Home

Beginnings of the Viking peoples: The Scandinavian peoples and tribes from the Vendel Period to the Viking Age

1 Comment

By Periklis Deligiannis

876967958

Dragonhead on the prow of a Viking longship.

.

15

The historical districts of Scandinavia. The following probable tribal districts are noted among others:  Uppland (political center of the Svears) including Vendel site, Ostergotland, Vastergotland, Smaland (small territories of other Gott/Gotar tribes), Gotland Isle (land of the Vagoth or Gutar), Oland isle (land of the Vagoth?), Hordaland (land of the Aerothi?), Ringerike (land of the Ragnaricii), Rogaland (land of the Rugii), Vestfold and Viken (main lands of the Raumarike/Raumaricii), Bohuslan (land of the Wulfings?), Halland (land of the Hallin), Blekinge (land of the Bergio?), Skane and Sjaelland (core territories of the Danes), Angel (cradle of the Angles), Jylland (land of the Jutes), Rugen island (probably colonised by the Rugii),  Nordfrisien (North Frisia).

.

The Vendel Culture period of the history of eastern and southern Scandinavia (including Jutland and the Danish isles) is the era before the classic Viking Age. The Viking Age lasted from AD 793 to the early 11th century, while the Vendel Era lasted from the mid-6th century AD to the end of the 8th century and is characterized by princely burials of warlords and warriors with impressive weapons. The later historical period and the homonym cultural conglomerate (Vendel Culture) took their name from the site Vendel at the historical district Uppland in eastern Sweden, north of Old Uppsala, the ancient centre of the Svear kings. The most characteristic cemeteries were found there. It seems that Uppland – where later the important cities of the Viking age Uppsala and Sigtuna were developed – was very important politically during the Vendel period. The area was rather the political center of the tribe of the Svears (Latin: Suiri and Suirones and according to Jordanes: Suehans, Nordic: Svear, Anglo-Saxon: Sweonas, modern Swedes) who expanded to it earlier coming from Svealand, their core territory in the south. Uppland means the upper land, the land in the north.

More

Advertisements

Ηow and where the Viking age began

Leave a comment

Republication from Science Nordic

Viking dragon3Dragon heads in the prows of Viking longships.

.

By Charlotte Price Persson

.

The story of the Vikings begins in the year 793 AD, after Norwegian Vikings landed in England on the first official Viking raid. To this day, these fierce raids are the most famous of Viking stories.

Now, a new study suggests a more peaceful start to Viking seafaring — and it all began in Denmark.

Three archaeologists from the University of Aarhus (Denmark) and the University of York (UK) have shown that maritime voyages from Norway to Ribe, the oldest commercial centre in Denmark, occurred long before the Viking age officially began.

The study shows that early Vikings travelled to Ribe in South Denmark as early as 725 AD.

The researchers discovered deer antlers in the oldest archaeological deposits of Ribe’s old marketplace and they turned out to be the remains of Norwegian reindeer.

“This is the first time we have proof that seafaring culture, which was the basis for the Viking era, has a history in Ribe. It’s fascinating,” says Professor Søren Sindbæk, one of the authors of the new study, which has just been published in the European Journal of Archaeology.

More

Danish and Greek archaeologists excavate the ancient Greek harbour town Lechaion

Leave a comment

Republication from  the University of Copenhagen website

01 Aerial photo of the Western Mole (K. Xenikakis & S. Gesafidis)

Underwater archaeology. In Greece, underwater excavations of Lechaion, ancient Corinth’s partially submerged harbour town, reveal the infrastructure of more than a thousand years of flourishing maritime trade. Researchers from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and the University of Copenhagen are using cutting-edge methods to uncover the configuration and scale of the harbour.

Corinth ranked among the most economically and militarily powerful, and enduring, cities of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods. The city had an exceptional geographical advantage in the North East corner of the Peloponnese and controlled the Isthmus that facilitated land travel between Northern and Southern Greece, and travel by sea between the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.

 

More

The last Viking and his magical sword?

4 Comments

Republication from Heritage Daily and University of Oslo

A deadly weapon and symbol of power – jewellery for a man, with magical properties. The sword gave power to the warrior, but the warrior’s strength could also be transferred to the sword. That is how they were bound together: man and weapon, warrior and sword.

This sword was found in Langeid in Bygland in Setesdal in 2011. It is a truly unique sword from the late Viking Age, embellished with gold, inscriptions and other ornamentation. The discovery of the sword has not been published until now, when it is being displayed for the first time in the exhibition TAKE IT PERSONALLY at the Historical Museum in Oslo.

