Subsistence Change for the Norse Vikings at Brattahlid, Greenland

By Jennifer Lien University of Wisconsin–Madison The immigration of the Viking pioneers to the North Atlantic islands was a period of expansive exploration, settlement, and colonization. Primary sources such as the King’s Mirror and Erik the Red’s Saga inform us about the lifestyles and the journeys of the Norse into the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean that led to the discovery of habitable islands such as the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. The Norse settlement at Greenland in…

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A Toast from the High Seat: The Feast in the Viking Age

By James Andersen University of Oregon Firelight dances among raucous figures, casting long twisting shadows into the smoky heights of the hall. The din of laughter echoes out into the night, resounding beneath the high-gabled roof. Warriors line the benches, finely bestowed with golden rings glinting. They hail their chieftain, sitting proud in his high-seat, giver of rings and glory. The noble war leader is poured mead by his gracious and wise queen, and standing from his seat raises a…

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People waiting in line for food during WWII in Oslo, Norway.

Norse Mythology and Nazi Propaganda

By Aidan Neher Carleton College Introduction November 1918, World War I ended. With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the German Empire was replaced with the Weimar Republic. Portions of Germany were gifted to its neighbors, heavy reparations were imposed and democracy was forced.[1] Burdened with war reparations, Germany’s economy worsened, unemployment grew and starvation became common.[2] The country’s people, searching for direction, turned to various forms of extreme nationalism, and war veteran Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party…

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Old Norse Women of Inspiration

By Linnea Rock University of Wisconsin–Madison From before the days of written history, women have endured societal hardships, as in most situations they were deemed subordinate. Thankfully there have been many examples of great women who have found ways to assert themselves in a male-dominated world, a contingency of which had taken root in medieval Scandinavia. In mythology and medieval stories, there are accounts of women possessing strength and a willingness to weaken boundaries between normal gender roles. Many of these…

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The War of Laws: Hen-Thorir’s Saga

By Thomas Malcom University of Wisconsin–Madison At first glance Hen-Thorir’s Saga[1] appears to be a simple family saga presenting to the reader a blood feud along with the moral code of the Icelandic society, but in truth it pertains to much deeper societal matters. After peeling back the false front of the saga, it can be seen that the saga discusses the conflict between natural law and positive law, and also how this conflict affected the nation. The question then…

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