My view of ancient Scandinavia

[Rev 1.1], 2003-12-26, Written by Wilmer Thomas (work still in progress).

Discussions on various topics

This site (will) contain some scientifically based discussion articles on topics I find interesting, regarding the history of ancient Scandinavia -- and by ancient, I mean the history prior to "written" middle age history, i.e. before, say, the 14th century. Specifically I am interested in the history of Scandinavia from year 0 B.C - 1200 A.D. -- the viking era and the circumstances leading to the viking era in Scandinavia, and Sweden in particular.

Here are some suggested topics, out of which the first is a separately documented article serie, Ancient Nordic sources . The following some that have not been (or will not be) incorporated into the articel serie.

Ancient nordic sources -- geography and logical mathemathics

An article serie on interesting topics regarding the ancient history of Sweden, based upon available sources viewed from a geographical and logically mathemetical perspective.

Presented here: Ancient nordic sources - geography and logical mathemathics


The following topics are discussed in the article serie:


Each one of these articles discuss certain hypothesis pertaining to an important paradigm regarding ancient Nordic history.


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Edda poems origin

I find it intriguing to ponder on the possibility of the oldest Edda poems, e.g. the stories about Helge Hundingsbane, the Hervara saga and more, to actually reflect real heros and their adventures in ancient Europe.

My intentions are to examine the grounds for making geographical estimations from the tales and sagas to see why, or why not, these may be localized somewhere in Scandinavia.


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Origins for Beowulf and Rolf Krake

Beowulf and Rolf Krake (Hrolf Kraki) are two well-known characters in the myths and sagas of ancient Scandinavia. Both are supposed to have lived sometimes around 450 - 550 AD, and much have been discussed over the years regarding the origin of them both.

While getting aquainted with ancient Nordic sources, I was interested in

  1. The character alignments of the Beowulf poem on the one hand, and the Rolf Krake saga on the other
  2. The geographical and ethnographical origins for the Beowulf poem.


This article will hold a discussion on these topics.

Presented here: Origins for Beowulf and Rolf Krake .


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The battle of Bråvalla

One of the most famous tales of battles in ancient Scandinavia is the one of Bråvalla, alleged to have been held between Harald Hildetann, son of Ivar Vidfamnes daughter, and SIgurd Ring, his nephew.

Did the battle really take place, and if so, where was it held?

Three main suggestions heard in the debate is that it took place either along the shores of the bay Bråviken in the province of Östergötland, near Värend in the province of Småland, or at the riverside of Göta älv near Hunneberg in the province of Västergötland.

The most common belief is that it took place in Östergötland.


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Lucia and Christmas

Is it possible that the modern tradition of Lucia in Scandinavia may reflect reminiscents of the ancient heathen traditions of christmas in Scandinavia, prior to the Christian era?

Ancient nordic sources mentions the custom of celebrating `jul' (the Scandinavian word for Christmas), a festivity of nine days duration. Another word for this tradition is midwinter sacrifices ("blot").

Lucia is celebrated on the 13th December. Calculating from this day gives exactly nine days until the shortest day of the year, 21st December. The tradition of the "light-bringer" seems interesting in combination with the celebration of the year turning towards the spring and lighter, longer days.

An interesting hypothesis I have heard of connected to this is the alignment of the Asa god Thor (known as `red Thor') and Santa Claus -- the idea being that the common people God Thor survived the Christian era modifications of old, heathen customs and tradition as the red, jolly fellow we know of today, the gift-bringer.


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Information owner: Wilmer Thomas
Last updated: 2003-12-26