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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Fri 24 Jul, 2009 10:31 pm    Post subject: Vendel Period Culture         Reply with quote

I was so impressed with the thread here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...;start=140 that I decided to start a discussion with more on the weapons and culture from this time. I feel like the armor of Vendel Period Sweden and England have been well discussed in the above link and elsewhere (though feel free to contribute more info here). But I feel like the weapons and especially the culture have been sadly unrepresented. Here's what I've found so far. Feel free to post more links if you find them.


Sword threads:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...=valsgarde
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...=valsgarde

Were the blades pattern welded (I'm assuming an overwhelming yeah on this one)? What about fullers, were they deep or shallow, wide or narrow, there or not? How rare were swords during this period?

What sort of weapons would the average person (ie not from Vendel, Valsgarde, or Sutton Hoo) have used?


Culture thread:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...=valsgarde

How was language changing at this time in Sweden and elsewhere? I have attached a rune list that I made based on three runestones from the Vendel Period in Sweden, but what about the language itself? Was it Old Norse?

What was religion like at this time? Was it a time of transition from the older Vanir religion to the newer Aesir one (check out John Grigsby's "Beowulf and Grendel")? Was it already in the "Viking Age" form?

What was the political situation like around Scandinavia? Swedes vs Geats who are allied to Danes? What about Norwegians? Finns? Saami? Estonians? Franks? Jutes? Slavs? Anglo Saxons? What was the nature of interaction between and within these groups?

What sort of everyday equipment has been dated to this period? Hygeine kits, clothes, tableware, belts, etc.

I think that's a healthy list of questions... Laughing Out Loud I'd appreciate any input.



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David Huggins




Location: UK
Joined: 25 Jul 2007

Posts: 490

PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 2:18 am    Post subject: Vendel Period Culture         Reply with quote

Hi Myles

That's a lot of questions Eek! I'm sure Paul M will be able to answer some of your questions when he looks at this post (Paul's fourth coming book looks at many of the questions you have asked) and when I arrive home I'll attempt to give some answers and resource links for you to look at also. The Beowulf and Grendel book you mention is a good read too if not repetative in the authors attempt to reinforce his theories to the reader..I felt like I was been banged on the head with a book by a teacher trying to drive his lesson home!

cheers

Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,227

PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 5:29 am    Post subject: Re: Vendel Period Culture         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:
I was so impressed with the thread here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...;start=140 that I decided to start a discussion with more on the weapons and culture from this time. I feel like the armor of Vendel Period Sweden and England have been well discussed in the above link and elsewhere (though feel free to contribute more info here). But I feel like the weapons and especially the culture have been sadly unrepresented. Here's what I've found so far. Feel free to post more links if you find them.


Sword threads:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...=valsgarde
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...=valsgarde

Were the blades pattern welded (I'm assuming an overwhelming yeah on this one)? What about fullers, were they deep or shallow, wide or narrow, there or not? How rare were swords during this period?



With little knowledge I have I will try to answer just this part about the swords. This is description of Geibig type 1 and 2 blades. 1 was used from the beggining of the Vendel period and 2 started to be used at the very end of it.

Type 1: This type is short and stout, with parallel or nearly parallel edges only coming to a point near the tip. These blades generally have either a very shallow fuller or no fuller at all. The overall length is almost always under 31.5", and in some cases it may be even less than 27.5". Blades of this type tend to be very "point-heavy." All of the hilt types with blades of Type 1 that have been found appear to date from before circa 800 CE.

Type 2: These blades are of a transitional type and possess a slightly more refined appearance owing to the introduction of a convex curve along the blade edge. The fuller is generally well-defined and for the most part mirrors the shape of the blade, reaching a short, rather blunt point near the tip of the blade itself. The type is divided into three variants. Variant A represents the heavier, broad fullered examples (greater than .9" wide, 27.5" to 31.5" long). Variant B represents the slimmer, lighter blades (~.75" wide, 25.25" to 27.5" long). Variant C examples fall somewhere in-between the other two. Type 2 blades first appear around the mid-8th century and can, on the basis of the hilt types which accompany them, be assumed to have been in use at least through the first half of the 10th century. It cannot yet be ascertained whether these later examples represent re-hilted older blades or newly produced blades of an older type.

And yes, you are right, they were mostly pattern welded, but they also used piled construction and there were even some mono steel blades presumed to be of lower quality made by local smiths.

If you want, read more about Geibig typology and see the pictures here: http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_geibig.html
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Vendel Period Culture         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Myles Mulkey wrote:
I was so impressed with the thread here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...;start=140 that I decided to start a discussion with more on the weapons and culture from this time. I feel like the armor of Vendel Period Sweden and England have been well discussed in the above link and elsewhere (though feel free to contribute more info here). But I feel like the weapons and especially the culture have been sadly unrepresented. Here's what I've found so far. Feel free to post more links if you find them.


Sword threads:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...=valsgarde
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...=valsgarde

Were the blades pattern welded (I'm assuming an overwhelming yeah on this one)? What about fullers, were they deep or shallow, wide or narrow, there or not? How rare were swords during this period?



With little knowledge I have I will try to answer just this part about the swords. This is description of Geibig type 1 and 2 blades. 1 was used from the beggining of the Vendel period and 2 started to be used at the very end of it.

Type 1: This type is short and stout, with parallel or nearly parallel edges only coming to a point near the tip. These blades generally have either a very shallow fuller or no fuller at all. The overall length is almost always under 31.5", and in some cases it may be even less than 27.5". Blades of this type tend to be very "point-heavy." All of the hilt types with blades of Type 1 that have been found appear to date from before circa 800 CE.

Type 2: These blades are of a transitional type and possess a slightly more refined appearance owing to the introduction of a convex curve along the blade edge. The fuller is generally well-defined and for the most part mirrors the shape of the blade, reaching a short, rather blunt point near the tip of the blade itself. The type is divided into three variants. Variant A represents the heavier, broad fullered examples (greater than .9" wide, 27.5" to 31.5" long). Variant B represents the slimmer, lighter blades (~.75" wide, 25.25" to 27.5" long). Variant C examples fall somewhere in-between the other two. Type 2 blades first appear around the mid-8th century and can, on the basis of the hilt types which accompany them, be assumed to have been in use at least through the first half of the 10th century. It cannot yet be ascertained whether these later examples represent re-hilted older blades or newly produced blades of an older type.

And yes, you are right, they were mostly pattern welded, but they also used piled construction and there were even some mono steel blades presumed to be of lower quality made by local smiths.

If you want, read more about Geibig typology and see the pictures here: http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_geibig.html

Excellent info Luka! Thanks for the link.
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 2:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Vendel Period Culture         Reply with quote

David Huggins wrote:
Hi Myles

That's a lot of questions Eek! I'm sure Paul M will be able to answer some of your questions when he looks at this post (Paul's fourth coming book looks at many of the questions you have asked) and when I arrive home I'll attempt to give some answers and resource links for you to look at also. The Beowulf and Grendel book you mention is a good read too if not repetative in the authors attempt to reinforce his theories to the reader..I felt like I was been banged on the head with a book by a teacher trying to drive his lesson home!

cheers

Dave

Haha! I know it's alot to cover. I'm fascinated by this time period and, while I loved the thread on clothing and armor, I'd like to see a good thread on the other aspects of life during this time.
Paul Mortimer? Is his book out yet? I'd love to check it out.

RE: John Grigsby's book, no joke about the repitition! Laughing Out Loud
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Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
Joined: 06 Mar 2007

Posts: 252

PostPosted: Mon 27 Jul, 2009 4:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just as the runic script underwent a sort of transition from the elder futhark to the younger, the language would (as far as we can tell) have been in an intermediate form between proto-Norse (probably similar to Gothic) and Old Norse as we know it from the 8th century onwards.

I’m not very familiar with clothing from this time and place. The closest thing I can think of are the 4th century male garments excavated from Thorsberg Moor:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorsberg_moor

Tunics reaching hip to mid-tigh worn along with trousers are also depicted on Gotlandic picture stones. Caftan-like garments are featured on the Valsgärde helmet-plaques, these are sometimes interpreted as padded arming coats among reenactors, although I think it’s more likely they’re rather supposed to represent “civilian” pieces of clothing. Cloaks must have been common among both sexes judging by the abundance of fibulas and buckles unearthed from this period.
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Paul Mortimer




Location: England, Essex
Joined: 28 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the plug Dave!

Hi Myles,
Politically all the regions that you mention - Scandinavia, the Baltic regions, AS England and most of Germany would seem to consist of relatively small kingdoms by the late 6th century. Most of these were in competition with their neighbours and many conducted raids by land and sea to give their warriors, especially the young ones, practice in warfare and the opportunity to gain booty and self improvement. Kings/chieftains appear to have been judged by how well the harvests went, their ability to keep raiders away from their regions and their ability to intercede with the gods. Failure to sustain their 'luck' could have dire consequences for the 'king' as there would often be ambitious men who thought that they had could do a better job or who had a better claim to rule and were just waiting for an opportunity to exploit.

The super power in the region were the Merovingians, most of whom by the 6th century seem to be seeing themselves as heirs to the Roman Empire and were adopting what they saw as Roman ways. They did tend to fight each other a lot so did not manage to conquer all their neighbours.

It does seem that some young warriors, especially aristocratic ones, would seek their fortunes with a famous king for a while, before returning to their own lands. Beowulf and Hrolf Kraki may have been two such examples -- although their stories appear to be set in the 5th century.

As for religion -- there do seem to be many recurring themes in the images that occur throughout AS England, Scandinavia and the German lands and as far south as the Lombards. This may hint at a common ideology and even religious ideas. The images that I am referring to can be found on brooches, weapons and other items. Wether they saw themselves as religious is another matter - they do not appear to have had a word for the practice -- it is highly likely that they did not differentiate between the secular and the religious; that the one was a continuation of the other. There is some evidence that the king/chieftain was expected to perform the correct rituals when appropriate - this would include the sacrifice of animals and maybe humans, at times.

It does seem, too, that women did not occupy a particularly subservient role to men, that they were free to own property whether married or not and were honoured for their role in society. As far as magic goes, it seems that they were generally regarded as having more power than men.


Cheers,

Paul
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 7:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Mortimer wrote:
Thanks for the plug Dave!

Hi Myles,
Politically all the regions that you mention - Scandinavia, the Baltic regions, AS England and most of Germany would seem to consist of relatively small kingdoms by the late 6th century. Most of these were in competition with their neighbours and many conducted raids by land and sea to give their warriors, especially the young ones, practice in warfare and the opportunity to gain booty and self improvement. Kings/chieftains appear to have been judged by how well the harvests went, their ability to keep raiders away from their regions and their ability to intercede with the gods. Failure to sustain their 'luck' could have dire consequences for the 'king' as there would often be ambitious men who thought that they had could do a better job or who had a better claim to rule and were just waiting for an opportunity to exploit.

The super power in the region were the Merovingians, most of whom by the 6th century seem to be seeing themselves as heirs to the Roman Empire and were adopting what they saw as Roman ways. They did tend to fight each other a lot so did not manage to conquer all their neighbours.

It does seem that some young warriors, especially aristocratic ones, would seek their fortunes with a famous king for a while, before returning to their own lands. Beowulf and Hrolf Kraki may have been two such examples -- although their stories appear to be set in the 5th century.

As for religion -- there do seem to be many recurring themes in the images that occur throughout AS England, Scandinavia and the German lands and as far south as the Lombards. This may hint at a common ideology and even religious ideas. The images that I am referring to can be found on brooches, weapons and other items. Wether they saw themselves as religious is another matter - they do not appear to have had a word for the practice -- it is highly likely that they did not differentiate between the secular and the religious; that the one was a continuation of the other. There is some evidence that the king/chieftain was expected to perform the correct rituals when appropriate - this would include the sacrifice of animals and maybe humans, at times.

