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The Vikings are coming

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

  1. yeo_64 Active Member

    Country:
    Singapore
    VERY INTERESTING,Roc (y) (y) !! I didn't know that they "travelled" over land too !! Thanks for posting this information,my friend;much appreciated.Cheers !
    Kenneth :lol:
  2. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Kenneth, I'm happy to hear that you find the text interesting, Viking history is very fascinating.

    I just finished painting his cape, hopefully,I'll be able to post some pics by the end of the week.

    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  3. Uruk-Hai PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    Sweden
    The cargo vessels are usually refered to as "Knarr". Because of the sound they made in the waves, queaking that is and the Scandinavian name for queak is "Knarr".

    Im not sure about this but Id like to add that the viking could sail against the wind. This because the design of the sail and mast.

    They could also drag their boats for long distances and manufactered carts for this purpose.

    The german Cogs appeared after the viking era in the early middleages. Introduced by the trade federation "Hansan" based in Lubeck which had control of most of the baltic sea.

    Most of the terms used on ships still today originates from the vikings.

    A local levy or bodyguard is named a "Hird".

    Vikings did have suncompasses.

    [IMG]

    There are also rumours about a sunstone. A stone made of some mineral which one could use to see the sunlight on a cloudy day. There are other ways to navigate using "dead counting" estemating the speed and the drift but Im not really knowledgable enough to explain that.
  4. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Janne,thanks for taking the time to post the information,very interesting.

    The Vikings were great navigators and explorers,modern day navigation owes a lot to the Vikings.They were truly ahead of their time.


    Cheers,
    Roc. :)
  5. Joe Hudson Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Hey Roc,

    As usual the figure is coming along nicely but I wish that I had just one of your entries of information on any of my figures! :lol: You really do a nice job with the information and I barley can get the figure painted much less even have a title to it! Great job.

    Joe
  6. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    THE SHIELD


    The large circular shield of the Vikings was part of a conservative tradition of manufacture. The best known intact examples from the Viking Age are those that lined the gunwales of the buried warship from Gokstad, Norway (Fig. 1) dated to c.905 AD. They are similar to shields from Thorsberg bog and other Danish weapon deposits of the Roman Iron Age. Though archaeological evidence dries up with the adoption of Christian burial rites, art sources indicate that kite shields were accepted in the Norse lands in the twelfth century, along with a small round buckler. Scandinavian settlers seem to have adopted different designs in the Irish Sea region, judging by material from burials there. These variants may be discussed in a separate paper.
    Construction and dimensions

    Shields were typically 80-90 cm in diameter [1] (Table 1). The board was flat, and made of a single layer of planks butted together. The Gokstad shields were made of seven or eight white pine [2] planks of varying widths [3]. The planks were usually only 6-10mm thick (Table 2), and were bevelled even thinner at the outer edge (Fig. 1; Table 2). There is no archaeological evidence for laminated (ie. cross-ply) construction (Härke 1981) though contemporary poetry and slightly later legislation suggests it (Dickinson and Härke 1992; Nicolaysen 1882).

    [IMG]

    Figure 1 - Shield from Gokstad ship burial, Westfold Norway c.905AD. Diameter 94 cm . Front. Boss type is Rygh 564. b. Reverse, note holes for attachment of rim and single wooden crossbar serving as grip - the other reinforcements seen in photographs are modern additions. c. Cross section, note bevelled edges.


    The planks were possibly glued together. Extra support could come from the boss, grip and rim bindings (see below), and from a leather covering. At least some shields from Birka had a thin leather facing, and some earlier English shields were covered on both sides .However, the planks of the Gokstad shields were painted, indicating that they had no leather facing covering them It is worth noting that their uniform and fragile design suggests that the Gokstad shields may have been ornaments made especially for the burial, and thus not representative of actual combat shields [4].

    An interesting parallel to the Gokstad shields comes from a peat bog at Tirskom, in Latvia. Dated to the ninth century, this near intact shield is constructed of six spruce or fir planks and covered on front and rear with leather, padded with pressed grass.

    Boss

    At the centre of the shield was a circular hole [5] covered by a more-or-less hemispherical iron boss of ~15 cm diameter (including flange), which enclosed the hand grip. The iron of the dome was fairly thick (3-5 mm), though the flange was some what thinner.
    Bosses had two main forms - the early style had a high dome and a pronounced neck The later style, low domed without a neck, never completely replaced the former .Less common were a squat style and a sub-conical style , sometimes with an apical knob .

    [IMG]


    Figure 2 - Shield bosses, Rygh classification scheme.


    Single examples of bosses with a toothed flange are known from Telemark, Norway
    The large circular shield of the Vikings was part of a conservative tradition of manufacture. The best known intact examples from the Viking Age are those that lined the gunwales of the buried warship from Gokstad, Norway (Fig. 1) dated to c.905 AD (Bonde and Christensen 1993). They are similar to shields from Thorsberg bog (Raddatz 1987) and other Danish weapon deposits of the Roman Iron Age. Though archaeological evidence dries up with the adoption of Christian burial rites, art sources (such as the Lewis chessmen) indicate that kite shields were accepted in the Norse lands in the twelfth century, along with a small round buckler (Karlsson 1993). Scandinavian settlers seem to have adopted different (native Insular?) designs in the Irish Sea region, judging by material from burials there. These variants may be discussed in a separate paper.




    Construction and dimensions

    Shields were typically 80-90 cm in diameter [1] (Table 1). The board was flat, and made of a single layer of planks butted together. The Gokstad shields were made of seven or eight white pine [2] planks of varying widths [3]. The planks were usually only 6-10mm thick (Table 2), and were bevelled even thinner at the outer edge (Fig. 1; Table 2). There is no archaeological evidence for laminated (ie. cross-ply) construction (Härke 1981) though contemporary poetry and slightly later legislation suggests it (Dickinson and Härke 1992; Nicolaysen 1882).
    Shield from Gokstad ship burial, Westfold Norway c.905AD. Diameter 94 cm (Nicolaysen 1882). a. Front. Boss type is Rygh 564. b. Reverse, note holes for attachment of rim and single wooden crossbar serving as grip - the other reinforcements seen in photographs are modern additions. c. Cross section, note bevelled edges.


    The planks were possibly glued together. Extra support could come from the boss, grip and rim bindings (see below), and from a leather covering. At least some shields from Birka had a thin leather facing, and some earlier English shields were covered on both sides (Arwidsson 1986; Dickinson and Härke 1992). However, the planks of the Gokstad shields were painted, indicating that they had no leather facing covering them (Lowe 1990). It is worth noting that their uniform and fragile design suggests that the Gokstad shields may have been ornaments made especially for the burial, and thus not representative of actual combat shields [4].

    An interesting parallel to the Gokstad shields comes from a peat bog at Tirskom, in Latvia. Dated to the ninth century, this near intact shield is constructed of six spruce or fir planks (Yrtan 1961) and covered on front and rear with leather, padded with pressed grass.

    Boss

    At the centre of the shield was a circular hole covered by a more-or-less hemispherical iron boss of ~15 cm diameter (including flange), which enclosed the hand grip. The iron of the dome was fairly thick (3-5 mm), though the flange was somewhat thinner .Bosses had two main forms - the early style had a high dome and a pronounced neck . The later style, low domed without a neck , never completely replaced the former . Less common were a squat style and a sub-conical style , sometimes with an apical knob .
    The boss was normally attached by broad headed iron nails, the points of which were either clenched (bent over) or flattened on the reverse of the shield. In the Birka material four nails was most common , occasionally six (as for the Gokstad shields). Five nails were sometimes used, as in examples from Cronk Moar, Man and the ship cremation on the Ile de Groix, France.
    The flange of some bosses were angled, perhaps to secure the boss to the board by placing tension on the nails, or possibly because they were attached to convex shield boards. Flanges with decorative edgings of non-ferrous metal strips were found in some Birka graves , and nail heads were sometimes inlaid or Olsaksamlingen, pers. obs.). b-e. Ile de Groix, France. Nail points were flattened rather than clenched (from Müller-Wille 1978). f. Birka Bj544, showing tin applique on flange; g. Birka Bj850, brass edging on flange; h. Birka Bj581, side view showing nails clenched (bent) for attachment (after Arbmann 1940).


