Vápnatak 2017

Dva roky poté / Two years later

Nacházíme se pod hřebeny Nízkých Tater na pastvinách lemovaných lesy. Kolem táborového ohně se točí ženy připravující jídlo, zatímco někteří muži poměřují své síly v taflu, jiní zápasí a trénují zbraněmi, další se myjí v chladné, zurčící říčce, a ostatní se psem pročesávají okolí. Nezaujatý pozorovatel by mohl dojít k závěru, že se nachází u loveckého tábora. To je slovenský Vápnatak 2017.


We are situated on pasturelands under the forested ridge of the Low Tatras, Slovakia. Girls are preparing food by the campfire, while some men are competing in tafl, others are training and wrestling, washing themselves in a cold, gurgling drinkable rivulet and the rest of participants are hiking around with a dog. An observer could say that the camp looks like a hunting station. All of that is Vápnatak 2017.



Před dvěma roky jsme v článku „Vápnatak s Herjanem“ informovali o prvním ročníku maloformátové akce nazvané Vápnatak, kterou pořádá skupina Herjan každý červen na Slovensku a každý podzim v Čechách. Oproti festivalům, na které účastníci vozí většinu svého vybavení a jde spíše o přehlídku spojenou s pitkou a bitvou, je tento minimalistický koncept zajímavý tím, že každá výprava je jedinečná, vyžaduje vybavení přenosné na vlastním hřbetu, může neustále překvapovat a posouvat hranice možností a povětšinou probíhá v odlehlých místech, takže účastníkům dovoluje poznat přírodní zajímavosti. Zároveň zkouší znalosti účastníků, stmeluje je a zdokonaluje jejich kooperaci. Loňského ročníku pořádaného na Slovensku jsem se bohužel této události nemohl účastnit, ale letošní ročník, který se konal 9.–11.6.2017 na tradičním místě v malebné Dolné Lehotě, jsem si nemohl nechat ujít.


Two years ago, we published the article called „Vápnatak with Herjan“. It describes the first small-scaled event organized by the group Herjan that is called Vápnatak and that is organized each June (Slovakia) and each autumn (Czech Republic). The difference between Vápnatak and other events lies in the minimalistic concept – people are supposed to carry all their stuff on their backs and the event is not only about drinking and fighting. Every Vápnatak is a challenge for the skills and is a special and surprising teambuilding in a way. Thanks to the fact it takes part in some distant places, the participant can explore the nature. The last year, I could not participate, as I attended The Viking Way in Norway, but this year’s event, organized in a beautiful village of Dolná Lehota as always, was a must-visit occasion.





Letošní ročník ukázal přinejmenším tři pozitivní změny oproti předchozímu ročníku. První spatřuji v účasti více skupin – akce se zúčastnilo 14 lidí a jeden pes ze skupin Herjan a Slavibor. Druhý rozdíl spočívá ve stále se stupňujících kostýmových standardech – tento rok byla použita pravidla skupiny Vanir. Názorným příkladem může být také to, na rozdíl od Vápnataku 2015, kdy jsme měli k dispozici pouze jeden ostrý oštěp, se počet ostrých zbraní v tomto roce zmnohonásobil. Jelikož jsme nedaleko tábora našli čerstvou medvědí stopu, zásoba opravdových zbraní nám rozhodně dodala kuráže. Reálné nebezpečí je přitom naprosto unikátní a nelze jinde zažít. Za třetí změnu považuji širší spektrum aktivit, mezi které mimo vaření můžeme zahrnout noční hlídku, krátké putování s následnou zastávkou a přípravou jídla, komplexní tréninky zahrnující zápas, boj mečem/sekerou a štítem, kopím, vrhání oštěpu na štít a liniové střety, koupání v chladné vodě, návštěva místních bačů, stříhání vlasů dobovými nůžkami, výroba topůrka, hraní deskových her, vyprávění a zpěv a další.


Compared to the last Slovakian Vápnatak I participated, there were at least three positive changes. Firstly, there were more people from more groups – fourteen individuals and a dog from two groups, Herjan and Slavibor. Secondly, costume rules are still more and more strict every year; rules set by the group Vanir were used this year. As an example of the change, it can be mentioned that in 2015, we had just one sharp javelin, while now, the number of sharp weapon was multiplied. Since there are bears and wolves in the vicinity of the camp, their traces can be easily seen by the rivulet and locals speak about their attacks on sheep, weapons are useful tools for protection and morale boost. Thirdly, the scale of activities is much wider. This year, it consisted of nightwatching, hiking and cooking, training with all kind of weapons, wrestling, throwing a javelin into a shield for some interesting results, taking a bath, visiting of local shepherds, cutting hair with period shears, making an axe shaft, playing board games, storytelling, singing and others.





Stejně jako kdekoli jinde, i u Vápnataku existují možnosti k vylepšení. Akce vznikla jako soukromá oddechová událost skupiny Herjan, ale vzhledem k většímu počtu účastníků a paletě zmíněných aktivit se domnívám, že v příštím roce by hlavní den – tedy sobota – mohl být lépe organizovaný, například formou přednášek a jiných kolektivních činností. Pokud Vápnatak v příštích letech navštíví cizinci, bude tato potřeba o to intenzivnější. Skvěle by se vyjímaly také body programu výlučně pro ženy. Aby se udržela kvalita akce, je potřeba neustále připomínat, zejména nováčkům a novým účastníkům, že nedobové předměty – zpravidla obaly, cigarety a podobně – musí být skryté a v nejlepším případě se nemají vůbec vyskytovat. Během nočního veselí osobně preferuji lidové písně, vyprávění o dalekých cestách a hru na hudební nástroje, než-li zpěv moderních písní.


No matter what is the quality of the event, there is always space for improvement. The event was created as a private relaxing occassion of the group Herjan, but now, due to the bigger number of participants and wider scale of activities, I personally think that the main day (Saturday) should be organized more wisely and divided into team activities. There should also be some presentations, lectures and schedule for women. In order to keep the event progressive enough, it is needed to repeat that the modern stuff – mainly bottles or cigarettes – should be hidden, or better, should not occur at all. During the night, I personally refer folk song, storytelling and historical instruments, rather than modern songs.




Přes tyto komentáře je potřeba říci, že kostýmová úroveň, společně s absencí diváků, aktivitami a prostředím činí z Vápnataku nejkvalitnější slovenskou raně středověkou akci, kterou vřele doporučuji všem, kteří mají rádi historii, dobrou společnost a přírodu. V případě, že se budete chtít příštího ročníku zúčastnit, neváhejte spolek Herjan zkontaktovat. Tímto děkuji za možnost zúčastnit se a použít fotografie.


Still, the level of costumes, the absence of the public, activities and the nature make Vápnatak the most authentic Early Medieval event in Slovakia. It is highly recommended to all enthusiast who love the past, good society and nature. In case you liked the article or you would like to participate, please, contact the group Herjan. Finally, I am very glad for the chance to participate and to use photos in this summary.

Průměrná výška starých Seveřanů

Věnováno Sedlu.
Sú var mær hǫnnurst á Miðgarði.


“Nikdy jsem neviděl dokonalejší postavy než-li jejich – jsou [vysocí] jako palmy.”
Ibn Fadlan: Risala, § 80

Staré Skandinávce žijící v době vikinské a ve středověku si často představujeme jako vysoké, sveřepé jedince. Loď plná dvoumetrových, větrem zocelených válečníků je sice estetická a impresivní idea, ale před jakýmkoli konečným soudem bychom si měli položit otázku, zda je náš předpoklad správný a zda je v souladu s dobovými prameny. A není lepšího pramene než kostí.

vyska

Kromě toho, že lze fakticky změřit kompletní skelety, existuje řada metod a formulí pro rekonstrukci neúplných koster. Tou nejpoužívanější je při rekonstrukci skandinávských koster metoda Trotterové a Gleserové, ale rovněž lze narazit na metodu Pearsonovu, Manouvrierovu či Sjovøldovu. Je nutno podotknout, že jedna univerzální metoda, která by byla naprosto přesná pro všechny země světa, obě pohlaví, všechny sociální statuty a veškeré extrémy, v současnosti neexistuje. Získané údaje je tedy vždy nutno brát s jistou rezervou – procentuální odchylkou.

Reenactor Samuel Grolich (176 cm).

Reenactor Samuel Grolich (176 cm).

