) Småländska
Population 720,358[1]
Area 29,400 km²
Flower Twinflower
Animal Otter

 Småland  is a historical province (landskap) in southern Sweden. Småland borders BlekingeScania or Skåne,HallandVästergötlandÖstergötland and the island Öland in the Baltic Sea. The name Småland literally means Small Lands. The latinized form Smolandia has been used in other languages. The highest summit in Småland is Tomtabackenwith its 377 m.

Historical cities

Towns with former city status were: Eksjö (chartered around 1400), Gränna (1652), Huskvarna (1911), Jönköping (1284), Kalmar (approximately 1100), Ljungby (1936), Nybro (1932), Nässjö (1914), Oskarshamn (1856), Sävsjö (1947), Tranås (1919), Vetlanda (1920), Vimmerby(approximately 1400), Värnamo (1920), Västervik (approximately 1200), Växjö (1342)

History

The area was probably populated in the Stone Age from the south, by people moving along the coast up to Kalmar. Småland was populated by Stone Age peoples by at least 6000 BC, since the Alby People are known to have crossed the ice bridge across the Kalmar Strait at that time.

Migration period, Smolandian tumulus (grave mound)

The name Småland (“small lands”) comes from the fact that it was a combination of several independent lands, Kinda (today a part of Östergötland), Tveta, Vista, Vedbo, Tjust, Sevede, Aspeland, Handbörd, MöreVärendFinnveden and Njudung. Every small land had its own law in the Viking age and early middle age and could declare themselves neutral in wars Sweden was involved in, at least if the King had no army present at the parliamentary debate. Around 1350, under the king Magnus Eriksson a national law was introduced in Sweden, and the historic provinces lost much of their old independence.

The city of Kalmar is one of the oldest cities of Sweden, and was in the medieval age the southernmost and the third largest city in Sweden, when it was a center for export of iron, which, in many cases, was handled by German merchants.

Nils Dacke.18th century painting

Småland was the center of several peasant rebellions, the most successful of which was Dackefejden led by Nils Dacke in 1542–1543. When officials of king Gustav Vasa were assaulted and murdered, the king sent small expeditions to pacify the area, but all failed. Dacke was in reality the ruler of large parts of Småland during the winter, though heavily troubled by a blockade of supplies, before finally being defeated by larger forces attacking from both Västergötland and Östergötland. Dacke held a famous battle defence at the (now ruined)Kronoberg Castle, and was shot while trying to escape to then Danish-ruled Blekinge.

Traditional Windsor chairs perhaps made in Småland

In the 19th century, Småland was characterized by poverty, and had a substantial emigration to North America, which additionally hampered its development. The majority of emigrants ended up in Minnesota, with a geography resembling Sweden, combining arable land with forest and lakes.

Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman from the film "The Emigrants" (novel by V.Moberg)

File:Skurugata.jpg
An image from a canyon in the forested Småland.

Religion

In comparison with much of Sweden, Småland has a higher level of religious intensity and church participation (Lutheran).

Smalandians

In the 20th century, Småland has been known for its high level of entrepreneurship and low unemployment, especially in the Gnosjöregion. Some suggest the harsh conditions have throughout history forced the inhabitants of the region to be cunning, inventive and cooperative.

This is how the old Swedish encyclopedia Nordisk familjebok described the people:

the Smalandian is by nature awake and smart, diligent and hard-working, yet compliant, cunning and crafty, which gives him the advantage of being able to move through life with little means. 
A running joke, or stereotype, in Sweden, is that of the Smalandian being very economical, or even cheap. Ingvar Kamprad said that the Smalandian are seen as the Scotsmen of Sweden.

Language

The local language is a Swedish dialect known as Småländska (Smalandian). This may in turn be separated in two main branches, with the northern related to the Götaland dialects and the southern to the Scanian dialects.

Heraldry

The first coat of arms for Småland, granted in 1560 pictured a red crossbow with roses on a golden shield but at the coronation ofJohan III in 1569 a new coat of arms was granted. A lion was wielding the crossbow and the roses had fallen off. There was also a revision in 1944, but no alterations were made. Småland is also considered a duchy and has the right to carry a ducal coronet with the arms.

