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Vikings: 2012 History. Semester 2
Transcript of Vikings: 2012 History. Semester 2
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/pre/pre04.htm Beliefs The root of Viking belief was the Yggdrasil. This was an immensely large tree and joined and interconnected the worlds. In Viking belief there were nine "home worlds", each inhabited by different beings. Inhabited by the gods Aesir Visual representation of the Yggdrasil Asgard Midgard Vanaheimr Jotunheimr Niflhel Alfheimr Inhabited by the Alfar or Elves or Hel The Yggdrasil Svartalfaheimr Muspellsheimr Niflheimr The Home Worlds Inhabited by the Fire Giants Also inhabited by gods who were called the Vanir Inhabited by Menn (humans) Inhabited by Ice Giants inhabited by Nair (a.k.a. the dead) Inhabited by the Dark elves or Dwarves The world of mist and ice "Another great abode is there, which is named Valaskjálf; Odin possesses that dwelling; the gods made it and thatched it with sheer silver, and in this hall is the Hlidskjálf, the high-seat so called. Whenever Allfather sits in that seat, he surveys all lands." Valhalla and Niflhel The vikings believed that when they died they would be sent to one of these locations. Niflhel was the home world of the dead. All the dead resided there whether they died bravely or not. BUT. Those who died in battle would be raised in the evening to drink and dine in Odin's feast hall, Valhalla. Odin also owned another hall which was named Valaskjalf. This was THE hall of Odin and it's roof was made of silver. In it resided the Hlidskjalf which was a high seat or throne. From this seat Odin could survey all the nine homeworlds. As said in the Prose Edda: Gylfaginning The Valaskjalf This was why the vikings were much more ready to die in battle than to die in bed. This may have also nullified their fear of death because they believed that there was an afterlife after it. where the vikings (and us) lived The Nine Homeworlds Values http://www.arild-hauge.com/elife.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/oct/19/viking-burial-ship-found-scotland One of the things that vikings valued most was a man's ability to fight. Fighting was ingrained into Viking culture and skilled fighters were regarded highly in their society. However, this did not mean they were brutes. The Havamal The Havamal is an extremely long poem consisting of more than 150 stanzas. The poem is said to be written by Odin, the head of the Viking gods and presents ways in which men should live The first few stanzas of this poem guide you on how to treat a weary traveler should he come knocking on your door. It also warns us to be wary of the traveler and to keep your wits about you, should he try to steal from you. At every door-way,
ere one enters,
one should spy round,
one should pry round
for uncertain is the witting
that there be no foeman sitting,
within, before one on the floor Hail, ye Givers! a guest is come;
say! where shall he sit within?
Much pressed is he who fain on the hearth
would seek for warmth and weal. He hath need of fire, who now is come,
numbed with cold to the knee;
food and clothing the wanderer craves
who has fared o'er the rimy fell. He craves for water, who comes for refreshment,
drying and friendly bidding,
marks of good will, fair fame if 'tis won,
and welcome once and again. He hath need of his wits who wanders wide,
aught simple will serve at home;
but a gazing-stock is the fool who sits
mid the wise, and nothing knows. Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o'er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit. Let the wary stranger who seeks refreshment
keep silent with sharpened hearing;
with his ears let him listen, and look with his eyes;
thus each wise man spies out the way. 1 4 3 2 5 6 7 (Words of the High One) HOWEVER... Violence was still very much a part of Viking life. Even in , fighting was utilised. LAW THINGS At the start of every Spring and Autumn Vikings held communal gatherings called things. The purpose of these meetings were to set taxes, check that every man had correct weapons and to investigate murders. Everyone in the community was expected to attend these Things although widows and men who lived alone were an exception. Disputes were sometimes resolved outside the Thing. However, if they still could not reach an agreement they would take their case to the local Thing. This was where the disputes were often settled. Probably because they had more to do than most of the community Duels Excerpts from the Saga of Cormac the Skald gives us a fairly detailed account of what a Viking duel or "holmganga" was like. "It was the law of the holmgang that the hide should be five ells long, with loops at its corners. Into these should be driven certain pins with heads to them, called tjosnur." This excerpt shows us the layout of the holmganga and also outlines the boundaries of the fight. and the Saga of Cormac the Skald This excerpt shows the rules and regulations of the holmganga and also gives us a name for the area of the duel. "Three squares should be marked round the hide, each one foot broad. At the outermost corners of the squares should be four poles, called hazels; when this is done, it is a hazelled field. Each man should have three shields, and when they were cut up he must get upon the hide if he had given way from it before, and guard himself with his weapons alone thereafter. He who had been challenged should strike the first stroke." This final paragraph shows us how a viking could lose the fight. AND... "If one was wounded so that blood fell upon the hide, he should fight no longer. If either set one foot outside the hazel poles "he went on his heel," they said; but he "ran" if both feet were outside. His own man was to hold the shield before each of the fighters. The one who was wounded should pay three marks of silver to be set free." Fighting was so ingrained in viking culture that great warriors would be buried with what they valued most. Their weapons.