Přestože zkoumané soubory nejsou příliš rozsáhlé a až na Dánsko jsou spíše roztříštěné, jistou výpovědní hodnotu mají a umožňují srovnání. Na základě získaných dat lze říci, že průměrná mužská výška v době vikinské a středověku se pohybuje mezi 168-173 cm, zatímco průměrná ženská výška mezi 156-161 cm. Tyto průměrné hodnoty jsou srovnatelné s národy, které obývaly území dnešní Británie, Francie či České republiky, zatímco raně středověká populace například v Polsku se zdá být poněkud nižší. Ženské průměrné výšky dosahují cca 92-93% mužské průměrné výšky, což v praxi znamená, že rozdíl mezi průměrnými výškami obvykle nečiní více než 10-15 cm. Hodnoty, které nedosahují 158 cm (muži) / 146 cm (ženy) nebo naopak přesahují 183 cm (muži) / 171 cm (ženy), považujeme za mimořádné. Extrémní hodnoty jsou pak 157-204 cm (muži) a 125-181 cm (ženy).

Z dat vyplývá, že během doby železné došlo v celé Evropě k růstu průměrné výšky, což bylo završeno stěhováním národů. Během doby vikinské se růst zastavil, či naopak – výška populace mírně poklesla. V některých částech Skandinávie výška během středověku mírně vzrostla (Dánsko, Norsko, Švédsko), jinde zůstala víceméně konstantní či se možná mírně snižovala (Island, Grónsko). V 17.-18. století se skandinávská populace výškově propadla zhruba o 5 cm, a od poloviny 19. století postupně vzrůstá, zejména v období posledních sta let, kdy byl pokořen stav výšky z doby železné. Současný výškový průměr obyvatel ČR činí 180,1 cm (muži) a 168,5 cm (ženy). Zrychlený růst se v odborné literatuře nazývá sekulární akcelerace či sekulární trend a souvisí se změnou výživy, se snížením výskytu tradičních dětských nemocí, s míšením etnik a s celkovou změnou životního stylu. Mezi nejdůležitější vlivy, které rozhodují o výšce, patří samozřejmě genetika, ale také kvalita a dostatek výživy, nedostatečná či nadměrná zátěž, zdravotní péče či hygiena. Toto je důležité pro pochopení extrémního celosvětového růstu v posledních desetiletích, ale také dlouhotrvajícího výškového rozdílu mezi středověkými městy a venkovem, který činil zhruba 4 cm (Boldsen 1995: 82, Table 4.1). Velmi zjednodušeně lze říci, že lidé s vyšším sociálním statutem byly statisticky vyšší i po fyzické stránce – což může dokládat například hrob FII z dánského Stengade, který je interpretovaný jako hrob pána (193 cm) a jeho otroka (174 cm).

Pokud je řeč o bojovnících, je možné předpokládat, že do válečných uskupení vstupovali muži, kteří prošli širším výběrem. V praxi tak mohli být nadprůměrně vysocí či silní. Jako příklad si můžeme uvést výškový průměr mužů z Reptonu, kteří byli součástí velkého dánského vojska v 2. polovině 9. století, jenž činil 176,1 cm. Elitní vojenské jednotky velmožů a králů mohly mít ještě přísnější standard. Nakolik můžeme z proporcí soudit, výšivka z Bayeux a další ikonografické materiály často vyobrazují velmi vysoké, spíše vychrtlé bojovníky s dlouhými končetinami. Jako nejbližší analogii uvedeme římské vojsko, do kterého vstupovali v ideálním případě pouze muži dosahující minimální výšky 165 cm a do výběrových jednotek byl stanoven minimální standard roven 173 cm (Roth 1999: 9-10). V tomto světle, i když s dávkou zveličení, může být psána výše zmíněná Risala či následující zmínka:

vyska_vla

Autor článku (192 cm) s příklady extrémních seker dosahujících ca. 35 cm a 125 cm.

Praví se, že mezi Seveřany byli v bitvě pobíjeni takoví, jaké mezi Franky nebylo možno nikdy spatřit, zejména co do jejich krásy a velikosti jejich těl.

Fuldské anály 884

Nejen, že je studium výšky sebeobohacující, pomáhá pochopit zdravotní stav populace a dlouhotrvající tendence ve velkém množství lidí, ale může být přínosné také při komparaci s velikostí užívaných předmětů. Pokud se budeme bavit výlučně o militáriích, je evidentní, že byly vyráběny poměrově na míry jedince. Štíty se tak pohybují v rozmezí cca 70-95 cm, zatímco meče zpravidla ve škále 70-100 cm, ačkoli můžeme najít i monumentální kus délkou 125 cm. Obvod hlavy či rozměry dlaní se zdají být jen málo závislé na výšce postavy, a nakolik můžeme soudit z vlastního výzkumu, rozdíly mezi současným stavem a stavem před tisíci lety jsou minimální.

 

Dánsko

V porovnání s ostatními skandinávskými zeměmi jsou dánské kostry nejlépe zmapované. Pia Bennike (1985: Table 5) stanovila, že výškový průměr mužů doby vikinské v Dánsku činil 171,2 cm, zatímco průměrná žena byla vysoká 158,8 cm. Do následující tabulky jsme nezahrnuly ojedinělé nálezy, jako výše zmíněný hrob FII ze Stengade nebo hrob č. 4 z Fyrkatu, ve kterém odpočívala “věštkyně” vysoká okolo 170 cm (Roesdahl 1977: 192).

vyska_dansko2

Vývoj průměrné výšky v Dánsku od pravěku po moderní dobu. Převzato z Bennike 1997.

vyska_dansko


Švédsko

Pokud jde o materiál z doby vikinské, nebyli jme schopni dohledat více materiálů, než kolik je uvedeno v tabulce. Nakolik můžeme číst kusá data, mohlo by se zdát, že švédská populace jako celek stála na horní hranici (či dokonce za ní) soudobého skandinávského průměru, ale ke konečnému verdiktu bude třeba více informací. Středověký materiál je již velmi dobře zdokumentován, ačkoli je potřeba mít na zřeteli, že několik lokalit se nachází na původně dánském území.

vyska_svedsko


Norsko

Následující tabulka je z nedostatku přesných dat prosta údajů o době vikinské. Přesto si můžeme uvést několik odhadů, které učinil Per Holck u materiálu z Kaupangu: jedna žena dosahovala výšky 155-160 cm, další žena měřila zhruba 160 cm, zatímco jeden muž měřil 160 cm, další zhruba 160-165 cm, třetí 160-185 cm, čtvrtý 170-180 cm a dva muži dosahovali 180 cm (Seeberg 1995: 140). Zapomenout nesmíme ani na hrbáče nezjištěného pohlaví, který měřil zhruba 110 cm.

Středověké kostry jsou zásluhou analýz Pera Holcka a Berit Sellevoldové, kteří popsali ohromné kostelní a klášterní soubory, velmi dobře zdokumentované.

vyska_norsko

Island a Grónsko

Ostrovní situace je svou izolací na drsné evropské periferii specifická. Vzhledem k tomu, že většina mužských kolonistů pocházela z Norska, nejsou podobné hodnoty překvapivé. Ač by se mohlo zdát anebo bychom mohli předpokládat, že postupem času docházelo ke snižování výšky, islandská populace měla z dlouhodobé perspektivy konstantní výšku až do propadu v 18. století. V případě Grónska prozatím neexistuje jiný přesvědčivý důkaz kromě postupného zmenšování lebky (Lynnerup 1998: 72-73).

vyska_island

vyska_gronsko

Další země

Mezi komparativní materiál jsme zvolili Velkou Británii, Českou republiku a Polsko. Jak již však bylo řečeno, národy obývající dnešní Británii, Francii či Českou republiku dosahovaly hodnot, který byly výše stanoveny pro Skandinávii, zatímco populace v Polsku byla o několik centimetrů nižší.

vyska_britanie

výška - čr

Průměrné výšky lidí obývajících území dnešní České republiky. Převzato z Jandová 2014: 109, Graf 6.

vyska_polsko

Na závěr si můžeme uvést tabulku s minimálními a maximálními naměřenými hodnotami na daných lokalitách.

vyska_maxmin


Bibliografie

Ibn Fadlan: Risala Ibn Fadlan and the Rusiyyah, přel.  James E. Montgomery, in: Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 3, 2000, 1–25. Dostupné online z: https://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/montgo1.pdf.

Bennike, Pia (1985). Paleopathology of Danish skeletons, Copenhagen.

Bennike, Pia (1994). An anthropological study of the skeletal remains of Vikings from Langeland. In: O.Grøn, A. H. Krag, P. Bennike (eds.). Vikingetidsgravpladser på Langeland, Rudkøbing: 168–183.

