ТОП 10:

Facts and stereotypes about Vikings in brief.



Facts and stereotypes about Vikings in brief.

Time-frame of the Viking Age:750/793 – 1066/1100.

Q: What do you know about the Vikings?

Etymology of the term “Vikings”. Occupation, rather than nation or ethnicity.

Six things you might have not known about the Vikings:

1 – The Vikings took care o their appearance:

(Laugardagr – bathing day in O. Norse)

“The Danes [=Vikings], thanks to their habit of combing their hair everyday, of bathing every Saturday and regularly changing their clothes, were able to undermine the virtue of [English] married women and even seduce the daughters of nobles to be their mistresses.” (John of Wallingford (died 1258). Chronicle).

2 – You speak like a Viking every day.

3 – The Viking king Harald Bluetooth did not invent Bluetooth

4 – The Vikings loved poetry and were not ashamed to admit it

5 – The Vikings were violent, but perhaps not as much as we think

6 – The Vikings had a secret weapon – their ships (3 secrets: shallow draft, can be rowed backwards, flexible hulls)

+ Horned helmets

 

Things Vikings did in Russia.

A. Causes of overall Viking Age expansion (optional):

Possible motivation for Scandinavian expansion as presented by Sally Vaughn:

· Overpopulation/land hunger (Scandinavia as “womb of peoples acc. to 6th century Gothic historian Jordanes implying it was the place from which many people migrated)?

· Ship technology (acc. to HAOTV sails made Scandinavian ships adequate for long-distant voyages – and river-worthy! – evidence of sail on 7th century rock carvings in Gotland and Jutland))?

· Because they could/exploration?

· Land hunger/ambition/not enough wealth?

· Contacts with the Carolingians?

· Undefended prosperous places: monasteries, market towns (Historical Atlas).

Additional motivation for Scandinavian expansion as described in Wikipedia:

· Unfair trade practices to Non-Christian?

· Potential threat of a land invasion from the Carolingian Empire.

 

Now, what would these people (Scandinavians, Vikings) have to do in/with Russia?

B. The Arab direction.

As there was no explicit and accessible wealth (or ANY STUFF up for grabs) in the East – in contrast to the Western civilization – and this wealth was not deposited on the coasts, the Scandinavians, mainly from Sweden, had to go inland and EXACT the wealth (mainly furs, slaves). from the local Slavic and Finno-Ugorian people as TRIBUTE. The only precious metal available was the silver that they had to obtain from the Arab suppliers in the market towns of Bulghar and the Khazar khaganate in exchange for amber, arrows, swords, armour, falcons, wax and honey. “Ibn Fadlan describes the Rus as traders who offered slave girls and furs for sale. - Sawyer). [A fuller list of the exports of Bulghar, compiled at the end of the tenth century by al-Mukaddisi, includes several other commodities that the Rus may also have traded in: amber, arrows, swords, armour, falcons, wax and honey (Lewicki, 1962, p. 8].

The Scandinavians had to establish fortified towns as bases and logistics centres to process the tribute that they gathered (and do repairs of their boats) (Staraja Ladoga – a base for exacting tribute (in furs /HAOTV/) – second half of the 8th century. – Founding of Staraja Ladoga (750). From these bases they proceeded – they were drawn – downstream to the Bulghar and Khazarian markets.

[“The best archaeological indication that Scandinavians lived—or rather died—in Russia is provided by graves of a distinctively Scandinavian type, in particular boatburials (Stalsberg, 1979). This custom of burial was at that time only practised in Scandinavia, including the Åland islands, and in areas of Scandinavian settlement overseas (Müller-Wille, 1970)” 10 found at Plakun near Staraja Ladoga”. (Sawyer).]

Trade with Arabs, who had enormous demand for slaves, was possible as the Arabs had a lot of silver (newly discovered silver mines in Afghanistan) and declined towards 975 due to the exhaustion of said mines (or, alternatively, due to the disintegration of the Khazar Khaganate). Another important commodity for the Scandinavians was fine cloth, notably silk.

C. The Byzantine direction.

Another 1) trade route, later known as the famous trade route from Varangians to the Greeks (probably established in the late eighth and early ninth centuries - wiki) – southern direction: Volkhov – Ilmen – Lovat – Dnieper, etc. Novgorod (Rurikovo Gorodischche founded as a Slav settlement in late 8th, by late 9th adopted by the Rus), Smolensk, Chernigov established as/transformed into the tribute-collecting bases, eventually funneling into Kiev and thence, DIRECTLY (cf. Bulgharian and Khazarian middlemen, that imposed tolls on the Volga route to the Arabs) to the Byzantium). + De Administrando Imperio.

