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Old August 10th, 2006, 08:49 PM   #326 (permalink)
DragonKeeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F_Slim
Actually in the "Third Reich" they tried to recreate the believes in the old gods (Odin, Thor ...) !!!
Not the way it was, but to show off strength and the "german race" as a strong and superior race to other humans.
A lot of books with the Sagas came out at that time, but one should be carefull when reading them, since there's also a lot of propaganda in it (and wrong facts with that).
A lot of Neonazis are still pseudo-believers, which lead to a lot of problems for Asatru in germany, since these groups use runes as symbols, so some symbols are forbidden by law! (Since they are now related to some shitheaded hate-groups, and after all germany is a christian country ... "Runes, a religous symbol?? Never heard of it!" )
That even occured before the "Third Reich". Remember the ever present teutonic knight, thor, odin, etc? Then you have people like Wagner and his operas like The Ring. In an atempt to strengthen a sense of German nationalism, many old tales, folklore, and sagas and stories about the old gods were brought out to the public. I'm sure the volkskunde movement was influenced by this as well. Although many good things came out of the volkskunde folklorist movement such as Grimm's fairytales hehe.
Meh neonazis....I wonder of they ever get nightmares about becoming Jewish? "Aaauurgghhg! I just had the worst nightmare...I dreamed that I became a Jew and went to the Sinahgoge! And...and then we went home for a kosher meal and celebrated Hanehkah! Auuuaggh!" OK I'm done now....

Anyway...as much as those neonazi buggers irritate me (and there are plenty of them around here to deal with) you cannot let a few fools ruin a religion and way of life that never had anything to do with them in the first place. And yes, I agree that forbidding certain symbols just becase certain groups use or have used them negatively even though those symbols have been used for centuries prior to the invention of those groups is ludicrous. Asatru is for the believers of the old religion, but it is up to each individual to decide why they choose to believe. After all, only those who are true, noble, and worthy will receive guidence and blessings from the gods. Abuse it, and you lose it. (according to the many tales and sagas)...in a nutshell hehe
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Old August 10th, 2006, 09:48 PM   #327 (permalink)
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Thank you for that, DragonKeeper. I think the thing to do is to "re-claim" OUR symbols. Use them appropriately and answer questions with nothing but the truth. (The problem is that sometimes people don't ask, they just thump you, but that's a different story...when and where it's appropriate is the key.)
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Old August 11th, 2006, 12:11 PM   #328 (permalink)
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Now I have a totally different question:
The Lyrics to "Down the Slopes of Death" are:
"Today he'll draw his final breath
The wisest God of all
His son will avenge his death
Jormundr's brother will fall"

Who is Jormundr's brother?
It's Loki, right?
I am a bit confused about the Deities family tree, since they appear with different names everywhere ... I know, that Jormundr is another name of Odin. Odin has two brothers, Vili and Vé.
I actually know them as Hönir (Vili) and Loki (Vé). Is that correct??
It would make perfect sense, since then Jormundr's brother is Loki, who will fall at Ragnarök (slain by Heimdall and vise versa).
But since I'm so confused because of the many names, I wanted to make sure I got that all right?
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Old August 11th, 2006, 12:52 PM   #329 (permalink)
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I don't claim to know what's behind the lyrics, but here goes, according to lore:
Jormundr is Odin. Villi and Ve are his "biological brothers", also known as Höner and Lodur. Loki, on the other hand, is refered to as "Odin's brother" because he and Odin took a blood oath, and so are blood-brothers, or foster brothers, if you will.
So, it would be correct to say that on Odin's last day, his blood-brother (who in ON law = brother) Loki will die at the hands of Odin's son, Thor, in vengeance. Thor then kills Lokis son, Jörmundgard, but is also killed by Jörmungard's venomous bite./T
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Old August 11th, 2006, 03:13 PM   #330 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyra
I don't claim to know what's behind the lyrics, but here goes, according to lore:
Jormundr is Odin. Villi and Ve are his "biological brothers", also known as Höner and Lodur. Loki, on the other hand, is refered to as "Odin's brother" because he and Odin took a blood oath, and so are blood-brothers, or foster brothers, if you will.
So, it would be correct to say that on Odin's last day, his blood-brother (who in ON law = brother) Loki will die at the hands of Odin's son, Thor, in vengeance. Thor then kills Lokis son, Jörmundgard, but is also killed by Jörmungard's venomous bite./T