It does seem, too, that women did not occupy a particularly subservient role to men, that they were free to own property whether married or not and were honoured for their role in society. As far as magic goes, it seems that they were generally regarded as having more power than men.


Cheers,

Paul

Thanks Paul!

Had kingship made the transition from elected position to hereditary title? It's my understanding that early Germanic kingship was a title given by communal election (could be wrong, so correct me if I am).

By the way, are the rumors of your upcoming book true? I'd be interested...
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J. Johansson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 07 Jun 2009

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2009 2:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Myles Mulkey wrote:

Thanks Paul!

Had kingship made the transition from elected position to hereditary title? It's my understanding that early Germanic kingship was a title given by communal election (could be wrong, so correct me if I am).

By the way, are the rumors of your upcoming book true? I'd be interested...


I do not know about the time period discussed here, but hereditary titles weren't common in Sweden until the time of Christianity, and even during the Middle Ages many kings were elected. During the early Middle Ages nobles living in the eastern parts of the country (Svitjod) elected a person to be king, and he was then to ride the famous Eriksgatan (Erik's road) which went through Svitjod, west- and east Götaland, and be recognized by the nobles/lawmen in the areas.

I think I'd say that during Vendel period there were elected positions, but sons of a leader probably had more chance of be elected than others, but I'm just guessing based on swedish late iron age (viking period) and early Middle Ages and somebody will probably step forward and spank me and say I'm incorrect.
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Paul Mortimer




Location: England, Essex
Joined: 28 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2009 4:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Myles,
I believe that Mr Johansson is correct; kings did not seem to get their titles by their own right. They would have had to have had the correct ancestry and background, or at least convince everyone they had it, but then it was up to their people to accept them. As we have seen they could also be disposed of. It is only later, with Christianity, that the notion of divine right to rule becomes accepted. Even then, English kings still had to be accepted by the Witan; that changed under The Bastard! Once God had put a king in place, the concept of monarchy changes.

The book is with the publisher and could be out late this year or early next. It is about warfare, arms and armour, and beliefs in the 6th and 7th centuries in northern Europe.

Paul
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2009 6:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Johansson wrote:
Myles Mulkey wrote:

Thanks Paul!

Had kingship made the transition from elected position to hereditary title? It's my understanding that early Germanic kingship was a title given by communal election (could be wrong, so correct me if I am).

By the way, are the rumors of your upcoming book true? I'd be interested...


I do not know about the time period discussed here, but hereditary titles weren't common in Sweden until the time of Christianity, and even during the Middle Ages many kings were elected. During the early Middle Ages nobles living in the eastern parts of the country (Svitjod) elected a person to be king, and he was then to ride the famous Eriksgatan (Erik's road) which went through Svitjod, west- and east Götaland, and be recognized by the nobles/lawmen in the areas.

I think I'd say that during Vendel period there were elected positions, but sons of a leader probably had more chance of be elected than others, but I'm just guessing based on swedish late iron age (viking period) and early Middle Ages and somebody will probably step forward and spank me and say I'm incorrect.

Based on what Paul said, it seems you are correct! Big Grin

I think that's all my questions for now guys, but try to keep this thread alive! Post any and all pics that you have regarding the Venel Period. That should liven this up Laughing Out Loud
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2009 6:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Mortimer wrote:
Hi Myles,
I believe that Mr Johansson is correct; kings did not seem to get their titles by their own right. They would have had to have had the correct ancestry and background, or at least convince everyone they had it, but then it was up to their people to accept them. As we have seen they could also be disposed of. It is only later, with Christianity, that the notion of divine right to rule becomes accepted. Even then, English kings still had to be accepted by the Witan; that changed under The Bastard! Once God had put a king in place, the concept of monarchy changes.

The book is with the publisher and could be out late this year or early next. It is about warfare, arms and armour, and beliefs in the 6th and 7th centuries in northern Europe.

