Archive | March, 2018

The Viking Raids D.18.04.01

31 Mar

The Vikings raided along the coastline, everywhere they didn’t colonize, they raided. Anywhere they could get to, including the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, they journeyed far and wide.
By sailing down the Russian rivers they even took one of their longships to Constantinople to present as a gift to the Emperor. This was impressive.
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Mediterranean Civilizations D.18.03.31

30 Mar

Many civilizations originated in the Mediterranean and then moved out, but there is also the opposite. There are civilizations that came down from the north of Europe. They penetrated the Mediterranean where the Norman kingdoms in Sicily and the Norman and Viking mercenaries served as guards in the emperor’s court in Constantinople in the Byzantine empire.
The famous Varangian guard in the palace in Constantinople was made up entirely of Vikings, of Scandinavian warriors. They were very impressive.
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The Viking Travels D.18.03.30

29 Mar

The Vikings in their travels moved to places like Russia and occupied various areas. They settled in what is now Russia all the way down to the Black Sea.
They also settled in Iceland, where their culture survives to this day. Greenland, and in the 11th century, we know now from the archaeological excavations at Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada, that they did make it to North America. They settled on Newfoundland. They probably sailed the coast of Labrador as well. The Normand’s even got as far as Sicily, where they set up a Sicilian kingdom around the city of Palermo and the Normal churches in Sicily or some of the glories of Christian architecture.
The Vikings are not just savage people from the north. There are also people who made all sorts of connections all over the European world in a very non-Mediterranean cantered way.
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The Viking Story D.18.03.29

28 Mar

The Viking held a striking image, A warrior who dressed in bear skins, a kind of wild man warrior. His demeanour could be seen as furious, and angry, and fierce, with the appearance of chewing on his shield. He projected a terrifying image, if you think of being on the other end of the Viking.
There are many legends about the Vikings. The heartland of the Vikings was in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, but they spread further and further. And by the ninth century they occupied northern England in an area that was called the Danelaw.
Their cultural influence and linguistic influence was strong in northern England to this day. By the tenth century they had taken over Normandy and France.
Normandy comes from Normand which means the people from the north, which were the Vikings.
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The Significance of Vikings D.18.03.28

27 Mar

It is not understood what the word Viking signifies, though the word Veke is the old Norse word for inlet or creek so it may mean the people from the shore or the sea people. That could make sense.
The Vikings moved all over the place. They didn’t just pillage the coast of North England. They also journeyed as far as Newfoundland.
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The Vikings of Old D.18.03.27

26 Mar

The Vikings were an economic revival in Europe in the late period of the early middle ages, around the 8th to 11th centuries.
The Vikings were Scandinavian seafarers and are a popular culture. They were thought to be tough men in horned helmets who burned things down and raped and looted and pillaged. And there’s a certain amount of truth to that, though apparently the Vikings never did have horned helmets.
The key thing about the Vikings is yes, they did raid, they sailed their ships to foreign lands and when they landed they would jump out of the boat and take and rob the things that they could find.
They also traded, depending on where they landed, depending on how they felt, depending on what worked for them.
A Viking ship head post were sophisticated. The artists created an elaborate head for the ship. This would have been at the front of the ship. A terrifying image, but also a beautiful one in many ways.
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Medieval Treasures D.18.03.26

25 Mar

Economy starts with the source of wealth. There is evidence of trade. But back in the time of Medieval Ages the barbarian tribes came through and the monks buried the wealth. That wealth went out of the economy until the 19th century, when it was discovered as treasure.
The barbarian tribes weren’t exactly impoverished themselves, and there were sources of wealth, and one of the most fascinating stories about early medieval wealth comes from a mound and others like it in Sutton Hoo in southern England. These mounds were first excavated in 1939. It was obvious to people by that point that these weren’t natural hills, they were something somebody had built, and they were dug open in 1939, and what was found there was amazing.
People couldn’t believe what was found, because what was found was an Anglo-Saxon ship burial. That is the earliest English cultures that had come into England from Germany at the fall of the Roman Empire.
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Treasure of Gourdon D.18.03.25

24 Mar

Notably there is a gold paten from the Treasure of Gourdon. Gourdon is a small town in France, and the gold paten dates from the early sixth century.
It is a beautiful piece of goldwork, with inlaid stones and so on. A paten is a plate that is used during the Christian Eucharist to hold the bread that is about to be consecrated.
It is part of church ritual and for that reason, even in tough economic times the church wanted to have these items as beautiful, and as luxurious as could be.
This Gourdon treasure was lost for thousands of years, it was found near the French town of Gourdon in the 19th century, and it was buried. Scholars and archaeologists think that this treasure came from a monastery at the town of Gourdon, which didn’t last very long. It was there in the 6th century. And the thought is as barbarian tribes approached, perhaps on a raid of some kind, or some local disorder with some warlord coming through and pillaging everything, the monks buried their most valuable objects in a safe place outside the walls of the monastery.
In the treasure there not just the gold paten, but there was also a beautiful chalice also used in religious ceremonies and a lot of gold coins. 5th and 6th century Byzantine coins.
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The Ancient Monasteries D.18.03.24

23 Mar

The one place that was left after the collapse of the empire were the monasteries. St. Catherine’s Monastery from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt was founded in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian at the foot of Mount Sinai, a very holy place in Christian tradition, at around 550 CE.
In the middle of the sixth century St. Catherine’s Monastery was remarkable as a religious institution but was also remarkable as an economic institution. This was because monasteries like this one was protected by a walled enclosed community. This provided a node of economic development, because monasteries provided a certain kind of order and at least in the beginning monasteries were set up as agricultural communes.
The monks were supposed to work in the field and be self-sufficient with their labour. This was one of the few forms of a larger social organization that were left in the collapse of the Empire and while the area where St. Catherine’s was built in in Egypt was not affected immediately by barbarian tribes, these monasteries all over the Empire, in the former Empire. They helped keep the economy going because groups of monks would work. They would be very efficient, they would not spend a lot of money. Because they were supposed to live frugally.
This meant that they developed a surplus of money. And then they would be able to hire people eventually and create employment and become a source of income for the surrounding areas, and a source of order and of course in some ways of spiritual leadership.
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The Western Roman Empire Collapsed D.18.03.23

22 Mar

One of the things that happened in the 5th Century as the Western Roman Empire collapsed was the trade routes and various economic connections between various parts of Europe broke down as local conditions, warfare, raids make it difficult for people to travel, but also infrastructure began to fall apart.
There was nobody to maintain the roads anymore. There was nobody to maintain the ports, the ships couldn’t sail.
For any number of reasons, the whole Roman economy that had lasted for hundreds of years and had connected places like England to the whole Mediterranean world, completely collapsed in the 5th Century.
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