Interesting, I always got the impression that "His son will avenge his death
Jormundr's brother will fall" was that Vidar, Odins son who kills Fenris at Ragnarok and Jormungand and Fenris are children by Loki, therefore Fenris is Jormungands "brother".
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Old August 11th, 2006, 03:17 PM   #331 (permalink)
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Yeah, I guess I was thinking in terms of "The wisest God of all
His son will avenge his death". I suppose it depends on where you put the emphasis in the sentence as you read it out... Never thought of it that way. Cool.
Mind you, don't confuse Jörmundgard and Jormundr!
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Old August 11th, 2006, 06:43 PM   #332 (permalink)
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Non Myhtological viking questions

I'd like to know a little more about the status thralls had in the viking society. From what I have heard it seems that they where treated a little better then your average slave.

What I do know is that the thralls could be excepted into the family/clan/whatever-it's-called-in-english if they worked hard and bahaved. How often did that happen in practice though?

I have also read in a book that the thralls where generally kinda few. I read that just around 1(maybe it was 5)% of the population in the viking controlled areas in england where thralls, while 20% in the areas controlled by other peoples where thralls. Exception rather then rule?

How hard work did they actually have to do? Since the church wasnt around to take everything they actually produced, I don't suspect they had to work that much harer then the avarage freeman. Jarls and kings liked to get their hands dirty in that era, so to speak. And they didnt have to build anything like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pyramids or: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China. The conclusion for that I have come to now is that the vikings didnt have to compensate for small cocks.

How would an avarge persons working day have looked as opposed to that of a thralls? Working hours, amounth of food intake etc.

Edit: Damn. Misspelled the thread title.
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Old August 11th, 2006, 08:37 PM   #333 (permalink)
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www.vikinganswerlady.com

If it isn't on there she can find out. It's a pretty cool site.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 01:38 AM   #334 (permalink)
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www.vikinganswerlady.com

If it isn't on there she can find out. It's a pretty cool site.
that is a pretty sweet site
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Old August 12th, 2006, 05:14 PM   #335 (permalink)
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Yeah, she's really good. Disregard the costuming page, though.
Anyhow, thralls... This is not something that I am terribly good at, as the things that I AM good at generally come from having studied them archaeologically. Thralls don't appear much in that material, as they just tend to be in the background, one of the masses. They certainly don't get many mounds or stones raised for them! Re your questions, though:
1. Yes, they were treated better than what we generally think of as "slaves".
2. Thralls could be accepted into families, thralls' children by thrall women and the master certainly were. Thralls that did well could receive payment for their work and eventually buy their freedom, or receive monies elsewhere and buy out. Some were just given their freedom anyhow, if they were much beloved. ON were pragmatics - you treat someone well they'll do well for you (which is not to say that there are not exceptions). I can imagine, though, that being going from being a regular 12-year old Celt to a thrall in the snow in Sweden could not have been perceived as too much fun, especially NOT for a girl.
3. I have no idea how many there were. I really don't think anyone does, but one thing is for sure: the ON could have never maintained their lifestyle the way it was in the iron age without the thralls. Goes to #4. Read on. However, I don't think there were as many thralls in the Scandinavian countries (certainly not in the Danelaw, see #4) as there were in, for example, Rome. The vikings' main exports would have been pelts and textiles and SLAVES. The fact that you take slaves in raids doesn't mean that you keep them. Vikings were tradesmen, and the trade in slaves was one of their favourite ones - you get something for nothing, and then you sell it for lots of silver. What they brought back was the stuff they traded for the slaves, not the thralls themselves. Besides, thralls are a renewable resource. Once you have one or two, you don't need to buy more, because they multiply if you feed them well. The children will grow up strong and also be your thralls.
4. Thralls did general duties on the farmstead. The women would milk, spin, sew, weave, tend to children and be availible to "warm the bed" of whomever required it. Some were good healers. The men did labour, anything that needs to get done on a farm.
The lady of the house was in charge of the home when her husband and his warriors went viking. Smaller farmsteads would not necessarily have had the money to purchase a thrall, but a large farm cannot be run by one woman whilst producing enough fabric etc to trade for next season. It is detrimental to have labourforce then. That's what the thralls were.
Occasionally thralls got to come to new settlements with their masters, but oftentimes, they had to stay behind to tend to the original farm. That may be why you see a low number of thralls in settlements away from the Nordic countries.
There's a guy doing a thesis on this. I wonder if I have the name of that paper somewhere... Will have to dig in my vast pile of papers to find out.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 09:50 AM   #336 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyra
...that being going from being a...(line 10/11)
.. wtf?

