Isle of Man: Vikingeskibsmuseet i Roskilde
Remains of their daily life, boat-building, runic inscriptions, coins, sagas and place names provide evidence of how they lived, their language and stories. These tell us not only about their Scandinavian traditions, but also about how they engaged with their new environment and made it their own.
Sometimes evidence attests to the local dominance of Scandinavian settlers and their culture. In other places, for example in the Isle of Man, it suggests an ethnically mixed Celtic- Scandinavian population. Viking DNA and surnames New research techniques have provided novel insights about the Viking diaspora and our relationship to it. By focusing on those parts of the British Isles most settled by Scandinavians, researchers have been able to learn more about their impact using DNA and surname analysis on modern populations.
Navigation 2: Home 3: Key Concepts 3. One, a young, stout and wealthy mother of newborn twins, and the other a high-status, elderly matriarch from Scar, buried in a boat with a younger man and child, who might even have been a priestess. It is carved with a crucifixion scene and images from Norse mythology, possibly linking the two belief systems. Viking legacy Recent research has taken a fresh look at the Vikings, the Danes and Norse who raided and later settled in the British Isles from to CE, seeing them as part of a widespread diasporic population stretching from Eastern Europe to North America but with their roots in Scandinavia.
At the first report that the Gauls were approaching, the countrypeople are said to have been prohibited by the oracle from carrying away their corn and wine from their houses. The salutariness of this prohibition was not understood, until, through this abundance of wine and other provisions being thrown in the way of the Gauls, as a stop to their progress, reinforcements from their neighbours had time to collect.
The Delphians, accordingly, supported by the strength of their allies, secured their city before the Gauls, who clung to the wine-skins, on which they had seized, could be recalled to their standards. Brennus had sixty-five thousand infantry, selected from his whole army; of the Delphians there were not more than four thousand; in utter contempt of whom, Brennus, to rouse the courage of his men, pointed to the vast quantity of spoil before them, declaring that the statues, and four-horse chariots, of which a great number were visible at a distance, were made of solid gold, and would prove greater prices when they came to be weighed than they were in appearance.
The Gauls, animated by these assertions, and disordered, at the same time, with the wine which they had drunk the day before, rushed to battle without any fear of danger. The Delphians, on the other hand, placing more confidence in the god than in their own strength, resisted the enemy with contempt, and, from the top of the hill, repelled the Gauls as they climbed up, partly with pieces of rock, and partly with their weapons. A tempest then followed, which destroyed, with hail and cold, those that were suffering from bodily injuries.
The general Brennus himself, unable to endure the pain of his wounds, ended his life with his dagger. Pausanias Description of Greece , 2ndC CE added greater detail to his own version of the story, claiming that the disorder that led to the apparent defeat of Brennus and his army was caused by an apparent outbreak of madness within the Gaulish camp which caused them to fight among themselves…. But when Brennus himself was wounded, he was carried fainting from the battle, and the barbarians, harassed on all sides by the Greeks, fell back reluctantly, putting to the sword those who, disabled by wounds or sickness, could not go with them.
It was when evening was turning to night that the confusion fell on the army, and at first only a few became mad, and these imagined that they heard the trampling of horses at a gallop, and the attack of advancing enemies; but after a little time the delusion spread to all. Both accounts agree on a certain amount of chaos breaking out, but Pausanias states that the Gauls suffered a mass outbreak of some kind of hallucinatory and delusional psychosis and paranoia.
Assuming that he is not speaking figuratively of the weapons of the god Apollo divine madness it would appear that the Gauls were affected by the Delphian wine, which was obviously no ordinary wine…. In fact, Dioscorides tells us of the many names for it across the known world:. It is also called dioscyamos, pythonion, adamas, adamenon, hypnoticum, emmanes, atomon, or dithiambrion ; Pythagoras and Osthenes call it xeleon , Zoroastres, tephonion , the Romans, inanaoentaria , some, Apollinaris , the Magi, rhaponticum , the Egyptians, saptho , the Thuscans, phoebulonga , the Gauls, bilinuntiam , and the Dacians, dieliam.
Greek tetradrachm depicting Apollo the archer with the Python and the Delphic tripod. Toxicity of Hyoscyamus goes from mild drunkenness to a total confusion, agitation and frenzy, and from there easily into overdosage and death. Obviously, the Pythia priestesses of the Apollonian oracle would have been experts at dosing themselves, and must have possessed a standardised preparation which they consumed. Pompeius Trogus states that the leaders at Delphi ordered that the Gauls be given free access to the wine and food of the city, so a deliberate poisoning may well have occurred…. These were men who had dedicated themselves to Odin, their god of battle.
Compare this image to the Delphian tetradrachm above…. Increasing religious diversification following Romanisation, and then the religious concordance and intolerance emerging under christianity had overwhelmed the spiritual cultural model of Europeans, replacing it with a power-franchise focussed on the East. Of course, this still left a good deal of non-Romanised regions without Christian influence.