Commodities traded (acc. to Wikipedia): wine, spices, jewelry, glass, expensive fabrics, icons, and books came from the Byzantine Empire. Northern Rus' offered timber, fur, honey, and wax, while the Baltic tribes traded amber.

This trade route could also serve as “2) raid route” for the Scandinavians (this time in the authentic guise of Vikings) as Akold and Dir move to establish a base in Kiev to organize the first of a number of sieges of Constantinople (860 with Photius; 907 (?); 941 by Igor, Greek fire).To avoid further attacks from the Rus a treaty between the Empire and the Rus is concluded. (Note also the Caspian raids).

Some Scandinavians ended up neither as traders, nor as raiders, but as mercenaries and elite guardsmen, giving rise to the famous Varangian Guard, that included many high-profile Scandinavians, eg. Harald Hardrada.

Economical ties would eventually lead to the conversion of the Rus into Orthodox Christians (motives: political ambitions of Prince Vladimir). Background: the 988-989 rebellion of Bardas Phocas against the ruling Emperor Basil II, 6,000 Varangians supplied by Vladimir, Baptism, Imperial marriage with Basil’s sister Anna.

 

IV. Synergy of archeology and written sources. Ibn Fadlan.

Ibn Fadlan’s Risala (a travel report from a diplomatic mission in the years 921–22 from the Baghdad caliph al-Muktadir to the ruler of the Volga Bulghars. The author, the secretary of the embassy, was Ahmad ibn Fadlan) – eye-witness account of a ship-burial on the Volga river:

Ibn Fadlan’s account:

- in provisional grave for 10 days (food, drink, a musical instrument)

- preparation: wealth of the deceased split in 3 parts: 1) for the family, 2) booze (occasional deaths ‘cup in hand’), 3) funerary clothes.

- selecting a volunteer to be burnt with the deceased chieftain, this volunteer would drink and sing every day during the preparations;

- putting the ship on the scaffolding;

- the Angel of Death arranges the furnishings for the deceased (blankets, etc);

- exhumation from the provisional grave and placement in the tent;

- the people bring foodstuffs to the tent, cut a dog in two, throw it on the ship, bring in the weapons

- run, sweat and kill 2 horses, hack them and throw on the ship, hen and rooster followed suit

- slave girl goes round the tents having intercourse with the relatives of the deceased (exclamations about duty to the deceased);

- the doorframe: raising the slave girls over the doorframe for three times;

- slave girls and relatives go to the ship to the care of the Angel of Death;

- slave girl drinks something and sings and then pushed into the tent by the Angel of Death;

- six men having intercourse with slave-girl;

- stabbing and strangling of the slave girl;

- closest relative, naked, setting the fire under the ship, moving backwards kindled stick in one hand, the other covering his anus;

- conclusion. “You, Arabs, are fools”; making of a mound with a wood post carrying the name of the deceased.

V. Genetic.

Results of a genetic study (presented in the documentary Rus: Identifying Rurik): из 20 потенциальных потомков Рюрика: 13 человек имеют гаплогруппу N1C1 – общий предок из Швеции, 3 человека имеют гаплогруппу R1A1 – общий предок из Центр./Юж. Польши. 4 человека

 

Normanists and anti-normanist. Folk history and “Zadornovschchina”.

 

Historical Atlas of the Vikings by John Haywood. Penguin.

Staraja Ladoga – a base for exacting tribute (in furs)

Viking Rus. Studies on the Presence of Scandinavians in Eastern Europe. Wladyslaw Duczko.

Facts and stereotypes about Vikings in brief.

Time-frame of the Viking Age:750/793 – 1066/1100.

Q: What do you know about the Vikings?

Etymology of the term “Vikings”. Occupation, rather than nation or ethnicity.

Six things you might have not known about the Vikings:

1 – The Vikings took care o their appearance:

(Laugardagr – bathing day in O. Norse)

“The Danes [=Vikings], thanks to their habit of combing their hair everyday, of bathing every Saturday and regularly changing their clothes, were able to undermine the virtue of [English] married women and even seduce the daughters of nobles to be their mistresses.” (John of Wallingford (died 1258). Chronicle).

2 – You speak like a Viking every day.

3 – The Viking king Harald Bluetooth did not invent Bluetooth

4 – The Vikings loved poetry and were not ashamed to admit it

5 – The Vikings were violent, but perhaps not as much as we think

6 – The Vikings had a secret weapon – their ships (3 secrets: shallow draft, can be rowed backwards, flexible hulls)

+ Horned helmets

 







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