In a 1000yr old Viking burial site in Ardnamurchan, Scotland archaeologists uncovered what they thought to be the remains of a boat and a man buried within, a shield on his chest and a spear lying by his side, surrounded by many of his possessions. These included many other warlike items such as a whetstone, a sword, a knife and the head of an axe. Burial http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2050619/Viking-burial-site-Ardnamurchan-1-000-year-old-Norse-boat-tomb-uncovered.html A sketch of what the burial may have looked like: http://www.heathengods.com/library/prose_edda/index.htm Harald Hadrada and the Loss at Stamford Bridge Memorial at Stamford Bridge. Image from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valkyrie1008/6921732572/in/set-72157629793272255/ Harald Sigurdsson, later known by the epithet Harald Hadrada was born on the year 1015 in Norway. Bibliography for Values. Bibliography for Harald Hadrada & Stamford Bridge. http://www.flickr.com/photos/valkyrie1008/6921732572/in/set-72157629793272255/
http://hodegon.nvg.org.au/skylitz/skylitzis.htm At the age of 15 in the year 1030 he accompanied his half-brother Olaf Haraldsson (Olaf the Saint) to Stiklestad in a campaign against King Cnut of Norway. They lost and Harald was forced to flee to Russia, in exile. Unfortunately... There, he and his ragtag group of Viking mercenaries were immediately put into the service of Yaroslav, the Grand Prince of Russia, Harald eventually attaining the rank of captain. Understandably, the Grand Prince did not take kindly to Harald charming one of his daughters without his consent and so, Harald left Yaroslav's court for It was no wonder that he would capture the heart of the Grand Prince's daughter. Strong, lean, handsome. Leave! Go away! ...Don't want you here! Constantinople (Byzantium). The Varangian Guard The Varangian Guard was recruited from Varangians (Vikings) who had invaded Russia. They were an elite unit of the Byzantium army and also served as the personal bodyguards of the Byzantine Emperor. They held a huge influence and were a ruling class of Constantinople. An image of the Varangian guard, from Skylitzis' Chronicle http://hodegon.nvg.org.au/skylitz/skylitzis.htm When Harald heard that the Byzantine Emperor was recruiting vikings to join the Varangian Guard, Harald immediately enlisted. Following a series of campaigns for the Byzantines and after amassing a huge personal fortune and reputation, Harald finally cut his ties with the Byzantines and returned to Russia with a plan of retaking the Norwegian throne. Constantinople Arriving back in Norway in 1045, Harold discovered that while he had been away, his nephew, Magnus the Good had, following King Cnut's death, proclaimed himself King of Norway and Denmark. Deciding to press his claim on the throne anyway, in 1046 Harald allied himself with one of Magnus' rivals; Sweyn Estridsson, and began to raid the Danish coast. Magnus, unwilling to fight his own uncle, came to an agreement with Harald. He, would share the Norwegian throne if Harald would share his immense wealth. However... This co- rule ended abruptly the next year when Magnus the good died Regardless, Harald, now being the only king of Norway, ruled with an iron fist, earning him the epithet, Hadrada (in Old Norse it basically meant "hard ruler"). Tensions had been growing between the two for quite some time now and rumors circulated, saying that Harald had purposely killed his nephew. He spent the years until 1065 raiding the Danish coast against his former ally Sweyn, now the King of Denmark. Although these raids were hugely successful the people continued to resist his rule and he was never able to completely establish himself as King. It was at this time that William the Confessor died and named Harold Godwinsson the King of England. The Death of William the Confessor In the year 1066 the English King, Edward the Confessor died. He had no known heirs but on his death-bed he touched the hand of Harold Godwinsson, presumably naming him heir. This was enough for the Earl of Wessex so he seized the throne and was crowned King of England on the 7 of January, 1066 in Westminster Abbey. th It is usually presumed that Tostig, the exiled brother of the new king, invited Harald to help him seize the throne but we can safely assume that Harald had his own agenda as well. In the saga of Magnus the Good in the "Heimskringla" there is a passage that tells us of an agreement between Magnus and King Cnut's son; Harthacnut: It thus was brought about
that there was a friendly meeting between the kings, and in this
meeting a peace was proposed; and the peace was to be a brotherly
union under oath to keep the peace towards each other to the end
of their lives; and if one of them should die without leaving a
son, the longest liver should succeed to the whole land and