Political and ethnic federalism and nationalism during the 19th and 20th centuries further demanded separate origins for these cultures. New York, P. It looks like the christianisers played fast and loose with language in order to establish their order! The properties of amnesia and delirium are common themes of visionary ecstatic states caused by herbs such as Henbane Hyoscyamus Niger , whose name in a number of European dialects seems to evoke Belenos: Bilsen German , Pilsen Czech , Beleno Spanish. The story therefore shares elements of the tale of Odin, who is hinted in the Icelandic Edda stories to have undergone a similar tribulation as some kind of holy rite in order to receive higher knowledge.
Some of these appeared so different that they were considered different…. The identity of Mars in Roman culture shows a curious transition over the six or so centuries from its establishment as a regional power until its turbulent yet glorious Imperial era.
Its gods were therefore just as prone to change, and Mars makes an interesting case study:. Unlike the Greek god Ares , who tended to appear in myths as befitted Greek warrior culture as a dangerous quarrelsome outsider, Mars was treated more as an ancestral father-figure for the Romans. His consort was Turan whose entourage included the Lasas — another archaic name for Lares.
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Turan was also seemingly associated with birds — a common archetype for souls. The month of March Martis — named after Mars marked the sprouting of spring wheat and the beginning of the agricultural season as the weather warmed. Another Roman priesthood — the Salii — celebrated the rites of agricultural Mars, and had their origins back in the ancient Roman kingdom. These were supposedly made by a legendary smith-armourer called Mamurius Veturius , possibly cognate with Mars in the Carmen Arvale under the name Marmor.
The connection between the cthonic realm, food and metal seems obvious: the earth renders both. The annual re-forging of nature meant that it would not have been unusual for such a theological connection to have been made between smithcraft and the underworld. Warfare and metal were likewise connected: War and death also. In fact, the co-ordinated armies of people required for agricultural endeavours and the tendency for battle to be joined a campo in warfare added to this analogy. Pluto, because of the older connection to the cthonic otherworld and the Lares.
Janus and Mercury because of the crossing of boundaries between the worlds, and Vulcan because of the active fiery, reforging aspect of Mars as an agricultural deity.
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Thor was a battler-deity favoured for agricultural protection, as was Hercules. Mars himself was therefore a conduit of masculine vital force from the spirit world which influenced the mundane world in a positive way.
These were largely designed to support a federalised atheist communist Empire whose western borders desired such a buttress against western European identity. Croatian depiction of? After agreeing upon the tribute, they bound themselves by mutual oaths. Samuel Cross. The same Oleg is recorded as visiting sorcerors — the word for which is given as Volkhi. These tell him that he must abandon his favourite horse as it will cause his death, which he assents to and turns it to pasture.
The story given is that he then goes to visit it and is told it died, and on visiting its bones a snake emerges from its skull and bites him, causing his death… The relationship between Volkhi , the Scandinavian Volva and the god Volos might be worth mulling over! Another reference in the Chronicle to Volos and Perun again in relation to oaths is a record of a treaty and oath given by the pagan prince Svyatoslav of allegiance to the Byzantine Emperor:. In fact, later folklore frequently conflates attributes of the two, suggesting this sense may be true. He — like Veles — was also linked to herds.
The Veles-Perun hypostasis mentioned in the Primary Chronicle of the Kievan Rus seems like it could link to this, particularly if the Weland link is correct. In Crete, he was also known as Zeus-Velchanos.
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I have discussed the connection between St Michael the Archangel and Belenos elsewhere…. This would suggest Bolos or Beles as a reasonable pronunciation variant of the Slavic divinity. D u uuart demo balderes uolon sin uuoz birenkit. T hu biguol en sinthgunt, sunna era suister; T hu biguol en friia, uolla era suister; T hu biguol en uuodan, so he uuola conda: S ose benrenki, sose bluotrenki, sose lidirenki: B en zi bena, bluot si bluoda, L id zi geliden, sose gelimida sin! And Wodan conjured it, as well he could: Like bone-sprain, so blood-sprain, so joint-sprain: Bone to bone, blood to blood, joints to joints, so may they be glued!
Going deeper into etymology, the Latin word for a lightly-armoured cavalry skirmisher a notable form of Celto-Roman auxillary fighter was Veles , no doubt having a link to the Roman word for warfare: Bellum. In fact, the religious iconography of the Thracian and Phrygian peoples was notable for their depiction of the dragon-slaying horseman figure who would later become incorporated in the image of St George the Dragonslayer, popular among the Slavs.
St Vlas whose feast day is 12th February. He is popular in eastern Europe from Macedonia up to Russia, in which regions he has been associated with protection of cattle, in accordance with the Primary Chronicle account. The fact that many mountaintop sanctuaries to the Greek god Helios i. The Macedonian town with the theophoric name Veles is the site of one such shrine, but there are others. Oj Ilija moj Perune! Let fine dew drizzle, oh dudula dear God!