Paul

Be sure to let us know when it's available!
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David Huggins




Location: UK
Joined: 25 Jul 2007

Posts: 490

PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2009 10:02 pm    Post subject: Vendel Perios Culture         Reply with quote

Hu Myles,

Here is a link to some information on clothing and textiles from Scandinavia during the Roman Iron Age/ Late Roman Iron Age. Unfortunetly ifor those of us limited to the English language, in Swedish. A couple of nice images though and a pattern for the Hogum tunic.http://luur.lub.lu.se/luur?func=downloadFile&fileOId=1331341

cheers

Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sat 01 Aug, 2009 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Vendel Perios Culture         Reply with quote

David Huggins wrote:
Hu Myles,

Here is a link to some information on clothing and textiles from Scandinavia during the Roman Iron Age/ Late Roman Iron Age. Unfortunetly ifor those of us limited to the English language, in Swedish. A couple of nice images though and a pattern for the Hogum tunic.http://luur.lub.lu.se/luur?func=downloadFile&fileOId=1331341

cheers

Dave

Thank you Dave! I know a little Swedish so it shoudn't be a problem. I'll check it out! Big Grin
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sat 01 Aug, 2009 8:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The link Dave sent me reminded me of a question I've had for a long time. What is the deal with the ring on the Snartemo sword??? WTF?! Why is it unlike any other ring sword? Any theories?
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Paul Mortimer




Location: England, Essex
Joined: 28 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2009 5:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Myles,
The rings on the Snartemo aren't that different from those on other ring swords in that, like all others they are decorated and non-functional (very unlikely anything was ever attached to them).
It is only their position, being under the bottom hand guard, that marks them out. It could be that the Snartemo was just an early experiment with the concept of ring swords but we are unlikely to know for sure whether it was meant to signify something different to other ring swords.
Like the double ring that appears on the Sutton Hoo shield and those on the drinking horn from Valsgarde 7 - it is still a mystery.
We still don't really know what the more conventional rings meant for certain -- they do seem to indicate the binding of two parties, possibly a lord and retainer, maybe something else. they must have been important because people take trouble to mark them out -- Vendel XIV pressbleche images for instance.

Cheers,

Paul
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sun 16 Aug, 2009 7:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

bump
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E. Storesund





Joined: 10 Jan 2011

Posts: 101

PostPosted: Tue 11 Jan, 2011 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I must say I love these Vendel threads.

Regarding language: From the year 500 and up until 7-800 the language changed quite drastically for numerous reasons, presumably due to various disasters and cultural changes. This period where proto-nordic turns into the Norse dialects referred to quite bluntly and jokingly as the period where all words got shorter. Example: The Proto-Norse name AiwarikiaR turns into the old Norse Eirikr. Some scholars think the linguistic change might have happened so rapidly that at one point the grandparents might not have spoken the same language as their grandchildren quite literally. Basically the old die early and leave younger generations to pollute the language with their slang (imagine if the same happened today!)

Measurements in the Greenlandic ice apparently recorded a thin layer of volcanic ash from this period that coincides with the collapse of agriculture in the fertile Norwegian region of Jæren during the age of migrations. I'm told there was a paper on this at the Uppsala saga conference a couple of years back.

Andreas Nordberg suggests in his "Krigarna i Odins Sal" (The Warriors in Odins Hall), which is a great book by the way, that the change in the art styles from the earlier two of Salin's classifications towards the third (Correct me if I'm wrong) suggested along with some religious change was occurring. His idea is that Germanic religion had a stronger element of animism during the stage where votive offerings (in bogs, for instance) were taking place, and gods were seen as being in closer connection with nature and the landscape prior to this change, where the religion took on a more transcendent role, perhaps after contact with other transcendent religions such as Christianity which is very explicitly so.
I for one don't really support the theory of the Vanir as being native Scandinavian gods dating form before Æsir-worship started popping up, though I do believe there are elements that in all probability have existed natively in Nordic religion since the bronze-age in the Germanic religions.

Cheers.
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E. Storesund





Joined: 10 Jan 2011

Posts: 101

PostPosted: Fri 04 Feb, 2011 2:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

PS: It seems the language had more or less developed into old Norse by the time the Eggjum stone was carved, sometime between 650 and 700:
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