people. This meant that when Harthacnut died, Magnus should have claimed the throne of England as well! As far as we know, Harald was aware of this arrangement and used it as the basis for his claim of the throne. It was the weaker claim of the two (including William of Normandy's claim) but Harald was accustomed with having to use violence to impose his will. On the 18 of September, 1066, Harald and Tostig, together with 300 viking longboats landed in Humber Estuary and sailed up the coastline, raiding villages. After much raiding they disembarked from their ships in Riccall and Harald set his eyes on the city of York. However, the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria had caught wind of the invasion and marched the defense of York. The battle of Fulford took place 3 km from York, where the Norwegians won a great victory. York surrendered on the 24 of September. Finally, on the 25 of September, Harold's forces reached Stamford Bridge. The Vikings, expecting hostages from York had brought little armor with them and so were at a distinct disadvantage when, instead of the citizens of York, Harold's heavily-armed and fully armoured army crested the hill! th th Harold's army surprised the Norwegians but were held up by a single axe-wielding Viking at the bridge. Finally a spear, thrust from under the bridge, allowed the English army to cross the river. During this time Harald had organized his army such that they formed a shield wall. The battle was an unusually bloody one and lasted the entire day until Hadrada fell from a stray arrow lodged in his throat. Tostig attempted to rally the Vikings but the damage had already been done. The English army broke through and Tostig was cut down. The Norwegians' loss at Stamford Bridge was so great in fact, that only 24 of the original 300 viking longboats were needed to ferry the survivors back to Norway. Among those who had been allowed to leave was Olaf, Harald's son. Harald was the last major Viking King and many say that his loss at Stamford Bridge signified the end of Viking expansion and growth. The Invasion of Northumbria The Battle at Stamford Bridge Viking contact with other societies Vikings were master seafarers and used pillage this ability to well outside from villages of their ion's borders. nat The early Vikings locusts. were much like and conq Whilst raiding would uering they beh lea They were a trail of ve ind them destruction. to Romans, very different who would conquer an area and then their allow culture to domi the land. nate The Scandinavian essence of what longships were the it meant to be and a Viking. These longships allowed Vikings to sail in extre mely shallow waters also enabled them to sail right up the beach onto the shore. Read along the waves Vikings originated in Scandinavia which is made up of the countries Norway, Sweden and Denmark. However, they also settled in many areas of the European world. Most of the time, they settled in town or villages that they had conquered. List outlining settlement of Vikings. 9 century Inland Scandinavia
Southern Ireland and Western ICELAND 10 century Western Greenland
Coast of Iceland
Western Russia, just below Finland
Normandy 11 century Southern England
Southern Bulgaria th th th In 1961, a group of archaeologists discovered the remains of a Viking settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. Now it is a World Heritage Site tourist spot where people can visit a reconstruction of the village. The Vikings' settlement of Newfoundland did not go very well. Although the land was suitable for farming, the native Americans, or Skraelings as the Vikings called them, were often hostile towards the settlers and fights broke out. The Vikings abandoned the idea of settling in Newfoundland soon after. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/vikings/trade_and_exploration/
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080426173537AA7jMwy http://maps.google.com.au/maps?ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tab=wl Read first and then click the arrow button... List outlining Viking contact with other peoples The Russians
The Spanish Viking Legacy The Vikings have left modern society with many things, the first and foremost being the mythical horned helmets that the Vikings supposedly wore. . Something The helmets horned were not worn by Vikings but were a product of Hollyw movie ood's makers! to make the Vikings different. Read along the top of the helmet again Actually, the real legacy of the Vikings was their seamanship. They were able to navigate through open sea by gauging latitude and longitude, and some writings also claimed that the Vikings possessed something called a Sunstone. Sometimes, when they had lost their bearings, whether it was from a storm or simply bad navigation, they would release ravens into the sky. These birds, possessing some sixth sense, would fly towards land and the Vikings, in their longboats, would follow. Trade Trade was also a big part of Viking life. In fact, many of their explorations and settlements started when they went looking for more sources of trade e.g They (that turned out badly.) trade with the natives that lived there The Normans were originally Vikings but settled in Normandy, France. They gave up their longships for steely warhorses and spoke French instead of Old Norse. They no longer thought of themselves as Scandinavian but French. Surprisingly, the one thing we have not inherited is Viking culture. Even though they settled in many European countries, their culture did not spread. Instead, most of the settlers threw down their Viking beliefs and took up local culture instead. A prime example of this merging can be seen in the Normans. Culture traveled to Newfoundland because they wanted to Miscellaneous Bibliography Book- The Vikings, Living History. Published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers Oh wait... There's more... : ) Have Fun!! Other Historical Sources!!! Prose Edda: Gylfaginning
The Havamal, Words of the High One
Saga of Cormac the Skald
1000 yo Ardnamurchan Boat Burial Site
Heimskringla: Saga of Magnus the Good
Viking Settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows