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(London Evening Standard)   "The word Viking is not an ethnic term: it indicates a lifestyle. No sensible modern Scandinavian need feel demeaned by the enthusiasms of their ancestors"   ( divider line
    More: Stupid, Vikings, David Dumville, Scandinavian, ethnic term, Scandinavian countries, University of Aberdeen, Viking Age  
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4281 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Feb 2014 at 9:59 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

Voting Results (Smartest)
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2014-02-25 10:05:08 AM  
3 votes:

Watch it bub!
2014-02-25 11:48:02 AM  
2 votes:
Gather 'round, gather 'round, it's CSB time.

So I've a relative who was absolutely crazy about tracing the family history, and holy damn... it's... storied to say the least.

The oldest verifiable ancestor I've got is this guy: (When your family history starts with "Burned to death as a sacrifice to Odin", you've got a bit of work ahead of you.

Other highlights include who famously strapped on his sword and said "BRB, putting new kingdom together." to impress the ladies.   Whichever details of his life you believe, just know that I have an ancestor named Eric Bloodaxe.

Another who did some pillaging, some burning, and hoo boy you better believe some raping.  Took a wife on a raid, came home, caroused, etc... wife waited until she had a kid, then arranged for his death after a night of drinking and when the young son took the throne led as the power behind it.

Then there's this guy... Decided he wanted some redheads.  By Odin he went out and got some.

So... if it's to be believed, my family history includes the first and last Viking kings of Norway, along with many many more stories after that.  Of them though, the first line of my great great great (possibly one more great) grandfather's funeral announcement in staunchly Lutheran North Iowa says a lot:

"One of Kensett's oldest citizens answered the summons of the wise all-father last Monday, April 2 and passed from this life into a brighter and better one beyond. "

Seems that my family kept a bit more of the Old Country than expected.

/House of Yngling represent!
2014-02-25 10:41:54 AM  
2 votes:
Vikings robbed in one place and sold the loot in another. They burned towns and cities in some places and founded them in others (in Ireland and Russia, for example). They were by no means simple looters and rapists. They very quickly turned into Englishmen, Irishmen, Dutchmen and, ahem, Frenchmen. Even into Italians.
2014-02-25 10:19:02 AM  
2 votes:
I was going to go with a "it our culture not a costume" joke. But then I saw this:

That's just too much awesome not to share.

ckellingc: Murder, rape, robery, enslavement, rape.

Everyone messes this up!! Pillage! Burn! then Rape!

Cause chicks dig a rich guy, and fires are romantic
2014-02-25 10:11:49 AM  
2 votes:
An 'issue' about Vikings now? Just in time for season 2 on the History Channel......
2014-02-25 10:05:49 AM  
2 votes:
"Enthusiasm of they're ancestors"  meaning "Don't hold my ancestors mass murders against me".

Which pretty much applies to everyone.
2014-02-26 12:02:08 PM  
1 vote:
One angle forgotten in the romantic histories is the simple fact that a primary motivation for 'Going Viking' from Vik and other fjords for the 2nd and 3rd sons was an economic need due to inheritance laws and lack of farmland. They were consequently more successful as colonial settlers integrating into the local cultures.
2014-02-25 05:18:29 PM  
1 vote:

HairBolus: People descended from the Normans have more true Viking ancestry than the wimps left behind and maybe that is why Scandinavia today is so peaceful and non-violent.

That's because most of us of Norman ancestry (including most Norman Scots-Irish whose ancestors fought with William the Conqueror) are descended from Rollo--more commonly known as Rolf the Ganger--and his men. That dude was brutal, if half the stories told about him are true (history frequently being written by the winner, that's debatable--as is, apparently, Rollo's country of origin, hehe).
2014-02-25 03:30:20 PM  
1 vote:
A good read on this sort of thing is The Long Ships, by Frans Bengtsson. It's an early historical fiction novel about Red Orm, who leaves Sweden to go a-viking. He ends up in the Mediterranean, specifically around Spain; the British Isles, where he fights Saxons; and concludes with a trip down the Volga River in search of treasure.

The writing style is almost completely in a stilted third person and it takes some getting used to, but the story itself is a fairly good examination of what the Vikings were actually doing around the world at their height. You see the main character as a slave in Muslim country, a warrior in England, a chief in Sweden, and a raider in Russia, which covers about everything they did.

Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles also does a good job of conveying exactly what it meant to be a Viking, specifically one who was raiding England during the reign of Alfred the Great. Everything from danegeld, to religious beliefs, to battle tactics, sailing skills, and conversion to Christianity is included in there somewhere along the way.

Basically, the Vikings were unparalleled warriors and sailors who were motivated almost entirely by greed. They could easily have conquered more territory than the Romans if they'd all gotten pointed the same way. But their society wasn't organized on a national or communal basis - it was essentially a democracy, and not even a republican democracy (in the strict classic sense of those terms). There was no unifying principle to unite "the Vikings" as a whole, except they all wanted to get rich. And anybody who could round up a boat and thirty or so guys to row it could go about getting rich in whatever way he could manage.
2014-02-25 01:14:41 PM  
1 vote:
The modern Scandinavian thinks he's racist because his shadow is black. They're pretty much dead as a culture.
2014-02-25 01:10:26 PM  
1 vote:
This is why I get pissy when people say the "Vikings" team is the reason sports teams named "Indians" or "Redskins" should be allowed. "Viking" is not an ethnic term. "Redskin" is a racial slur, and "Indian" is a misnomer that became an ethnic term to describe indigenous Americans. They're not remotely the same as "Viking" which is a positive term, doesn't describe ethnicity, and represents a people who no longer actually exist, while Native Americans most definitely do exist.

Call the team the "Chippewa" or "Fighting Cherokee" if you have to use the name of a group of people-- That's certainly better. My problem is when you use a racial SLUR like "Redskin" or a word that is used in a negative manner, like "Indians" is.

Additionally, if you have a mascot for your Native American-themed team, PLEASE don't make him a big-nosed, red-skinned, tomahawk-wielding racist characterization... Not unless you're also going to have a team named the Jews with a big-nosed Hacidic-looking mascot carrying bags of gold, and a team of Negros with giant cartoon lips, huge afros, and comic spears.

Making a cartoon mascot of a Spartan, Viking, or even a Fighting Irishman is different. The Irish mascot isn't represented as a drunk cop. The Spartan and Viking are portraying people who no longer exist (and again, not ethnic groups). When an actual Spartan or Viking come from the past to say they're offended, we'll talk.

...And the "Tomahawk Chop" is just as racist as a "Negro Spearchuck" would be.

Here's an idea: How about instead of making groups of people into mascots and team names, schools and pro teams just choose from animals and machines. Even when it's complimentary, I think it's just plain dumb to name a team after a group of people, unless that team is actually  made up of  those people.
2014-02-25 11:23:27 AM  
1 vote:

Rex Kramer - Danger Seeker: I am reading a book called The Norman Conquest and I am getting some early background, it's around 1050 in the book. It's amazing the extent that the "vikings" had on England (Normandy) in the early years, did you know that the title "earl" is derived from "jarl"?

I think since Earl was an Anglo-Saxon term it's more likely that they both share the same root, rather than Earl being derived from the "Jarl" imported by Vikings.

I agree with you that it is all very interesting and very amazing.
2014-02-25 10:41:21 AM  
1 vote:
/just because
2014-02-25 10:31:33 AM  
1 vote:
Oh White Guilt, your limits know no bounds!
2014-02-25 10:31:32 AM  
1 vote:

ckellingc: ArkPanda: A lifestyle of robbery, murder, rape, and enslavement.

Murder, rape, robery, enslavement, rape.

What's wrong with robery? I've got a nice heavy one, keeps me warm in winter. I used to have one with a hood, I miss that one. Used to go around the house chanting like I was in a Monty Python skit.

2014-02-25 10:16:44 AM  
1 vote:
2014-02-25 10:15:23 AM  
1 vote:

BFletch651: "Enthusiasm of they're ancestors"  meaning "Don't hold my ancestors mass murders against me".

Which pretty much applies to everyone.

Pretty much.  I wonder if there's a single regional and/or ethnic group that doesn't have something of the sort somewhere back in their history.

Honestly, I'm amused that this is a thing, this white-washing of Viking history.  I mean, they're pretty much defined by their motivations and methods.  This revisionist crap regarding their behavior is akin to suggesting that the Soviet gulags weren't prisons but rather wilderness resorts for Soviet survivalist types there voluntarily.
2014-02-25 10:11:32 AM  
1 vote:
The Viking lifestyle - and it was a way of life, not an ethnic group - was driven by a desire to get rich quick. Whether that involved robbing tombs, trading slaves or committing massacres, they did what was necessary to become rich and famous.

So someday we are going to dress up as Nigerians?
2014-02-25 10:11:02 AM  
1 vote:

BFletch651: "Enthusiasm of they're ancestors"  meaning "Don't hold my ancestors mass murders against me".

Which pretty much applies to everyone.

Came in to say this. Apparently enthusiasm is now a euphemism for raping and pillaging.
2014-02-25 10:08:30 AM  
1 vote:

ArkPanda: A lifestyle of robbery, murder, rape, and enslavement.

♫ ♫ These are a few of my favorite things..♬
2014-02-25 10:06:17 AM  
1 vote:
A lifestyle of robbery, murder, rape, and enslavement.
2014-02-25 10:05:31 AM  
1 vote:
Political Correctness was invented in Boston and Stockholm? I...didn't know that.
2014-02-25 09:05:52 AM  
1 vote:
No where in that article does it mention how the Vikings loved Spam.
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