Sunday, 20 June 2010

Some last thoughts about the Vikings - This week with Entrecard - June 14th to 20th

Den sjuringade halskragen från

My son, Erik's drawing of a Viking with a hornless helmet

Some last thoughts about my V-post before it's time to go on to the letter W. I really enjoyed doing this post about the Vikings, even if it turned out to be a somewhat different post than I originally intended.

My first idea was to focus on the gold jewellery that has been found in the ground where it could be documented that it was from the time of the Viking Age. Sounds kind of boring doesn't it? Well, there are some pretty nifty pieces of jewellery on the site of the Museum of Antiquities in Stockholm. Look at these:
But when it was time to sit down and do this V-post, I had both Elisabet, six, and Erik, eight-years-old, at home from pre-school and school (second grade). There was no way I was going to write anything in a serious (dare I say 'scholarly'?) way! There is just too little time. They need help. They need to ask questions and get straight answers from me. They need activities! (They need also a good hot meal and I am the one who has to cook it!)

It was then that I saw what Erik was drawing and also the possibilities. I am such an opportunist. If it doesn't work one way, I try doing it some other way. I asked Erik, very quietly and politely, if he would mind very much if I took some pictures of his drawings.

There are Lego-toys that Erik has on his wish-list, there is a Tinker-Bell-dress at the toy store that Elisabet dearly wants. There are cookies and ice cream they want me to buy at the grocery store. And there are also bills to pay too... First. And my wallet is a bit slim right now.

So I make toys out of paper for Erik so that he doesn't feel too badly about not getting that Lego of that wolf attacking that mini-Viking with the helmet with the horns! Here are some of Erik's other 'paper-tin-soldier':

The trouble with showing beautiful jewellery from museums is that they make my own jewellery look cheap! Unfortunately, I do not make my jewellery out of gold. It's mostly glass beads. Look at these gold rings found in the same general area as where we have the farm (then forget about them when you visit my Esty-shop!):

Yes, but even the Vikings made glass beaded necklaces too. Here is an example of a necklace made of glass beads that they made themselves out of pieces of broken glass. This necklace is from Denmark (from the book Viking Eyewitness Guide):

Some of them look a little like sea-glass! Wonder what Tara Beaulieu of Scarborough Seashells would say about this!
Let's compare the viking beaded glass necklace with one of my beaded glass bracelets from my Etsy shop parltradet:

I am glad that there has been so much interest in what the Vikings wore on their heads. We all know now that the the Vikings did not have horns on their helmets, but why are there pictures like this one here? Jen from Epic Farms and Lisa from Alterity wanted to know. I went to Wikkipedia to find out. Read about this misconception here. (Or below.)

Apart from two or three representations of (ritual) helmets – with protrusions that may be either stylized ravens, snakes or horns – no depiction of Viking Age warriors' helmets, and no preserved helmet, has horns. In fact, the formal close-quarters style of Viking combat (either in shield walls or aboard "ship islands") would have made horned helmets cumbersome and hazardous to the warrior's own side.

Therefore historians believe that Viking warriors did not use horned helmets, but whether or not such helmets were used in Scandinavian culture for other, ritual purposes remains unproven. The general misconception that Viking warriors wore horned helmets was partly promulgated by the 19th century enthusiasts of Götiska Förbundet, founded in 1811 in Stockholm, Sweden. They promoted the use of Norse mythology as the subject of high art and other ethnological and moral aims.

The Vikings were often depicted with winged helmets and in other clothing taken from Classical antiquity, especially in depictions of Norse gods. This was done in order to legitimize the Vikings and their mythology by associating it with the Classical world which had long been idealized in European culture.

The latter-day mythos created by national romantic ideas blended the Viking Age with aspects of the Nordic Bronze Age some 2,000 years earlier. Horned helmets from the Bronze Age were shown in petroglyphs and appeared in archaeological finds (see Bohuslän and Vikso helmets). They were probably used for ceremonial purposes.[41].

Cartoons like Hägar the Horrible and Vicky the Viking, and sports uniforms such as those of the Minnesota Vikings and Canberra Raiders football teams have perpetuated the mythic cliché of the horned helmet.

Viking helmets were conical, made from hard leather with wood and metallic reinforcement for regular troops. The iron helmet with mask and chain mail was for the chieftains, based on the previous Vendel-age helmets from central Sweden. The only true Viking helmet found is that from Gjermundbu in Norway. This helmet is made of iron and has been dated to the 10th century.