Anyway, another question. In many stories Loki is together with the Gods (in peace) but he is a giant, how come they didnt kill him? even after all those things he did.. like stealing the apples etc. And another thing, Loki actually helped the gods with defeating some giants right? I mean he bet with Brokk, wich was the reason for brokk to forge Mjolnir and some more items..
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Old August 13th, 2006, 03:53 PM   #337 (permalink)
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.. wtf?
Huh? Waddaya mean? They took children as slaves, as well as grown men and women. All I meant was, that I don't imagine it being much fun, no matter how nice your master is, to go from being a freeman's child to a Norse thrall. Get it? (Oh, did you think I meant "that being" like a monster or something? I meant being as in "to be".)

Gawd, that Loki thing again... Loki is totally misunderstood by most with Christian background. Keep that in mind. Now, say you had a brother whom you loved very much. Would you lop off his head cuz he fucked up a few times? (When you answer that, keep in mind my brother is Johan... He pulled my hair once!) Loki is the god of mischief. Think of it like that, not like he's "evil" in the Christina sense. He's just like a little kid that wants attention, any which way he can get it, good or bad. Then when he fucks up, and draws bad attention, he tries very hard to fix it, as in your above example. It's not until he gets completely unforgiven by the gods and goddesses that the shit really hits the fan and he sides entirely with the giants and brings down Raganarök.
Loki was only half giant. Besides, the giants weren't killed by default.
Anyhow, Loki is a really deep character. There are so many layers of the Loki stories that you have to really be aware of the context of Norse culture to pick up on. Most people that do not grow up in Scandinavia don't automatically "get it" but have to learn it by reading it, so the above is just my own feelings and really constitute the tip of the iceberg. I love Loki very much. I think of him like a little brother sort of character. I would never dream of lopping his head off... He's necessary for the stories, and thus the world, to make sense. Which probably doesn't make any sense to you at all, right? /T.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #338 (permalink)
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... I guess I'll have to dump that book I have ... I actually liked it, since the stories are told and explained quite well, but some very important facts are just totally messed up (like identifying Loki with Vé/Lodur)

But talking about Loki ... I actually don't like him. But I agree that he is crucial to the stories. Somehow he is the driving force. Without him, a lot of things just wouldn't happen.
Also in ... what's it called in english? "Lokis Zankreden", "Lokasenna", he's like a mirror reflecting all the faults and failures of all gods and godesses. Reminding us, that they are not perfect at all. Maybe that's why I don't really like him actually
But that's also why I think he's so important.
About "bringing down Ragnarök", I am not so sure ... in a way it just happens ... also because of things the others did wrong.

I'm still not sure what to think of Ragnarök itself though.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #339 (permalink)
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Bingo!
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Old August 13th, 2006, 09:21 PM   #340 (permalink)
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I’m beginning to wonder if it wasn’t completely necessary to have slaves to run a successful agricultural civilization in those times. I mean, more or less every people at that technological level in history had had them. Christians peoples where also guilty of owning slaves, no matter what modern Christians may claim. What would gems like this other have sprung from?:

If a man pampers his servant from childhood, he will turn out to be stubborn. (Proverbs 29:21 NAB)

and:

‘’Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ.’’ (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)

and:

"When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property." Exodus 21:20-21 NAB

That doesn’t make sense on any level whatsoever to me. Don’t you love it when you tell Christian people that all of Europe was basically christianized by swords and altering of the bible to fit the people they where currently brainwashing, they’ll tell you ‘’Well, those where obviously not real Christians’’. Though this behavior seems to have plenty of support in the bible:

"The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords." (Hosea 13:16 NLT)

and:

"I brought hunger to every city and famine to every town. But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD.
"I kept the rain from falling when you needed it the most, ruining all your crops. I sent rain on one town but withheld it from another. Rain fell on one field, while another field withered away. People staggered from one town to another for a drink of water, but there was never enough. But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD.
"I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees. But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD.
"I sent plagues against you like the plagues I sent against Egypt long ago. I killed your young men in war and slaughtered all your horses. The stench of death filled the air! But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD.
"I destroyed some of your cities, as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Those of you who survived were like half-burned sticks snatched from a fire. But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD. (Amos 4:6-11 NLT)
I can only conclude that their ‘’LORD’’ is really stupid.

This is of course all from the old testament, which Christians themselves will say is not in use, though the next minute they may quote the ten commandments. And didn’t Jesus say?:

“For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV)

Talk about selective morality. It doesn’t make any sense to me. It equals to something like being a Jew loving nazi. If these fools actually read some history or even the bible I doubt there would be many Christians left, except for the truly mindless.

Back to slaves:

Later in the middle ages people didn’t have slaves though, but they WHERE on the other hand more or less starving. But that could be because of the influence of the church, maybe people would have made it just fine if they wouldn’t have to give a 1/10 of there produce to the church, or the concepts of buying oneself free from guilt of sin and all the other clever ways the godly men came up with to bring in some coin. If the farming gear and techniques where significantly better at those times my theory may still hold.
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Old August 14th, 2006, 01:50 AM   #341 (permalink)
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Well, yeah, I am pretty much in agreement with the above statement, but wanted to make a comment:
The Normans (mainly) brought with them a new system when they swept Europe, supposedly based on the Christian faith. They may not have had "slaves", but that is merely semantics. What they and their Christian followers brought with them was a system built on the backs of their own people, rather than on the backs of slaves: With them came the feudal system. The difference between a villein (livegen) and a slave is hairfine, but I tend to think that most thralls of the ON era would have rather been thralls under a Scandinavian master than a villein under one (my personal opinion only). To be a villein means that you by law have to live and work in a specific place that has been alotted to you. They did not own their own land, and they also had to provide free labour services to the owner of the land (generally a vasall) for a set amount of days each year. The villeins were, in reality, treated much harsher than a thrall, and had no rights under the law. This is where the "treat a man well and he will do well for you" ended. These people were worked to the bones, starved and abused, like "slaves" in the proper sense of the word. There really is no way out of the feudal system like there was for a thrall. A thrall could be sold like a slave, or he could buy his way out or be given freedom, but a villein could not. They had to stay, bound to a master that they were born to, forever.

Anyhow, Larsson, just for you, to prove your point that they knew of slaves, thralls and all that in their own ranks:

Bibeln, Nya testamentet. Ny översättning med förklarande anmärkningar av P. Waldenström, fjärde upplagan, 1921 /
Evangelium enligt Matteus. Kap. 20:26-28.

Den som vill varda stor, skall söka det genom att varda såsom en tjänare. Den, som vill vara främst, skall söka det genom att varda såsom en träl.

Träl är en livegen tjänare.
Uttrycket »träl» är därför starkare än
ordet »tjänare». Märk stegringen: Den,
som vill varda stor, skall söka det
genom att varda såsom en tjänare, den,
som vill varda främst (störst bland de
stora), skall söka det genom att varda
såsom en träl. Se till kap. 25: 21.
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Old August 14th, 2006, 02:51 PM   #342 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyra
Huh? Waddaya mean? They took children as slaves, as well as grown men and women. All I meant was, that I don't imagine it being much fun, no matter how nice your master is, to go from being a freeman's child to a Norse thrall. Get it? (Oh, did you think I meant "that being" like a monster or something? I meant being as in "to be".)
Actually what i meant was.. WTF?! like in, uhh does that sentence makes sence? being getting doing and being this he goes being like doing being it.. or something.. maybe i just need to pay more attention in the english class.. anyway:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyra
keep in mind my brother is Johan... He pulled my hair once!
Pulled your hair?! HA! meet my sister the terrorist!!!!!

Back to loki, it is actually one of (if not the) my favorite characters, i can actually see myself in him a bit (and my sister WOULD chop my head off). Also, because he is a complex and deep character, and he is not replaceable in the stories. And just because i havent grown up in a country where you dont grow up with this stuff (and so i dont "get it", wich is true, thats why i asked these questions, ofcourse) just makes me like him even more.

Well all i have done now is telling you all how much i love Loki, but that hasnt anything to do with my question, and your answers. Without Loki Ragnarok, and much more of the greatest events, wouldnt even have happened! Or at least not "story-worthy", and is therefor indeed the driving force.

Did i just answer my own question by qouting the shit out of you?
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Old August 14th, 2006, 03:18 PM   #343 (permalink)
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Oooh, duh! Mea culpa. Strike that first "being" in that sentence. Sorry.

