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Viking mythology and all that goes with it

Discussion in 'Amon Amarth' started by Celtik Militia, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    That looks like the mounds at Uppsala. Ditto on the rest of the post. It's already too hot, and it's only the first week of sun since September... A month ago we had snow, and now it's 29 degrees celsius. Yuck.
     
  2. Krigloch the Furious

    Krigloch the Furious Pants full of poo

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    whats the deal? you never hear anything about baltic, or slavic paganism
     
  3. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    The Baltic, most likely because they were not allowed such things while they were under Soviet rule. They were "upstart areas" that were new to the union and who did not fit in to the general picture of the otherwise fairly similar population in the western parts of the union, and as such, received harsher treatment in matters of conforming to the general uniform Soviet spirit(compared to, say, areas that were too far away for the Soviet leadership to travel to). Now that they are allowed to express themselves, who knows how much of it is left to be salvaged, and even at that, they have to be allowed to grow strong in other areas before they're going to worry about their heritage. Political issues, such as forming independent governments, trades partners and acquiring the basic necessities of life had to be on the forefront for a few years firts. I know their archaeologists are quite active today, but it's differerent to excavate a dead religion fom a living one. In the past, they were supposed to only excavate/concern themselves with things that could show the superiority of the Soviet state. Things that could be considered non-Soviet, especially such things as were specifically Baltic, and therefore would have supported Baltic independence, may have fueled an uprising, which was just not something that would have received funding. If someone works with Baltic things in such a climate, he or she would probably never have been hired for any official job, and it was, as you know, almost impossible to leave even by choice.
    As for the Slavs, I have no idea. It could very well be that they do have a thriving community, only we don't hear much from them because we're Anglophones, and they're not. The thing that works against that theory is that the church was incredibly strong in a completely different way in their areas compared to, for example, in South America, where it arrived late, or Scandinavia, where it never had time to properly take root before the refeormation, which makes it more likely that the lore and such would have been eradicated. Then, many of those areas were taken over by communist rule, which effectively rooted out all religious and "folk" practise, excluding some that served their political ambitions. After that, there isn't much left to salvage... There is a lot written in terms of the lore, but NOT in English. It is partially the same issue as what I brought up about asatru earlier today - when the lore is carried orally, it often does not make it past the borders of the country where that particular language is spoken. It's not until someone puts pen to paper that something gets translated into other languages. That was the example with the Grimm stories, for example. They were there, but because they were not written down until the Grimms' time, they were not "litterary treasures", considered such by the establishment.
     
  4. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    Which ones? Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians all had different beliefs, as far as I've been able to make out. Unfortunately, they had no Snorri, and most of the recorded stuff wasn't recorded until about 700 years after the Northern Crusades began (they continued for about 200 years!). A lot of the information I've found tends to be contradictory. One place claims the Curonians were the first to convert, others claim they were the last. I know there was some similarities, at least in what is now Estonia, with Finnish mythology but the Latvians and Lithuanians seemed to have a fairly different take on it then most of the surrounding cultures.
    I know jack about Slavic stuff, sorry :(
     
  5. Arch

    Arch ‫‬**‪‫‬**҉‫‬**‪‫‬**҉ ‫‬*

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    // -->
  6. Pessimism

    Pessimism Endemic Vagabond

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    :lol:, it's already been posted before man - in fact, I was the last one to do it (and got yelled at for it to boot).

    Still friggen awesome - well, except for the obvious reasons.
     
  7. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    Hehe, it's pretty funny. A good reminder to keep literal truth and metaphor separate :)
     
  8. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    OK; so totally OT, but had to post this somewhere, cuz I know at least one of you that'll crack a smile! It's from Martin's Blogg (he's a Swedish Archaeologist):
    You know how posh little old ladies and flamboyant gay men like to hold their pinkie finger in the air when drinking tea? This is because of syphilis at the court of Louis XIV in 17th century Paris. Those people were severely pox-ridden. And they were the cultural elite of their time, emulated in every detail of dress and behaviour by Europeans everywhere.

    One thing syphilis does to you is damage the joints of your fingers. After a few years, you are no longer able to bend your pinkies. When holding a glass or cup, your pinkie will point ineffectually at the ceiling. Non-infected people won't readily understand this, and even if they do understand, they may see the pinkie thing as a typical trait of your poxy social circle. If they admire you enough, they may go home from your splendid court and start doing the pinkie thing even if you have not managed to infect them with syphilis. Call it a meme if you like.
    Edit: And here's another one...A few years ago I heard another, more plausible-sounding explanation from a historian on French TV: the habit started at the dinner tables of the French medieval nobility. As hunting was the exclusive preserve of aristocrats, only they could eat meat. Meat dishes were an essential part of feasts hosted by nobility. Another culinary privilege of the nobility was that they seasoned their meat dishes with condiments such as salt, pepper, and nutmeg. These were extremely expensive luxury commodities at the time. These feasting noblemen ate with their fingers, since the use of forks and spoons at the table is a cultural development that came much later historically. It became the norm to hold one's pinky away from the meat so that it would stay dry and could be used for serving oneself from the common pots of condiment. It was important to keep that pinky dry so that the precious seasonings wouldn't become rancid.
     
  9. TheLastWithPaganBlood

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    PaganBlood, is there somthing you wish to tell us?

    [​IMG]

    And I always thought it was an English thing.
     
  10. TheLastWithPaganBlood

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    PaganBlood, is there somthing you wish to tell us?

    [​IMG]

    And I always thought it was an English thing.
     
