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Is Santa actually Odin?

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Is Santa Claus Odin?        At first glance, the question seems ridiculous.  What could a jolly, fat man who slips down chimneys to bring children presents possibly have to do with the one-eyed, wolf-flanked, raven-infested, bloody-handed Viking god of war?  Upon closer examination, however, the similarities between the two become unmistakable.  First, consider what Santa Claus would have meant to your earlier ancestors.  Santa Claus symbolized facing hardship (for winter is a time of great hardship in agrarian societies) with protection, abundance, generosity, and joy.  These same qualities are inherent in Odin, who was not merely the god of war, but also of poetry and wisdom, and the embodiment of heroic stoicism.        When we look...

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History of Ivar the Boneless

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Ivar the Boneless ...and the Viking Conquest of England     Ivar the Boneless was leading elite crews of berserkers against the Irish when news reached him that King Aelle of Northumbria had trapped and his father, the legendary Ragnar Lothbrok, and killed him by casting him into a pit of vipers.  The skalds tell us that Ivar quietly demanded the details of his father’s death, and as he listened “his face became red, blue, and pale by turns”.1 King Aelle had just made an enemy of perhaps the most dangerous man of the ninth century; and though he did not know it yet, this action would doom his kingdom and shape the history of England.  For Ivar was more...

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The History of Lagertha and other Sheild Maidens

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Shield Maidens: Did the Vikings Have Women Warriors?             Near Birka, Sweden in 1880, the burial mound of a Viking leader was discovered, complete with a magnificent array of weapons and the remains of two sacrificed horses.  In 2017, the remains of the “Birka Warrior” were reexamined; and the suspicions of astute researchers were confirmed through DNA evidence – the remains are of a female.1 This find certainly seems to lend credence to stories the Norse skalds have long told – that it was not only Norse men who could become Viking warriors, but also Norse women.  Traditionally-minded or otherwise cautious experts were quick to point out that just because the individual was buried with the tools of war did...

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Ragnarok: The inevitable, cataclysmic destruction of everything.

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     The Vikings believed all things – even the gods themselves – were bound to fate. The concept was so important that there were six different words for fate in the Old Scandinavian tongues. As Daniel McCoy writes, “Fate occupied roughly the same position in the Norse worldview that the laws of science do in the modern world; it provided an unseen guiding principle that determined how events in the world would unfold, and could explain them after they occurred”. 1  It was in large part this deep conviction that “fate is inexorable” that gave the Vikings their radical stoicism. Because the outcome was determined, it was not for a man or a woman to try to escape their fate...

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The Viking Sieges of Paris: History, Myth, and Significance, Part 2 of 2

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Part 1 is available here. Part 2      Inspired by the success of the 845 Siege of Paris, the vigor of Scandinavia became increasingly focused outward. Raids on the Carolingian Empire (in modern day France) continued; but the big story of the middle ninth century occurred in England. There the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok avenged their father’s death by invading with an unprecedented host of Vikings. This “Great Heathen Army” forcibly took the lion’s share of England’s several kingdoms, leaving only Wessex intact. Had it not been for the arrival of a visionary leader of extraordinary ability – who would be known to history as Alfred the Great – all of Britain might have fallen. But Alfred and his...

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The Viking Sieges of Paris: History, Myth, and Significance, Part 1 of 2

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     There were two Norse sieges of Paris. The first was in 845; and though a fairly minor affair in terms of battle, it had great symbolic significance. The second was roughly two generations later, in 885-886; was much larger (and deadlier); and had greater direct ramifications. Before the first siege, Viking raids were a new and growing problem for the peoples of Western Europe; but hitherto raids had been made by relatively small war bands bent on plunder. The Scandinavian adventurers might sack monasteries or villages, but would usually shun larger, better defended targets (Churchill, 1956). However, success was making the Norsemen bolder.      Aware of this growing threat, the aging emperor, Charlemagne, built a series of...

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What Was the Vikings' Greatest Weapon?

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In the early ninth century, the Vikings tore through Europe, wreaking havoc and consuming territory at a level that filled their victims with awe and dread.  But why were the wealthier, more populous, and entrenched peoples of what are now England, Ireland, France, and Russia so powerless to stop them?  What made these Norsemen so effective?  Was it the Viking’s sword, which was light enough to be used deftly with one hand but heavy enough to inflict death through an enemy’s armor?  Was it their seax, the long knife that could dart through a foe’s defenses in the blink of an eye?  Was it the hewing spear, that could slash and thrust from a distance; or the shield, that could...

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Latest 'Vikings' Trailer Comic-Con 2017

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Can't wait!  Ragnar loved both Bjorn and Ivar but whose side will win?   Looking for viking jewelry (arm rings, torcs and more? Click here. Viking Jewelry

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How to make your own Viking Shield

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Four separate videos on DIY Viking Shields: This first how-to video used a stainless steel dog bowl for the center piece and used hydrocholoric acid and some hammering to give it that aged, hand-made look.   This Viking shield build focused on a look to match Lagertha's shield from the TV show "Vikings". A request that came from the wife of the builder.   This homemade Viking Shield required little to zero metal working. Using plywood and other easy to find ingredients to make a fully functional shield.   This last video also used plywood and offers tips on how to give the plywood that plank look to is as well as how he added his hand-painted Norse graphics.   About Us:SonsOfVikings.com offers...

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The Danish Canadian Museum: A Viking Treasure

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Check out the Viking Ship Gokstadfæring on Display! Interested to see a detailed replica of a Gokstadfæring? You can when you visit the Danish Canadian Museum in Alberta Canada! The Freydis Joanna Viking Ship and Naust is part of the museum’s permanent collection, just waiting to be discovered by visitors who love Viking history. The exhibit tells a fascinating story. First off, a little bit about longships: Longships were a vital part of the success of Viking expansion into remote territories. They were extremely competent at navigating open waters, with this group comprised largely of skilled craftsmen and sailors. As such, the Vikings easily and swiftly claimed control over both land and sea. As you know, longships were long, narrow...

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