    Handle or grip

    Wood alone must have been used in the majority of graves where remains are lacking, as in the Gokstad shields where a thin lath of rectangular section is nailed (crossways with respect to the planks) from edge to edge across the back face, it serves as a handle where it crosses the central hole (Fig. l). On more elaborate shields a wooden core was covered by a gutter-shaped sheathing of iron (Arwidsson 1986), usually ornamented with embossed bronze sheet or silver inlay (Fig 4-a).


    [IMG]




    Figure 4 - Shield grips, 10th cent. a. Two fragments of a silver-embellished iron grip with wooden core from Hedeby boat grave, Schleswig-Holstein Germany (from Müller-Wille 1976). b. Fragment of shield grip with spatulate terminal, Gokstad ship burial (from Nicolaysen 1886). c-d. Three-armed bronze fastenings for shield handle in the form of animal/human masks, Hedeby boat grave and Birka grave Bj944 (from Müller-Wille 1976, and after Arbman 1943).


    The handle was long, often crossing the full diameter of the shield, and was tapered towards both ends. The tips could be flattened out into a spatulate terminal which was nailed directly to the board (Fig. 4-b), or be fastened down by separate bronze mounts (Fig. 4-c,d). Occasionally the nails fastening the boss also passed through the handle. The handgrip may have been wrapped with leather (eg. Birka grave Bj504, and as known from early Anglo-Saxon finds: Arwidsson 1986; Härke 1981).


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Edge Reinforcement

    Continuous gutter-shaped metal edge bindings like those known from Vendel, Välsgarde, and Thorsbjerg were obsolete by the Viking Age. In the vast majority of finds there is no evidence of edge reinforcement, which must therefore have been absent, or of a perishable nature. On the Gokstad shields, small holes are bored about 2 cm in from the edge, at intervals of c.3.5 cm (Fig. 1-a,b), presumably to fasten a rim, all other traces of which have perished. It can be speculated that the edge was bound with a leather strip fastened with stitches or thongs, or possibly very fine iron nails.


    [IMG]




    - Metal clamps from shield rims. a. Grave Bj944, Birka Sweden. Type A, simple U-shaped clamp. b. Grave Bj369, Birka. Type B with expansion for leather rim binding. c. Lindholm Høye 1112, Denmark. Raised punchmarks surround the rivet heads.


    Small clamps made of iron or bronze sheet are occasionally found in graves Clamps were sometimes simply decorated by tinning, punching or engraving . In Birka graves Bj 628 and 736 the clamps were butted to produce a continuous edge however, only sections of the rim survive, perhaps indicating deliberate damage before burial.

    [IMG]

    Sometimes several clamps are distributed evenly around the shield rim ,perhaps to fasten a leather edge binding, traces of which sometimes remain. Clamps from grave Bj 850 were fastened over a leather edging , though their low number and uneven distribution suggests that this was not their primary purpose. Here they might have fastened joins between planks, or shored up a damaged edge.


    Decoration

    Archaeology as well as literary and art sources indicate that the shield was often painted. The faces of the Gokstad shields were painted yellow or black , and arranged alternately along the ship's sides . Red shields may have been popular . A red shield is mentioned on a Danish runestone as well as in several sagas. Distribution of a pigment layer in the Viking Age Välsgarde 9 grave indicated a red painted shield . Shields from the Roman Iron Age weapon sacrifice at Thorsberg were painted red or blue .

    Fragments from Ballateare, Man suggest that the leather facing of this shield was painted with black and red patterns on a white background . It was suggested that a gesso (organic matrix, such as egg yolk) paint was used. Traces of white paint were found on a wooden fragment from the Manx Cronk Moar shield .
    Representations of shields in Viking art are frequently marked with 'pinwheel' patterns of radiating curved lines . These might possibly represent metal strengthening bands ; or even seams in the leather facing; or may mark segments originally painted in contrasting colours, as shown in a few contemporary Frankish manuscripts . Inspiration for decoration of a reconstructed shield might also be sought in surviving painted wooden objects from the Viking Age.

    Analysis of battle damage to weapons from the massive Roman Iron Age deposit of Nydham indicated the primary use for the large round shields was in fending off missiles, while sword duels were conducted blade on blade . However, the use of shields in hand to hand combat is recorded in customs such as the holmgang duel. The heavy iron construction of the Viking Age boss is unlike the Roman Iron Age examples of thin bronze, perhaps indicating a change to a hand-to-hand fighting style in which parrys with the boss were possible. The thin boards would split easily, and could perhaps have been deliberately made so, in order to snare an attacker's blade.




    Combat techniques

    Analysis of battle damage to weapons from the massive Roman Iron Age deposit of Nydham indicated the primary use for the large round shields was in fending off missiles, while sword duels were conducted blade on blade (Schloß Gottorf: Archäologische Landesmuseum der Christian-Albrechts Universität, Schleswig Germany: pers. obs. 1994). However, the use of shields in hand to hand combat is recorded in customs such as the holmgang duel. The heavy iron construction of the Viking Age boss is unlike the Roman Iron Age examples of thin bronze, perhaps indicating a change to a hand-to-hand fighting style in which parrys with the boss were possible. The thin boards would split easily, and could perhaps have been deliberately made so, in order to snare an attacker's blade.




    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  7. Guy A Fixture

    Country:
    United-States
    Interesting text and history Roc........I don't know which I enjoy more....the research or the painting..........keep up the great work my friend. (y)
  8. y_wong New Member

    Dear Roc,

    I am really enjoying this thread. Not only do I get to see your SBS on the painting of the figure but I am also getting a quick history on the viking. This thread is truely enjpyable for me.

    regards :)
  9. michelange Member

    Country:
    France
    Roc mon ami ;)

    It is always surprising for me, to see a painter informing on the history so, and to like sharing its knowledge.
    Are you a professor?I do not regrettably understand everything, because my English is limited, I think that your researches, deserve to be translated (in French :) , Spanish) and put under shape pdf. in the column " features / articles ".
    I hope that it is feasible, at least congratulations on your whole work.

    Bruno
  10. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Hey Joe, thanks for the encouragement and I'm glad you like the text.


    Keep up the good work and cheers.


    Roc. :)
  11. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Guy,thanks for the kind words, Glad you're enjoying the text.


    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  12. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Wong, my friend, thanks for all your support and kind words; I'M happy to hear that you are enjoying the SBS and the text.
    By the way,I'm enjoying your SBS on sculpting and learning much.


    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  13. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Bruno, mon ami, mercy beaucoup, you are too kind and I'm glad you are enjoying the text.

    I'm not a professor, just a law enforcement officer who loves history and painting figures.I think everybody that paints figures has a love and fascination for History.

    Your English is very clear and understandable, I wish my French was half as good as your English.


    Aurevoir,

    Roc. :)
  14. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Hey guys finished painting Thorkel's cape, it is still a little wet, when completely dry, I will give it more highlights and shadows.

    I hope Thorkel our brave and adventurous Viking likes it


    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]


    My apologies for the poor quality of the pictures, I’ll try to take some more pictures tomorrow, hopefully, they will be a little better

    Your comments and advice are welcome.





    Cheers,

    Roc. :)
  15. yeo_64 Active Member

    Country:
    Singapore
    Hey,Roc, (y) (y) (y) ,my friend !!! Cheers.
    Kenneth.
  16. Anders Heintz Well-Known Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Making good progress Roc! Looking good too! That head sure looks weird with the parts off of it dont it!
  17. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Kenneth, my friend,thank you, I do value your opinion.

    Cheers,

    Roc. :) :)
  18. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Anders, thanks buddy, your kind words are encouraging.

    You're right his head does look weird, our Viking is having a bad hair day :lol: :lol: :lol: .


    Cheers,

    Roc.
  19. gary New Member

    Looking good so far. About the only critique I'd offer is that the red needs to be toned down a bit. Madder was the red dye used the most, and it's got a bit more of a brown tone to it. Check the pics I sent of the madder dyes.

    Gary
  20. Roc Active Member

    Country:
    United-States
    Gary, my friend, thanks for pointing that out, when I think it's completely dry I will give it a couple of washes of Aliizarin brown Madder.

    Thanks again and keep up the good research.

    Cheers,

    Roc. :)

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