A set of web links to information on medieval Scandinavia by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.
NOTE: See also the files: Norse-msg, pst-Vik-Norse-msg, Norway-msg, fd-Norse-msg, cl-Norse-msg, Russia-msg, books-Norse-msg, Norse-crafts-bib, Norse-food-art, Vikg-n-Irelnd-art, Norse-women-bib, N-drink-trad-art.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: Lis <liontamr at ptd.net>
Date: Wed Dec 10, 2003 9:19:35 PM US/Central
To: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
Subject: Links: Medieval Scandanavia
Greetings readers! This week I am covering Medieval Scandinavia. I have
tried to approach the subject from varying directions so as to find some
sources you may or may not have seen in this column before.
At any rate, please enjoy this list as you are wont to do, and pass it
along to those who would also enjoy it, using it to update your own webpages
as you see fit.
Medieval and Prehistoric Northern Europe
A List of Links
European Middle Ages: The Norse
(Site excerpt) The last great waves of European migrations began in the
eighth century and picked up dramatically in the ninth and tenth centuries.
This time it was a group of relatively sedentary Germanic tribes in the
northernmost reaches of Europe, the Norsemen. These were really not one
ethnic group, but an entire spectrum of peoples speaking many different
languages. For all that, the principal Norsemen that raided and emigrated
out of Northern Europe were Norwegians and Danish. Again, however, these are
not single ethnic groups-the Danes, for instance, were an entire set of
(Site Excerpt) The tiny wooden temples called Stave Churches, of which a
sketch of Rollag Stave Church of Numedal can be seen above, have survived
here for nearly 900 years. This kind of churches were once a common sight
all over Northern Europe, but for some reason only a few made it into our
time. Constructed of Pine, using a technique left by the Vikings, these
relics are indeed a "must see" to everyone who visit us.
Telling Time without a Clock: Scandinavian Daymarks
(Site Excerpt) One simple way to tell time was to divide the daylight time
and the night time into segments. Many cultures did this, using different
numbers of segments. For example, the Chinese divided one sun-cycle into 12
sections and the Hindus into 60. Very early on, the Egyptians divided the
period between sunrise and sunset into 10 sections, and then added two more
sections for the periods of twilight at dawn and nightfall—making 12
sections of daylight time.
Viking Fighting Notes from 23 Sagas
(Site Excerpt) This article is a collection of quotations on the use of arms
and armor during the Viking period. Its purpose is to provide students of
historical armed combat quick access to information from 23 Sagas without
having to read through over 1600 pages to find it. These sagas cover the 9th
through the 12th century, and these versions were written down during the
12th through 14th century.
Medieval Iceland: Society, Sagas, and Power
A Book for Sale
Medieval Castles in Finland
(Site Excerpt) In Finnish history, the prehistoric era is generally
considered to end and the Middle Ages to begin in the 1150s, when, according
to a Swedish chronicle, King Erik of Sweden and English-born Bishop Henry
undertook a crusade to the southwestern parts of Finland. The chronicle's
claim that the Bishop 'baptized' the Finns has later been modified.
Archaeological finds have shown that Christianity had reached the Finns as
early as the eleventh century, and the main purpose of the crusade was thus
to establish Swedish dominion in Finland and organize a bishopric there.
Medieval Society and Economy in Finland
(Site Excerpt) The economy of medieval Finland was based on agriculture, but
the brevity of the growing season, coupled with the paucity of good soil,
required that farming be supplemented by hunting, fishing, trapping, and
gathering. All but a small portion of the Finnish population earned their
livelihood in this way
Viking Age in Finland
(Site Excerpt) The Finns lived mainly in the southern part of the Finnish
mainland, along the seacoast and on the shores of inland lakes. To the east
and north lived hunters and fishers who may either have been ancestors of
the Saami (Lapps) or of some other branch, of the widespread Finno-Ugrians.
Before the Slavs migrated to the north, vast areas of northern Europe formed
the hunting and fishing territories of Finnish tribes, many of which, in
contrast to the Finns in Finland, became extinct through assimilation with
King Harald Harfager of Norway (r. 860-930):
Laws for Land Property
(Site Excerpt) King Harald made this law over all the lands he conquered,
that all the udal (allodial) property should belong to him; and that the
bondes, both great and small, should pay him land dues for their
Architecture in Norway
(Site Excerpt) Timber was always available just about everywhere and to
everyone. With fairly simple means, small but sufficiently warm dwellings
could be built. In our climate, stone houses were a mark of the wealthy. It
takes the efforts of many people to cut stone, and unless one can afford a
great deal of fuel, the stone house is cold and uncomfortable. This is why
stone has been reserved for the largest and the smallest projects; churches
and fortresses on the one hand, modest hunters' cabins and fishermen's huts,
on the other.
Viking and Medieval Combs from the island of Gotland, Sweden
Hammer in the North: Mjollnir in Medieval Scandinavia
(Site Excerpt) In the archaeological record of tenth century Scandinavia,
there is evidence for the proliferation of small metal amulets representing
Mjollnir, the magical hammer of the god Thor. Thor's hammer is recognised as
one of the most distinctive religious symbols of the heathen Norse, and for
a time was the chief rival of the Christian cross among the peoples of
Medieval Scandinavia and Iceland. It was celebrated in Scandinavian
mythology as the primary defence of gods and men against destruction at the
hands of the fearsome frost-giants.
The Medieval Centre Experimental Museum
(Site Excerpt) We are now entering the realm of Queen Margrethe the First.
In the village the smith, the shoemaker, and the sewers operate, and on the
hill at the harbour the Dyer lives. On market days the villagers are
teeming around the stalls with local and foreign goods, and now and then
artists, musicians harlots and riff raff arrive at the village to stay a
while. Henrik Svane, the noble Knight, is training with the horses and
weapons in magnificiant knight tournaments.
Living words & luminous pictures
12 medieval manuscripts in The Royal Library - Copenhagen
(Site Excerpt) The exhibition, which was open to the public from September
15 to December 30, 1999 in the library's new building "The Black Diamond",
showed 150 manuscripts and books, made in the period from the 9th Century up
to the end of the Middle Ages.
Waldemar the Victorious of Denmark:
Grant of Market Privileges to Men of LŸbeck, 1203
(Site Excerpt) Waldemar the Victorious, King of Denmark, who controlled much
of the Baltic lands by reason of his conquests, was able to grant privileges
in southern Sweden, the center of the herring trade, to LŸbeck, since Scania
formed a part of the Danish dominions. Thus the trade of LŸbeck expanded in
the direction of the North Sea as well as in other directions.
Medieval Beer Mug with Blown Handle (AD 1500, Denmark)
Image and Text
Museums in Denmark
A List of Links
Medieval Mechanical Artillery
(Site Excerpt) The design is a simplification and development of that of an
engine built in Denmark in 1989. Differences can be found in the joinery,
the trigger mechanism, the addition of a winch and a "counterweight propping
beam", and a less complex tower and ground frame structure. In addition,
medieval woodworking methods and tools have been used as far as possible.
The Institute for the Study of Illuminated Manuscripts in Denmark
(Site Excerpt) This collection of notes on Books of Hours in Danish
Collections is intended for students and scholars already specialized
in the analysis of medieval manuscripts.
Medieval North European Spindles and Whorls
© 1995, 1999, 2000 Carolyn Priest-Dorman
(Site Excerpt) Each of six major published works assembles a number of
spindle whorls from medieval Scandinavia and areas of Scandinavian
influence. Eva Andersson analyzes over 230 Scanian whorls from fifth through
eleventh century Sweden. Jan Petersen refers to 450 whorls and five spindles
from Viking Age Norway. Ingvild ¯ye carefully analyzes 410 whorls and 31
spindles from twelfth through fifteenth century Bergen, Norway.
BODIES OF THE BOGS
(Site Excerpt) ver the past centuries, remains of many hundreds of
people--men, women, and children--have come to light during peat cutting
activities in northwestern Europe, especially in Ireland, Great Britain, the
Netherlands, northern Germany, and Denmark. These are the "bog bodies." The
individual bog bodies show a great degree of variation in their state of
preservation, from skeletons, to well-preserved complete bodies, to isolated
heads and limbs. They range in date from 8000 B.C. to the early medieval
period. Most date from the centuries around the beginning of our era. We do
not know exactly how many bog bodies have been found--many have disappeared
since their discovery.
A DANISH GOSPEL
Frescoes in Danish Churches
(Site Excerpt) THERE IS A STONE IN JUTLAND, AT JELLING, on which is written
in the ancient Danish runic alphabet that it was set up by Harold Blue
Tooth, "who made the Danes Christian." It was not as simple or as quick as
that, but certainly the Danish Vikings had decided that they had had enough
of being pirates on the edge of civilisation. They wanted to come out of the
cold and to embrace civilisation as it then was in Europe. This was
Christendom, and they became Christians.
The 92 medieval churches of Gotland
Click on the map to see images of the churches
Life of Anskar, the Apostle of the North, 801-865
(Site Excerpt) When one of Anskar's followers suggested to him that he could
work miracles he replied, " Were I worthy of such a favour from my God, I
would ask that He would grant to me this one miracle, that by His grace He
would make of me a good man." No one can read the "Life" written by Rimbert
his disciple and successor which, after being lost for five hundred years,
was fortunately rediscovered, without feeling moved to thank God for the
accomplishment of the miracle for which Anskar had prayed. He was a good man
in the best and truest sense of the term. In the character presented to us
by his biographer we have a singularly attractive combination of transparent
humility, unflinching courage, complete self devotion, and unwavering belief
in a loving and overruling providence
Dear Viking Answer Lady:
I'd like to learn more about the Viking trade center at Birka. Can you help?
by Christie Ward
(Site Excerpt) Birka sits upon the island of Bjšrkš at the entrance of the
MŠlar Sea (sometimes called Lake MŠlar), not far from the site of modern
Stockholm. Birka therefore acted as the trade center and gateway for all of
Central Sweden. The major east-west trade route passed along the southern
Swedish coastline, through Bornholm, Oland, and Gotland, but Birka was the
richest trade center of all. Traders came to Birka from Frisia,
Anglo-Saxon England, Germany, the Baltic countries, Greeks from Byzantium,
and Orientals. (See also her pages dedicated to: General Viking Age
Information and History, Daily Life In Viking Age Scandinavia, Science,
Engineering and Technology In Viking Age Scandinavia, Viking Age
Agriculture, Farming, and Animal Husbandry
Warfare and Combat in the Viking Age, Art and Literature In Viking Age
Scandinavia, Mythology and Religion In Viking Age Scandinavia, Viking
Expansion, Raids, Trade, and Settlements in the Viking Age, Books, Articles,
and Other Resources Dealing with the Viking Age).
or The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway
The Ynglinga Saga,
or The Story of the Yngling Family from Odin to Halfdan the Black
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #15b
(Site Excerpt) It is said that the earth's circle which the human race
is torn across into many bights, so that great seas run into the
land from the out-ocean. Thus it is known that a great sea goes
in at Narvesund (1), and up to the land of Jerusalem. From the
same sea a long sea-bight stretches towards the north-east, and
is called the Black Sea, and divides the three parts of the
earth; of which the eastern part is called Asia, and the western
is called by some Europa, by some Enea.
An Archaeological Guide to Viking Men's Clothing
(Site Excerpt) Only by playing the part of a Viking from a specific time and
place can one bring to the status of an SCA Viking its appropriate glory and
respect. It is a sad fact that no one really respects generic Vikings. But
hang a date and a locale on your persona, and be able to demonstrate it in
your choice of clothing, and poof! Instant respect! This pamphlet is
designed to help you design Viking clothing ensembles that look like they
come from a particular time and/or place. By dint of assiduous documenting,
it is also designed to help guide those who are interested in further
Resources for Viking Women's Clothing
A Listof Sites and resources