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The Vikings are most often depicted as bloodthirsty barbarian raiders who lived entirely by plunder. In reality, they were mostly traders, who established commercial networks stretching all the way from North America (the Vikings established a settlement in L'Anse-aux-Meadows, Canada 500 years before Columbus) to India and perhaps as far as China.

But the Vikings did indeed launch raids all over Europe, beginning with their looting of the Christian monastery at Lindisfarne, England, in 793 CE, which was mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. Their approach to the peoples they encountered was brutally pragmatic--if those people were strong and well-organized, the Vikings traded peacefully with them. If they were weak and disorganized, the Vikings raided them and invaded them.

Although the Vikings were masterful metal-workers and had the very best in armor and weapons technology, the real secret of Viking success was the longship. It was by far the best sea-going technology of its time. In trade, it could travel long distances with heavy loads, entering rivers and shallow seas that were un-navigable to others. In military raids, the longship could carry a large number of raiders, deposit them right on shore or up shallow rivers, and was swift enough to evade any attempts at pursuit.

With their longships, the Vikings eventually settled most of Europe. The cities of Dublin, Ireland, and York, England, were founded by Viking settlers. Vikings also controlled much of coastal France ("Normandy" was named after the "Norse men"), and the Rus band of Swedish Vikings sailed up the Dnieper River and conquered the area around Kiev, forming the country of "Russia".

One of the best places to see authentic Viking longships and learn about their history is the Vikingskiphuset museum in Oslo, Norway.

The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo contains the three best-preserved of the Viking longships. All three were found in large grave mounds, where they were intentionally buried as grave goods for people of high social status.

The first of the three ships on display was uncovered in 1867 in the Norwegian town of Tune. Several burial mounds had been found there, and in 1867 the largest one, about 80 meters long, was excavated by archaeologist Oluf Rygh. He uncovered the remains of a Viking longship. Unfortunately, previous digging over the years had exposed the interior of the mound to oxygen, and the ship had partially decomposed. Modern archaeological methods had not yet been developed, so the Tune ship was not very well-excavated. In many places, scars and gashes are visible from the shovels of the workmen who uncovered it. Rygh attached a wooden platform underneath the ship and used a team of horses to pull it to the nearby river, then placed it on a barge and shipped it to Oslo. The skeleton of a human male and a number of grave items were also found with the ship, including parts of a sword, shield and chainmail armor, but these somehow got lost during the trip to Oslo, and have never been seen again.

Like all Viking ships, the Tune vessel was "clinker-built", made of overlapping planks of oak. It was made in around 900 CE, placing it firmly in the Viking golden age. The mast is very strongly attached to the deck, and it would have carried a large sail made from cloth. It also had a number of oar locks along each side, probably 11 or 12 in total, giving it a crew of around 25-30. Though the front portion and the upper sides of the ship are missing, it is estimated that the complete ship would have been about 42 feet long and 15 feet wide. It would have been light, with a shallow draft, and fast--perfect qualities for a raiding warship.

The second of the museum's ships was found on Gokstad Farm, in the village of Sandar. In 1880, some farmers digging in a mound on their field uncovered part of a wooden ship and contacted local authorities. Archaeologist Nicolay Nicolaysen excavated the mound and found a nearly complete longship, a human male skeleton, and a number of grave goods.

The Gokstad ship is 76 feet long and 17 feet wide, making it the largest ship at the museum. Tree-ring dating on the beams shows that it was built in 890 CE. It had 16 rows of oars down each side, and a mast for sailing, and could have carried between 40 and 70 men. It did not have a rudder, but was steered by a large steering oar at the rear of the ship.

The human skeleton found buried with the ship remains unidentified, but it has been speculated that it is the remains of Olaf Gierstada, a regional lord who is known to have died at around this time. One interesting find among his grave goods was the skeleton of a peacock, showing that the Viking trade network stretched all the way to India by this time.  A wooden sledge was also buried with him.