Blazon: “Or a lion rampant Gules langued and armed Azure holding in front paws a Crossbow of the second bowed and stringed Sable with a bolt Argent.”


Värend,Småland,Sweden


The small lands of Småland. The black and red spots indicate runestones. The red spots indicate runestones telling of long voyages ( i live in “Finnveden”).
Småland = Små Land = Small Lands / Small Countries = Petty Kingdoms.

Värend was in the Middle Ages the most populous of the constituent small lands of the province Småland, in Sweden. Early on,Växjö became its center. Around 1170, Värend broke out of the diocese of Linköping, and formed its own diocese of Växjö. Judicially, Värend was a part of “Tiohärad”, which roughly corresponds to present-day Kronoberg County.
It consists of the hundreds, or härader, Allbo Hundred, Kinnevald Hundred, Konga Hundred, Norrvidinge Hundred and Uppvidinge Hundred.

The small lands of Småland. The black and red spots indicate runestones. The red spots indicate runestones telling of long voyages ( i live in “Finnveden”).

Småland = Små Land = Small Lands / Small Countries = Petty Kingdoms.

Värend was in the Middle Ages the most populous of the constituent small lands of the province Småland, in Sweden. Early on,Växjö became its center. Around 1170, Värend broke out of the diocese of Linköping, and formed its own diocese of Växjö. Judicially, Värend was a part of “Tiohärad”, which roughly corresponds to present-day Kronoberg County.

It consists of the hundreds, or häraderAllbo HundredKinnevald HundredKonga HundredNorrvidinge Hundred and Uppvidinge Hundred.

Stave Churches ( With Pictures)


Borgund Stave Church (Bokmål: Borgund stavkirke, Nynorsk: Borgund stavkyrkje) is a stave church located in Borgund, Lærdal,Norway. It is classified as a triple nave stave church of the so-called Sogn-type. This is also the best preserved of Norway’s 28 extant stave churches.
Borgund was built sometime between AD 1180 and 1250 with later additions and restorations. Its walls are formed by vertical wooden boards, or staves, hence the name stave church. The 4 corner posts were connected to one another by ground sills, resting atop a stone foundation.1 The rest of the staves then rise from the ground sills, each stave notched and grooved along the sides so that they lock into one another, forming a sturdy wall.2

Borgund Stave Church (BokmålBorgund stavkirkeNynorskBorgund stavkyrkje) is a stave church located in BorgundLærdal,Norway. It is classified as a triple nave stave church of the so-called Sogn-type. This is also the best preserved of Norway’s 28 extant stave churches.

Borgund was built sometime between AD 1180 and 1250 with later additions and restorations. Its walls are formed by vertical wooden boards, or staves, hence the name stave church. The 4 corner posts were connected to one another by ground sills, resting atop a stone foundation.1 The rest of the staves then rise from the ground sills, each stave notched and grooved along the sides so that they lock into one another, forming a sturdy wall.2

Roof detail of stave church

Roof detail of stave church

Door detail from Hededalen stave church, Valdres, Norway

Door detail from Hededalen stave church, Valdres, Norway


Fantoft Stave Church (Norwegian: Fantoft stavkirke) is a reconstructed stave church in the Fana borough of the city of Bergen, Norway.
The church was originally built in Fortun in Sogn, a village near inner or eastern end of Sognefjord around the year 1150. In the 19th century the church was threatened by demolition, as were hundreds of other stave churches in Norway. The church was bought by consul Fredrik Georg Gade and saved by moving it in pieces to Fantoft near (now in) Bergen in 1883.

Fantoft Stave Church (NorwegianFantoft stavkirke) is a reconstructed stave church in the Fana borough of the city of BergenNorway.

The church was originally built in Fortun in Sogn, a village near inner or eastern end of Sognefjord around the year 1150. In the 19th century the church was threatened by demolition, as were hundreds of other stave churches in Norway. The church was bought by consul Fredrik Georg Gade and saved by moving it in pieces to Fantoft near (now in) Bergen in 1883.