The sword must have belonged to a wealthy man in the late Viking Age. But who was he and what magic inscriptions are set into the decoration – in gold? Was the owner of the sword in the Danish King Canute’s army when it attacked England in 1014-15?

In the summer of 2011, archaeologists from the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo discovered a Viking burial ground in Langeid in Setesdal in southern Norway. In one of the graves they made a startling discovery.

More

A million Vikings still live among the British people

Leave a comment

 One in 33 men can claim to be direct descendants from the Norse warriors

  • Around 930,000 people can claim to be of direct Viking descent
  • A study compared Y chromosome markers to estimated Viking DNA patterns
  • The Viking DNA patterns are rarely found outside Scandinavia

Almost one million Britons alive today are of Viking descent, which means one in 33 men can claim to be direct descendants of the Vikings.

Around 930,000 descendents of warrior race exist today – despite the Norse warriors’ British rule ending more than 900 years ago.

A genetic study carried out by BritainsDNA compared the Y chromosome markers – DNA inherited from father to son – of more than 3,500 men to six DNA patterns that are rarely found outside of Scandinavia and are associated with the Norse Vikings.

Amateur Vikings process around their longboat during the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland

Amateur Vikings process around their longboat during the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland

More

GERMANICS AND GERMANI (PRE-TEUTONIC): A ROMAN MISUNDERSTANDING?

8 Comments

GermanenAD50
The Germanic tribes around AD 50. The tribes of the North Sea, the Rhine-Weser area and the Elbe had probably a strong pre-Teutonic (‘Germani’?) ethnic component.

.

By Periklis Deligiannis
.
[NOTE: This article is actually a part of my published  book  The Celts, Athens 2008, unfortunately available only in Greek.]
.
…. Apart from the most considerable Boii and Volcae peoples, other important Celtic tribes of central Europe were the Helvettii who originally were dwelling  in the valley of the river Main (modern Germany) before migrating to modern Switzerland, the Vendelici, the Norici, the Ambisontes, the Arabisci and others.
Of course, the Celts were not the only inhabitants of central Europe. In the 20th century, the study of place names and some archaeological data identified a large ethno-cultral group (and possibly linguistic) in the areas of modern Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and northern Germany, between the rivers Somme and Aller, which group did not speak neither Germanic nor Celtic (Gallic). These people possibly descended from the early Neolithic population of the region and they broadly adopted the Gallic culture but not the Celtic language (at least most of them). The people of the Lusatian culture in modern eastern Germany and Poland which was destroyed mainly by Scythian invaders (6th century BC), and the pre-Germanic inhabitants of Thuringia, northern Bohemia and other regions were possibly members of the same unknown ethnic group or groups. It was an unknown people (perhaps pre-Indo-European) who lived in a broad zone between the Celts and the Teutonics (Germanics) and most probably belonged to more than one linguistic group.

More

TWILIGHT OF THE VIKING LONGSHIP

2 Comments

oseberg viking ship

 hansa cog

Τop: The famous Oseberg Viking ship.
Below: A German cog. These  ships
– real floating  fortresses – were the  Nemesis of the Viking longships. Note the high towers on the prow and stern, heavily manned with archers. The marines used to take posistions on the deck of the ship.
.

by  P.  Deligiannis

.
The Proto-Scandinavian boats, the progenitors of the Viking longships, first appear in cave paintings of Norway around 1500 BC. Millennia of evolution led to the superb Viking longships. Around 600-700 AD these progenitor ships were exclusively oared light, flexible and fragile structures that could not withstand the weight and pressure of the mast and sail. Soon afterwards the Scandinavian shipbuilders imitated the ships of the Mediterranean, adding a long beam (the keel) along the bottom of the ship. The keel made ​​them strong enough to hold the mast and sail. The addition of the keel around AD 700 marked the beginnings of the classic Viking ship and since then it was no longer propelled only by oars. The Scandinavians soon adopted the square sail of the Mediterranean, which allowed them to sail in the seas far away from their homeland.

More

RES VITAE ET MORS: ROMΑNS, CIMBRI AND TEUTONES– PART IΙ

Leave a comment

Celts
The  Late  Cimbri  and  Teutones  who  confronted  the  Romans,  consisted  largely  of  Celts,  probably  in  the  most  part  according  to  many  historians. Their  appearance  was  frightening  for  the  peoples  of  the  Mediterranean,  as  it  is  analyzed  in  the  Greco-Roman  sources,  and  undoubtedly  many  if  not  almost  all  of  them,  bore  the  typical  Celtic  tattoo,  like  the  Celt  in  the  photograph  (an  accurate  reenactment  of  Celtic  warriors,  Silurian  in  this  case, by  a   Welsh  historic  society. Note specifically Taranis’  wheel tattooed on the forhead of the warrior) 
.

By  Periklis    Deligiannis

.

CONTINUED FROM PART I

.
The  Romans  appealed  to  general  Gaius  Marius who  was meant  to  be  the  greatest  reformer  of  the  Roman  army.  Marius,  just  25  years old,  radically  reorganized  the  Roman  army. He  turned  the  Roman  legionnaire  from  a  half-armored  citizen-warrior  of  limited  military  service  to  a  fully  armored  and  professional  soldier  of  permanent  service,  aided  by  strong  allied  troops  (auxilia, socii) of  the  subjugated  peoples.  He  trained  his  legionnaires  with  his  own  methods,  creating  in  two  years  a  well-organized  and  disciplined  army.  Meanwhile  the  Cimbri-Teutones  invaded  Spain  and  Gaul,  marching  in  the  territories  of  tribes  who  were  not  their  allies,  probably  trying  to make  them  their  allies  by  force.  They  were  repulsed  by  the Celtiberians  in  Spain  and  by  the  Belgians  in  Gaul.  Their  Celtic  kinsmen  knew (unlike  the  Romans)  very  well  how  to  deal  with  them.  Ultimately  the  Cimbri-Teutones  decided  to  invade  Italy  but  they  divided  their  forces,  possibly  due  to  disagreement  between  their  leaders  or  in  order  to  cause  confusion  to  the  Roman  military  leadership  and  divide  the  Roman  army.  The  allied  tribes  were  also  devided  between  the  two  major  tribal  unions.  For  example,  the  Tigurini  joined  the  Cimbri  and  the  Ambrones  joined  the  Teutones.  In  my  opinion,  this  ‘strange’  equality  of  military  forces  among  the  two  major  tribal  unions,  denotes  that  the  bisection  of  the  barbarian  forces  took  place  after  an  agreement  among  their  warlords.

More

RES VITAE ET MORS: ROMANS, CIMBRI AND TEUTONES – PART I

3 Comments

Guard Roman
The  skilful general  Gaius  Marius  turned  the  Roman  army  into  a  war  machine  of  fully  armored  professional  soldiers  (credit:  Εrmine  Street  Guard  Roman  Reenactment  Society).
.

By  Periklis    Deligiannis

.

[This  article is actually a part of my book  ‘The Celts‘, Periscope publ., Athens 2008, unfortunately available only in Greek]

.
In  113  BC  a  great  threat  appeared  in  the  horizon  of  the  Roman  world:  the  Cimbri  and  the  Teutones.  The  ancient  writers  usually  consider  these  two  peoples  as  Germanic,  but  their  leaders  had  Gallic/Celtic  names  (Boiorix,  Lugius,  Gaesorix  etc)  or  Celtisized  (Claodicus)  and  their  arms  and  armor  were  clearly  Celtic.  Plutarch  mentions,  in  an  episode  of  his  narrative  about  the  Cimbri-Teutones  invasions,  that  the  Cimbri  descended  quickly  the  slopes  of  the  Alps  using  their  shields  as  sleds  –  therefore  these  shields  were  of  the  large  Gallic  thyroid  type  rather  than  the  small  and  weak  Germanic  type.  When  the  Roman  officer  Sertorius  was  sent  by  Marius  to  spy  the  Cimbrian  camp,  he  wore  Celtic  clothes  and  learned  the  Gallic/Celtic  language  in  preparation  for  his  mission.  The  tribal  name  “Cimbri”  is  of  Celtic  origin  and  the  word  (and  verbal  prefix)  “Teuton-”  (meaning  “people”  and  “army”)  was  used  equally  by  Celts  and  Germans  (apparently  a  verbal  type  of  Proto-Indo-European  extraction).  These  are  just  some  of  the  evidence  that  led  many  researchers  of  the  20th  century  to  consider  the  two  tribes  as  Celtic  peoples  mistaken  by  the  Romans  to  be  Germanic.  However,  the  ancient  writers  mention  their  homeland,  the  Cimbrian  Peninsula  (modern  Jutland),  a  region  undoubtedly  Germanic  in  antiquity.  In  addition,  the  Massaliot  Greek  navigator  Pytheas  had  found  the  Teutones  living  on  an  island  in  the  Baltic  Sea  (4th  century  BC):  the  Baltic  coastal  areas  have  never  been  Celtic.

Ptolemy

Map  of  Germany  according  to  the  Geography  of  Claudius  Ptolemy.  We  can  see  the  remaining  Cimbri  at  the  northern  ends  of  the  land  (in  ‘Chersonesus  Cimbrica’,  modern  Jutland)  and  the  remaining  Teutones  somewhere  in  modern  Northeastern  Germany.
.

More

%d bloggers like this: