Vikings

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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
3,782
2,952
Mid Wales
I didn't say it was - you implied that the whole of Britain had mixed DNA - it doesn't. I am proud to be part of Britain and to be British but lets not forget that the Angles and Saxons etc. are a very very new part of the DNA mix - the rest has been here over 10,000 years.
 
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TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
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It's a growth or plasma filled cyst that grows on the tendons of certain fingers causing them to curl and be unable to straighten. It's considered to be a viking genetic condition. Can't remember the name of it and my former colleague who had a few operations to deal with it isn't around to find out. He's from Duddon valley area originally which he said had strong viking influence. And that condition was a common one dealt with at furness general.

Bear in mind there's even evidence of a viking Tindwald (not spelt right sorry) in iirc little langdales and the church at was dale used viking wood carvings from viking boats in the roof structure I believe.

Gangelion??

 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,869
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S. Lanarkshire
Im not welsh and Britain isn't Wales.
But there's an awful lot of 'old British' right through Britain. More than all the proponents of Anglo Saxonism and Celticism are either aware of or prepared to admit.


Language evolves, and modern 'English' is so removed, so hugely a parasitic language that it would be inintelligible to the original 'english' speakers.

"English is a language that lurks in dark alleys, beats up other languages and rifles through their pockets for spare vocabulary".

I do know that that's a slight butchery of Nicol's original quote, but this is a family friendly forum.

M
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,664
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Lancashire
Dupuytren's contracture?

Finnish men have about 75% Yamnaya genes among other peculiarities.
That's it. Couldn't remember the spelling so left it hoping someone could clarify it. Sorry but very bust right now so couldn't search it out. Not lazy this time, honest!!
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,059
419
Vantaa, Finland
In some recent (within 3 weeks) news was a report on analysis of about 450 viking graves. The buried were actually a very mixed genetic lot, that maybe implies that people not of northern origin were allowed to join the crew also that some people on the way to wherever joined.
 
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TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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I've been mentally dwelling on the Spear reference above.

What length do most societies seem to consider to be optimal spear length?
I mean , regardless of nation I'm guessing that there is some agreement on what length a good Spear needs to be to be useful?

Just asking as we seem to have some historically knowledgeable people present.
 

Wayland

Hárbarðr
Sorry, a bit late to the party. I've been out in the woods.

Firstly, it's fair to say there was more to the Vikings (we'll look aside the debate on the name for the time being) than just fighting.

Secondly, their fighting prowess.
If you read the Anglo Saxon Chronicle you'll find the Vikings, in pitched battle against an organised foe, lost as much as they won. Against unarmed and unprepared monks and peasants, they did very well.
It seems this is where most of their reputation stems from - to use modern parlance, they waged a terrorist war. And from this, their reputation for ferocity and deadliness stems.
The kingdom of Yorvik lasted less than a hundred years.

From archaeological excavations, you'd assume the spear was the most common weapon. Hollywood and TV like to portray them as axe-wielding fanatics charging forth savagely. But they would have used the same battle tactics of other armies of the period - the shieldwall.
Though swords and axes are also found in graves (like they are for other peoples of the time).
As for the bow? Yeah, they used them, but there's nothing to say they were particularly skilful with the bow. A few sagas and legends, but nothing 'historical'. Again, the same could be said for other armies of the period.

The real success for the Vikings came in their ability to assimilate and adapt. That;s where you should be looking for an explanation for their success.
They had 'issues' at home.
They opened up iron mines, and from that iron they produced farm tools. You can open up a great deal more land using a metal shod plough than you ever will using a wooden foot plough.
So, within three generations they had more arable land= more food=more children surviving to adulthood and healthier older adults too= population explosion and land hungry young men.
They traded, they raided, they traded some more, they settled, and it's noticeable that they were settled on what is now submarginal land in areas like the Lake District, not the best land, the stuff that the locals weren't likely to dispute much (I walked and dug sites in the area, the Viking farmsteadings were all highish and poor land)
In time they became integrated.
In Scotland's western isles they married into the local hegemony and it created what the Scots call Galgael. The foreign Gael.
The first two generations we have pagan graves (grave goods, etc.,) then only Christian burials.
So, grandpa might have been a viking but you're a local kind of thing.

Their trading though, and it wasn't always benign, they were known slavers, reached right down to Arabia. Christianity slowed down that trade eventually.

First European expansion I suppose :)
Pretty well covered by these posts really. Nothing I would disagree with.

I'm often asked the difference between the Norse and the Anglo Saxons and my usual short answer is that in a world where most people lived and died within thirty miles of where they were born, the Norsemen explored half of the Northern Hemisphere.

They converted a bit later than the rest of Europe because they were less influenced by Roman culture but their secret weapon was the longship. Get in quick and leg it before the Fyrd could turn up.

Alfred turned the tide by attacking the ships on the shore first to prevent their escape and in pitched battle they were really no better than average.
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,059
419
Vantaa, Finland
I think most fighting spears were fairly short 1.5-2 m they were not made for throwing but of course could be. Pikes were a different concept they were long, I don't think vikings used them. In between were throwing spears that were fairly light and had the double purpose of hitting people and disabling shields. Spear heads were a lot easier to make than swords and a spearman was not really at any disadvantage against a sword. Something like the quarterstaff was actually held in many cases to have an advantage over sword.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,059
419
Vantaa, Finland
Some sources say that Vikings were good individual fighters and they prefered it. That kind of means that against a well organised group tactics they were at a disadvantage. But no one has seen the Vikings fighting.
 

Mowmow

Forager
Jul 6, 2016
187
82
Nottinghamshire
Interesting bit of info, there's a British monk or something, i forgot what his name was.
Who basically describes the vikings as a bunch of dandies.
These aren't his exact words but he basically says along the lines of.
Wearing bright coloured clothes, which they change regularly.
Bathing every saturday (or once a week or something).
They wear necklaces and other jewelry made of bright coloured stone beads.
They trim and groom their hair regularly.

Their cleanliness and being so well groomed is supposedly the reason why they fall into bed with the daughters of emperor's, etc.

Also if i remember rightly, while people tend to think of vikings as toweringly tall, the average height was 5'8"
Whereas the average anglo saxon in britain was 5'9".

It's also interesting to note that that's the average height of british people today.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
 
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Tvividr

Forager
Jan 13, 2004
233
2
Norway
www.gjknives.com
The book "Vikinger i krig" by Oslo University historian Kim Hjardar will answer most of your questions, and is definitly worth a read if you are interested. It has been translated into english and published with the title "Vikings at war" (in 2016 I think ?).

Quote from the publisher: "Vikings at War presents a sumptuous depiction of how the Vikings waged war; their weapons technology, offensive and defensive warfare, military traditions and tactics, their fortifications, ships and command structure. It also portrays the Viking raids and conquest campaigns that brought the Vikings to virtually every corner of Europe and even to America. Viking ships landed on almost every shore in the Western world during the 350 years that followed the introduction of the sail into the region, from the 9th to the 11th century. Viking ravages united the Spanish kingdoms and stopped Charlemagne and the Franks' advance in Europe. Wherever Viking ships roamed, enormous suffering followed in their wake, but the encounter between cultures changed both European and Nordic societies. Employing unorthodox and unpredictable strategies, which were hard for more organized forces to respond to, the most crucial element of the Viking's success was their basic strategy of evading the enemy by arriving by sea, then attacking quickly and with great force before withdrawing quickly. The warrior class dominated in a militarized society. Honour was everything, and breaking promises and ruining one's posthumous reputation was considered worse than death itself. If a man offended another man's honour, the only way out was blood revenge. Never before have the Viking art of war, weapons and the history of their conquests been presented together in such detail. With over 380 colour illustrations including beautiful reconstruction drawings, maps, cross-section drawings of ships, line-drawings of fortifications, battle plan reconstructions and photos of surviving artefacts including weapons and jewellery, Vikings at War provides a vivid account of one of Europe's most exciting epochs. Vikings at War was awarded the Norwegian literary prize 'Saga Prize' in 2012; currently in its fourth printing in Norwegian, the translation presented here makes it available for the first time in English"

He has just published a new book (in norwegian) on the 25 most important viking battles in history (Vikingenes største slag, Kim Hjardar 2020). Haven't read that one yet, but will have a look at it next week.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,295
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They had 'issues' at home.
They opened up iron mines, and from that iron they produced farm tools. You can open up a great deal more land using a metal shod plough than you ever will using a wooden foot plough.
So, within three generations they had more arable land= more food=more children surviving to adulthood and healthier older adults too= population explosion and land hungry young men.
They traded, they raided, they traded some more, they settled, and it's noticeable that they were settled on what is now submarginal land in areas like the Lake District, not the best land, the stuff that the locals weren't likely to dispute much (I walked and dug sites in the area, the Viking farmsteadings were all highish and poor land)
In time they became integrated.
In Scotland's western isles they married into the local hegemony and it created what the Scots call Galgael. The foreign Gael.
The first two generations we have pagan graves (grave goods, etc.,) then only Christian burials.
So, grandpa might have been a viking but you're a local kind of thing.

Their trading though, and it wasn't always benign, they were known slavers, reached right down to Arabia. Christianity slowed down that trade eventually.

First European expansion I suppose :)
Yeah, a lot of Viking names (or names from Norse and given a slight twist anyway) for places in the Lake district.
Thwaite in a name is one for a start.
Kirk being another.
 

oldtimer

Full Member
Fascinating thread. I've just read it all after sampling bits last night. I'm no longer surprised by the breadth of learning and expertise here.

The reason for the Viking diaspora and the persistence of genetic imprints in the West Country are of particular personal interests to me. The graveyards of St Agnes and Padstow are full of gravestones bearing the same surname as me and which can be translated from the Cornish language as a geographical feature.. My great grandfather left Cornwall and settled in Portsmouth at the end of the 19th Century as part of the Cornish diaspora which involved an estimated 25,000 Cornish men of working age leaving for all parts of the world. The majority were miners who became known as "Cousin Jacks" and who frequently sent home money to their relatives to keep them out of the work house. My great grrandfather was a shipwright and found work in the Naval Dockyard. Whenever I visit Cornwall, I am struck by the number of people who share physical characteristics of my grandfather, father and uncle. Either this is evidence of a static genetic imprint, or one of my ancestors got about a bit! This is my wife's preferred explanation, but she reads too much Poldark.

So, the notion of young Scandinavian men seeking their fortune abroad seem entirely plausible to me and the idea of the persistence of Cornish genes would explain the physical similarities I notice in Cornwall. For what it's worth, when I moved from Portsmouth to Cambridge to live and work, I was struck by how many more tall, blonde people I encountered in East Anglia compared to the South of England. My gut reaction was to put this down to a higher percentage of Anglo Saxon settlers in the area. Maybe this thread gives some legitimacy to my theory.
 
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TeeDee

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Talking of Raiding Parties and people prone to Pillaging.

Barbary Pirates in the Westcountry - I found this a very interesting read indeed as I had no idea this happened so close to me.

 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,664
703
Lancashire
Slavery seems to be a universal habit of our species that hasn't died out. With the death of the Chinese cocklers in morecambe bay those years back it became clear that human slavery and exploitation is more common than people realised and thought about.

It's why my company in the automotive sector gets quality evaluation questionnaire from large multinational companies in the sector asking about our company's anti exploitation and anti slavery policies. We don't have one but they do pay minimum wage for starting off not living wage if that counts as a policy. I don't quite know what exploitation has to do with quality. If our slaves start making rubbish we just whip them into order!!! A joke but there's always the company discipline process!!!
 
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