Heddal stave church (Heddal stavkirke) is a stave church located at Heddal in Notodden municipality, Norway.
The church is a triple nave stave church and is Norway’s largest stave church. It was constructed at the beginning of the 13th century. After the reformation the church was in a very poor condition, and a restoration took place during 1849 - 1851. However, because those who did it didn’t have the necessary knowledge and skills, yet another restoration was necessary in the 1950’s. The interior is marked by the period after the Lutheran Reformation in 1536/1537 and is for a great part a result of the restoration that took place in the 1950’s.

What is known is that five peasants together with Sira Eilif built the church

Heddal stave church (Heddal stavkirke) is a stave church located at Heddal in Notodden municipality, Norway.

The church is a triple nave stave church and is Norway’s largest stave church. It was constructed at the beginning of the 13th century. After the reformation the church was in a very poor condition, and a restoration took place during 1849 – 1851. However, because those who did it didn’t have the necessary knowledge and skills, yet another restoration was necessary in the 1950’s. The interior is marked by the period after the Lutheran Reformation in 1536/1537 and is for a great part a result of the restoration that took place in the 1950’s.

What is known is that five peasants together with Sira Eilif built the church

Stave Churches


Beginning in the eleventh century and continuing for several centuries wooden stave churches were constructed in Norway.

By the thirteenth century there were more than a thousand stave churches.

In the middle of the fourteenth century the plague came to Norway and much of the country was left unpopulated.

The farm my family came from about 50 miles from Trondheim was not resettled until the 1600’s. 

Still the Grip church was built as late as the 15th century, and the Hedared church in Sweden dates as late as 1500.

Today only around 30 remain. In 1992 the Fortun or Fantoft church near Bergen was the victim of arson.

Several of the churches have been moved, re-erected and preserved at new locations.

 The Gol church was moved and reconstructed at Bygdoy at the National Folk Museum.

Parts of others are also stored there. There is a stave church in Hedared, Sweden

and one in Greensted, Essex in England. The old Vang stave church from Valdres Valley, Norway was sold to

the King of Prussia, Fredrik Wilhelm IV, who moved it to Karkonosze (Mountains) in Karpacz Górny

(now Polish territory) and rebuilt it there.

There are replicas of the Borgund church at Rapid City, South Dakota

and at seven-eights scale at Washington Island, Wisconsin.

The replicas at the Epcot Center, Disney World, Florida and Hallingdal, Buskerud, Norway, are of the Gol church,

and a copy of the reconstruction has been built in Gol.

There is a replica of the Hopperstad church at Morehead, Minnesota. And a replica of the Haltdalen church was built in 2001 on Heimwæy, one of the Vest-manna Islands, on the site of Iceland’s first church, built by Olav Trygvasson.

The Haltdalen church was placed in the Sverresborg Museum in Trondheim in 1882-1883.

There are also plans to build a replica of the stave church in Haltdalen.

The stave construction method uses vertical posts that rest on a foundation as the

main support structure, rather than a horizontal planks or beams laid upon a foundation (as in a log cabin, for example).

The site was usually a high, open area which was conspicuous and prominent, places which bore

“the special imprint of God the creator.” These locations were often on a peninsula, overlooking a fjord,

or at the bend in a river.

The ground at the site was leveled-out and the first wooden beams were laid out in a rectangular pattern atop a stone foundation.

Next, the staves (or vertical posts) were erected.

Cross-braces were then constructed between the posts.

Bent wooden arches were also added to most churches between the staves for enhanced stability and decoration.

Finally, carvings, paintings, and other ornamentation were added to both the interior and exterior of the churches.

Stave churches were made entirely of wood except for ironwork detailing like door locks or hinges.

The wood used was specially cut and dried to prevent cracking.

The only tools used in the construction of the stave churches were axes, augers, primitive planes,

and various knives and chisels.

The planks and pieces of wood were dovetailed,

pegged, and wedged so each joint could expand or contract with the  temperature and humidity, which varied greatly from season to season in Norway.

Of the churches that remain, 3 churches, and carvings, paintings, and tapestries from others

have appeared on Norwegian stamps.

