The Black Grave is the largest burial mound in Chernihiv, Ukraine. It is part of the National Sanctuary of Ancient Chernihiv and is an Archaeological Monument of national importance, comparable to the barrows of Gnyozdovo near Smolensk, the Black Grave has a height of over 10 metres and a circumference of 170 metres. During excavations undertaken in 1872–73, Dmitry Samokvasov uncovered two cremated bodies of Norse warriors, surrounded by slaves, sacrificial animals, armour, Samokvasov dated the burial to the late 10th century, when Vladimir I was the ruler of Kievan Rus. It is likely that the warriors were two princes of Chernihiv, although no local potentate is attested in the Slavonic chronicles before Vladimirs son. After the bodies were cremated, they were put upon a 7-metre-high mound, when the barrow was completed, a stele was placed at the top. All these items are now displayed at the State Historical Museum in Moscow, at the present time the site of the burial mound along with other 34 buildings are included in the Chernihiv National Architecture-Historical Sanctuary Ancient Chernihiv.
The Black Grave along with the rest of the reserve is the major tourist attraction in the Chernihiv Oblast of Ukraine, // Материалы и исследования по археологии СССР, №11, Moscow-Leningrad,1949. Archeological site – Black grave Tourist information, Black Grave Chernihiv State Historical and Architectural Reserve – Ancient Chernihiv List of monuments of cultural heritage in Chernihiv Region
Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia, measuring 2,673 km2. The main island of Saare County, it is located in the Baltic Sea, south of Hiiumaa island, the capital of the island is Kuressaare, which has about 15,000 inhabitants, the whole island has over 30,966 inhabitants. The island is called Saaremaa in Estonian, and in Finnish Saarenmaa — literally isle land or island land. In old Scandinavian sagas, Saaremaa is called Eysysla and in the Icelandic Sagas Eysýsla, which exactly the same as the name of the island in Estonian. This is the origin of the name in Danish Øsel and Swedish, Ösel, Gutnish Oysl. The name Eysysla appears sometimes together with Adalsysla, the big land, perhaps Suuremaa or Suur Maa in Estonian, in Latvian, the island is called Sāmsala, which means the island of Saami. According to archaeological finds, the territory of Saaremaa has been inhabited from at least 5,000 years BCE, pre-Viking age Salme ships burial have been found in Sõrve Peninsula. Sagas talk about numerous skirmishes between islanders and Vikings, Saaremaa was the wealthiest county of ancient Estonia and the home of notorious Estonian pirates, sometimes called the Eastern Vikings.
The Chronicle of Henry of Livonia describes a fleet of sixteen ships, in 1206, King Valdemar II of Denmark built a fortress on the island but found no volunteers to man it. The Danes burned it themselves and left, probably around 1000, Gunnar Hámundarson from Iceland took part in a Viking raid at Eysýsla. There he obtained his famous atgeir, by taking it from a man named Hallgrímur, njáls saga tells the following, Thence they held on south to Denmark and thence east to Smálönd and had victory wherever they went. They did not come back in autumn, the next summer they held on to Rafala and fell in there with sea-rovers, and fought at once, and won the fight. After that they steered east to Eysýsla and lay there somewhile under a ness, there they saw a man coming down from the ness above them, Gunnar went on shore to meet the man, and they had a talk. Gunnar asked him his name, and he said it was Tófi, Gunnar asked again what he wanted. Thee I want to see, says the man, two warships lie on the other side under the ness, and I will tell thee who command them, two brothers are the captains — ones name is Hallgrímur, and the others Kolskeggur. I know them to be mighty men of war, and I know too that they have good weapons that the like are not to be had.
Hallgrímur has an atgeir which he had made by seething-spells, and this is what the spells say, in 1227, Saaremaa was conquered by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword during the Livonian Crusade but remained a hotbed of Estonian resistance. The crusaders founded the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek there, when the Order was defeated by the Lithuanian army in the Battle of Saule in 1236, the Saaremaa islanders rebelled
The Gokstad ship is a 9th-century Viking ship found in a burial mound at Gokstad in Sandar, Vestfold, Norway. It is currently on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, in 1880, sons of the owner of Gokstad farm, having heard of the legends surrounding the site, uncovered the bow of a boat while digging in the still frozen ground. As word of the find got out, Nicolay Nicolaysen, President of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments, having ascertained that the find was indeed that of an ancient artifact, he liaised for the digging to be stopped. Nicolaysen returned and established that the mound still measured 50 metres by 43 metres, with his team, he began excavating the mound from the side rather than from the top down, and on the second day of digging found the bow of the ship. The Gokstad ship is clinker-built and constructed largely of oak, the ship was intended for warfare, transportation of people and cargo. The ship is 23.80 metres long and 5.10 m wide and it is the largest in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.
The ship was steered by a quarter rudder fastened to a block of wood attached to the outside of the hull. The block is known as the wart, and is fastened by osiers, there are 16 tapered planks per side. The garboard planks are near vertical where they attach to the keel, the garboard planks are narrow and remain only slightly wider to take the turn of the bilge. The topside planks are progressively wider, each oak plank is slightly tapered in cross section to allow it to overlap about 30mm the plank above and below in normal clinker style. Iron rivets are about 180 mm apart where the planks lie straight, at the bow, all of the planks taper to butt the stem. The stem is carved from a curved oak log to form the cutwater and has one land for each plank. The inside of the stem is hollowed into a v shape so the inside of the rivets can be reached during construction or repair, each of the crossbeams has a ledge cut about 25 mm wide and deep to take a removable section of decking. Sea chests were placed on top of the decking to use when rowing, most likely on longer voyages sea chests were secured below decks to act as ballast when sailing.
The centre section of the keel has little rocker and together with flat midships transverse section the hull shape is suited to medium to flat water sailing. When sailing downwind in strong winds and waves, directional control would be poor, in such conditions the ship would take water aboard at an alarming rate if sailed at high speed. The ship was built to carry 32 oarsmen, and the oar holes could be hatched down when the ship was under sail and it utilized a square sail of approximately 110 square metres, which, it is estimated, could propel the ship to over 12 knots. The mast could be raised and lowered, while the ship was traveling in shallow water, the rudder could be raised very quickly by undoing the fastening
Throughout Scandinavia, there are many remaining tumuli in honour of Viking kings and chieftains, in addition to runestones and other memorials. Some of the most notable of them are at the Borre mound cemetery, in Norway, at Birka in Sweden and Lindholm Høje, piles of stone and soil were usually laid on top of the remains in order to create a tumulus. It was common to leave gifts with the deceased, both men and women received grave goods, even if the corpse was to be burnt on a pyre. A Norseman could be buried with a one or house thrall. The amount and the value of the depended on which social group the dead person came from. The usual grave for a thrall was probably not much more than a hole in the ground. He was probably buried in such a way as to both that he did not return to haunt his masters and that he could be of use to his masters after they died. Slaves were sometimes sacrificed to be useful in the next life, a free man was usually given weapons and equipment for riding. An artisan, such as a blacksmith, could receive his entire set of tools, women were provided with their jewelry and often with tools for female and household activities.
The most sumptuous Viking funeral discovered so far is the Oseberg Ship burial, a Viking funeral could be a considerable expense, but the barrow and the grave goods were not considered to have been wasted. In addition to being a homage to the deceased, the barrow remained as a monument to the position of the descendants. Especially powerful Norse clans could demonstrate their position through monumental grave fields, the Borre mound cemetery in Vestfold is for instance connected to the Yngling dynasty, and it had large tumuli that contained stone ships. Jelling, in Denmark, is the largest royal memorial from the Viking Age and it was made by Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents Gorm and Tyra, and in honour of himself. On three locations in Scandinavia, there are grave fields that were used by an entire community, Birka in Mälaren, Hedeby at Schleswig. The graves at Lindholm Høje show a variation in both shape and size. There are stone ships and there is a mix of graves that are triangular and circular, such grave fields have been used during many generations and belong to village like settlements.
Death has always been a moment for those bereaved. Family life has to be reorganized and in order to master such transitions, the ceremonies are transitional rites that are intended to give the deceased peace in his or her new situation at the same time as they provide strength for the bereaved to carry on with their lives
The Oseberg ship is a well-preserved Viking ship discovered in a large burial mound at the Oseberg farm near Tønsberg in Vestfold county, Norway. This ship is commonly acknowledged to be among the artifacts to have survived from the Viking Era. The ship and some of its contents are displayed at the Viking Ship Museum at Bygdøy on the side of Oslo. The Oseberg burial mound contained numerous grave goods and two human skeletons. The ships interment into its burial mound dates from 834 AD, but parts of the date from around 800. It was excavated by Norwegian archaeologist Haakon Shetelig and Swedish archaeologist Gabriel Gustafson in 1904-1905, the ship is a Karve, clinker built almost entirely of oak. It is 21.58 m long and 5.10 m broad, with a sail of c.90 m², the ship could achieve a speed up to 10 knots. The ship has 15 pairs of oar holes, which means that 30 people could row the ship, other fittings include a broad steering oar, iron anchor, and a bailer. The bow and stern of the ship are elaborately decorated with complex woodcarvings in the gripping beast style.
During the debate on whether to move the ship to a new proposed museum. During this process, very thorough photo scans and laser scans of both the outside and inside of the ship were made, in 2004, an attempt to build a copy of the Oseberg ship was launched. During this new attempt it was discovered that during the restoration of the ship a breach in one of the beams was made. This fact had not been discovered prior and it is believed this is perhaps the prime reason why several earlier replicas sank, previous attempts at working replicas had failed due to lack of correct data. In 2010, a new reconstruction was started titled Saga Oseberg, using timber from Denmark and Norway and utilizing traditional building methods from the Viking age, this newest Oseberg ship was successfully completed. On the 20th of June 2012 the new ship was launched from the city of Tønsberg, the ship floated very well and in March 2014 it was taken to open seas, with Færder as its destination, under full sail. A speed of 10 knots was achieved, the construction was a success, the ship performing very well.
It demonstrated that the Oseberg ship really could sail and was not just a burial chamber on land, the skeletons of two women were found in the grave with the ship. One, probably aged 60–70, suffered badly from arthritis and other maladies, the second was initially believed to be aged 25–30, but analysis of tooth-root translucency suggests she was older
According to the 12th century Kievan Primary Chronicle, a group of Varangians known as the Rus settled in Novgorod in 862 under the leadership of Rurik. Before Rurik, the Rus might have ruled an earlier hypothetical polity, Ruriks relative Oleg conquered Kiev in 882 and established the state of Kievan Rus, which was ruled by Ruriks descendants. Engaging in trade and mercenary activities, Varangians roamed the river systems and portages of Gardariki and they controlled the Volga trade route, connecting the Baltic to the Caspian Sea, and the Dnieper and Dniester trade route leading to the Black Sea and Constantinople. Attracted by the riches of Constantinople, the Varangian Rus initiated a number of Rus-Byzantine Wars, at least from the early 10th century many Varangians served as mercenaries in the Byzantine Army, constituting the elite Varangian Guard. Eventually most of them, both in Byzantium and in Eastern Europe, were converted from paganism to Orthodox Christianity, culminating in the Christianization of Kievan Rus in 988.
Coinciding with the decline of the Viking Age, the influx of Scandinavians to Rus stopped. Some scholars seem to assume a derivation from vár with the common suffix -ing, the reduction of the second part of the word could be parallel to that seen in Old Norse foringi leader, correspondent to Old English foregenga and Gothic
The Germanic peoples are an ethno-linguistic Indo-European group of Northern European origin. They are identified by their use of Germanic languages, which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age, the term Germanic originated in classical times when groups of tribes living in Lower and Greater Germania were referred to using this label by Roman scribes. Tribes referred to as Germanic by Roman authors generally lived to the north, in about 222 BCE, the first use of the Latin term Germani appears in the Fasti Capitolini inscription de Galleis Insvbribvs et Germ. This may simply be referring to Gaul or related people, the term Germani shows up again, allegedly written by Poseidonios, but is merely a quotation inserted by the author Athenaios who wrote much later. Somewhat later, the first surviving detailed discussions of Germani and Germania are those of Julius Caesar, from Caesars perspective, Germania was a geographical area of land on the east bank of the Rhine opposite Gaul, which Caesar left outside direct Roman control.
This usage of the word is the origin of the concept of Germanic languages. In other classical authors the concept sometimes included regions of Sarmatia, also, at least in the south there were Celtic peoples still living east of the Rhine and north of the Alps. Caesar and others noted differences of culture which could be found on the east of the Rhine, but the theme of all these cultural references was that this was a wild and dangerous region, less civilised than Gaul, a place that required additional military vigilance. Caesar used the term Germani for a specific tribal grouping in northeastern Belgic Gaul, west of the Rhine. He made clear that he was using the name in the local sense and these are the so-called Germani Cisrhenani, whom Caesar believed to be closely related to the peoples east of the Rhine, and descended from immigrants into Gaul. Caesar described this group of both as Belgic Gauls and as Germani. Gauls are associated with Celtic languages, and the term Germani is associated with Germanic languages, but Caesar did not discuss languages in detail.
It has been claimed, for example by Maurits Gysseling, that the names of this region show evidence of an early presence of Germanic languages. The etymology of the word Germani is uncertain, the likeliest theory so far proposed is that it comes from a Gaulish compound of *ger near + *mani men, comparable to Welsh ger near, Old Irish gair neighbor, Irish gar- near, garach neighborly. Another Celtic possibility is that the name meant noisy, cf. Breton/Cornish garm shout, here the vowel does not match, nor does the vowel length ). Others have proposed a Germanic etymology *gēr-manni, spear men, cf. Middle Dutch ghere, Old High German Ger, Old Norse geirr. However, the form gēr seems far too advanced phonetically for the 1st century, has a vowel where a short one is expected. The term Germani, probably applied to a group of tribes in northeastern Gaul who may or may not have spoken a Germanic language
The Viking Age is the period from the late 8th century to the mid-11th century in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, following the Germanic Iron Age. It is the period of history when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids and conquest. Three Viking ships had beached in Weymouth Bay four years earlier, the Viking devastation of Northumbrias Holy Island was reported by the Northumbrian scholar Alcuin of York, who wrote, Never before in Britain has such a terror appeared. Vikings were portrayed as violent and bloodthirsty by their enemies. The chronicles of medieval England portrayed them as rapacious wolves among sheep, the first challenges to the many anti-Viking images in Britain emerged in the 17th century. Pioneering scholarly works on the Viking Age reached a readership in Britain. Archaeologists began to dig up Britains Viking past, linguistics traced the Viking-Age origins of rural idioms and proverbs. New dictionaries of the Old Norse language enabled more Victorians to read the Icelandic Sagas, the Vikings who invaded western and eastern Europe were chiefly pagans from Denmark and Sweden.
They settled in the Faroe Islands, Iceland, peripheral Scotland and their North Germanic language, Old Norse, became the mother-tongue of present-day Scandinavian languages. By 801, a central authority appears to have been established in Jutland. In Norway, mountainous terrain and fjords formed strong natural boundaries, communities there remained independent of each other, unlike the situation in Denmark which is lowland. By 800, some 30 small kingdoms existed in Norway, the sea was the easiest way of communication between the Norwegian kingdoms and the outside world. It was in the 8th century that Scandinavians began to build ships of war, the North Sea rovers were traders and explorers as well as plunderers. There are various theories concerning the causes of the Viking invasions, for people living along the coast, it would seem natural to seek new land by the sea. Another reason was that during this period England and Ireland, the Franks, had well-defended coasts and heavily fortified ports and harbours.
Pure thirst for adventure may have been a factor, a reason for the raids is believed by some to be over-population caused by technological advances, such as the use of iron, or a shortage of women due to selective female infanticide. Although another cause could well have been caused by the Frankish expansion to the south of Scandinavia. Consequently, these Vikings became raiders, in search of subsistence, There is ongoing debate among scholars as to why the Scandinavians began to expand during the 8th through 11th centuries
Orkney /ˈɔːrkni/, known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of Great Britain. Orkney is 16 kilometres north of the coast of Caithness and comprises approximately 70 islands, the largest island Mainland is often referred to as the Mainland. It has an area of 523 square kilometres, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island, the largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall. A form of the dates to the pre-Roman era and the islands have been inhabited for at least 8500 years, originally occupied by Mesolithic and Neolithic tribes. Orkney was invaded and forcibly annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse, the Scottish Parliament re-annexed the earldom to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry for James IIIs bride Margaret of Denmark. Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, Orkney is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, a constituency of the Scottish Parliament, a lieutenancy area, and a historic county.
