Posts tagged Viking
Posts tagged Viking
I just love this picture!
Harald Hardrada- found on Facebook
By Dave DelaGardelle
By Dave DelaGardelle
By Luke Shearer
As American-based comics and studios company Marvel releases its second opus dedicated to the Norse avatars of the Germanic pantheon with a blond Viking look-alike Thor (when he was a red-head) and a Loki who sports dark locks (when he is reportedly a fiery ginger)
we forget to ask ourselves who is Loki? Yes. Who is Loki? Not the delicious psychopath re-invented by Marvel or the twisted Trickster described by Snorri Sturluson , an Icelandic Christian (1178-1241). Yes , a Christian. Because we forget that people like Bede, Gildas, Gregoire who knew Pagans (Gregory and Gildas certainly knew some) did nor write about these non-Christian deities. We have to wait for Saxo Grammaticus and our Icelandic lore collector to hear about what really Woden or Odin if not Wotan was doing….
Thus we should set our target further away than the writings of our Scandiavian chroniclers who lived about the same time though both giving great insights of pre-Christian Scandinavia.
Georges Dumezil believes the Trickster to be a post- Caucasian Syndon and goes as far as the Mhabharata to finally try and root to the ground the Skywalker. I can understand this Eastern appeal: after all, the Hindu pantheon is well established. India was writing while our ancestors were warring tribes in dark forests. We are possibly indo-Europeans… unless we are not so much. And maybe we should look westwards.
Let go back in time: before the Etruscans and the Achaeans. Before the onslaught of the Romano-Greek pantheon. What do we find in Western Europe are not so much Germanic tribes: they will come slightly later but Celtic tribes… with Celtic Gods. With namely a major God… Lug.
Lug… could it be that Richard Wagner in naming one of his Ring’s Tetralogy : Loge, was showing us the right direction. Loge or Logi is the God of Fire and not the Norse Loki yet they share a lot in common. Loge shares also quite a lot of traits with Lug and Lug shares them with… Odin/Woden/Wotan.
Dispel any illusion we are in for a fun ride provided by soft-spoken British actors. This essay is going to get us dirty about real Gods and hopefully show you Loki did survive Ragnarok. In a curious way.
2013, France. Lyon is the second biggest city in France. It was already established in 43 BC when the Roman invaders decided to upgrade the native oppidum of Lugdunon: the fort of Lug (Lugus/Lugos/Lugh) the God of Light. Fire, anyone?
Loki has for consort Sigyn: a mysterious female figure whose kennings in the Eddas link her to bounds and fetters. Lug is linked to fetters and binds. He is friendly to travellers suggesting a God who loved to travel…. like Loki. And he protects commerce like Mercure who is described by Tacitus in Germania as the principal God of the Germanic tribes around the end of the first century.
I will admit to a bias as in using only the Lug we know from mainland Europe. We know exchange existed between Celtic Britain and Celtic Gaul but we have few details of these links. All we can say is that Lug had a honeyed-tongue and was a sharp negotiator/diplomat.
Loki is a Jotun , not an Aesir. Lug is not easily admitted by the other Gods and like the Jotun he has an altercation with a servant as he wants to sit at the Godly banquet table.
He is a magician just like Odin and our Norse Giant. Prone to obscure agendas and revenges of old grudges. And lest we forget, ravens are his messengers. Add to this that the Irish Lug is linked with dogs… war-dogs. Fenris, Loki’s wolf son is certainly a war-hound in practicality. Just like Cu Chulainn. The famous Irish warrior/berserker who certaibly was no mean semi-God as Lug’s son.
As you can see Lug has a lot in common with Loki though undeniably Odin is not far. Down to their common dealings with the Realm of the Dead: Odin self-crucifies to obtain wisdom while Loki is Hel’s father: Queen of the Realm of the Dead.
What about the Sleipnir riddle. Sleipnir is Odin’s horse, born from Loki as a mare. Lug is not a mare… true but wait till I mention Epona. Most people know about Zeus and Thor and forget the Gods in-between. True, Scandinavia will be the last to convert about one thousand years ago. It may be the reason why we still know about the old Norse Gods and have forgotten the lore of Gods worshiped before Julius Caesar having to make do with 500 years of Legions boots followed by 500 more years of Christian bishops. But Epona , the Celtic Horse Goddess does exist. A goddess whose consort was a War God.
Finally, Lug is noticeably handsome like Loki… Naturally, there are some and many differences. Yet, it is clear from this list that a deeper longer academic research should be devoted not only to an Odin as a descendant of Lug; but also as Loki being Lug via the multiple transformations of story telling between tribes and migrations across continental Europe. Which could have seen not one Lug but two with similar backgrounds.
We must not forget that Thor is a lot like Taranis the Gallic Thunder God. After Caesar, Druids were hunted down in Gaul like they would be after Boadicca’s rebellion in Britain. Celtic tribes under the direct influence of Rome would alter their beliefs to a more Roman friendly style. Opposite to them, the tribes who had escaped Roman influence would also evolve incorporating less Romanitas in their pantheon and adding more differences. Maybe we should raise the question of exiled druids and Gauls finding freedom including freedom to worship their Gods deep in the forests of the unsullied Germania. Bringing with them a Lugos who in turn would fertilize the Germanic pantheon as a Jotun non Aesir divine creature. A God yes, but from a different origin.
At the end, we could have Loki whose name is a distant homage to his Celtic ancestor and Odin who has not memory of his real past. Two Gods for the price of one. The shifty God of Mischief, eternally rebel without a cause as his native Jotunheim was now breathing very Latin prayers? The Father of All Goods , apparently and forever free from the shackles of being an exile.
I wonder what Marvel Loki would think if this: him being Odin… what a twist. The Divine Trickster would approve…
Bödvar Bjarki (Old Norse: Böðvar Bjarki), meaning ‘Warlike Little-Bear’, is the hero appearing in tales of Hrólf Kraki in the Saga of Hrólf Kraki, in the Latin epitome to the lost Skjöldunga saga, and as Biarco in Saxo Grammaticus’ Gesta Danorum. Some think he and the hero Beowulf in the Old English poem Beowulf were originally the same personage, while
others reject this notion.
Unlike Beowulf, Bödvar is said to have been Norwegian, which may be explained by the fact that his story was written by Icelandic authors who were mostly of Norwegian descent.
However, his brother was the king of Gautland (Geatland) and, like
Beowulf, it was from Geatland that Bödvar arrived in Denmark. Moreover, upon arriving at the court of Denmark, he kills a monstrous beast that has been terrorizing the court at Yule for two years.
The famous poem Bjarkamál (of which only a few stanzas are preserved but which Saxo Grammaticus presents in the form of a florid Latin paraphrase) is understood as a dialogue between Bödvar Bjarki and his younger companion Hjalti which begins by Hjalti again and again urging Bödvar to awake from his sleep and fight for King Hrólf in this last battle in which they are doomed to be defeated. As explained in the prose, this rousing was ill-done, as Bjarki was in a trance and his spirit in the form of a monstrous bear was already aiding Hrólf far more than Bjarki could do with only his mannish strength.
Can anyone find the actual article?
Why does it seem like such a persistent belief among heathens that the sacking of Lindisfarne was retaliation against Charlemagne’s crusade against the Saxons, or Christianity in general? The Vikings didn’t give a flying flip what religion their victims practiced. Just that they were rich and undefended. And don’t even mention the Saxons! The Vikings were not even from Saxony, and besides, Lindisfarne was never under Charlemagne. And why must they say the Viking raiders were brave and noble? Do brave and noble heroes slaughter undefended monks, steal their gold, and burn their books? I don’t care who you worship, that sounds like the work of monsters. It just seems like an excuse to indulge in Christophobia. Rant over. I hope I don’t lose all my followers.
Some people would tell you that Vikings drank the blood of their enemies, but that is not true. In fact, they ate and drank just like normal people did, and today, we will tell you a little bit about what they commonly ate, what they preferred to drink, and we’ll even share a recipe or two!
Vikings were not big writers, really. A lot of their tradition was passed down through stories and tales, and writing was only used for certain things, one of which was certainly NOT cook books. But thanks to modern archaeology, historians have a good idea about what Vikings preferred to eat. And based on these records, it is possible to get a good idea of what the Vikings would have eaten…and from there, we can put together a few recipes that echo the foods that Vikings might have preferred.
Traditionally, Vikings feasted on a wide variety of meats, including beef and pork (which they raised), venison and other wild game (which they hunted), and fish (which they caught). These meats were supplemented with gathered nuts, fruits, and vegetables, including apples, plus, various types of berries, cherries, and even rose hips! They also ate dairy (Vikings did raise cows and goats, after all), made their own bread, and of course, their own alcohol, the famous mead.
Now for the sad truth: no authentic Viking recipes exist to this day. Vikings did not write them down, and some of the earliest Scandinavian cook books are filled with recipes that share a common French origin. But, there is hope - logic and some history gives us a chance to piece together some recipes that are likely very close to what Vikings would have used…and lucky for you, many of them also feature modern day products, allowing you to have an authentic eating experience, without any added hassle!
Without any further ado, we give to you a few Viking dishes (which are suitably modernized in places for convenience or need).
Kornmjölsgröt, or Barley Porridge:
Why porridge? It was a common dish in many cultures, and likely just as important in the Viking culture. This particular variety is for a fancier porridge, which would have enjoyed for special occasions.
* 10-15 cups of water
* Two cups of chopped barley kernels, soaked overnight in cold water
* A handful whole grain wheat flour
* A handful crushed hazelnuts
* 3-4 tablespoons of honey
If you cannot obtain chopped barley (it is not always easy to find), you can substitute steel-cut oatmeal, pearl barley, and various types of malted grains (which you can probably get from a local brewery, if there is one nearby).
You start by putting the ingredients into a small pot. Then, pour in 10 cups of water and heat to a rolling boil. Sir regularly, reducing the heat if needed to maintain a low boil. Add water if needed (when the mixture gets too thick). Cook until done. This generally takes about an hour, but the actual cooking time can vary.
Once finished, you can eat this in a variety of ways. For a sweet, breakfast cereal style dish, add in chopped fruit about 15-20 minutes before the porridge is finished, and once cooked, serve with fresh cream and butter on top.
Chicken Stew with Beer:
This take is a slightly more modernized take, adding in a few “exotic” flavors (like allspice, which would have been unknown to Vikings) to make something decidedly Viking-ish in flavor!
* 1 chicken, about 2 to 2-1/2 lbs.
* 3-4 carrots
* 3 yellow onions
* 1 turnip, about 1 lb.
* 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
* Dash black pepper
* 6-8 whole allspice
* 1 bottle (12 oz) dark beer
First, chop the chicken into 8 pieces, then peel and cut the vegetables. Fry the chicken in butter until done, about 5 minutes on each side. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and then place in a large bot. Add in the vegetables, the thyme, the allspice, and the beer. Bring to a boil and let it cook for about 15 minutes…or until the vegetables are tender. This is a dish best served with bread.
Osyrat Kornbröd, or Barley Flatbread:
For the above dish, or for any moment when you need a classic Viking style bread to fill your stomach!
* 1-1/2 cups barley flour
* 1/2 cup water
Blend the ingredients in a bowl until a stiff dough is formed. Warm a griddle over a fire (or, for a more modern cooking method, you can also use a cooking sheet in the oven). Take a heavy rolling pin, as well as a ball of dough about the size of a walnut, and roll the ball until flattened. Roll outward so that it is as thin as you can (you should end up with a flat, round disk of dough). Lay it on the griddle and place it over the fire (or, if using the oven, cook on high heat) for about 30 seconds on each side. Roll and cook one disc at a time. The bread is best eaten fresh, and is good with all Viking foods.
From Medieval Collectibles