Urness ~ ca. 1150

     The church in Urnes was built around 1050, and is generally agreed to be the oldest stave church.

The church was declared a “World Cultural Heritage” in 1979 by the United Nations.

According to the WCH, “The church brings together traces of Celtic art, Viking traditions

and Romanesque spatial structures.”

SCN 1120

     The Urnes stave church in Sogn, built in the second half of the twelfth century, contains a 100 year older church doorway.

A four-legged animal beset by dragons is the main motif on the jambs.

On the curved upper part dragons engage in battle. Serpents and dragons entwine in writhing figures-of-eight, forming the basic element in the impressive and delicately executed composition, with its roots in Viking art.

SCN 526

Borgund ~ ca 1150

     The Borgund stave church is the best preserved of the Norwegian stave churches – it stands more or less as it was

when it was built in 1150.

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Heddal ~ ca. 1250

     The oldest part of Heddal stave church, the chancel, was probably built in 1147.

This was quite a small church, and only 95 years later the church was enlarged to the present size.

It is the largest stave church in existence.

SCN 727

Ål Church ~ late 1200’s

     The Ål church was pulled down in the 1880’s, and a new church was built on the site.

The timber vaulting above the chancel, complete with painted decorations dating from the later part of the 1200’s,

were acquired by the University Museum of Antiquities in Oslo.

SCN 665; Annunciation

   SCN 666 Visitation                                               

SCN 667

Nativity  

   

SCN 668

                                                         Adoration

                                                   

Baldishol Tapestry ~ 12th Century

     Two months, April and May, of the Baldishol Tapestry, from the twelfth century have been preserved,

and are now in The Oslo Museum of Applied Art.

The section which has been preserved measures 118 by 203 centimeters. It is made out of wool from the Norwegian sheep,spellsau. In some places flax has been used.

The yarn, which was dyed with vegetable dye, is red, yellow, green, or one of many shades of blue.

The fragment depicts an eleventh or twelfth century knight similar to those of the Bayeux Tapestry. Although the tapestry was discovered in an 18th century church, it is believed that it was originally hung in a stave church.

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Skodvinar Church of Hemsedal ~ ca. 1207

  

Skodvinar Church of Hemsedal ~ ca. 1207

     The Skodvinar church was built between 1207 and 1224.

It was a triple-nave church, with eight staves supporting the central nave. There were no seats except for a bench on the outer walls.

Everyone, except the old, sick, or handicapped stood. Also, by law, everyone over the age of twelve, except the sick, had to attend the services under penalty of law.

When the church was torn down in 1882, the two portals were preserved in the Museum of Antiquities in  Oslo.

The carving on the stamp is from the west portal and represents one of the Three Holy Kings who came to worship the Christ Child.

The stamp was issued in 1972 to mark the 1,100th anniversary of unification of Norway by Harald Haarfager in 872.

His descendents ruled Norway until the death of Haakon V in 1319.

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Hylestad Church of Setesdal ~ 13th Century

     The Hylestad stave church was pulled down in the 19th century, and one of its portals is now exhibited at the University Museum of Antiquities in Oslo.

The carving on the portal shows several scenes from the legend of Sigurd Fåvnesbane.

Sigurd and Regin, a master swordsmith forged a sword with which Sigurd killed the dragon, Fafnir.

When Sigurd tasted the broth from Fafnir’s heart he was able to understand the language of birds who reveled that Regin planned to betray Sigurd. Sigurd then killed Regin and took Fafnir’s treasure.

Sigurd married Gudrun whose brothers Gunnar, Hogni, and Guttorm killed Sigurd and took the treasure.

Gunnar sunk the treasure in the Rhine. Gudrun married Atli (Attila, the Hun), who threw Gunnar into a snake-pit in

a vain effort to induce him to reveal the location of the treasure. The design on the stamp shows

Sigurd and Regin forging the sword.

SCN 669

     I would like to thank David M. Walsten (rutoscdav@yahoo.com) for his help in preparing this page.

For further details I refer you to his 1994 book, Stave Churches of the World, An Introduction.

Source: http://sio.midco.net/danstopicalstamps/stavechurch.htm

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