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The Vikings are coming

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by Roc, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. gary New Member

    Nice shot of the spears. The middle shot is probably a bit early for the Viking age though. They seem to be more Anglo-Saxon in character. The third gent from the right appears to be wearing either a Vendal(sp?) age helmet, or possibly one based on the Sutton Hoo helmet.

    I like the choice of color for the tunic. You don't see too many green tunics, and this one looks like a deep woad blue overdyed with a good weld yellow.

    Looking good!

    Gary
  2. Guy A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    He is coming along nicely Roc.......and I enjoyed the text too.
  3. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    Sweden
    Sorry for the delay in my reply but theres been much a work recently.

    Ok, here is some additions to the history background Rocco has already made. Which I must add was quite impressive and better than most Ive seen in modelling matters.

    It is true that the raids considered a low risc project in the early years. This because of the gained wealth of the west and the difficulty to be prepared and gather an army to meet, stop and repuls the raids. (Strandhugg.)

    But overpopulation was not a factor. Still more than 1000 years later Scandinavia still is underpopulated. At the time of the first documented raid at Lindisfarne 793 the population in Scandinavia(not counting Finland) is about 800000 heathens. With the exception of a few valleys in Norway there were no overpopulation. On the other hand, the oldest son inherited the farm and the land. And the farmer(Husbond) could have several mistresses(Frillor) usually among the serfs(trälar). The offspring were legitimate and free however. This could be the explanation for many seeking adventure and quick wealth instead of making forestland into farmingland.

    Another thing to consider is that most people didn’t go on a raid but remained at home. Additionally during this period there were several internal wars among the Vikings themselves were a lot of blood were spilled.

    The term Viking is very much debated still today. I would like to add that Viking being similar to pirate is probably off English/Frensh (England/Frankland) origin. The word seems to derivate from kauping (köping(vicius)) which means “place to trade”. Other theories are that the word orginate from Vik which is a norse word for bay. Many places, especially on the west coast have Vik in their name. Some also claim the word to be a verb, as to go “Viking”.

    The Danes and the Norwegians travelled more to Britain and settled there and in Ireland creating kingdoms of their own. Swedes seem to have visited England for raids and extortion. 30000 coins from that era have been found in Sweden. That’s more than doubled the amount of coins that have been found in Denmark. Norway and England all together. Also we must remember that for every raiding party there were three merchant trips. Mostly to the east. This had been developing 200-500 years earlier. Which is referred to as Wendel-period here in Sweden because of the first graves excavated in that part of Uppland.

    The Viking religion was not militant. Altough the warrior had high status but not more than the in the Germanic, Celtic, Gallic or Saxon society. Some like me believe that the Vikings weren’t especially religious at all. On a few rhunestones (Runstenar) notifications has been found that the raiser of the stone was very religious which leads me to believe that most weren’t due to the importance of mention it on the stone. Bravery, honour and skill were more important in their life. This is also evident today as we use the old saying: “-The gods helps him who helps himself. “

    The axe was a common weapon. Cheaper to manufacture than a sword and in those day a man couldn’t live without one. You can use it so much more in a daily life than a sword. The axe could be thrown, kiss or bite. Very few axes were broad bladed, I think that it has become a myth. Most axes were ones used in everyday life. Some were made for war but with similar design.


    Local swords in Scandinavia could be soft. And there are records about warriors who have to straighten their bent sword during a fight using the foot and a stone. This also happens once in a while in modern fencing. The handle is called “Hilt”.

    Berserkers were skilled warriors who could work themselves into a frenzy which bears very much resemblance of epilepsy (Fallande sjukan). This seems to have been passed on in certain families. The chance of them using death cap fungus seems today after studies be more of a myth than a fact due to the effect of the poison. There are also some sagas that hint of the use of Fylgias(Totems). And in case of the berserkers it was the wolf. Accounts mention the fact that they often dressed in wolf hides hince their norse name “Ulfvnahedar” which means wolf hides. But it is true that they couldn’t tell friend from foe on more than one occasion.

    The oldest laws and courts derivates from the Vikings. They had meetings (Ting) were disputes were settled. Crimes punished. Most crimes were fined, but sometimes there could be duels (Holmgångar) which is very much as Rocco described but I haven’t heard about the cloak before. Still today the word “Holmgångare” refers to someone violent. One could also be declared “Fredlös” which meant that you were banned from society and could be slain be anyone without retribution. Womens position in Viking society were equal to the men.


    Young girls were trained in early years to spin wool. The threads used in fabrics is thinner than the best of machines can make today. Also powders for dying were imported from the east. Sources and finds indicates that blue and red was extremely popular. So were silk but very expensive as it is today. Usually women had stripes of silk on the front of their gown to touch it up a bit.
  4. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    Sweden
    Names.

    Here are some male first names that have been historically documented in sagas and rhunestones.
    There are different ways to spell them and a little in pronounce,

    Åke; Ake - Åsbjörn; Asbjörn – Asgot - Åsmund; Asmund - Asser; Assar – Asulv – Atte – Ballöges – Björn - Bjarnger; Bjarne – Billing – Birle – Bosse – Bram – Broder; Brodier – Fader; Fadir – Fradulv – Frebjörn – Frede – Gammal – Gorm – Gubbe – Gunne; Gunnar – Håkon – Harald – Hjalmar - Hove – Isbjörn; Esbjörn – Kåre – Knut – Kettil – Manne – Olav – Ottar – Ravn – Saxe – Sigmund – Sigurd – Svein; Sven – Tobbe – Toke – Tomme – Toste – Tord – Torgel; Torkel – Torsten – Ulv; Ulfv – Eskil .

    These are a few common ones. There are many more but it would be a tremendous task to sort them through.

    Last names are a bit different. The usual is that you take the name of the father and put an “s” and a “son” after it, meaning “son of”.
    King Harald Blåtand (Bluetooth) fathers name were Gorm. Therefore his name should be Harald Gormsson. However other names can be put after the first name that is linked to something personal to the person meant.
    King Harald Blåtand (Bluetooth) had his front teeth blue( in childhood I assume and a very odd feature that Ive shared with him). Styrbjörn leader of the Jomsvikings were called “Starke” which means strong. Svein Tveskägg (Forkbeard). Other lastnames are Enöga(one eye), Span(Clairvoyant), Sure(Angry) etc.

    If youre not portraying a historical person or one from the sagas I would give the suggestion for your figure.

    Thorkel Ravnauga
    (Thorkel Raveneye) Which seems likely due to his pose.

    Hope this helps.
  5. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Gary thanks for your kind comments and for all the research material that you sent me, you are very generous, my friend.

    Please feel free to post any information that may enlighten us further.
    I'm learning a lot about Vikings and having a lot of fun painting this figure.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Roc. :)
  6. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Hey Guy, thank you for all the encouragement and your help, I'm glad you're enjoying the text.


    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  7. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Janne, Thank you very much for the information, very interesting text and very informative. I appreciate your expertise and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your informative posts.
    As far as names go, I very carefully perused all the names on the list, you so generously provided us, and I chose Thorkel Ravnauga, has a nice ring to it.

    thanks again and cheers,

    Roc. :)
  8. yeo_64 Active Member

    Country:
    Singapore
    Roc,my dear friend,that's an AWESOME project you got going there (y) (y) !! Wow,it looks like I really missed alot the whole time that I was gone from the "planet". Lots of catching up to do. WELL DONE,my friend ! I'll be looking forward to the next portion of your figure SBS. Cheers !
    Kenneth :lol:
  9. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Kenneth,my dear friend,thanks for your encouraging words,always appreciated.
    I'm glad you returned to the Planet, we missed you.

    Keep up the good work.

    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  10. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    I just finished painting Thorkel's pants and belts, as soon as they dry,I'll try to post some pictures.



    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  11. gary New Member

    Janne,

    You and Roc have both done a great job in the history background of the Vikings. A few extra bits here to add some more depth.

    I don’t remember who posted the comments about the Damascus steel but a little extra needs adding here. Damascus steel is used to describe what many times is probably more correctly termed pattern welding, or pattern-welded steel. The following gives a good basic explanation of the two terms.

    http://www.fact-index.com/p/pa/pattern_welding.html
    http://www.octavia.net/anglosaxon/Patternweldedswords.htm
    http://www.vikingsword.com/serpent.html

    (One thing I’d love to hear about are ways we can simulate this.)

    As I understand it, most of the raiding forays only lasted a century or a bit longer: roughly very late 700s to very early 900s. After that, it strikes me more as being more along the lines of ‘military’ operations, with the Danelaw area of Britain being a result. And as you noted, raiding parties were outnumbered by the number of trading parties.

    As you commented though, trade was always an important aspect. A good many of the eastern Irish cities either started as, or became, Viking trade centers; e.g., Dublin, Wexford, and Waterford. York was a major site of Viking trade as well. The Coppergate excavations are giving indications of just how wide ranging these traders operated; one dyestuff identified from Coppergate, comes from a lichen native to North America… and this from around 1000AD I believe.

    While the Norwegians and Danes were primarily trading in Western Europe, the Swedes headed East and established trade routes beginning in Kiev and Novgorad and ending in Constantinople. One tribe, the Rus (Swedish?) may well be the basis for the modern name of Russia. Birka (near Stockholm?) was one of the trade cities where ‘east’ and ‘west’ met as a trading hub(?).

    In Constantinople we also have the beginnings of what would later be called the Varangian Guard. These were Vikings who fought as mercenaries for the Byzantine Empire. Some of the earliest records refer to these troops as fighting in Italy (935) and Crete (949). Originally, only those men skilled in the ax were accepted, but this requirement slowly ended over time.

    Regarding colors and textiles, here’s an excerpt from the following url:
    http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/vikdyes.html

    “The chemical evidence of textiles from several different sites seems to point to a preponderance of particular colors appearing in particular areas: reds in the Danelaw, purples in Ireland, and blues and greens in Scandinavia proper (Walton 1988, 18). This seeming preference could of course be explained by any number of variables--availability of dyestuffs, the differing site climates, or the sheer vagaries of archaeological discovery. However, although it is carefully hedged, there is a hypothesis in the scientific world that this might possibly reflect regional color preferences rather than archaeochemical factors. It is pleasant to think that this sort of "Viking heraldry" might have been practiced.”

    Gary
  12. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Gary ,thanks for posting the excellent websites, very informative.
    Please Continue to keep us informed, we appreciate it.

    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  13. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Hey Guys,just finished painting Thorkel's pants,I hope he likes them.
    After it dries,I will gve it more highlights and shadows.

    Your comments and advice is welcome.

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]


    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  14. yeo_64 Active Member

    Country:
    Singapore
    VERY NICE,Roc (y) (y) !! Looking forward to the next step. Cheers !
    Kenneth :lol:
  15. KeithP Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Good contrast between the green and the blue. Looks great as usual, Roc! Keep going!!!

    Keith
  16. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Thanks Kenneth, you are too kind, I appreciate your encouragement.

    Keep up the great sculpting and cheers.


    Roc. :)
  17. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Keith, thanks a bunch for the kind words and encouragement , much appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  18. frank h Well-Known Member

    Country:
    England
    Hi Roc,
    What a terrific post this is, not only does it contain
    your inspirational painting, but a detailed and informative
    background. The result of what seems to have been enjoyable
    research.

    Thank you so much for sharing

    Frank (y) (y)
  19. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Frank,thank you my friend,I appreciate your kind words and I'm glad your enjoying the text.
    I've had as much fun researching it as I did painting it. ;)


    Cheers,

    Roc :)
  20. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    The Viking ships, both the Longship and the merchant ship or 'Knórr', could equally well handle ocean voyages across the Atlantic. Neither needed a harbour, but could land on beaches or river banks anywhere.

    How they sailed
    You not only need a good ship to be able to travel far. You also have to know how to navigate to find your way to your destination.

    The Vikings set sail in the morning when the wind and tide was right. All day they sailed along the coast. At nightfall they landed at some beach, put up tents, had a cooked meal and went to sleep.

    Next day they set sail when the.... and so on, until they reached their destination. This was the normal Viking sailing procedure. Some times, however, the Vikings sailed for days across open sea and some times, sailing along rivers, they had to take their ships ashore and haul them across land to pass waterfalls or take the ships from one river to another.

    On board the ship each man had a ships' chest where he had his belongings. When they had to row the ship, the chest was used to sit on while rowing.


    Evolution of the Viking Ship
    Through the ages, the Viking ship changed shape. Cargo ships' sides were made high to hold more cargo. This posed disadvantages in high seas because the extra weight made the ship lie low in the water. Trade between Scandinavia and Germany increased as more cargo was demanded. German ships called cogs evolved from the clinker-built ships. These ships also had a square sail and a stern rudder, which were better suited for heavy, deep-drafted vessels. They were fitted with high points in the bow, stern, and masthead on which the sailors could stand to defend the ship during battle. Carvel planking replaced the thinner clinker style. The carvel-built ship could endure more weight and strain and therefore had larger and heavier masts. Bigger ships meant longer and more profitable voyages. It is not known when carvel-built ships first appeared in northern Europe. Historians estimate they were most likely used during the first part of the fifteenth century.

    Viking Crews
    Viking crews were often prepared for violence and gained their wealth through theft, trickery, or murder. These fierce warriors would undertake voyages without provisions and go ashore to steal food and animals. The Viking Jarl or earl was master of his district and had to feed men and have the largest ship, or be at the mercy of his neighbors. Crews consisted of freeborn men rather than slaves, because slave crews might rebel against the Jarl. Free men lived with the Jarl and protected him when he was attacked. Vikings were very proud of their freeborn status and would not bow to any man.

    Methods of Navigation
    While voyaging on the seas, how did the Vikings know where they were going? They didn't necessarily take the shortest routes between Norway and Greenland to avoid pack ice. Vikings did not have compasses to show direction, or instruments to tell them how far west they were sailing. They tended to stay close to land, making their way around coasts from island to island. When the men began to take the risk on the open sea, they had to know how far north or south they were from home by noting the position of the Pole Star, or using a notched stick or mast of the ship to look past the star and note how far up the upright on the stick the star appeared.

    Later at sea, the experienced pilot could see that he was at the same latitude if the star was seen against the same mark. A higher notch meant the ship was at a higher latitude, nearer the North Pole. This method was fairly accurate on land, but now accurate was it on the rolling sea? Vikings may have used a bearing dial to determine the position of the sun and moon. Because the Pole Star was not always visible, the sun would have definitely been used during the constant daylight of the midsummer that takes place in the high latitudes of the earth. The Vikings were known to produce latitude tables for certain stars including the sun.

    During days of cloud cover, the crewmen could release ravens after setting sail and losing sight of land. The birds would fly to land if the ship was not too far away from shore. The Vikings would sail after birds that flew over the horizon. These seafarers would often share information with each other about what landmarks to look for and at what latitude the land could be found. In clear weather, Vikings would be able to see familiar land for 100 miles on the open sea.

    Another method for navigating was to observe migrating animals. The experienced sailor would use sightings of whales known to be half a day's sail south of Iceland or migrating birds such as geese to help locate land. Things could go wrong for even the most experienced pilot, however, and strong storms could blow Viking ships off course.

    Attached Files:

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