Who exactly were the Vikings? (Wikkipedia helps us out here.)

In the modern Scandinavian languages, the word viking usually refers specifically to those people who went on Viking expeditions.[5]

The word Viking
was introduced into Modern English during the 18th-century "Viking revival", at which point it acquired romanticized heroic overtones of "barbarian warrior" or noble savage. During the 20th century, the meaning of the term was expanded to refer not only to seaborne raiders from Scandinavia, but secondarily to any Scandinavian who lived during the period from the late eighth to the mid-eleventh centuries, or more loosely from c. 700 to as late as about 1100. As an adjective, the word is used to refer to ideas, phenomena or artifacts connected with Scandinavians and their cultural life in these centuries, producing expressions like "Viking age", "Viking culture", "Viking art", "Viking religion", "Viking ship", and so on. The people of medieval Scandinavia are also referred to as Norse, although this term properly applies only to the Old-Norse-speaking peoples of Scandinavia, and not to the Sami.

The term Varangians made its first appearance in Byzantium where it was introduced to designate a function. In Russia it was extended to apply to Scandinavian warriors journeying to and from Constantinople. In the Byzantine sources Varangians are first mentioned in 1034 as in garrison in the Thracian theme. The Persian geographer Al Biruni has mentioned the Baltic Sea as the Varangian Sea and specifies the Varangians as a people dwelling on its coasts. The first datable use of the word in Norse literature appears by Einarr Skúlason in 1153. According to Icelandic Njalssaga from the 13th century, the institution of Varangian Guard was established by 1000. In the Russian Primary Chronicle, the Varangian is used as a generic term for the Germanic nations on the coasts of the Baltic sea that likewise lived in the west as far as the land of the English and the French.[6]


The Internet is a great tool. Sometimes, you can make discoveries! Look at this chain here that belongs to the Museum of Antiquities in Stockholm. I am reading the text about it and suddenly I see a name that is familar to me. This chain was found by a farmer while plowing his fields in 1882. He handed it over to a veterinarian who was also a collector of artifacts and who then gave it to the museum. The vet was my great-grandfather, Fredrik A. Nordeman!

And I just saw this now, Saturday, June 19th, 2010!

Happy Weekend!

Thank you for advertising with me on my Entrecard-widget this past week, from June 14th to June 20th. Please visit these fine sites:

Monday, June 14th - Funky Town Disco Music

Tuesday, June 15th - Dogs Deserve Freedom

Wednesday, June 16th - Lenox Knits

Thursday, June 17th - Jean's Musings

Friday, June 18th - Spaces in Pictures

Saturday June 19th - Split Rock Ranch

Sunday, June 20th - Sara Cat writes /Sara Katt skriver

Best wishes,


First Commenter:
Russ of Grampy's World


Russ said...

Anna thank you for the look at the Vikings. I love the drawing. As a boy we use to watch a lot of Viking movies. I believe all boys like the excitement of the Viking Tales.

Anonymous said... I have my answer about the helmets! very cool!

About the paper soliders - My children and I were dirt poor when they were little, therefore,I could not afford many toys. Would you believe that my son would draw toys and play with them, like your son? I'll tell you makes they appreciate what they have now and also taught my son to think outside the box!

About my brother's tattoo...there are letters in it that don't appear in the book. I will have to draw what I see in the picture and post it so you can try to deciper it. However, it is in a circle pattern on his shoulder and some of the letters don't show up in the picture. Let me work on this during the week...I'm dying to know what it means!

Split Rock Ranch said...

Thank you for hosting my Entrecard ad today! So sorry I haven't been visiting much lately but things are so insanely crazy busy around here I feel like a dog chasing my own tail! Hugs to you from Sunny Colorado USA!

Jen said...

Wowza...what a great [seriously thorough and fascinating] answer Anna! Right before I got to that part of your post, it occurred to me that maybe it was Helga of Hagar the Horrible that made the horns fashionable *Grin*. Thanks for a terrific followup post (and the link love too! :o)

Lin said...

I hate when the kids want things and I cannot give it to them, but I guess that is life. I enjoyed your viking feature here! I hope you are doing well--I'll have to catch up with you through email one of these days. Life has been busy!

Annesphamily said...

That was awesome of you to look that info up! Thanks for sharing! I love the jewelry! Annw

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