The last of the museum's three ships to be found, the Oseburg ship, is also the best-preserved. In 1904, a team led by Norwegian archaeologist Haakon Shetelig and Swedish archaeologist Gabriel Gustafson excavated a large burial mound on Oseburg Farm, near Tonsberg. They found an intact ship, two female skeletons, and a large number of well-preserved grave goods. Wood planks in the chamber walls were ring-dated to 834 CE; the ship is likely somewhat older than that.

The Oseburg ship is 71 feet long and 17 feet wide, with 15 oars on each side. It remains the best-preserved and most complete Viking ship ever found. Along with the ship, excavators discovered its iron anchor and its wooden gangplank. The ship is richly decorated with elaborate carvings. It is not as heavily built as the earlier ships, and was probably not intended for the open sea--it was most likely used as a pleasure coastal sailing ship for a very wealthy person.

The burial chamber also contained a great variety of well-preserved grave goods, including four wooden sledges, a wheeled cart, and large numbers of household goods. Traces of woolen clothing and imported silk were also uncovered. In addition, the bones of 14 horses, 3 domestic dogs, and 1 ox were found. On one wooden bucket, a small brass ornament was found in the shape of a person sitting cross-legged--it has been suggested that this may be a Buddha, and indicates that Viking trading networks may have stretched all the way to China.

The burial contained the skeletons of two females, one aged 50-60, the other aged 60-70. The rich grave indicates that it was the burial of a very important and wealthy woman, presumably with one of her servants; it has been speculated that this is the grave of Queen Asa of Agdur, the wife of King Gudrud the Noble and grandmother of King Harald Fairhair.

In 1913, it was proposed that a museum be built in Oslo to house the three Viking ships, which were all in temporary storage. The hall containing the Oseburg ship was finished in 1926, and halls for the Gokstad and Tune ships were added by 1932. The final hall housed the grave goods, and, after being delayed by the Nazi occupation in World War Two, it was finished in 1957. Today, the Viking Ship Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Norway.

These photos are from a visit in 2011.

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Viking ship museum, Oslo

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Anne Stine and Helge Ingstad, who discovered the archeological remains of the L'Anse aux Meadows Viking settlement in Newfoundland. Viking Ship Museum, Oslo.

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Museum interior

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Gokstad ship

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Gokstad ship

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Gokstad ship

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Oseburg ship

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Oseberg ship

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Oseburg ship

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Steering rudder. Oseberg ship

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Oarlocks and oars. Oseberg ship

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Oseberg ship

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Oseburg Ship

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Oseburg ship

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Oarlock on Oseburg ship

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Gokstad ship

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Gokstad ship

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Gokstad ship

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Gokstad ship

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Tune ship

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Tune Ship

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Grave goods found buried with the ships.  Most are from the Oseburg site, which was the best-preserved. These are small boats from the Gokstad site.

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This cabin-like structure held the human skeleton buried with the Gokstad ship.

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Carved figurehead.

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Wheeled wagon from the Oseburg site.

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Sledge with wooden runners from the Gokstad site.

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Combs.

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Leather boots.

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Pottery and metal plates.

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A ship's figurehead.

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The male human skeleton found with the Gokstad ship.

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The two female human skeletons found with the Oseburg ship.

Originally posted to Shutterbugs on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 06:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Shamrock American Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  ps--being a Floridian, Norway nearly killed me (15+ / 0-)

    I thought I was gonna freeze my damn ass off.  ;)

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 06:18:39 AM PDT

    •  My #1 grandson, (7+ / 0-)

      who looks suspiciously like a real Thor as young man (6'5", well-filled, great thick white-blonde hair to mid-back) and boasts Scandanavian ancestry on his Dad's side, loves the cold and suffers the heat and strong sunshine of the southern US. He's handy with a broadsword (as well as rapier), reads runes.

      We're planning a tour of Viking regions someday soon, will definitely have to put this longship museum up front on the list of Must-Sees...