The local council is Orkney Islands Council, one of only three Councils in Scotland with a majority of elected members who are independents. In addition to the Mainland, most of the islands are in two groups, the North and South Isles, all of which have a geological base of Old Red Sandstone. The climate is mild and the soils are fertile, most of the land being farmed. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, the significant wind and marine energy resources are of growing importance, and the island generates more than its total yearly electricity demand using renewables. The local people are known as Orcadians and have a distinctive Orcadian dialect of Scots, there is an abundance of marine and avian wildlife. Pytheas of Massilia visited Britain – probably sometime between 322 and 285 BC – and described it as triangular in shape, with a northern tip called Orcas and this may have referred to Dunnet Head, from which Orkney is visible. Speakers of Old Irish referred to the islands as Insi Orc island of the pigs, the archipelago is known as Ynysoedd Erch in modern Welsh and Arcaibh in modern Scottish Gaelic, the -aibh representing a fossilized prepositional case ending.
The Anglo-Saxon monk Bede refers to the islands as Orcades insulae in his seminal work Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Norwegian settlers arriving from the ninth century reinterpreted orc as the Old Norse orkn seal. The plural suffix -jar was removed in English leaving the modern name Orkney, according to the Historia Norwegiæ, Orkney was named after an earl called Orkan. The Norse knew Mainland Orkney as Megenland Mainland or as Hrossey Horse Island, the island is sometimes referred to as Pomona, a name that stems from a sixteenth-century mistranslation by George Buchanan, which has rarely been used locally. A charred hazelnut shell, recovered in 2007 during excavations in Tankerness on the Mainland has been dated to 6820–6660 BC indicating the presence of Mesolithic nomadic tribes
Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, at 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of 10.0 million. Sweden consequently has a low density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre. Approximately 85% of the lives in urban areas. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats/Götar and Swedes/Svear, Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested. Sweden is part of the area of Fennoscandia. The climate is in very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence. Today, Sweden is a monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state. The capital city is Stockholm, which is the most populous city in the country, legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister, Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages, in the 17th century, it expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire, which became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, the last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining a policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905, leading to Swedens current borders, though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995 and it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides health care. The modern name Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod and this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige literally means Realm of the Swedes, excluding the Geats in Götaland, the etymology of Swedes, and thus Sweden, is generally not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning ones own, referring to ones own Germanic tribe
A solar deity is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms, the Sun is sometimes referred to by its Latin name Sol or by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun stems from Proto-Germanic *sunnǭ, the Neolithic concept of a solar barge is found in the myths of ancient Egypt, with Ra and Horus. Predynasty Egyptian beliefs attribute Atum as the sun-god and Horus as a god of the sky, as the Old Kingdom theocracy gained power, early beliefs were incorporated with the expanding popularity of Ra and the Osiris-Horus mythology. Atum became Ra-Atum, the rays of the setting sun, Osiris became the divine heir to Atums power on Earth and passes his divine authority to his son Horus. Early Egyptian myths imply the sun is within the lioness, Sekhmet, at night and is reflected in her eyes, or that it is within the cow, during the night, being reborn each morning as her son.
Mesopotamian Shamash plays an important role during the Bronze Age, South American cultures have a tradition of Sun worship, as with the Incan Inti. Proto-Indo-European religion has a chariot, the sun as traversing the sky in a chariot. In Germanic mythology this is Sol, in Vedic Surya, and in Greek Helios, svarog is the Slavic solar deity, represented as a spirit of fire. During the Roman Empire, a festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun was celebrated on the winter solstice—the rebirth of the sun—which occurred on December 25 of the Julian calendar. In late antiquity, the centrality of the sun in some Imperial religious systems suggest a form of a solar monotheism. The religious commemorations on December 25 were replaced under Christian domination of the Empire with the birthday of Christ, the Tiv people consider the Sun to be the son of the supreme being Awondo and the Moon Awondos daughter. The Barotse tribe believes that the Sun is inhabited by the sky god Nyambi, some Sara people worship the sun.
Even where the sun god is equated with the supreme being, the Ancient Egyptian god of creation, Amun is believed to reside inside the sun. So is the Akan creator deity and the Dogon deity of creation, in Egypt, there was a religion that worshiped the sun directly, and was among the first monotheistic religions, Atenism. Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religion, the earliest deities associated with the sun are all goddesses, Sekhmet, Nut, Bast and Menhit. First Hathor, and Isis, give birth to and nurse Horus, Hathor the horned-cow is one of the 12 daughters of Ra, gifted with joy and is a wet-nurse to Horus. From at least the 4th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the sun was worshipped as the deity Re, and portrayed as a falcon headed god surmounted by the solar disk, and surrounded by a serpent