Bennike, Pia (1997). Death in the Mesolithic. Two old men from Korsør Nor. In: L. Pedersen, A. Fischer, B. Aaby (eds.), The Danish Storebælt since the Ice Age – man, sea and forest, Copenhagen, 99-105.

Boldsen, Jesper L. (1995). The Place of Plasticity in the Study of the Secular Trend for Male Stature: An Analysis of Danish Biological Population History. In: C. G. N. Mascie-Taylor, Barry Bogin (eds). Human Variability and Plasticity, Cambridge: 75-90.

Jandová, Petra (2014). Pohlavní dimorfismus kostry obyvatel Čech a Moravy v laténském období. Praha: Univerzita Karlova v Praze. Diplomová práce.

Lynnerup, Niels (1998). The Greenland Norse : A biological-anthropological study, Copenhagen.

Nielsen, H. A. (1915). Fortsatte Bidrag til vort Oldtidsfolks Anthropologi. De sidste 6-7 Aars Skeletfund fra Stenaldersgrave og saerligt de sidste 10-12 Aars Skeletfund fra Jernaldersgrave. In: Aarbøger for nordisk oldkyndighed og historie 5: 275-370.

Roesdahl, Else (1977). Fyrkat : en jysk vikingeborg. Bind 2, Oldsagerne og gravpladsen, København.

Roth, Jonathan P. (1999). The Logistics of the Roman Army at War: 264 B.C. – A.D. 235, Leiden.

Sellevold, Berit Jansen (1996). Middelalderens mennesker: Om knokler som kunnskapskilde. In: Rindal, Magnus (ed.). Studier i kilder til vikingtid og nordisk middelalder, Oslo: 183ff.

Sellevold, B. J., Hansen, U.L., Jørgensen, J.B. (1984). Iron Age Man in Denmark, Copenhagen.

Seeberg, Elisabeth (1995). Summaries. In: Ch. Blindheim, B. Heyerdahl-Larsen (eds.). Kaupang-Funnene. Bind 2, Gravplassene i Bikjholbergene / Lamøya ; Undersøkelsene 1950-1957 / Del A. Gravskikk, Oslo: 135-142.

Steffensen, Jon (1958). Stature as a criterion of the nutritional level of Viking Age Icelanders. In: Kristján Eldjárn (Ed.) Árbók Hins íslenska fornleifafélags, Reykjavík : Hið íslenska fornleifafélag, 39-51.

Textilní vazby vikinské Skandinávie

weavesJe mi ctí čtenářům představit práci Elišky Chudomelové (skupina Herjan), která se věnuje textilním vazbám užitým na fragmentech nalezených ve skandinávských hrobech doby vikinské. Tato práce, která jako první pojednává o problematice v českém jazyce, je určena reenactorům, kteří chtějí věrohodně rekonstruovat oděvy jednotlivých skandinávských zemí. Pevně doufáme, že se Vám práce bude líbit!

Dokument si můžete otevřít či stáhnout pomocí následujícího tlačítka.

 

 

 

 

A note for English speakers

This short work discusses textile weaves found in Scandinavian Viking Age graves and is dedicated to reenactors interested in Viking Age textiles. The author, Eliška Chudomelová from Herjan group, prepared not only the text, but also beautiful charts in English. The most textiles were found rusted to oval brooches or imprinted to their inner shells. Therefore, it is suggested that linen/nettle/hemp tabby fragments come mostly from shirts, while different twill weaves reflect dissimilarities of local traditions – in various corners of Scandinavia, the most females made their aprons and shawls of slightly different combinations of materials.

 

Náramky a prsteny z Birky

Prsten z hrobu Bj 791, přetvořený na přívěšek.

Je mi potěšením zveřejnit tímto způsobem překlad mého přítele Samuela Grolicha ze slovenské skupiny Herjan. Dokument se týká náramků a prstenů nalezených ve švédském obchodním středisku Birce, a to včetně popisů jednotlivých typů předmětů a dalšího detailního komentáře. Samuelova část popisuje šperky nalezené v hrobech, kterou jsem doplnil o popis náramků a prstenů z tzv. Černé země. Dokument si můžete otevřít či stáhnout pomocí následujícího tlačítka.

Doufáme, že se Vám bude líbit!

The interview for Hella the Viking blog

Recently, I have been offered the chance to answer several questions asked by Marta París Boix (alias Marþa Skogsdottir) from Spanish projects Clan Hávamál and Hella, the Viking blog. When she was making her interview with Maxim Makarov, Marta found the interview I made with him, she contacted me and offered me an interview. The original version in Spanish was published on her websites; here you can find the English version.


I had the pleasure to meet virtually Tomáš Vlasatý (David Stříbrný) whom I decided to interview after seeing his long career as reenactor and also his contribution in projects like Marobud, “Karel’s journey – pilgrimage to Rome”, “Early medieval woodworking tools”, “The Library of the group Marobud”, “Viking Age Forging”, “Early medieval tablets”, “10th century Norway”, “Valknut – triquetra”, “Historické přilby – Helmets of the Past”, etc. Since we cannot do the interview face to face due to he is in the Czech Republic and I am in Barcelona, this time I will show you a written interview.

37

Hi, Tomáš. Thank you very much for accepting this interview and dedicating us some of your time. It is a great honor for us to have the opportunity to interview a reenactor with your experience and knowledge.

Greetings to all of you and thank you very much for this interview. I am honoured as well. In the beginning of the 21th century, it is rare that somebody wants to hear the opinion of another person.

I would like to start this interview by asking you, when did your interest for Scandinavian culture come from? How did it all begin?

Well, it started around 2004. Originally, there was a pure fascination based on books, games, music. Old Norse mythology was also an very important element. After some time, I decided to buy some Viking-related products (in fact, those objects was purely fantasy stuff) and to visit small Viking Age events in the Czech Republic. I met some reenactors there, and they showed me their gear, the way of thinking and the reenactor culture. I think that my beginning was similar to the experience of anybody interested in Old Norse culture. In 2008, I started to translate and to study sagas, and this kind of sources brought a completely new light to my reenactor career.

DSC_0027_fhdr

As far as I know, specially after checking the projects that you are administrating at the moment, you have a wide knowledge of Scandinavian culture, and I was wondering if you could please tell us how do you think it must be the daily life of a viking from the 10th century.

Firstly, I have to make clear that Old Norse people did not call themselves as “vikings”. If we are talking about average people, they call themselves “Northerners”, or rather “people of [a region or a clan]”. Basically, there is no bigger change between our lives – people want to live, to earn money, to prosper. The way how to achieve is the thing what changes, as well as mindset and demand for comfort. Secondly, most people lived on farms with their kins and did what was needed for living. The household was run on two different levels, inner and outer. The “inner life” took place only within the house and its fence – I mean regular work like the care of livestock, crafts and repairs, making of food etc., also including the entertainment. The “outer life” consisted for example from visits (friends, kin members, assemblies, shrines and churches), trading and warfare. It is obvious that Old Norse people mastered many crafts in order to be self-sufficient (I recommend to read Rígsþula). The households were considered to be separated microcosmoses, and the law was accustomed to this state. This separation between the Inner and the Outer is connected not only to law, but also to gender – from sources, we can clearly see that the “outer life” was dominated by men, and the man remaining at home all the time was called heimskr (“stay-at-home”, but also “dull”). As Hávamál says, only the far-travelling man can be called wise. On the other hand, women were expected to stay at home and take care of the household, the most important place in life. To sum up, there were strict lines in Old Norse daily life.

It is worth to mention that, in case you visit a museum, you will see many decorated objects from precious metal. However, these artefacts do not fully reflect the living reality of average people staying in the background. We reenactors are often obsessed by these elite objects, without taking care of the rest of 90% of the original population. Another fact is that we often say we represent Vikings, without noticing that we are focused only on Anglo-Saxon, Frankish or Russian sources. Sadly said, for most of reenactors, the life of average people of Scandinavia is not interesting. Generally speaking, war activities are the biggest attraction in the reenactment; in addition, Viking Age reenactment has the element of religious and free thought manifesto.

mece10

How do you imagine a viking burg (merchant city and/or village)? What kind of structure do you think it should have had?

I will take the word “viking” in the sense “Old Norse”, okay? In Scandinavia, there were several towns (Birka, Haithabu etc.). The word for a town is borg, which means also “a fortified place”. In towns, up to a thousand people could live, and they needed the protection and supplies. That’s why, as a rule, towns had ramparts (and palisades) and were located at the bank of the river or the sea. The town was always protected by the power of the ruler, who gained fees from both local and long-distance merchants. It is noteworthy that the town was not self-sufficient and the trade was necessary. This fact can explain why there are so exotic objects in towns.

birka

Is there any event that you’ve ever attended to, whose structure of tents, longhouses, etc… was similar to a real viking city? How was your experience there?

The problem is that there are not so many events in open-air museums and the number of reenactors is often much bigger that the number of houses, so they have to sleep in tents. I am a bit fed up with tents, because of the fact that common people usually used buildings on travels if possible.

Of course I have some experience with living in buildings, both separated and bigger open-air museums. But the impression is never complete – there are too many modern elements, too many fantasy gear and the life of reenactors can’t be compared to life of period people, because modern men want to fight, to drink, to relax from work. There is no need for protection against the enemy, because there is no real enemy. Most of reenactment events last too short for taking the historicity seriously. So, my experience is that the reconstruction of the living in town is extremely hard, and we can reconstruct only small aspects of the life. In my opinion, the life in a single household would be more interesting and more possible.

modra

Reenactors and museums play a great role when it comes to let people get to know how was life in Scandinavia in 10th century. As far as I know, there are museums that usually work hand in hand with reenactors to provide people a real life viking experience. Do museums in Czech Republic do that too? Have you ever collaborated with them?

The Central Europe has limited or none experience with Viking expansion, so Czech museums and academia pay matching (small) attention to the presentation of the Viking Age. In what was Czechoslovakia, the early states of Great Moravia and Bohemia are more interesting. Still, there is a huge gap between the early medieval academia and reenactors; scientists do not take reenactors seriously, reenactors are not very interested in scientific reconstruction, so the kind of relationship is mutual. On the other hand, there are some (mostly young) scientists in reenactment and they try to connect both areas. There are much better results in Celtic-oriented academia and reenactors. Let’s hope the future will bring better cooperation!

I personally collaborate with my friends scientist that are interested in early medieval period. So, a kind of collaboration is possible, at least on the personal level.

synové1

How do you think that people can get to know Viking era better: participating or attending to public reenactment events?

I believe that, from the broader perspective, the Viking phenomenon is already a very popular period, the popularity is on its peak and there will be a slow decline in future decade (of course, in some countries, the process will be slower). Usually, the Viking phenomenon is only a set of mostly historically incorrect thoughts and it would not be popular so much if it would be popularized in the correct way. For me, it is suprising that the Viking phenomenon is so widespread around the world, while other fascinating periods are not known. I often have to deal with people interested in Viking Age due to their afraid of immigration in Europe – these people are looking for the roots of the European traditions, but their will to learn specific data is rather superficial. Overall, it is extremely difficult for a normal modern person to find the time and the will to read and understand. Even the most of reenactors are not so deeply interested in the period, since Viking reenactment is a hobby without any stricter rule, so it is hard to popularize the general public more than now. I am deeply afraid that the deep experience is not what both visitors and the most of reenactors want. Therefore, true approach based on experiments and serious study will always be the matter of limited number of people.

I think it would be much better to change the whole trend, to prefer quality to quantity. The internet is very important medium today, as almost all people have the access to it, and that’s why it is important to create good articles and other online contents with pictures (visualisation is very crucial). Semi-long and long projects (months up to years) proved to be a very good method how to present history. What I really miss are Old Norse sources translated into national languages.

synové4

As a reenactor with more than 10 years of experience, you must have attended to a lot of events and because of that we would like to know if you consider that private events could are a good way to put on practice new techniques of work (craftsmen), cooking, combat etc… or do you consider that it is better to put them in practice in public events so that you can share knowledge with other groups and visitors?

My personal motto is “I do it for myself”. Events are not for visitors, they are for us, reenactors. That’s why we should focus on the exchange of knowledge and the cooperation on any occassion. However, bigger events and festivals are more focused on the battle and drinking, as there is no authority controlling the historicity. At smaller events, a larger scale of activities is present and the costume check is more possible. Period cooking is, in my opinion, a matter of fact at every event, as well as music, discussions and presentations.

wolin

What is the best reenactment event that you have ever been? What made it so special?

It is hard to say – almost each event is special in a way. Large battles with more than 1000 warriors are impressive, but the best authentic event I have visited was The Viking Way, which was organized by Trondheim Vikinglag near Trondheim. The concept was quite unique – the best crafters from Europe and USA met in a forest and shared knowledge for one week. No modern stuff, drinkable water in the rivulet, no modern toilets, no mobile signal, no battle.

And the worst?

It is relative and it depends what you are looking for. I personally enjoy when things are made in a historically correct way and the costume level is high. From this perspective, Wolin could be the worst event on the planet, but the festival has some good sides too. Basically, in my opinion, the worst events are small-scale battles that take only a few hours – these events do not deserve to be connected with reenactment at all, rather LARPs with iron weapons. On the other hand, those participated really enjoy controlled agressivity.

Last but not least, we would like to know if you could give advice to our audience who is interested in starting with reenactment or simply improve their skills as reenactors.

Read a lot and make contacts with foreign reenactors. Write a costume passport, a small document where every piece of your gear is mentioned and linked with the source. And do not be mad or angry – there will always be mistakes and people with different point of view, collaboration is better than hostility. The costume and your historical persona is fascinating never-ending story, and it will never be perfect. But it is worth of the try.

Thanks a million for your collaboration. We wish you the best of luck for the projects you are managing at the moment and keep up with the great job you are doing.

Thank you as well for the chance to speak.

IMG_0737

Norské saxy a bojové nože

Nůž z Osebergu.

Po článcích o bojových nožích z Haithabu, Švédska a Ruska mám tu čest představit přehled norských dlouhých nožů doby vikinské. Každý exemplář je opatřen krátkým popisem a pokud možno obrázkem. Kromě nožů jsou rozebrány také pochvy.

Článek je možné prohlédnout či stáhnout zde:
Norské saxy a bojové nože doby vikinské



English summary

This article is a short summary of what we know about long knives in the Viking Age Norway. Two main sources were used – Petersen’s Vikingetidens Redskaper and UNIMUS catalogue. The result is only a representative number; the article is not complete.

In Norway, long knives were used until the 10th century. From 16 more or less preserved blades, 2 knives belong to the Merovingian type (ca. 100 years old by that time) and were deposited in 9th century graves. In the 9th century, Merovingian type was replaced with lighter, narrower and shorter knives. The typical knife used in Viking Age Norway had a straight blade with relatively uniform features:

  • 20–50 cm in length (ca. 10 cm long handle), 2–3 cm in width

  • in most cases, both blade and back are evenly straight; the blade tapers near the point

  • the wooden handle, sometimes with a bronze ferrule

Sheaths covered both blades and handles and were decorated sometimes. Sheaths show that Anglo-Saxon seaxes and Swedish scabbard knives were rarely used in Norway .

In 14 cases, knives were found in graves/mounds, eight times with a sword, seven times with an axehead, six times with a spearhead, sometimes with other tools. Graves belonged to women in at least two cases.

The function is difficult to guess. Merovingian type were probably deposited from symbolical reasons. Light long knives could serve as kitchen knives, hunting knives and weapons in case of need.

Lamellar Armours of the Viking Age

This article is a translation of my Czech article “Lamelové zbroje ze Snäckgärde?” (Lamellar Armour from Snäckgärde?). The article was well accepted and was later translated to Spanish (“Armadura lamellar en la Escandinavia vikinga“) and Portuguese (“Armadura lamelar na Escandinávia Viking“). If you like my research, you can write me anytime or support me on my Patreon site.

Lamellar armours in Scandinavia
vikingerikrig

The reconstruction of the Birka warrior. Taken from Hjardar – Vike 2011: 347.

The question of lamellar armour is popular among both experts and reenactors. I myself have dealt with this issue several times and I have collected the literature. My research led me to virtually unknown finds from Snäckgärde, which lies near Visby on Gotland. These finds did not survive, but are described by priest Nils Johan Ekdahl (1799–1870), which is called “the first scientific Gotlandic archaeologist.”

The reason why finds from Snäckgärde are unknown is that they were discovered almost 200 years ago and were lost. The literature about them is hardly accessible and mostly unknown for scholars of non-Swedish origin.  All I managed to find is this: in the year 1826, four graves with skeletons were examined in the site called Snäckgärde (Visby, Land Nord, SHM 484), and the most interesting of these four graves are those with number 2 and 4 (Carlson 1988: 245; Thunmark-Nylén 2006: 318):

Grave no. 2: grave with skeleton oriented in the south-north direction, spherical mound lined with stones. The funeral equipment consisted of an iron axe, a ring located at the waist, two opaque beads in the neck area and “some pieces of armour on the chest” (något fanns kvar and pansaret på bröstet).

Grave no. 4: grave with skeleton in east-west direction, spherical mound, 0.9 meter high, with sunken top. Inside the mound, there was a coffin of limestone, with dimensions of 3 m × 3 m (?). A ringed-pin was found the right shoulder of the dead. At waist level, a ring from the belt was discovered. Another parts of the equipment were an axe and “several scales of armour” (några pansarfjäll), found at the chest.

Judging by the funerary remains, it can be assumed that two men were laid in these mounds with their armours. Of course, we can not say for sure what kind of armours they were, but they seem to be lamellar armour, especially because of analogies and the mention of scales (Thunmark-Nylén 2006: 318). Dating is problematic. Lena Thunmark-Nylén mantioned both armours in her publications about Viking Age Gotland. Pins and belt fragments also points to the Viking Age. However, what is the most important are axes – according to Ekhdal´s drawings, the axe from the grave no. 2 is a broad axe, while the axe from the grave no. 4 had the handle decorated with brass. A broad axe could be dated from the end of the 10th or from early 11th century, and the brass coated handle is a feature of some axes from the early 11th century (Thames, Langeid and another sites on Gotland, see my article “Two-handed axes). It seems logical to suppose that both graves were constructed in the same century, although there are some minor differences in the construction and the orientation of graves.

lamely_birka

The hall of Birka with finds of chainmail rings and lamellae. Taken from Ehlton 2003: 16, Fig. 18. Made by Kjell Persson.

In Scandinavia, only one analogy of lamellar armour (or rather fragments) has been known so far, from Birka (see for example Thordeman 1939: 268; Stjerna 2001; Stjerna 2004Hedenstierna-Jonson 2006: 55, 58; Hjardar – Vike 2011: 193–195; Dawson 2013 and others). Lamellae were scattered around the so called Garrison (Garnison) and they number 720 pieces (the biggest piece consisted of 12 pieces). 267 lamellae could be analyzed and classified into 8 types, which probably served to protect different parts of the body. It is estimated that the armour from Birka protected the chest, back, shoulders, belly and legs down to knees (Stjerna 2004: 31). The armour was dated to the first part of 10th century (Stjerna 2004: 31). Scholars agree on it´s nomadic origin from Near or Middle East and it´s closest paralel comes from Balyk-Sook (for example Dawson 2002; Gorelik 2002: 145; Stjerna 2004: 31). Stjerna (2007: 247) thinks that armour and other excelent objects were not designed for war and were rather symbolic („The reason for having these weapons was certainly other than military or practical“). Dawson (2013) stands partially in opposition and claims that the armour was wrongly interepreted, because only three types from eight could be lamellae and the number of real lamellae is not enough for a half of chest armour. His conclusion is that lamellae from Birka are only pieces of recycled scrap. In the light of armours from Snäckgärde, which are not included in Dawson´s book, I consider this statement to be hasty.

lamelovka_birka

The reconstruction of the Birka armour on the basis of Balyk-Sook armour. Taken from Hjardar – Vike 2011: 195.

People often think that there are many finds from the area of Old Russia. In fact, there are only a few finds from the period of 9th-11th century and they can be interpreted as eastern import, just like the example from Birka (personal conversation with Sergei Kainov; see Kirpichnikov 1971: 14-20). From this early period, finds come for example from Gnezdovo and Novgorod. The Russian material dated between 11th-13th is much more abundant, including about 270 finds (see Medvedev 1959; Kirpichnikov 1971: 14-20). However, it is important to note that until the second half of the 13th century, the number chainmail fragments is four times higher than fragments of lamellar armour, pointing out that the chainmail was the predominant type of armour in the territory of Old Russia (Kirpichnikov 1971: 15). With high probability, Old Russian lamellar armour from the Viking Age came from Byzantium, where they were dominant thanks to their simpler design and lower cost already in the 10th century (Bugarski 2005: 171).

A Note for Reenactors

The lamellar armour has become very popular among reenactors. At some festivals and events, lamellar armours count more than 50% of armours. The main arguments for usage are:

  • Low production price
  • More protection
  • Faster production
  • Great look

While these arguments are understandable, it has to be stressed that lamellar armour is in no way suitable for Viking Age reenactment. The argument that this type of armour was used by Rus can be counteracted by the fact that even in the time of the greatest expansion of lamellar armours in Russia, the number of chainmail armours was four times higher. What is more, lamellar armours were imported. If we keep the basic idea that the reenactment should be based on the reconstruction of typical objects, then it must be clear that the lamellar armour is only suitable for Nomad and Byzantine reenactment. The same applies to leather lamellar armour.

An example of well reconstructed lamellar armour. Viktor Kralin.

On the other hand, the finds from Birka and Snäckgärde suggest that this type of armour could occur in the eastern part of Scandinavia. Before any conclusion, we have to take into consideration that Birka and Gotland were territories of strong influences of Eastern Europe and Byzantium. This is also the reason for accumulation of artifacts of Eastern provenance, otherwise not known from Scandinavia. In a way, it would be strange if we had not these finds, especially from the period when they were popular in Byzantium. However, this does not mean that the lamellar armours were common in this area. Lamellar armour stands isolated from Norse warrior tradition and armours of this type sometimes occured in Baltic region until the 14th century (Thordeman 1939: 268269). Chainmail armour can be identified as the predominant form of armour in Viking Age Scandinavia, like in Old Russia. This statement can be verified by the fact that the chainmail rings were found in Birka itself (Ehlton 2003). Regarding the production of lamellar armour in the Scandinavian and Russian territory, there is no evidence to support that this was happening and such a production is highly improbable.

If lamellar armour should be tolerated in Viking reenactment, then

  • the reenactor has to reenact Baltic area or Rus area.
  • it has to be used in limited number (1 lamellar armour per group or 1 lamellar armour per 4 chainmail armours).
  • only metal lamellar armours are allowed, not leather ones or visibly lasered ones.
  • it has to correspond to finds from Birka (or Gnezdovo or Novgorod), not Visby.
  • it can not be combined with Scandinavian components like buckles.

The armour has to look like the original and has to be supplemented by appropriate gear, like Russian helmets. If we are in a debate between two positions “Yes to lamellar armours” or “No to lamellar armours“, ignoring the possibility “Yes to lamellar armours (without taking aforementioned arguments in account)“, I choose the option “No to lamellar armours”. And what is or opinion?

Literature

Bugarski, Ivan (2005). A contribution to the study of lamellar armors. In: Starinar 55, 161—179. Online: http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/0350-0241/2005/0350-02410555161B.pdf.

Carlsson, Anders (1988). Penannular brooches from Viking Period Gotland, Stockholm.

Ehlton, Fredrik (2003). Ringväv från Birkas garnison, Stockholm. Online: http://www.erikds.com/pdf/tmrs_pdf_19.pdf.

Dawson, Timothy (2002). Suntagma Hoplôn: The Equipment of Regular Byzantine Troops, c. 950 to c. 1204. In: D. Nicolle (ed.). Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour, Woodbridge, 81–90.

Dawson, Timothy (2013). Armour Never Wearies : Scale and Lamellar Armour in the West, from the Bronze Age to the 19th Century, Stroud.

Gorelik, Michael (2002). Arms and armour in south-eastern Europe in the second half of the first millennium AD. In: D. Nicolle (ed.). Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour, Woodbridge, 127–147.

Hedenstierna-Jonson, Charlotte (2006). The Birka Warrior – the material culture of a martial society, Stockholm. Online: http://su.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:189759/FULLTEXT01.pdf.

Kirpichnikov, Anatolij N. (1971). Древнерусское оружие. Вып. 3. Доспех, комплекс боевых средств IX—XIII вв, Moskva.

Medvedev, Аlexandr F. (1959) К истории пластинчатого доспеха на Руси //Советская археология, № 2, 119—134. Online: http://swordmaster.org/2010/05/10/a-f-medvedev-k-istorii-plastinchatogo-dospexa-na.html.

Stjerna, Niklas (2001). Birkas krigare och deras utrustning. In: Michael Olausson (ed.). Birkas krigare, Stockholm, 39–45.

