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Viking Discussion

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Viking Discussion

Postby The Hordesman » Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:30 pm

We all know that vikings didnt have horned helms, but Ive looked into the origin and found what I think created the horned hysteria. In Denmark, I dont know the time, but once they found an actual intact horned helmet, entirely made from bronze. It was dated back to the bronze-age, but unfortunatly Hollywood and other simplifying business turned them all horned.

However, there has been pictures found of Norse warriors from that time with horned helms, mostly embossed on helms. But all of pictures these has portraited gods, and no known pictures remain of other people's pictures showing norsemen with horned helms. But is there a possibility?

Other viking based questions, such as "Did vikings only use horses as transport?" Can also be discussed.

:)
Last edited by The Hordesman on Mon Jul 11, 2005 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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vikings

Postby Magnus » Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:29 am

Vikings were not known for their cavalry. Certainly havig travelled around so much they would have been familiar with the concept and undoubtedly experiemented to some level themselves. The Normans were descendent of Vikings and they of course were very into their heavy cavalry/early knights.
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Re: Viking Discussion

Postby JoshWedin » Mon Jul 11, 2005 12:03 pm

The horned helmet sounds interesting. Could very well be the start of it. As for the horses. Yes, the vikings used horses. I believe they usually attacked on foot, as they were attacking from their ships, but they did use horses for transport. There have also been horses found in Viking burial mounds, presumably killed to follow their owners to Valhalla. And, as Magnus pointed out, being the versatile warriors they were, I am sure at some point they used horses in war.

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Postby The Hordesman » Tue Jul 12, 2005 6:32 pm

Ive long wondered of the size of a longboat- how large was the largest longboat known? Also, how did they unship horses and cattle? Im not an expert on ships(well, I just got little knowledge here and there), so I would be happy to know this, and if they used any other sort of ships.

I visited a viking museum for a time ago, and it was said that each member of the Lid (elite army that serves as bodyguard of the Jarl) had his own horse, experts differ in matter if they used cavalry or horses as transport, but a horse was surely a luxury. Since most civilians didnt have horses at this time, I think they could have had cavalry. Though Im unsure since vikings are not known for weapons that are effective from horseback- two-handed axes, short swords and at some occasions warhammers. They did use spears, pikes and of course throwing axes, javelins and bows, but who didnt at that time?

This sounds like a mystery for TTK! :wink:
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Postby venvorskar » Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:31 pm

I wonder where that horned helmet was from?
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Postby TwoTonic Knight » Sun Jul 17, 2005 1:29 am

The Hordesman wrote:Ive long wondered of the size of a longboat- how large was the largest longboat known? Also, how did they unship horses and cattle? Im not an expert on ships(well, I just got little knowledge here and there), so I would be happy to know this, and if they used any other sort of ships.

I visited a viking museum for a time ago, and it was said that each member of the Lid (elite army that serves as bodyguard of the Jarl) had his own horse, experts differ in matter if they used cavalry or horses as transport, but a horse was surely a luxury. Since most civilians didnt have horses at this time, I think they could have had cavalry. Though Im unsure since vikings are not known for weapons that are effective from horseback- two-handed axes, short swords and at some occasions warhammers. They did use spears, pikes and of course throwing axes, javelins and bows, but who didnt at that time?

This sounds like a mystery for TTK! :wink:


Vikings usually spoke of boats in terms of oars, or benches, rather than in some unit of quantifiable measurement. The bigger ones were about 100 feet if I remember correctly, but there were some rare flagships that got much bigger (Canute's, for example).

Unshipping livestock was usually via a ramp. There were deeper-bellied merchantmen that may have required some form of crane-and-sling arrangement, but I'm not familiar enough with that aspect to have a firm answer without checking my sourcebooks. Longships were shallow draft and could pulled up onto shore, so getting animals off wasn't as involved as would be with a cog, for example.

Vikings did not go much into cavalry for set-piece battles. Usually they were fighting far away from home, and lugging about horses took away from space that could used for lugging about warriors. They didn't look down upon cavalry - Vikings were pragmatic and used whatever gave them an advantage. If cavalry was available, they'd use it. Certainly on raids they would fight from horseback. A king's or jarl's retinue would probably have horses, but that was often a function of the way that Viking society worked. A leader would move around, and preferable swiftly, to keep an eye on his various underlings (it was more of a function of them needing horses in their own lands rather than for warfare abroad). They were quite happy to capture local horses and use them for raiding further inland.

Vikings used a variety of weapons, most of which could be used from horseback. Spears (but not pikes) were cheap and common. Axes were easier and cheaper to make than a decent sword, and came in a variety of shapes and intents (single-handed, throwing styled, two-handed - I love making these out of standard LEGO pieces). Swords were probably the most valued - they tended to be medium length to long, not short. Bows were accepted as manly, but not overwhelmingly prevelant. They were fairly long - some historians believe Viking bows may have been the precussors to the later welsh longbow (and therefore the even latter english longbow). Hammers weren't really part of their repetoire (despite Thor and Marvel comics). Really, the only thing that would be especially difficult from horseback would be the two-handed great axes, and men who had those usually had a sword or single-handed axe as a back-up weapon.
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Postby Lord_Of_The_LEGO » Sun Jul 17, 2005 3:30 am

Wow, thank you Two Tonic for that info! I bow before master historians!

Now I know how work with my LEGO Vikings when they arrive!

Ok, now I have a question: what were Viking homesteads, buildings and other non-vessel constructions like?
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Postby The Hordesman » Sun Jul 17, 2005 6:01 am

Thanks for info, TTK! Thats very helful :)

*Goes to read more about vikings in a book*

Actually, Ive long thought that a very few vikings had warhammers of two reasons; 1, Theyve found a few and 2, Thor has Mjölner (though one handed). Never read the comic (since Thor is redhaired and bearded I never felt for reading about the old "ideal" person of the 1800's :P ). :wink:
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Postby Magnus » Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:33 pm

I believe that most longships were about seven times as long as they were wide.
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Re: Viking Discussion

Postby The Blue Knight » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:46 pm

The Hordesman wrote:We all know that vikings didnt have horned helms, but Ive looked into the origin and found what I think created the horned hysteria. In Denmark, I dont know the time, but once they found an actual intact horned helmet, entirely made from bronze. It was dated back to the bronze-age, but unfortunatly Hollywood and other simplifying business turned them all horned.

However, there has been pictures found of Norse warriors from that time with horned helms, mostly embossed on helms. But all of pictures these has portraited gods, and no known pictures remain of other people's pictures showing norsemen with horned helms.

:)


The true origin of the horned helm myth comes from the accounts from the Christian chroniclers of the day decrying the wanton destruction visited upon them by these heathen barbarians. To show their "true" demonic composition, they were described with demon attributes, like horns coming from their heads. The actual horned helms do exist (2 of them) and are indeed throwbacks to a much earlier time in Europe and probably indicate bovine reverence from Mediterranian influences. The original cap with nose guard is a much closer representation of Norse gear.

I still love Mel Brooks' Viking funeral from "History of World: Part 1" (by the way whatever happened to Part 2 I really wanted to see 'Hitler On Ice'?). If you haven't seen that I won't spoil it. The movie is not suitable for those under 18 as it rated R, so get your parent's permission first kids.
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Postby The Hordesman » Thu Aug 04, 2005 5:41 pm

Truly possible. Though the "horned men" propaganda is probably souther european (and in-land?) since the northern parts were custom to these hairy mead drinkers.

Actually, History of the World part 1 is rated 11+ here... :)
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Postby The Blue Knight » Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:13 pm

[quote="The Hordesman"]Truly possible. Though the "horned men" propaganda is probably souther european (and in-land?) since the northern parts were custom to these hairy mead drinkers.

Actually, History of the World part 1 is rated 11+ here... :)[/quote

Actually the accounts come from England and Ireland where many monastic centers were the victims. You only have to be 11 to see Mighty Joint over there?
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Postby The Hordesman » Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:26 pm

The Blue Knight wrote:Actually the accounts come from England and Ireland where many monastic centers were the victims. You only have to be 11 to see Mighty Joint over there?


Aha. Yes, any movie without any pornographic material is rated 11 or 15, depending on how much violence. Kids seem know not to smoke joint anyways. :lol:
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Re: Viking Discussion

Postby Azaghal » Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:51 pm

The Blue Knight wrote: The actual horned helms do exist (2 of them) and are indeed throwbacks to a much earlier time in Europe and probably indicate bovine reverence from Mediterranian influences.


I've got a book (The Celts: A History) by Peter Berresford Ellis) that shows a picture of one of these, dated to the 1st century BC and discovered in the Thames.
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Postby Nick » Wed Aug 31, 2005 9:47 am

Celts

I thought you would be interested in how the Celtic race was created. It was created by the mixing of two European races: The South-Eastern Slavs and an old Spanish tribe which migrated out of Spain and travelled east.

The horned helmet was indeed a part of Scandinavian culture, but it was not used in war. It was worn by priests on religious ceremonies dedicated to one of their pagan gods. I am not entirely sure which god it was.
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