  11. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    Oh gods.... Sorry man, but I knew someone was gonna do that. Pain inducing laughter.... lol.
     
  12. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    I don't actually think it's true, but for what it's worth, someone is doing research into the theory...
     
  13. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    Bah, why ruin a good way to make fun of the French with the truth? That's no fun! :p
     
  14. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    Freedom pinkies...oh, no, wait, that was making fun of someone else...sorry.
     
  15. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    Says the Swede/Canadian! That's like a commie and a hillbilly all rolled into one!

    :p
     
  16. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    :lol: :lol:
    I live in BC, though. It's short for Beyond Canada, you know...
     
  17. Rat Salad

    Rat Salad New Metal Member

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    I've been following this thread for a while and it's been a great read. I wasn't really expecting a band's message board to be frequented by many people who know what they're talking about when it comes to this sort of thing.

    I was just wondering how the whole viking thing actually worked, if we know this. I mean, I know that dying in battle was basically the best thing a man could do, so did people become vikings for that reason a lot of the time? It just sounds odd that a community based around honor would see fit to just boat over to Ireland and go get into some trouble. What was the real motivation behind this? Was it just for the sake of wealth? Were vikings respected? What was it like in Scandinavia in terms of war? I mean, if most men wanted to die in battle then they needed some battles to die in, but who did they fight against?

    Oh, and did they have anything against Christianity when they raided monasteries and things or did they really not know what all that stuff was about until the whole, uh, 'missionary' thing the Christians did to all the pagans in Europe?
     
  18. Tyra

    Tyra Member

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    Mmmm, where to start...oh, of course: Thanks for the compliment, on behalf of all of us.
    So, I’ll start with the simplest. I suppose it is hard to say what went through people’s minds in terms of whether they hated Christians or not, and there will always be people of varying persuasions within any given culture, but on the whole, the impression is that no, monasteries were not looted out of hatred for Christians. They were looted for gold and silver. Period. The monks and priests turned their swords into share plows and were easy prey, and they also lived close to buildings were treasure was amassed. Those were Vikings overseas. It is not a very Norse thing to strike out for a reason like religion – it’s a very complex culture, and not so simple to explain in reasonably short terms.
    The early Christian kings, inspired by missionaries, made a point of destroying pagan shrines in Scandinavia, and towards the end of the Iron Age, some heathens then paid them back in kind when they regained power. Those were not necessarily Vikings, though, but rather kings or lords in their own home land exacting revenge.
    Going Viking was a rite of passage. Raiding was a very much ingrained practice in terms of politics and religion both, in both the Germanic and Celtic tribes especially during the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. We even have a whole age named for this – the Migration Era, which was basically just several big extended raids that moved primarily Germanic, but also Celtic tribes all over Europe until the re-settled in new areas after having gone every which way, backtracking and circling around in various ways. In certain tribes during certain times, one simply could not be a man until one had been part of a raid. Being lordless was the worst fate, because one had no protection, and one gained lords through raids. One became a lord through wealth (not by birth, although birth could give you wealth – once you had been born to wealth you still had to prove yourself, though), and wealth was amassed by raiding. The Viking raids of the late Iron Age were just extensions of this much earlier practice. So they did not just boat over to Ireland, they raided for political purpose, and the Gods aided them in this endeavor. The religion developed and changed over time to incorporate and glorify the raid as a way of life. It was an honorable thing to do, because by going over to Ireland (or wherever), you were ensuring that you, your family and your lord had the most loot. Being rich meant that the Gods had given you their favour. That does honour to you, your family, your lord and your gods.
    Then again, it was not important to go viking for religious reason per se, sort of. I say sort of, because in the western world of today we separate religion from the other parts of life. The faith and the rest of the world was one and the same for these people, but that’s a whole long story. But if you were to separate the religion from the rest of the world like we do today, then one did not have to go viking to go to Valhall. One had to die in battle. That could just as well mean defending ones farm from looters or exacting revenge in one on one combat to settle a blood feud. Going viking was just one way of meeting battle. It still is the Norns that spin your fate. They’d fight the people whom they raided, those who had the most silver, they’d fight political enemies amongst themselves, they’d fight for vengeance, in holmgång when necessary, but there was a law code in place to prevent this. So, in other words, one was not respected for being a viking, one was respected for being fierce in battle, having the ability to amass wealth and for doing honour to ones family and ones lord. Still, ones voice was only worth as much as the next guy’s at the Thing, so power was not necessarily what made people respect you. Many powerful men were hated.
    Does that big long answer give you any clarity?
     
  19. Bates

    Bates Swamp Yankee

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    I actually have to wonder about the sacking of the monasteries a bit. I remember reading (somewhere on Northvegr, but honestly can't remember if it was in a saga or an article) that intentionally defiling a hof/harg was considered one of the few ways a man could get himself excluded from the Aesir's favor (No Sessrumnir, no Valhall for you!), regardless of whether he fell in battle or not. Even the gods themselves refrained from violence in holy places and situations, usually. I don't know if this included other faiths, but about 20 or so years before Lindisfarne was Charlemagne's destruction of the Saxon Irminsul, and the execution/exile of 4500 Saxon leaders (the ones we know weren't executed fled to Denmark), of which I'm fairly sure the folk who went viking would've known of. And many of the missionaries who went among the Germanic tribes were Anglo-Saxons. Possibly all coincidental that this happened just before the start of the Viking Age, but it does make a man wonder.
     
  20. TheLastWithPaganBlood

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    I have also heard of theories claiming the destruction of Irminsul started the Viking age.
     

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