      Jahshua

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:40:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  alas, I am just a scrawny little guy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, Santa Susanna Kid

        Never was very good with a two-handed axe or a broadsword--but I was absolutely lethal with a rapier.  ;)

        And I like it tropical---85 degrees suits me fine.  :)

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:51:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Last Viking (5+ / 0-)

        In the late summer of 1066, Harald Hardrada, the Last Viking, moored 300 longships at Ricall on the Ouse and unfurled his Landwaster Banner. Northern England was his after his defeat of the Saxon Earls.

        He reckoned without Earl Harold Godwine who, as the stories tell, had been asked what Danegeld he would give to the Viking to make him go away.

        'Six feet of English earth' was Godwine's reply.....' or maybe seven since he is so tall'.

        So began the Battle of Stamford Bridge...... and when the Norsemen left, Landwaster lay trampled in the mud, Harald Hard Reign was dead and they only 24 of the dragon ships sailed home across the cold North Sea.

        •  Huh. 1066 was a rather (4+ / 0-)

          momentous year all around, wasn't it?

          I like the point that "Viking" is a job description, not a people. Grandson looks at it that way. When we visited great-grandma in southeastern Oklahoma the last year before she died, because of his passion for all things Norse, took him to the Heavener Runestone (no longer a state park) we were familiar with from long before he was born. He interpreted those runes off the top of his head better than the scholars have, indicating perhaps that 'accepted [academic] approaches' to interpretation are painfully non-natural. Then he wanted to skip on over to Poteau and see those stones too...

          They weren't "Vikings," they were exploratory Norsemen of several talents and tools sailing up the Arkansas and tributaries to see what was what, if there were good trading opportunities with the natives. Which there were, those big blonde guys are part of the native legends and they got along quite well for the short time the Norse spent there. Grandson did come up with an excellent reason why they left and didn't come back, which had nothing to do with martial prowess. Rather, it had to do with the fact that they'd come and set up their housing in the fall, made it through the winter fine, then had to face a good ol' Okie summer. No wonder the natives had dark skin!!!!

          So they sailed on home...

          I keep reminding him that his Dad may be Norse, but Mom's an Okie. Too hot? That's what they make shade and cold water for. §;o)

          Still, he's the only blonde I ever met who's not a real albino who can't tan. Literally, can't. No freckles or anything. He turns pink in no time flat, suffers through until it fades, at which point he's still as transparently white-white as can be imagined. Our Super 50+ Sunscreen bill is higher than our Deep Woods Off bill every summer...

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:18:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How The Emperor's Daughter Described a Norseman (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, RiveroftheWest

            Now Bohemund was such as, to put it briefly, had never before been seen in the land of the Romans, be he either of the barbarians or of the Greeks (for he was a marvel for the eyes to behold, and his reputation was terrifying). Let me describe the barbarian's appearance more particularly – he was so tall in stature that he overtopped the tallest by nearly one cubit, narrow in the waist and loins, with broad shoulders and a deep chest and powerful arms. And in the whole build of the body he was neither too slender nor overweighted with flesh, but perfectly proportioned and, one might say, built in conformity with the canon of Polycleitus... His skin all over his body was very white, and in his face the white was tempered with red. His hair was yellowish, but did not hang down to his waist like that of the other barbarians; for the man was not inordinately vain of his hair, but had it cut short to the ears. Whether his beard was reddish, or any other colour I cannot say, for the razor had passed over it very closely and left a surface smoother than chalk... His blue eyes indicated both a high spirit and dignity; and his nose and nostrils breathed in the air freely; his chest corresponded to his nostrils and by his nostrils... the breadth of his chest. For by his nostrils nature had given free passage for the high spirit which bubbled up from his heart. A certain charm hung about this man but was partly marred by a general air of the horrible... He was so made in mind and body that both courage and passion reared their crests within him and both inclined to war. His wit was manifold and crafty and able to find a way of escape in every emergency. In conversation he was well informed, and the answers he gave were quite irrefutable. This man who was of such a size and such a character was inferior to the Emperor alone in fortune and eloquence and in other gifts of nature.

            •  Gorgeous but dangerous. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              My, the emperor's daughter seems positively smitten! §;o)

              There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

              by Joieau on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 07:00:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  but then Billy the Bastard arrived and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau

          kicked Godwin's ass. And turned England away from Scandinavia and towards western Europe.

          ;)

          How different history would be if Hardrada had beaten them both.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 01:15:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Too late. They were already (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lenny Flank, DrLori

            well interbred in Britain and Ireland, and those Normans had some considerable Norse in them too. Oh, and the North Germanic language WAS Old Norse. The melanin-deficient gene pool may be shrinking to non-existence, but there's still plenty of Norse going on.

            Maybe - I do sometimes hope - humans will all be a nicely hued multi-shaded in-between people someday. Do away with the melanin mis-allocations in the modern world where we don't all live outside all the time. Now we have Air Conditioning!

            It would certainly eliminate one of the most historically prevalent reasons city-state subcultures go to perpetual war, at any rate. Not that people of the same coloring haven't proved themselves just as insanely murderous over the millennia... It would be nice if we'd outgrow it.

            There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

            by Joieau on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:04:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was thinking more of the cultural changes that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau

              would have resulted. If England had stayed within the Scandinavian orbit, the rivalry between France and England (largely the result of Billy the Bastard's invasion) would likely have never happened. The English Empire would never have happened. Germany would never have united. Sweden/Denmark would likely have dominated Europe, and may have followed Erik the Red to Canada and dominated North America. With Scandinavian naval dominance, Spain might never have conquered South America, and the Incas, the Iroquois Confederation, or the Aztecs could have established independent native nations. China or Japan might have dominated the entire Pacific. Without the British, Germans and French in Africa, someone like Shaka Zulu might have been able to form an empire to unite the continent and keep it independent--perhaps the Zulus would have become a world power.

              What a different world it would be today.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:34:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whoa. Now THAT is some serious (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lenny Flank

                "what if." I like to do that on occasion, being a fond student of history, and understanding well that history is always written by the victors. What if... it had gone the other way?

                The African un-settlement(s) are a fascinating story of unbridled capitalism as well, like India and Asia. With a less 'happy' ending because the Africans chose (across tribal lines, as if it came naturally) not to best the white guys at their own game. The native North Americans did much the same.

                But then again, there's Rwanda. In our own time. That's a shame of our species. We have a whole planet now, no other species of homo sapien to drive into extinction in favor of our own hegemony. Yet we can't seem to give up the guns (any description here). Always against our own, when we're not wiping out the native wildlife instead.

                The 'IS' of our world is always in thrall to the 'what-ifs' of our latest martial escapades. I like to imagine bigger 'what-ifs'.

                There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                by Joieau on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:52:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "butterfly effect" (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau

                  Small changes produce enormous differences over time.

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:57:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's what I keep telling myself. (0+ / 0-)

                    But our time here is so short. It would be nice to someday see a real sea-change that wasn't merely politically generational. We elders still have wisdom to impart, the youngers are the ones who have to learn and apply.

                    What Is The Nature Of Time is still the ultimate question, n'est ce pas? Physicist don't know and can't agree. We just know it's a thing. Here. And we are all limited by it.

                    There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

                    by Joieau on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 03:04:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  those long boats had wonderfully elegant lines (14+ / 0-)

    not just means of transport, real works of art

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 06:27:53 AM PDT

  •  Also the Viking Ship Museum - Roskilde DK (10+ / 0-)

    The Danish Viking Ship Museum did a re-creation of one of the Gokstad boats: http://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/...

    That they were able to use these boats to get to L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland is amazing.  If you get to L'Anse aux Meadows, you'll understand why they didn't maintain a permanent settlement there!  Tough weather, pretty desolate...

    Lost my muchness, have I?

    by aepm on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:02:01 AM PDT

  •  There are many misconceptions about Vikings (13+ / 0-)

    1. "Viking" was a job description, not a nationality. You  "went Viking".

    2. They didn't wear helmets with horns on them. It would have been very impractical in combat. Someone could have grabbed one of the horns and used it as a handle to snap your neck.

    3. They were disciplined fighters. They didn't attack as an angry mob. They formed a "shield wall", similar to a Greek Phalanx or a Roman legion. They would overlap their shields so that one man's shield protected the man next to him.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:05:44 AM PDT

    •  back in my younger days, I did Dark Ages (8+ / 0-)

      re-enactment.  Been in a few Shield Walls.  As one of the inexperienced newbies, I got placed right in front. My job was simple--don't get killed.  :)

      I still have the Viking helmet and chainmail I made back then:

      DSCN0683

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:44:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is awesome (6+ / 0-)

        How do you determine who gets "killed" in a re-enactment?

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:55:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nice. (0+ / 0-)

        Grandson makes great chain mail, goes more in for Samurai armor though in what he produces. Like works of art, thoroughly amazing! And I've been costuming professionally for more than 40 years. Have another friend who makes saddle leather grieves and gauntlets that are to die for (Ren Faire folk). He's costuming a film crew locally right now, gets some writing credits too. This is where they filmed the first Hunger Games, never got good shots of the best of it.

        I keep telling him he should hook up with the local SCA, but he mumbles something about Civil War reinactments he wants no part of. And that's... true. Has a mock-fighting crew of friends since high school, and so many padded duct-tape swords that the younger grands and semi-grands are always attacking him with that he gets plenty of practice. The axe-hammer? One-handed (I can't even lift it over 3 feet with both hands). I keep him around to chop wood (and cut, just got a bigger chainsaw), since that's our "central heating" and even the regular axe is too heavy for me these days. Sigh...

        There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

        by Joieau on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:30:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Viking's fight like this (6+ / 0-)

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:52:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yep, that is a shield wall (6+ / 0-)

        A shield wall is incredibly strong from the front, and is very difficult to get through. The basic idea is to have a couple  layers of shields in front, and spearmen behind. The job of the shield men is to not get killed--their shields protected the guys with the spears who did most of the real poking.

        The weakness of the shield wall is that it has no rear defense, so if anyone gets through (or around) your shield wall and gets behind you, you're all toast.

        The real casualties usually happened when one side broke and ran, exposing their backs.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:05:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True throughout most of history (5+ / 0-)

          Once a unit "broke" they could be run down with cavalry.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:08:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes indeed. That worked even if your cavalry (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            California06, ER Doc, Joieau

            didn't have stirrups.

            The Vikings had a particular tactic to get through a shield wall--they called it "The Boar's Tusks", and legend had it that they learned it from the God Odin himself. You would form your guys into a V-shaped wedge which drove against the enemy shield wall at one particular spot. The guys in the front of your wedge would very likely get killed (that's where you'd put the Berserkers), but by consistently pushing against the same spot on the shield wall, you were very likely to make a hole and break through.

            Naturally, there was also a counter to the Boar's Tusks, which consisted of running your own shield wall up against the sides of the wedge, in essence re-forming the wall and preventing the wedge from concentrating on one spot.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:29:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  well, that wasn't too bad... I prefer Bernard (0+ / 0-)

        Cornwell's written description, however. It's from a bit earlier than this is set, but seems even more horrific. See the Saxon Stories series.

        (I've been collecting this tv series, but can't manage to watch them, have to find sometime teh DH isn't around, since I don't want to lose him to apoplexy, 8-))

        One thing? most of what I've seen of this series subscribes to that ancient canard about the Dark Ages being up to their eyebrows in dirt & filth... there's documentation, from period, of Anglo-Saxon boys whinging that the Viking boys get all the girls because they're so savage they bathe once a week! and shave, and stuff like that! mewl-pule! (this is back when the Christian AS folks looked on bathing as sacreligious, pagan mumbo-jumbo, as like to push you into Hell as not!)

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:27:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The series is quite nicely done. (0+ / 0-)

          Not perfect, a few bits of strangeness and plot contrivances, but they do a fine job humanizing the Norse - their utter fearlessness in battle and in the face of death, their relationship to the gods, their own version of wyrd, etc.  And the main actor is amazing to watch.

          I haven't noticed a preponderance of dirt, except in the aftermath of battle, and then it happens because the dirt sticks to the blood.

          "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

          by DrLori on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 06:14:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Lenny. (7+ / 0-)

    The craftsmanship is astonishing!

    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

    by Joy of Fishes on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:30:20 AM PDT

  •  Very nice pics, but (4+ / 0-)

    maybe the Rus sailed down the Dnieper, since it empties into the Black Sea.

    "The Dnieper River is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising near Smolensk and flowing through Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to the Black Sea. It is the longest river of Ukraine and Belarus."  Wikipedia

    “I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter.” –Blaise Pascal

    by dskoe on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:39:46 AM PDT

    •  no, they sailed up (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, ER Doc, Joieau

      Viking longships sailed the Mediterranean all the way to the Black Sea.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:52:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The VIKINGS sailed from the Baltic into Russian (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lenny Flank

        territory, then portaged their ships to rivers that ran DOWN to the Black Sea, and thence to Constantinople. The Vikings were major traders when they weren't fighting.

        The Vikings ALSO approached Byzantium via the Mediterranean.

        As a matter of (debated) fact, some scholars think that the Viking trading towns on the Russian rivers were where the "Rus" came from in the first place. The modern Rus aren't too thrilled with that idea, as you might surmise, and hold that at the least it was a meeting of equals. Try the "Kievan Rus" article at Wiki and branch out from there...

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:33:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, Lenny: one minor correction (5+ / 0-)

    While the Vikings did "found" Dublin (and, AFACBD, most of the towns in Ireland), in York, they took over an already-existing settlement dating back to Roman times. Though renaming it "Jorvik", which eventually turned into "York".

    It may seem odd for a British city well inland to have become a "Viking" center, but apparently those well-crafted longships were very well-suited for river transport as well.

  •  I would like to have known the man who (5+ / 0-)

    designed those boats.  He was more that engineer, he was an artist.

    I hope he knows, from his home in Valhalla, that his work still inspires.

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:44:56 AM PDT

  •  An earlier people, the Phoenicians... (5+ / 0-)

    ...(and their offspring, the Carthaginians) built the best ships of their era. These were bigger than the longships of the Vikings and were made with several major design differences. A key one was the fact that instead of overlapping planks, the Phoenicians butted them held them against each other with mortise and tenon.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 10:08:51 AM PDT

  •  Some of my family's history is in your diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lenny Flank, chimene, Joieau

    My great-grandmother was an Oseberg and her people came from that farm, although her family no longer farmed the land when the ship was found in the burial mound.

    My grandmother was born in Hell's Kitchen in New York and, at age 75, when she got to go back to her mother's home, she visited the Viking Ship Museum.  A cousin told the administrators she was coming, and there was a big reception and a lot of hoopla, media, etc. because she was one of the few direct descendants of the Oseberg line.

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:48:13 PM PDT

  •  Fantastic diary, Lenny! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lenny Flank, Joieau

    I remember when I was a Journeyman carpenter, building homes; very good with roof cutting and applying siding. I was hotdog. Then I look at the woodworking detail on these ships and feel like a rank beginner; a Period I apprentice all over again...SSK

    "Hey Clinton, I'm bushed" - Keith Richards UID 194838

    by Santa Susanna Kid on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:49:08 PM PDT

  •  "Pottery and metal plates" pic -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lenny Flank

    that row of squares with holes in corners across the middle of the pic?

    IF those are metal, it MIGHT indicate lamellar armor.

    IF those squares are wood, horn or ivory, they're more probably "cards" for TABLET WEAVING, a major, major form of Norse clothing decoration, also used in weaving yardage to form selvages.

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 02:48:46 PM PDT

  •  There have been several reconstructions of... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    ...longships. beginning with Viking, which crossed the Atlantic
    in 1893 from Bergen to New York, then traversed the Hudson River, the Eire Canal and the Great Lakes to the Chicago, where it was featured at the World Exposition.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 07:31:28 AM PDT

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