Ek Rist Runar. Learning the Runic Alphabet is hard.

Old Norse is hard to learn. It’s hard learning the Runic Alphabet and I’m not counting their actual meaning or even their proper pronunciation. Trying to learn the Runic Alphabet by simply trying to convert a given runic character into a known Latin character that we already understand is hard enough. Especially, because the two alphabets don’t match up. Trying to learn or find the proper words to write in Runes gets even harder. Especially when you have such a wonderfully broad selection to choose from, such as: Elder Futhark,…

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Three things the Ancient Maya and Vikings had in common.

The Norse Vikings and the MesoAmerican Maya were by no means the same. Their cultures were very different and unique from one another.  However, there were a few similarities practiced between the two cultures. 1. Both the Maya and Viking cultures modified their teeth. The Vikings filed their teeth. A Swedish anthropologist analyzed 557 Viking skeletons dating from A.D. 800 to 1050 and discovered that 24 of them bore deep, horizontal grooves across their upper front teeth.  It is believed that they did this to look more fierce to their enemies. Vikings…

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The Viking Stone Age

The Viking Stone Age Birth of the Ax Culture by Njord Kane The Story of the Vikings during the early Nordic Stone Age time period. The first ancient Norsemen. A span of some thousands of years concisely covering the evolution the Stone Age Norse people. A whole new world of understanding about the ancient Vikings has been opened up by new archaeological discoveries and studies. This was the birth of the Viking Battle Axe Culture, so well known during the Viking Age of Norse Expansionism. The evolving culture of the primitive…

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The Norse Metallic Ages – Cultural Evolution through Metal

The Norse “Metallic Ages,” so called because they date the time periods when the Norse people are recorded to have been working with metals such as: copper, bronze, and iron. This Age also includes the Migration Period (the Age of Heroes), because it happened during the time of the Germanic Iron Age when there were great southerly migrations of the Nordic people. The Norse Metallic Ages are: The Nordic Bronze Age 1700 BC –500 BC. The Pre-Roman Iron Age 500 BC – 1 AD. The Roman Iron Age 1 AD…

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The Christianization of the Norse

The Christianization of the Norse took place between the 8th and the 12th centuries. It was a gradual process that took considerable effort by Christians. Christian clergy attempts to convert the Norse proved to be difficult. The Norse people were quite content with their own gods and simply did not wish to be converted. In many cases, conversion was only achieved by force. Prior to Christianization, the traditional religion of the Norse people was firmly in place. The Norse religion wasn’t just a form of worship, it was a part…

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Viking Traders, the used car salesmen of the Medieval Period

For as long as history can trace, the Norse have been well known master traders. Their trade reach extended all the way to the Far East, through Russia and the Black Sea, to the Middle East. Regular trade thrived throughout Europe and in the Mediterranean. The Volga trade route along the Volga River connected Norse tradesmen all the way to the southern shores of the Caspian Sea to trade with Muslim countries, sometimes as far as Baghdad through the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers trade routes. The reach of the Norse was…

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Stone Age Norse and the Longhouse

The Norse during the Viking Age were well known for their longhouses and mead halls, but how long have they been building them? A longhouse is a type of long, proportionately narrow, single-room building built by peoples in various parts of the world including Asia, Europe, and North America.  Longhouses were a commonly developed technology built by many cultures. In the Northern European region during the period of the Funnelbeaker Culture (Trichterbecherkultur) of around 4300 BC to 2800 BC, people began to live more inland.  They began to build settlements more inland,…

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Devastating Viking Weapons: The Dane Ax

One of the more popular battle axes used by the Norse was the Dane Ax (Danish Ax). It was an ax that consisted of a wide, thin blade that was ‘pronounced’ at both the toe and heel of the bit with the toe swept inward for better shearing power. The cutting surface of the Danish battle ax varied between 20 centimeters to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches) and the average weight was around one kilogram to two kilograms (two to four pounds). It was lightweight and resembled more of…

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Viking Battle Tactics: The Boar Formation

One of the battle formations that Norse warriors formed to break through the enemy’s lines was called the “svinfylking” (boar formation). The svinfylking was a battle formation where a group of heavily armed warriors (usually 20 to 30) would interlock their shields to form a wedge that had the center pointing towards the enemy’s formation. The triangular wedge tapered back on each side from the center point to make a tight spearhead. The Viking warriors would get in a “boar formation” wedge and then charge forward in this tight interlocked…

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The Bloody Trail of Erik the Red’s Daughter

Freydís Eiríksdóttir sailed to Vinland (North America) in the early 1000’s and was the daughter of the famous viking, Erik the Red. She is described as being Leif Erikson’s full sister in the Saga of the Greenlanders (Grœnlendinga Saga) and as being his half sister in the Saga of Erik the Red (Eiríks Saga Rauða). She also had two other brothers, Thorstein and Torvald. It’s unknown when she was born, but probably between the years 970-980 AD. Freydis was married to Torvard, (described as a weakling) and that they lived at Gardar. Freydis participated in two trips…

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