Stjerna, Niklas (2004). En stäppnomadisk rustning från Birka. In: Fornvännen 99:1, 28–32. Online: http://samla.raa.se/xmlui/bitstream/handle/raa/3065/2004_027.pdf?sequence=1.

Stjerna, Niklas. (2007). Viking-age seaxes in Uppland and Västmanland : craft production and eastern connections. In: U. Fransson (ed). Cultural interaction between east and west, Stockholm, 243–249.

Thunmark-Nylén, Lena (2006). Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III: 1–2 : Text, Stockholm.

The sword from Sarskoe Gorodishche

ANALYSIS
mec_leontiev

A drawing of the sword. Taken from Leontiev 1996 : 120, Fig 47:7.

Sarskoe Gorodishche (Hillfort on the bank of the Sara River) is one of the few settlements on the territory of ancient Russia, where a large amount of Scandinavian material culture occured. Both quality and quantity bears witness of not only trade contacts, but also of direct Scandinavian presence on the site. The most representative collection of Scandinavian objects is weaponry, mainly arrow tips, sword and seax chapes and a sword. The sword will be the topic of this article.

According to some sources, the sword was discovered on the slope of Sarskoe Gorodishche by D. N. Eding and D. A. Ushakov in 1930. However, the sword was firstly published A. N. Kirpichnikov in 1966, as a find from a mound (Kirpichnikov 1966: 80, No. 49). The sword was studied several times (Kirpichnikov 1992: 79, Leontiev 1996: 121; Kainov 2000: 252-256); nevetherless, in 2003, the sword was studied again and some new decoration was discovered. At the present time, the weapon is deposited in Architecture and Art Museum in Rostov (Ростовское архитектурно-художественное музей; catalogue number Р 10335, А- 92).

The lenght of the sword is 94.6 cm, the blade is 78.4 cm long. The blade has the width of 55 mm by the crossguard and 30 mm by the tip (30 mm far from the tip, respectively). The thickness of the blade by the crossguard is 5 mm. The fuller is 23 mm wide and 1 mm deep in the upper part of the blade. The crossguard (lower guard) is 90 mm wide and 20 mm high, while the upper guard (base of the pommel) is 80 mm wide and 20 mm high. The pommel has the height of 46 mm.

description_sword

Description of sword parts, according to Peirce – Oakenshott 2002.

mec_kainov

The sword from Sarskoe Gorodishche. Taken from Kainov 2011: 152, Fig. 10.

Both hilt and blade are very well preserved. The shape of the hilt belongs to the Petersen type E, which was very popular type with at least 123 examples in whole Europe (39 from Sweden, 31 from Norway, 20 from Finland, 15 from the Ancient Rus, 6 from Estonia, 6 from the former Prussia, 4 from Ireland, 1 from Poland; Kainov 2012: 19-21 and my personal observations). More correctly, the shape of the hilt should be classified as the subtype E3. This subtype is “represented by hilts decorated with oval pits arranged in trefoil or quatrefoil compositions” (Androshchuk 2014: 53; Kainov 2001: 57). To compare, Androshchuk lists at least 5 Swedish swords of the subtype E3 (ibid.). Until 2003, all studies had been pointing out that the sword from Sarskoe Gorodishche had been a typical example of this subtype, but after the examination, the sword showed to be rather unique. The reason is its decoration, which is not typical for any subtype of the type E. The decoration is why we should thing the sword forms “a separate variant of the E-type swords” (Kainov 2011: 149).

mec_kainov2

Four main types of pit decoration on swords of the type E (E1, E2, E3, E4). After Kainov 2001: 57, Fig. 4, taken from Androshchuk 2014: 52, Fig. 14.

In 2003, a diagonal grid of inlayed yellow metal wire was discovered on both sides of the pommel. The wire is about 1 mm thick. Such a decoration is very rare and the closest analogies – two swords from Gotland (SHM 16905, GF C 4778) – belong to the Mannheim sword type (special type 2), with not less than 20 examples dating from the second half of the 8th century to the beginning of the 9th century (Kainov 2011: 148).

What is more, the examination discovered the fact that pits situated on the central part of the pommel, upper and lower guards are not oval nor round, but square. To my knowledge, no other sword shows this type of pit decoration. These pits are arranged in a checkerboard pattern, sometimes quite uneven. Corners of pits are connected with grooves, which were probably empty and were punched after applying inlayed stripes from yellow metal. Inlayed stripes always occur in paires or threesomes between pits; they are uneven, with spaces ranging from 0.2 to 1.5 mm.

The upper guard and the pommel were separated with a helix from twisted wires of yellow metal. By the same method, the central part of the pommel was separated from side parts. The helix is stamped in order to form pearl-like balls (so called beaded wire). This method is rare on Viking Age swords, with only several known examples from Norway (C8598 – type E, B6685a – type H), Sweden (SHM 34000:942 – special type, SHM 34000:850 – type H/I), Denmark (C3118 – special type 1), Ireland (WK-5 – type K, WK-33 – type D) or France (JPO 2249 – type H). Ends of wire helix is hidden under the pommel.

Details of the hilt of the sword. Taken from Kainov 2011: Fig. 2-9.

mec_geibig

Geibig’s typology of blades. Taken from Geibig 1991: 84, Abb. 22.

The blade belongs to the Geibig’s type 3, which is dated to period between 750 and 975 AD and is characterised by gently tapering blade with tapering fuller, blade lenght between 74 and 85 cm and blade width between 5.2 and 5.7 cm (Geibig 1991: 86, 154; Jones 2002: 22-23). On one side of the blade, there is an unique Latin inscription +LVNVECIT+, on the other side can be found the sign IᛞI (horizontally situated hourglass with two vertical bars before and after). These inscriptions are made by welding of simple iron rod on the surface. The method of welded inscriptions can be attested on dozens of European swords; the raw material varied from iron and steel rods to pattern welded material (see Moilanen 2006).

The most common welded Latin names on blades are Vlfberht, Ingelrii and Hiltipreht, while the less known are Atalbald, Banto, Benno, (C)erolt, Gecelin, HartolfrInno, (L)eofri(c), LeutlritNisoPulfbrii or Ulen. These names probably denote makers or workshops, since some names have the addition (me)fecit, “made (me)”. Among others, magical formulas occur sometimes (their shortcuts respectively), like SOOSO (“S[ALVATOR] O[MNIPOTENS] O[MNIPOTENS] S[ALVATOR] O[MNIPOTENS]) or INIOINI (I[N] N[OMINE] I[ESU] O[MNIPOTENS] …). As the result, the inscription +LVNVECIT+ (“Lun made”) denote the unknown maker Lun and the sign IᛞI is probably the shortcut for the formula In nomine Iesu (“In the name of Jesus”).

mec_napis

The inscription on the blade. Taken from Kainov 2011: 151, Fig. 4.

Regarding the dating of the sword, it is very complicated to date an untypical object like this one. Besides some exceptions, Scandinavian swords of the type E are dated to the 9th century, while Russian examples are dated to the 10th century (Kainov 2011: 149). So, the shape of the hilt can be dated to the 9th or 10th century. The diagonal inlayed grid on the sides of the pommel has analogies in the 8th and 9th century. The beaded wire was used in the same period, in the 8th and 9th century. The shape of the blade can be dated to the period between 750 and 975 AD. Mentioned Latin names were used from the 9th to 11th century. It seems logic to think that the sword from Sarskoe Gorodishche belongs to the transitional type between the Mannheim type (special type 2) and the type E (Kainov 2011: 149). The sword, or at least the blade, was probably made in the 9th century on the Continent and used until the 10th century by a man with strong connections with Scandinavia.

mec_komplet

The complete sword. Taken from Kainov 2011: 150, Fig. 1.

 

REPRODUCTION

The sword from Sarskoe Gorodishche has been recently (winter 2015 – spring 2016) replicated by famous Belorussian swordmaker, skillful crafter and my friend Dmitry Khramtsov (aka Truin Stenja). Even though I think the sword is the best copy of the found, I hold the opinion that the Dmitry’s version needs a short comment.

mec_arendt

The method of “container” with inner parts braided with silver wire. Taken from Kainov 2011: 24, 28, Fig. 12, 15; Arendt 1936: 314, Fig. 2.

Regarding the sizes, the sword is true copy. The weight of the sword is 1370 grams, an average weight for a type E sword. The inscription was correctly done from iron rods. The handle was made from bog oak, which seems to be a good choice, as no traces of the organic handle survived. The upper guard and the pommel are hollowed, which is characteristic for the type E. Inlayed motives on the hilt (stripes and the diagonal grid) are made from copper alloy wire in the right manner. What is striking on this copy is the usage of silver wire grid in pits and grooves. This decoration is not known from any sword find and it seems like misunderstanding of a rare method used on several swords of types E and T from Sweden (Gräfsta [SHM 19464:6]; Birka grave 524 [SHM 34000:524]), Russia (Gnezdovo mound L-13; Ust-Ribezgno mound XIX and a sword deposited in Kazan museum) and Ukraine (Gulbishche) (see Androshchuk 2014: 53; Arendt 1936; Kainov 2012: 19-25). The method is described by Arendt (1936: 314):

“Both guard and the pommel form a kind of containers or coverings, which contain smaller but equally shaped parts. These latter [inner parts] were braided with silver wires and placed in the way that their crossings were just under the pits in containers.”

It seems that Dmitry based his version on some pictures of destroyed hilts, where the wire jutted out through damaged pits to the surface. However, I still think that Dmitry’s copy is the best version of the sword ever made and that Dmitry took the chance to fill rather illogical (and pattern destroying) grooves with more decoration. We should understand the version as a combination of outstanding replica and a free interpretation of the author.

If you wish to write to the author, please, use this email adress:
truin.dimastai@mail.ru

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This article would never existed without the spectacular work of Dmitry Khramtsov, who inspired me and kindly send me photos in original resolution. All my thanks and respect also go to Sergey Kainov, who helped me with his best advices and answered all my bothering questions.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Androshchuk 2014 = Androshchuk, F. (2014). Viking swords : swords and social aspects of weaponry in Viking Age societies. Stockholm.

Arendt 1936 = Arendt, W. W. (1936). Ett svärdsfäste från vikingatiden. In: Fornvännen 31, pp. 313-315. Online.

Geibig 1991 = Geibig, A. (1991). Beiträge zur morphologischen Entwicklung des Schwertes im Mittelalter : eine Analyse des Fundmaterials vom ausgehenden 8. bis zum 12. Jahrhundert aus Sammlungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Neumünster.

Jones 2002 = Jones, L. A. (2002). Overview of Hilt and Blade Classifications. In. Oakeshott E. – Peirce I. G. Swords of the Viking Age, pp. 15-24.

Kainov 2000 = Kainov, S. Yu. (2000). Меч с Сарского городища. / Сообщения Ростовского музея. Вып.Х. pp. 252-256. Online.

Kainov 2001 = Kainov, S. Yu. (2001). Еще раз о датировке гнёздовского кургана с мечом из раскопок М.Ф.Кусцинского (К вопросу о нижней дате Гнёздовского могильника) // Гнёздово. 125 лет исследования памятника. Труды Государственного Исторического музея. Вып. 124, pp. 54-63. Online.

Kainov 2011 = Kainov, S. Yu. (2011). Новые данные о мече с Сарского городища // Военная археология. Вып.2. Сборник материалов Проблемного Совета “Военная археология” при Государственном Историческом музее, pp. 147-152. Online.

Kainov 2012 = Kainov, S. Yu. (2012). Swords from Gnёzdovo. In: Acta Militaria Mediaevalia VIII, pp. 7-68. Online.

Kirpichnikov 1966 = Kirpichnikov, A. N. (1966). Древнерусское оружие: Вып. 1. Мечи и сабли IX– XIII вв.// АН СССР, Москва.

Kirpichnikov 1992 = Kirpichnikov, A. N. (1992). Новообнаруженные клейма раннесредневековых мечей // Fasciculi Archaeologiae Historicae. Fasc. V, pp. 61-81.

Leontiev 1996 = Leontiev А. Е. (1996). Археология мери. К предыстории Северо-Восточной Руси // Археология эпохи великого переселения народов и раннего средневековья. Выпуск 4, Москва.

Moilanen 2009 = Moilanen, M. (2009). On the manufacture of iron inlays on sword blades: an experimental study. In: Fennoscandia archaeologica XXVI: pp. 23-38. Online.

Petersen 1919 = Petersen, J. (1919). De Norske Vikingesverd: En Typologisk-Kronologisk Studie Over Vikingetidens Vaaben. Kristiania.

Armadura lamelar na Escandinávia Viking

vikingerikrig

Reconstrução de um guerreiro de Birka. Hjardar -Vike 2011: pág. 347.

Traduzido por: Stephany Palos,
Hrafnar 
ReenactmentBR.

Essa é uma tradução autorizada de um artigo publicado por Tomáš Vlasatý, colega historiador e recriacionista histórico da República Tcheca do projeto Forlǫg, sobre o uso da armadura lamelar na Escandinávia durante a Era Viking, especialmente durante os séculos X e XI d.C. Se você gostou deste artigo, você pode apoiar o autor no site Patreon.

A questão da armadura lamelar é popular entre os especialistas e entre os reencenadores, tanto os veteranos quanto para os mais leigos. Eu mesmo lidei com essa questão várias vezes o que me levou a muitas descobertas, praticamente desconhecidas, desde o Snäckgärde de Visby à Gotland, que não sobreviveram, mas são descritas pelo padre Nils Johan Ekdahl (1799-1870), que pode ser chamado de “O primeiro arqueólogo cientifico de Gotland”.

As conclusões do Snäckgärde, em particular, são desconhecidas, e foram encontrados a menos de 200 anos atrás e assim como também foram perdidas. A literatura que escreve sobre este tema é pouco acessível, e os estudiosos sobre o assunto que não são suecos, dificilmente o conhecem ou tem acesso a ele. Tudo o que eu consegui descobrir é que no ano de 1826, foram examinadas 4 sepulturas com esqueletos na localidade de Snäckgärde (Visby, Land Nord, SHM 484), e o mais interessante dessas 4 sepulturas, estão nas sepulturas 2 e 4 (Carlson 1988: 245; Thunmark-Nylén 2006: 318)

Sepultura nº 2: sepultura com esqueleto voltado para a direção Sul-Norte, acompanhado por algumas pedras esféricas. O equipamento funerário consistia de um machado de ferro, um anel localizado na cintura, dois grânulos opacos na área do pescoço e “algumas peças de armadura sobre o peito” (något fanns kvar and pansaret på bröstet).

Sepultura nº 4: sepultura com esqueleto orientado na direção Oeste-Leste, túmulo esférico com altura de 0,9m e afundado ao topo. Dentro encontra-se um caixão de pedra calcaria, medindo 3m×3m. Foi encontrado uma fivela no ombro direito do corpo. No nível da cintura, foi encontrado um anel do seu cinto. Outra parte do equipamento consistia em um machado e “várias escamas de armadura” (några pansarfjäll), encontrada em seu peito.

A julgar pelos restos funerários, pode-se supor que as sepulturas correspondem a dois homens que foram enterrados com armadura. Claro, não podemos dizer com certeza que tipo de armadura era, mas parece ser uma armadura lamelar, sobretudo pelas analogias que apresentam com outros achados (Thunmark-Nylén 2006: 318). Data-los é algo problemático. Lena Thunmark-Nylén tentou fazer em suas publicações sobre a Gotland viking. Nelas, datam as sepulturas como pertencentes a Era Viking, devido as características das fivelas e dos cintos. No entanto, os resultados que parecem ser mais importantes para esta questão, são os machados. Principalmente o que foi encontrado na sepultura número 2 (jugando pelos desenhos de Ekdahl, que parece ser um machado de duas mãos danes), foi datado a partir do final do século X d.C. ou início do século XI d.C. (ver http://sagy.vikingove.cz/nekolik-poznamek-k-pouzivani-sirokych-seker/).

O que era pertencente a sepultura número 4, estava recoberta de bronze. Ambos os recursos dos machados são similares a outros exemplares do século XI d.C., por isso, podemos supor que as sepulturas pertencem a este mesmo período, apesar de que há algumas variações na estrutura e orientação das tumbas (ver  http://sagy.vikingove.cz/hrob-langeid-8/).

lamely_birka

Salão com os achados de anéis e outras peças das armaduras lamelares. Retirado de Ehlton 2003:16, Fig. 18, Criado por Kjell Persson.

