What It Was Like To Be A Viking!

Date: 2020-03-19 12:15:01

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#7 Bardic Tradition

As the mead flowed rampant and the savory meats tickled the tongues of Vikings during times of celebration, people of this Nordic culture would turn to the fire and gather round for the tradition of epic storytelling. This responsibility of recounting tales was left to the Skald, a Scandinavian poet that would specialize in Old Norse and Eddic poetry, reading and recounting them before leaders of the Viking era. Eddic poetry came from the Edda, a 13th-century Icelandic literature separated into two parts: the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda. This compound collection not only provided budding skalds with stories and poems for their cultural heroes and myths, but also instruction and structure for forming poetry! These poets would also typically detail historical events or praise a patron in which they serve, similar to a medieval bard or herald. However, unlike the bard, there has been no evidence found to suggest that skalds used instruments. Some historians, though, have speculated they might have used a lyre or harp.

#6 Rune Writing

The ancient Vikings are often portrayed as a warrior race, but these people had just as much brains as they did brawn. One of their most iconic achievements as a culture was creating the Futhark, a runic alphabet. Using 24 letters, this written language was used to spell out Germanic languages and stone slabs throughout Northern Europe host these markings today. This runic alphabet has been divided into two parts designated as Elder Futhark and the Younger Futhark. The former is the original and oldest form of the written language and was used primarily prior to the 8th century before becoming a type of Anglo-Saxon derivative. Meanwhile, a simplified version, the Younger Futhark using long-branches and short twigs gained popularity with the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegians. This second form would eventually lead to the medieval runes of the Middle Ages.