And I didn't mean the "get it" part in a snotty sort of way, either. I just meant that it is totally understandable if a complex character like Loki is difficult to grasp if you didn't grow up with him, and that some of us sort of get those things "for free", by osmosis, rather than have to learn it in a scholarly fashion.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 07:42 AM   #344 (permalink)
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How about the exposure of infants? One of the few things I actually remember about the vikings from history class is that female infants supposedly where set out to be taken by the wolves. Whats the truth about this? I have heard that acts of that sort are only mentionend two times in the sagas. Both under extremely special conditions and severely punished on both occasions(if I recall correctly).
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Old August 15th, 2006, 05:30 PM   #345 (permalink)
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Quote:
Loki is totally misunderstood by most with Christian background.
To prove your point:


Loke from the computer game age of mythology. Never imagined him quite like that, looks pure evil.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 08:08 PM   #346 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larsson
To prove your point:


Loke from the computer game age of mythology. Never imagined him quite like that, looks pure evil.
Yeah, precisely my point. He's not evil through and through, and should not be thought of as a Norse equivalent to Satan.

Now, about infanticide: Yes, it happened, especially in times of famine and if a child was deformed, or sometimes if a child was the child of a thrall. Basically, most cultures in the past (and some in the present) have set out children to die in times when a family could not sustain another mouth to feed. This was done in Scandnavia by Christians (ex Ælfric's De falsis diis and De auguriis in Hauksbók) as well as pre-Christians. It was not a preferred mode of birthcontroll, and it was not done on a whim. It is hard to say what the law said about it, because the oldest laws were not written down until later, however, the oldest Icelandic laws allowed infanticide. My understanding of things is, that it was not a common occurence in the ON society. It seems to have occured more in some specific areas, too, which leads to a skewed view of things: those who have written the histories ( see Ibn Fahadlan, for example) only traveled to some parts of the society as a whole, and thus reported back about only that part of society. Generally speaking, they would only visit richer places, such as Hedeby, where infanticide seems to have been more common. Most people lived on the farm, which is nothing like Hedeby. Life in general, is and was precious, children were thought of as riches. Some ON litterature report that feamale infants indeed were exposed, and women are underrepresented in the grave material. I tend to think of this as a result of different burial methods, as well as biased archaeological methods, but it could also imply that there actually were fewer women than men. In other words, I don't know how common it was, I just know that it did happen, and that for at least some of the ON world, it was accepted practise. I tend to think that how, if and when it had to do with why the child was set out to die,and I don't think it was a common practise.
A good, comprehensive book on the topic - Jochens, Jenny, ''Women in Old Norse Society'' - is the first real indepth study of infanticide in ON culture.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 10:10 PM   #347 (permalink)
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I stumbled on on some interesting facts. There was actually 4 infants that was but out in open in the sagas. All where under special condition and all the infants where found. They didn't put them out to simply die, they where ment to be found by other familys. On all 4 ocasions it was also loked upon as a severe crime.

1.This was due to the father getting predict/foretell(spådom) that it would go bad for the child.

The wifes comment: ''It us not like you to say something like that, like the man you are(''en sådan man som du är'', kunde inte komma på någon bättre översättning), and you can't think it is right to act that way, as rich as you are''.

2. Signy gives birth to a daughter while visiting her brother Torfi, she dies while giving birth. Torfi who did not approve of this marriage saw this child as being outside of the family, he saw her as the the child of his enemy and that enemy had driven his sister into death. Therefore he sees it as vengance.

3.This child was a bastard and the mans wife convinces him to put it out. Still looked upon as an act of shame.

4.The father Åsbjörn is angry with the mother because she had given one of there children to be brought up by somebody else(''till en utomstående''). That was his weird idea of revange.

As far as I understand it though the people in the sagas wherent exactly poor.

''Basically, most cultures in the past (and some in the present) have set out children to die in times when a family could not sustain another mouth to feed. This was done in Scandnavia by Christians (ex Ælfric's De falsis diis and De auguriis in Hauksbók) as well as pre-Christians. It was not a preferred mode of birthcontroll, and it was not done on a whim.''

This proves that:
Gunnlaug Ormtungas historia, kap 3:
Det var sevänja, då hela landet var hedet, att de människor som voro fattiga och hade många oförsörjda barn, läto sätta ut sina nyfödda, men detta ansågs dock alltid vara illa gjort.


''Some ON litterature report that feamale infants indeed were exposed''


What litterature exactly? I have heard that the ON didnt make any difference between male and female children a far as value go.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 11:42 PM   #348 (permalink)
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Larsson,
Upon reading your reply, I realize that I was not very clear when I posted earlier. Hence the following:

"What litterature exactly?"

Dunno at the top of my head, but Ibn Rustah did enter it into his chronicles, and I think Ibn Fahadlan did, too. Can't give you page numbers and so on, as my own copies are lent out at the moment. As for the ON sources, like I said, I can't remember at the top of my head, as it's been a year since I wrote the paper that lead me to come to these views. Sorry! That book I mentioned has exact references for the ON sources, though.

"I have heard that the ON didnt make any difference between male and female children a far as value go."
I am 100% in agreement! That's pretty much what I meant by
"I tend to think of this as a result of different burial methods, as well as biased archaeological methods, but it could also imply that there actually were fewer women than men." Archaeology is, unfortuantely, not at all unbiased. Some archaeologists, NOT myself, have chosen to interpret their findings as "there were fewer women than men and this would have been caused by feamale infanticide".

"As far as I understand it though the people in the sagas wherent exactly poor."
Again, I am with you. To clarify what I meant: "I tend to think that how, if and when it had to do with why the child was set out to die". That was a really fucked up sentence...I meant that I think it was more important "why" the baby was set out than how, if and when. Then "...in times when a family could not sustain another mouth to feed" - it may have been more acceptible then (if a family faced starvation), than say, as you say "under special condition": Those conditions must have been ones that were thought of as odd, inadequate or somehow not right, for them to be improtant enough to be mentioned in the sagas, don't you think? To be odd is a punishable offence in a culture that strives for all to be equal (you probably know this, as it is still very much a Swedish trait, only today we call it "den svenska avundsjukan" when someone complains about someone being "different" or "odd").
Anyhow, then I said "Generally speaking, they would only visit richer places, such as Hedeby, where infanticide seems to have been more common. Most people lived on the farm, which is nothing like Hedeby." From what I undertand, this infanticide that was punished, was that perpetrated by the sort of "newly rich" people in towns like Hedeby, who HAD money to sustain the extra mouth, but who committed infanticide anyways. That confirms the idea that you're aluding to with your comment that "the people in the sagas wherent exactly poor." I think the idea that the ON set their babies out to die left, right and centre stems from the fact that outside chroniclers, such as Ibn Rustah, would only visit bigger towns, like Hedeby, with it's newly rich. Then they would individually report back about this practise, that was actually specific to those places, which would make it sound - when you have more than one account - like it's a common practise everywhere. To boot, the ON litt, like the one you mention, tell us of infanticide. I feel that this is because it was an oddity, something so out of the ordinary that it was worth mentioning for posterity, so that they did not make such bad decisions again. To set an example. The sagas don't tell us of everyday life, they tell us of things that deserved mention. What you are left with is, in essence, a need to study the oldest lawtexts to see what they have to say.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 11:32 AM   #349 (permalink)
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This thread has been an awesome read but is far too short!


Much respect Tyra, please keep up the good work.


EDIT - Actually I do have a question Tyra: How do you feel about how the ON, Vikings & Asatru are represented in not just the media but also computer games and the like? I have a great interest in mythology (and this thread has been stupidly fantastically wickedly awesome lol) and I had great fun playing through RUNE for example (which tells the story of a young warrior, Ragnar, who's runestone-guarding village goes to the aid of another nearby village (Copperruud? Not sure about the spelling, is it even a real place?) who's runestone is under attack by a dude named Conrack (if I remember right) who's alligned himself with Loki and believes that destroying the big runestones will bring about Ragnarok. Ragnar's longship is wrecked but he's saved from drowning by the Allfather (complete with ravens and one eye) and is sent off on a mission thru Hel's domain and the underworld to defeat Conrack. Loki features too I think he even has the dripping venom and chains but might be part snake?) and it's a great excuse for running about with big sharp weapons taking the heads off people and other creatures. I'm not too sure how accurate it is but I do know that most people (like here in the UK) think of Vikings as raping, pillaging big dudes with horned helmets...

And what do you make of this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81satr%C3%BA

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Old August 17th, 2006, 04:57 PM   #350 (permalink)
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He, he...well, it depends on if I'm PMSing when you ask me or not. There are days when I am so frustrated at having to explain the same damn (to me, obvious) thing over and over again, but 97% of the time, I understand that it's just ignorance. Christians and others have had over 1000 yeras to besmudge our name and purposely plant misconceptions, but also to mistakenly misenterpret things. I cannot possibly single-handedly erase that over night. But I can make a dent in it, so I try.
The thing about the Norse culture is that it still lives on, at least partially. Many Scandinavians do not reflect over why they do things a certain way, but those that do, often come to the conclusion that many of the things we do that are "typically Swedish", have to do with the cultural heriatge left to us by the Norse (or pre-Norse). This is difficult even for a Scandianvian to understand, unless you, like myself, actually have to disect it and study it over the course of several years. Sometimes, the causes are so deeply imbedded in the culture that they are hard to find, and they can almost never be understood removed form the original context. Obviously it is incredibly difficult for someone who is not brought up in a Scandinavian family to comprehend this! I get that. Their frame of reference is so completely different. I believe that that is part of how articles like the one you referenced to happen. The article is an assenine mistrepresentaioin of facts, but that's all they are: ignorance in print. It really hasn't got anything to do with me or my faith, because it is fiction. The other part is what I mentioned above - if you tell someone they are not something for, oh, say 1000 years, and that their religion doesn't exist, well, some are going to believe it. If you are actively discouraged by your "superiors" (parents, kings, autorities, teachers) to ignore or shut out your intuition, to stop listeing to spirits and goddesses, then eventually, you won't hear them. We teach children to ignore their gut instincts, because we don't need it since God is looking out for us. We tell people who hear Gods that they are mentally ill - well, some are, but not all. To further compound the problem, many beliebers have chosen to worship underground (so that when someone feels the need to call out to a god, they don't know where to turn for guidance), and some have chosen to use other, not so obvious names, for the faith. That makes it difficult to be counted in census, for example, and without a certain number of people professing under the same name in the census, the religion will not obtain official status. Asatruar in Canada are, for example, called asatru, heathens, northern traditional, forn seithr, forn sed and so on, and then there are offshoots, like Norhtern wicca and odinism. With us being so fragmented, even though there are about 10 000 worshippers here alone, we still cannot be an official religion until we can decide on one name. That has to do with intimidation, too. I once had to fill out a form in my kids' school where they said we'd be anonimous and that asked some very personal questions. Then they asked what our religion was. Since I had to put down asatru, and we are the only asatru family in the school, everyone would have known who filled out the questionaire. (OT: I don't do things that I cannot live with, and therefore I have nothing to hide, so frankly, I didn't give a flying shit if they knew who I was, so I did it anyway. A lot of people would not have done so, and it does impact the lives of my children - see "Question for all the AA fans out there".)
As for purposely misrepresenting the faith in the press, it's something you just get used to. No different than Swedish girls always being portryed as stupid blonde sluts with big tits (I know for sure that ain't tru, cuz my tits definitively are NOT big!! ). You just have to teach by example. Sometimes, though, you can work it to your advantage. If Thor and Loki are in some game "running about with big sharp weapons taking the heads off people and other creatures" (you say that like there's something wrong with it... ), even if their armour and weaponry isn't the correct period and all, some kid somewhere is going to wonder "Who is this dude, anyhow?" and look it up. Maybe then he'll end up in our website (www.irminsul.org) and actually learn sopmething, or maybe even here. It's not about converting Christians, it's about abolishing misconceptions. If it's important that you become one of us, your God or Goddess will speak to you anyhow, regardless of whether you search for them or not. When it comes to "most people (like here in the UK) think of Vikings as raping, pillaging big dudes with horned helmets", well, they did those things. Christians burned innocent people at the stake, and moslems fly into tall buildings. It's part of the heritage of each one of those groups, like it or not. But that was only part of what the vikings did, and they did it for a reason. There is a context. All Norse were't vikings, either. Most were farmers, traders, women, children and even thralls.
But the thing with the horns on the helmets, that'sone of those things that I menationed above - don't go there if I'm PMS:ing !
Forums like this one are good because you ask questions that make me have to think. It's important not to be static, but to question what you base your assumptions on. That's part of being asatru, and not, say, moslem.
And thanks for the compliments. Respect is very important, and I respect you back for asking an intelligent question in an intelligent manner./T
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