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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Vikings - Runes and Rune Stones - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! This week I'm delving into those fascinating markings the Vikings left behind - Runes.

During this time period, most histories were passed along orally from one generation to the next.


Futhark or the Runic alphabet was developed over 2000 years ago. It was originally made up of 24 characters. The characters were straight and could be carved into stone or wood.

Short messages could be carved into rune-sticks and passed along.

Most Vikings were literate and could read and write runes but only a select few became poets or Lawspeakers.

  
Rune stones often depicted major events or to honor the memory of an exhalted warrior or deceased family member. This one in Jelling (dating around 965) commemorated the conquest of Denmark and Norway by Harald Bluetooth and the adoption of Christianity in Denmark. This image of Christ is the oldest from Denmark.


This example from Prastgatan in Sweden of a stone containing Christian symbology.


And this fine example is from Lingsberg.

The majority of existing rune stones can be found in Sweden. Some can also be seen in Denmark and Norway. A few have also been found in the UK. Many of the stones are found near Christian churches (which invokes a very different imagine than the heathenistic warrior who raped and pillaged along the coasts).

A fun rune stone walk in Sigtuna - http://destinationsigtuna.se/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Runornas-Sigtuna-eng.pdf

Picture References:
Lingsberg Runestone - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2287417
Jelling Stone - https://en.natmus.dk/historical-knowledge/denmark/prehistoric-period-until-1050-ad/the-viking-age/the-monuments-at-jelling/the-jelling-stone/
Prastgatan Stone - http://destinationsigtuna.se/en/attraktion/runic-stones/
Futhark Alphabet - http://viking.archeurope.info/index.php?page=runes

References:
Viking Archaeology - http://viking.archeurope.info/index.php?page=viking-rune-stones
National Museum of Denmark - https://en.natmus.dk
Sigtuna (Swedish Travel Info Site) - http://destinationsigtuna.se/en/attraktion/runic-stones/
"Everyday Life in Viking Times" by Michael Gibson, ISBN#0-7500-1472-5

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Vikings - Longships - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! I'm veering off the Old West trail for the next few weeks to focus on another favorite - Vikings!

This week I'm investigating the infamous long boats, the very device which allowed them to not only sail far from their home but also allowed them to make quick raids along their journey thanks to ingenious designs.

Vikings actually had several different types of ships and their building technology evolved over time. All their ships used a square sail and, when there was no wind, oars.


Smaller ships, mostly used for fishing, were called faering and were propelled by up to four oars.


A knarr was a merchant ship and was built for longer journeys with wider and deeper hulls. They travelled as far south as the Black Sea and west to Vinland or North America.

  
Longships were the larger ships and most well-recognized. They could accommodate up to 32 oars. They were long, flat boats with a tall prow at the front (usually carved into mythical creatures) and a keel which allowed them to slice quickly through the water but shallow enough to allow them close access to land. The ships were usually painted bright colors and their sides might be decorated with shields.

Interestingly, high-ranking Vikings were buried with a ship. One famous burial ship discovered in a giant burial mound was the Oseberg ship, named after the farm it was found at. It was over 70 feet long and almost 17 feet wide.

Picture References:
Longship - https://www.britannica.com/technology/longship
Longships - https://www.foxnews.com/science/amazing-viking-longship-discovery-radar-reveals-mysterious-ship-grave
Faering - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2494412 Knarr - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1618125

References:
Viking Ship Museum - https://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/
"Everyday Life in Viking Times" by Michael Gibson, ISBN#0-7500-1472-5

"The Vikings" by Robert Nicholson and Claire Watts, ISBN#0-590-46120-6
Viking Combat Training and other research - http://www.hurstwic.org