As lamelas estavam espalhadas em volta do chamado Garrison (Garrison/Garnison) e eles numeraram 720 peças (a maior parte continha a partir de 12 peças). 267 lamelas poderiam ser analisadas e classificadas em 12 tipos, o que provavelmente serviu para proteger partes diferentes do corpo. Estima-se que a armadura de Birka protegia o peito, costas, ombros, barriga e pernas até os joelhos (Stjerna 2004: 31). A armadura foi datada da primeira metade do século X (Stjerna 2004: 31). Os estudiosos concordam que a lamelar é nômade, com origem no Oriente Médio, próximo a Balyk-Sook (exemplo retirado de Dawson 2002; Gorelik 2002: 145; Stjerna 2004: 31). Stjerna (2007: 247) pensa que a armadura e outros excelentes objetos não foram designados para a guerra, e eram muito simbólicos (“A razão para se ter tais armaduras, foi certamente outra que não militar ou prática“). Dawson (2013) está parcialmente em oposição e afirma que a armadura foi erroneamente interpretada, pois apenas três tipos de oito poderiam ser lamelares, e o número de lamelas reais não é o suficiente para meio peitoral da armadura. A conclusão dele é que as lamelas de Birka são somente pedaços de sucata reciclada. Na luz das armaduras de Snäckgärde, que não estão incluídos no livro de Dawson, eu particularmente, considero esta afirmação muito precipitada.

lamelovka_birka

Reconstituição da armadura de Birka, baseada na armadura de Balyk-Sook. Retirado de Hjardar –Vike 2011: 195.

As pessoas muitas vezes pensam que há muitos achados na área da antiga Rússia. Na verdade, existem apenas alguns achados do período que consiste entre o século IX ao XI, que pode ser interpretado como importações do Leste, assim como o exemplo de Birka (conversa pessoal com Sergei Kainov; ver Kirpicnikov 1971: 14-20). A partir deste período inicial, os achados vêm do exemplo de Gnezdovo e Novgorod. O material russo deste tipo, datado entre os séculos XI e XIII d.C., é muito mais abundante, incluindo aproximadamente 270 achados (ver Medvedev 1959; Kirpicnikov 1971: 14-20) sendo importante notar que desde a segunda metade do século XIII d.C., os números de fragmentos de argolas de cota de malha são quatro vezes maior que lamelas de armaduras lamelares, apontando que a malha era o tipo predominante de armadura no antigo território russo (Kirpicnikov 1971: 15). Com grande probabilidade, a armadura lamelar da antiga Rússia da Era Viking, vem do Bizâncio, onde era muito dominante, graças ao seu design simples e ao baixo custo de produção, já no século X (Bugarski 2005: 171).

Nota para os reencenadores

A armadura lamelar tornou-se muito popular entre os reencenadores históricos. Tanto que em alguns festivais e eventos com batalhas, as armaduras lamelares constituem de 50% (ou mais) do que outros tipos de armadura. Os principais argumentos para o uso são:

  • Baixo custo de produção
  • Mais resistente
  • Produção rápida
  • Parece ser mais legal

Embora estes argumentos sejam compreensíveis, eles permanecem totalmente inadequados. Para contrariar tais argumentos não é correta na reencenação histórica dos nórdicos da Era Viking. O argumento de que este tipo de armadura foi utilizado pelos Rus, pode ser contrariada, mesmo em tempos de maior expansão das lamelares na Rússia, o número de armaduras de malha de metal (cotas de malha), quadriplicou, além de que a primeira citada (armadura lamelar), eram importadas do Oriente. Se mantivermos a ideia básica que a recriação histórica deve-se basear-se na reconstrução de objetos típicos, então nos deve ficar claro que a armadura lamelar é adequada apenas para recriação de guerreiros nômades e bizantinos. Obviamente, o mesmo se aplica a armadura lamelar de couro.

Um bom exemplo de armadura lamelar, Viktor Kralin.

Por outro lado, os achados de Birka e Snäckgärde sugerem que na região oriental da Escandinávia poderia haver uma recepção deste tipo de armadura. Mas antes de qualquer conclusão, temos que levar em consideração que Birka e Gotland tinham um fluxo grande, frequentemente visitadas por comerciantes de uma longa distância e outras grandes massas de pessoas, provenientes em particular da Europa Oriental e Bizâncio, assim como tinha uma grande influência nestes locais. Esta, também é a razão, para a acumulação de artefatos de proveniência oriental, que não eram encontrados na Escandinávia. De certo modo, é estranho que não foram realizados mais achados similares nestas áreas, especialmente correspondentes ao período do domínio bizantino. Mas isto não quer dizer que as armaduras lamelares foram frequentes nesta área, pelo contrário, este tipo de armadura se encontra quase isolado de qualquer tradição guerreira nórdica. Por outro lado, a armadura de malha, como na antiga Rússia, pode ser identificada como a forma de armadura predominante na Escandinávia durante a Era Viking. Isso pode ser verificado pelo fato de que os anéis de cota de malha, em si, foram encontrados em Birka (Ehlton 2003). Com respeito a produção da armadura lamelar no território escandinavo e russo, não existe nenhuma evidencia que demonstre que isso acontecia.

Para incluir a armadura lamelar no recriacionismo histórico, deve-se cumprir:

  • Unicamente fazer reconstrução das regiões do Báltico e Rússia.
  • Permitir um uso limitado (por exemplo, uma armadura por grupo ou um por cada quatro pessoas com cota de malha).
  • Somente utilizar as lamelas de metal. Nada de couro.
  • As formas das peças utilizadas devem corresponder com os achados de Birka (em alguns casos são vistos alguns modelos de Visby, sendo isto um grande erro).
  • Não combinar com elementos escandinavos (fivelas, cintos, roupas, etc.)
  • A armadura deve ser semelhante a original e deve estar acompanhada das demais partes do traje.

Se estamos agora em um debate entre as duas posições: “SIM, usar a armadura lamelar” ou “NÃO, não se deve usar a armadura lamelar”, ignorando a possibilidade de “ sim ao uso da armadura lamelar (mas com os argumentos mencionados) ”, eu escolheria a opção “sem armadura lamelar”. E o que você acha?

Bibliografia

Bugarski, Ivan (2005). A contribution to the study of lamellar armors. In: Starinar 55, 161-179. Online: http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/0350-0241/2005/0350-02410555161B.pdf.

Carlsson, Anders (1988). Penannular brooches from Viking Period Gotland, Stockholm.

Ehlton, Fredrik (2003). Ringväv från Birkas garnison , Stockholm. Online: http://www.erikds.com/pdf/tmrs_pdf_19.pdf.

Dawson, Timothy (2002). Suntagma Hoplôn: The Equipment of Regular Byzantine Troops, c. 950 to c. 1204. In: D. Nicolle (ed.). Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour , Woodbridge, 81-90.

Dawson, Timothy (2013). Armour Never Wearies : Scale and Lamellar Armour in the West, from the Bronze Age to the 19th Century, Stroud.

Gorelik, Michael (2002). Arms and armour in south-eastern Europe in the second half of the first millennium AD. In: D. Nicolle (ed.). Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour, Woodbridge, 127-147.

Hedenstierna-Jonson, Charlotte (2006). The Birka Warrior – the material culture of a martial society, Stockholm. Online: http://su.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:189759/FULLTEXT01.pdf.

Kirpicnikov, Anatolij N. (1971). Древнерусское оружие. Вып. 3. Доспех, комплекс боевых средств IX—XIII вв, Moskva.

Medvedev, Аlexandr F. (1959) К истории пластинчатого доспеха на Руси //Советская археология, № 2, 119-134. Online:http://swordmaster.org/2010/05/10/af-medvedev-k-istorii-plastinchatogo-dospexa-na.html.

Stjerna, Niklas (2001). Birkas krigare och deras utrustning. In: Michael Olausson (ed.). Birkas krigare, Stockholm, 39–45.

Stjerna, Niklas (2004). En stäppnomadisk rustning från Birka. In: Fornvännen 99:1, 28-32. Online:http://samla.raa.se/xmlui/bitstream/handle/raa/3065/2004_027.pdf?sequence=1.

Stjerna, Niklas. (2007). Viking-age seaxes in Uppland and Västmanland : craft production and eastern connections. In: U. Fransson (ed). Cultural interaction between east and west, Stockholm, 243-249.

Thunmark-Nylén, Lena (2006). Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III: 1–2 : Text, Stockholm.

Typology of Fire Strikers From the Viking Age Norway

C3463, which belongs to what I call Type 1.

I would like to present my typology of fire strikers used in Viking Age Norway, more particulary 700-1000 AD. This typology is based on Jan Petersen’s works and it is not complete. I am sure there are many other finds that are not included. Please, let me know if you find what I missed. Thank you.

The typology can be downloaded or seen via this button: