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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: Vendel period to Viking period.         Reply with quote

From another Topic about helms being Viking or maybe too early " Vendel " period I'm starting a new Topic about when and how is the Viking period distinguished from the earlier Vendel period ?
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=109307#109307

Arms, equiptment, culture ?

Martin Wallgren wrote:
Chuck Russell wrote:
ironage would be a far stretch i do believe for this time frame would it not? a vendel or migration era would better suit the name.

i am looking for the link for Halvgrimr's helmet page. i think he may have taken it down. it had just about every known vendal thru post viking helmet listed. hmmm i cant seem to find it. i will keep an eye out for you.


Ah, I wassn´t clear, I ment late late Roman Ironage/Migrationperiod... Sorry! And there has been so many changes in classifications here in Sweden I get a bit confused. It jus resently we hae started to call the period 500-1000 Early Medieval instead of Migrations - Vendel - Viking Period.


I see that there is a distinction between Viking and Vendel period or pre-Viking versus Viking periods.

Is there a sharp break between cultures in the sense of a totally different culture and population or just the evolution of the same peoples ? I'm assuming myself that the Vendel culture peoples would be the direct ancestors of the Viking period peoples with the same basic traditions and religion i.e. Odin, Thor ..... etc ... The difference being that the Viking period is defined by the tradition of going " A Viking " i.e. foreign exploration, raiding, trading, colonization and conquest.
This being new to the culture I think ? Oh, also the whole " Pantheon " of Nordic god being the same for the other Germanic or Northern peoples ? Also how closely related are all the Germanic cultures as far as we know outside of the Roman Empire from around the early Christian era to the Viking period.

Early Scandinavian populations part of the great German peoples Migration period or a distinct population or a mix of older groups and the later Germans ? ( Franks, Goths, Visigoths, Vandals ......... )

I guess I'm asking about Scandinavian pre-history or early history as well ?

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Mike Arledge




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 9:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know if there is a good simple answer to how the periods are differentiated. What most go off of is the year 793 being the first recorded mention of Viking incusrions into England. Many mark the high water of Viking era at or around 1066. As far as the Vendel period goes. It seems to run roughly into the mid 7th Century by the accounts I have seen, although some run it all the way to 793. Perhaps others can chime in. But at some point what we associate with Viking culture seems to all the sudden be on the scene in England and other places. Its kinda vague, but the real trait seems to be the sea raiding.

I won't speak for the facts, but a quick overview that seems to mostly follow what I have read in sources like Osprey can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_Age

I am not sure when the Vendel period ended for sure.

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Mikael Ranelius




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is no sharp distinction between the Vendel and Viking age. Thus the terms can be confusing and misleading, and like Martin wrote Scandinavian schollars nowadays tend to speak of the period 500-1000 as "Early Medieval". Especially the "Vendel age" is an akward term as it alludes to the unique finds from Vendel, but it's difficult to say whether the rest of present day Sweden - or Norway and Denmark for that matter - was a part of this "Vendel age" or "Vendel culture". What characterizes the viking age apart from previous centuries is the increase in contacts between Scandinavia and the outside world - not only by trade (which was always important to Scandinavians) but also by colonization and conquests of lands outside the traditional realm of the norse people. Of course weapons and warfare changed between AD 500 and AD 1100, but the change was gradual and determined by the development in continental Europa rather than within Scandinavia.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikael Ranelius wrote:
There is no sharp distinction between the Vendel and Viking age. Thus the terms can be confusing and misleading, and like Martin wrote Scandinavian schollars nowadays tend to speak of the period 500-1000 as "Early Medieval". Especially the "Vendel age" is an akward term as it alludes to the unique finds from Vendel, but it's difficult to say whether the rest of present day Sweden - or Norway and Denmark for that matter - was a part of this "Vendel age" or "Vendel culture". What characterizes the viking age apart from previous centuries is the increase in contacts between Scandinavia and the outside world - not only by trade (which was always important to Scandinavians) but also by colonization and conquests of lands outside the traditional realm of the norse people. Of course weapons and warfare changed between AD 500 and AD 1100, but the change was gradual and determined by the development in continental Europa rather than within Scandinavia.


Maybe the distinction is somewhat like calling the 19th century Victorians as being distinct from earlier British culture ?
More a cultural shift than a sharp break I guess.

Maybe the problem is that in most text I've read in the past about Viking history there is some vague mention of Vendel predecessors but the Vikings are almost talked about as if they just suddenly " appeared " from nowhere or as a new group of peoples becoming historically significant ! Maybe a tendency to see things as neat little packages that can be labelled as opposed to a more evolutionary process ?

Oh, and thanks for the comments so far. Cool

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Max von Bargen




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Maybe the distinction is somewhat like calling the 19th century Victorians as being distinct from earlier British culture ?
More a cultural shift than a sharp break I guess.

Maybe the problem is that in most text I've read in the past about Viking history there is some vague mention of Vendel predecessors but the Vikings are almost talked about as if they just suddenly " appeared " from nowhere or as a new group of peoples becoming historically significant ! Maybe a tendency to see things as neat little packages that can be labelled as opposed to a more evolutionary process ?

Oh, and thanks for the comments so far. Cool


From what I've seen in my (albeit limited) archaeological/historical experience, I would agree with you. Except for truly exceptional events, most change is gradual rather than sudden.
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Darrin Hughes




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't forget that the word Viking describes the act of raiding rather than the raiders themselves. This is why the Viking Age in Britain is seen as having started in 793 with the attack on the monastery at Lindisfarne. From the point of view of the monks, who referred to the raiders simply as Northmen rather than Vikings, the Viking Age did indeed begin suddenly.

Seen like this the Viking Age covers the period of Viking as an activity, rather than the Vikings as a people.

Darrin.
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Mike Arledge




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Darrin Hughes wrote:
Don't forget that the word Viking describes the act of raiding rather than the raiders themselves. This is why the Viking Age in Britain is seen as having started in 793 with the attack on the monastery at Lindisfarne. From the point of view of the monks, who referred to the raiders simply as Northmen rather than Vikings, the Viking Age did indeed begin suddenly.

Seen like this the Viking Age covers the period of Viking as an activity, rather than the Vikings as a people.

Darrin.


I agree with that. Perhaps it really is the best way to look at it. Viking as a verb is not a bad description of the entire age.

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Mikael Ranelius




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

Maybe the distinction is somewhat like calling the 19th century Victorians as being distinct from earlier British culture ?
More a cultural shift than a sharp break I guess.


Yes, that's an apt metaphor

Quote:
Maybe the problem is that in most text I've read in the past about Viking history there is some vague mention of Vendel predecessors but the Vikings are almost talked about as if they just suddenly " appeared " from nowhere or as a new group of peoples becoming historically significant ! Maybe a tendency to see things as neat little packages that can be labelled as opposed to a more evolutionary process ?

Oh, and thanks for the comments so far. Cool


The problem probably is the often careless use of terms like "Vendel age" and "vikings", even in academic litterature. Neither the people of Vendel, nor the vikings, were ethnic or political groups, but modern labels (yes, the word viking was indeed used at the time but probably not as often as we like to think). Vendel is a small parish in the province of Uppland, and the people living there in the 7th century and whose nobles were buried in the boat-graves must have thought of themselves as svear . Their viking descendants were also svear, just like there were vikings among the göts, danes, norwegians, gutar (gotlanders) and others
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One major axis of change seems to have been the ships or boats. From what I remember (vaguely) a major change in keels(?) or something which allowed the larger ocean-going longships (though only relatively small ones initially) and the trading ships knorr / knarr to be built. The pinnacle of these, the true huge drakkars (or busse or sud depending on whose terminology you use) didn't really arise until almost the end, arguably the peak of the age in the late 10th century / early 11th.

The Helge Aske replica by the way of one (biggest ever viking ship replica of the truly large 30 benchers) just arrived in the British Isles IIRC, having sailed all the way from Denmark.


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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the Boatgraves from central Uppland refered to as Vendelperiod graves is that they are kind of a pussle. They are pretty uniqe and have extreemly rich burial gifts. The contemporary find we have in sweden don´t even get as bling bligish by far. This has been sugested to be a result of espesially rich merchants too that it is some verry succesful mercenarys buried in the boat graves. The likeness to the Sutton Hoo graves has suggested a link in some way, but other stuff like the horsegear and strange bars (could be splinted armour or something else) has made some schollars to look east. Still there is very vague written sourses to back up who they where or if they where locals or imigrants.

That they would have called themselfs Svear is not a bad guess, but it is a guess. They could have been importent men from another cultures. There is hints in old sagas and tales, like Beowulf and other, that chieftains/kings had groups of warriors around them from all over northern Europe at their halls, and that they gave this men gifts like weapons and gold jewllery for their service. It could be graves over men like this.

A Theory on the transition between the "Vendel" and the "Viking" era I heared discussed at a open seminar a while ago was the Finbulwinter, a decline in average temprature that made the life harder and the opportunity to trade peasfully less good, witch in it´s turn made men desperate enough to dare the more risky occupation of raiding. It could also explaine the apperance of less rich graves and the more frequent custom of hoards.

Again it´s only guesses.

My personal theory is they where Traders and Mecenarys that had been abroad bringing home ritches and tales from all over Europe... (probally a fantasy but imagine being a young warrior sitting by the hearth lissening to tales of Merovingian France, Langobardian Italy and the Byzantine Empire from thiese old scared men...)

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 8:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
One major axis of change seems to have been the ships or boats. From what I remember (vaguely) a major change in keels(?) or something which allowed the larger ocean-going longships (though only relatively small ones initially) and the trading ships knorr / knarr to be built. The pinnacle of these, the true huge drakkars (or busse or sud depending on whose terminology you use) didn't really arise until almost the end, arguably the peak of the age in the late 10th century / early 11th.


Hmm. I'm not sure about that, but this site probably has some fairly detailed information on it:

http://www.cma.soton.ac.uk/HistShip/shlecmen.htm
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 8:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
One major axis of change seems to have been the ships or boats. From what I remember (vaguely) a major change in keels(?) or something which allowed the larger ocean-going longships (though only relatively small ones initially) and the trading ships knorr / knarr to be built. The pinnacle of these, the true huge drakkars (or busse or sud depending on whose terminology you use) didn't really arise until almost the end, arguably the peak of the age in the late 10th century / early 11th.


Hmm. I'm not sure about that, but this site probably has some fairly detailed information on it:

http://www.cma.soton.ac.uk/HistShip/shlecmen.htm


Thanks for the site and I will have a good look later and I have bookmarked it on my MAC for future reference: As well of swords or general history I really enjoy the history of ships and the history of fortifications.

At school when I was bored I would draw plans for fortifications or draw old galleons or carracks in the style of Bruegel: Well, inspired by that style at least. http://www.thinker.org/imagebase_zoom.asp?rec=3328201304840059

Back to the Vikings: Same peoples as the pre-Viking era ( avoiding the Vendel issue ) but with a cultural shift or doing something new i.e. going a Viking. ( activity not a name they would have applied to themselves as an appelation !? ).

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PostPosted: Tue 31 Jul, 2007 1:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Back to the Vikings: Same peoples as the pre-Viking era ( avoiding the Vendel issue ) but with a cultural shift or doing something new i.e. going a Viking. ( activity not a name they would have applied to themselves as an appelation !? ).


Yes! The thing is we don´t realy know where the raiders on Lindisfarne came from. But it is unlikley they where from the area inhabeted by the people called Svear. So the decendents of the men in the graves in Uppland where much more prone to go east to trade/raid. We have to remember that the journy between modern day Norway or Denmark to Uppland was long and dangerous while a boat ride to Novgorod or Germany was just a fraction of the time and a third as dangerous. In our day we tend to group this people toghether but at their time the only shared the base of their language and some of their nobility had some intermarriage. But man many Svear lived their lives without meeting a man from Tröndelag (area in Norway).

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Jul, 2007 9:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Back to the Vikings: Same peoples as the pre-Viking era ( avoiding the Vendel issue ) but with a cultural shift or doing something new i.e. going a Viking. ( activity not a name they would have applied to themselves as an appelation !? ).


Right, because of the ships.

The cultural change was because of the technological change of the ships.

I have sources on all of that somewhere on the hard drive from my old computer. Kind of a chore to go find 'em but I'll go and look them up if somebody doesn't beat me to it (hint hint).




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Jim Adelsen
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Jul, 2007 12:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the people of the migration and Viking Age were very much the same. Many of the pre-Viking Age hero's (Hrolf Kraki/Beowulf) are considered Viking by many. The sagas are very similiar for both periods. The main difference I have found is the earlier sagas tend to have more monster type creatures and magic. The people themselves seem very similar however.

The Vendel finds are quite a mystery to me and I haven't been able to put together a good theory for myself. It's extremely odd to me that these finds are so rich yet we don't know anything about these people. Plus how similar they are to the Sutton Hoo find adds to the mystery. Sadly we don't have anyone who wrote more from the Swedish point of view. Saxo Gramaticus covered the Danes well and Snorri covers Norway/Iceland/Greenland well. I'm always curious to read others theories.

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Mikael Ranelius




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Jul, 2007 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jim Adelsen wrote:
The Vendel period is quite a mystery to me and I haven't been able to put together a good theory for myself. It's extremely odd to me that these finds are so rich yet we don't know anything about these people. Plus how similar they are to the Sutton Hoo find adds to the mystery. Sadly we don't have anyone who wrote more from the Swedish point of view. Saxo Gramatica covered the Danes well and Snorri covers Norway/Iceland/Greenland well. I'm always curious to read others theories.


Both Saxo and Snorri deals with Sweden, most important is the Ynglinga Saga (part of Heimskringla) where Snorri quotes the ancient poem of Ynglingatal (which is sadly lost in its full version). According to the ancient sources (Snorri, Íslendingabók, Historia Norvegiae, Saxo and others) the royal Ynglingaätt (Ynglinga family) of the Svear had its power base in Tiundaland, the ancient province which Vendel, Valsgärde and Ulltuna is a part of. Therefore, I think it's most likely that the boat-graves from these places belong to the Svea kings, or at least high-ranking members of the royal family.

By the way I have some 19th and 18th century ancestors from Vendel, so I'm probably some how a descendant of the men in the boat-graves Cool

Quote:
Right, because of the ships.

The cultural change was because of the technological change of the ships.

I have sources on all of that somewhere on the hard drive from my old computer. Kind of a chore to go find 'em but I'll go and look them up if somebody doesn't beat me to it (hint hint).


It might have something to do with that. But I think the reasons for the outburst of viking raids were mainly political rather than technological. New, powerful and rich chieftains could afford to develope and build these new ships, and muster the men who fought in them
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David Huggins




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Aug, 2007 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice thread, but it must be remembered that germanic pirates had been plying their trade in the north sea prior to their 'sudden' appearance in the A.S. chronicles, for some centuries, certainly germanic seamen had circumnavigated the British Isles prior to the so called 'Viking Age', and that the Danish 'Vikings' where also nothing short of 'Anglo-Saxons' a few generations removed. I think this removes the ship theory.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Aug, 2007 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think what characterizes the "Viking era" is going to be a matter of opinion depending upon the purpose of the definition (weapons?, ancestory?, etc.)
But the time frame of "viking era" as consistently defined in history references, as well as it's historical appearance in writing is not subjective. The historical use of the word "Vik/ Viking", as well as the popular theories on entymology of the word itself is intertwined with sea born warriors. The longships themselves are probably the most distinctively unique phenomena associated with late 8th to 11th century "vikings" based in NW Europe at that time.

I agree with the precedents of "Germanic tribes" using ships, and vaguely recall them factoring in in some accounts of the fall of the Roman Empire (late 5th century to early 6th century timeframe.) That said, many of the weapons, ruinic symbols, etc. that seem to get lumped into "Viking" mystique (sold as "viking sword reproductions, etc.) can also be broadly attributed to a wide range of "migration era" peoples, Franks, Merovingians, Vendels, etc. of Western Europe who ended up permanently settled in different areas, with somewhat different 9th through 11th century behavior patterns than 8th through 11th century Danish and Swedish area "vikings."

I am really not trying to pick an argument with anyone, just pointing out that "viking era", and origins of Germanic/ +migration era pre-viking tribes seems like trying to differentiate between broad long term ancestral background versus a specific event of just a few generations.



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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 10 Aug, 2007 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I am really not trying to pick an argument with anyone, just pointing out that "viking era", and origins of Germanic/ +migration era pre-viking tribes seems like trying to differentiate between broad long term ancestral background versus a specific event of just a few generations.
.


Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Cool and a good wrap-up of the nuances of what was distinctive about the Viking period and what was just a continuation of previous local to Scandinavian / Germanic cultures.

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PostPosted: Fri 10 Aug, 2007 11:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By norwegian definition, the Viking age begins the moment the fist boot hits land at Lindesfarne in 793, and ends them moment Olav Haraldson slumps to the ground in 1030.

After this later event, the population of norway, abhorred by what they had done, meticolosly gathered together all their leather bracers, big baggy pants, lammelar armour, and other vikingy apparel, and burnt them, in the Great Kit Purge of '31, which is why there is so little reseblance between early medevial (post-purge) , and vikings (pre purge) kit...

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