Vikings were Norse seafarers speaking the Old Norse language, who during the late 8th to late 11th centuries and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of Europe, explored westwards to Iceland and Vinland. The term is commonly extended in modern English and other vernaculars to the inhabitants of Norse home communities during what has become known as the Viking Age; this period of Nordic military and demographic expansion constitutes an important element in the early medieval history of Scandinavia, the British Isles, Kievan Rus' and Sicily. Facilitated by advanced sailing and navigational skills, characterised by the longship, Viking activities at times extended into the Mediterranean littoral, North Africa, the Middle East. Following extended phases of exploration and settlement, Viking communities and governments were established in diverse areas of north-western Europe, Belarus and European Russia, the North Atlantic islands and as far as the north-eastern coast of North America.
This period of expansion witnessed the wider dissemination of Norse culture, while introducing strong foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with profound developmental implications in both directions. Popular, modern conceptions of the Vikings—the term applied casually to their modern descendants and the inhabitants of modern Scandinavia—often differ from the complex picture that emerges from archaeology and historical sources. A romanticised picture of Vikings as noble savages began to emerge in the 18th century. Perceived views of the Vikings as alternatively violent, piratical heathens or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century. Current popular representations of the Vikings are based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy; these representations are not always accurate — for example, there is no evidence that they wore horned helmets.
One etymology derives víking from the feminine vík, meaning "creek, small bay". Various theories have been offered that the word viking may be derived from the name of the historical Norwegian district of Viken, meaning "a person from Viken". According to this theory, the word described persons from this area, it is only in the last few centuries that it has taken on the broader sense of early medieval Scandinavians in general. However, there are a few major problems with this theory. People from the Viken area were not called'Viking' in Old Norse manuscripts, but are referred to as víkverir,'Vík dwellers'. In addition, that explanation could explain only the masculine and ignore the feminine, a serious problem because the masculine is derived from the feminine but hardly vice versa; the form occurs as a personal name on some Swedish runestones. The stone of Tóki víking was raised in memory of a local man named Tóki who got the name Tóki víking because of his activities as a viking; the Gårdstånga Stone uses the phrase "ÞeR drængaR waRu wiða unesiR i wikingu", referring to the stone's dedicatees as vikings.
The Västra Strö 1 Runestone has an inscription in memory of a Björn, killed when "i viking". In Sweden there is a locality known since the middle ages as Vikingstad; the Bro Stone was risen in memory of Assur, said to have protected the land from vikings. There is little indication of any negative connotation in the term before the end of the Viking Age. Another etymology, one that gained support in the early twenty-first century, derives Viking from the same root as Old Norse vika, f.'sea mile', originally'the distance between two shifts of rowers', from the root *weik or *wîk, as in the Proto-Germanic verb *wîkan,'to recede'. This is found in the Proto-Nordic verb *wikan,'to turn', similar to Old Icelandic víkja'to move, to turn', with well-attested nautical usages. Linguistically, this theory is better attested, the term most predates the use of the sail by the Germanic peoples of North-Western Europe, because the Old Frisian spelling shows that the word was pronounced with a palatal k and thus in all probability existed in North-Western Germanic before that palatalisation happened, that is, in the 5th century or before.
In that case, the idea behind it seems to be that the tired rower moves aside for the rested rower on the thwart when he relieves him. The Old Norse feminine víking may have been a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers, i.e. a long-distance sea journey, because in the pre-sail era, the shifting of rowers would distinguish long-distance sea journeys. A víkingr would originally have been a participant on a sea journey characterised by the shifting of rowers. In that case, the word Viking was not connected to Scandinavian seafarers but assumed this meaning when the Scandinavians begun to dominate the seas. In Old English, the word wicing appears first in the Anglo-Saxon poem, which dates from the 9th century. In Old English, in the history of the archbishops of Hamburg-Bremen written by Adam of Bremen in about 1070, the term referred to Scandi
Dökkálfar and Ljósálfar
In Norse mythology, Dökkálfar and Ljósálfar are two contrasting types of elves. Álfheimr, or Elf-Land, was known as the place of residence for the elves the light elves. The Dökkálfar and the Ljósálfar are attested in the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson and in the late Old Norse poem Hrafnagaldr Óðins. Sturluson, born in 1179, was poet. Sturluson is known for being a wealthy figure of authority. Snorri was a human paradox. In his work "Snorra Saga Sturlusonar: A Short Biography of Snorri Sturluson," Kevin Wanner explains, "For his own contemporaries Snorri no doubt was the powerful chieftain known for his munificence as well as his avarice…a ruthless intriguer whom it was dangerous to have as one’s adversary." Scholars have produced implications of the dualistic concept. As described by Anders Andren, the Prose Edda is a "systematic survey of old Norse mythology in a handbook for skalds. Called Edda, this work consisted of two manuscripts containing skaldic poetry that describe Norse mythology and Scandinavian history.
In her article Edda, Kimberly Lin further explains that the Prose Edda, “has been most prized for the songs and poems that record an incredible array of mythology and battles. In the Prose Edda, the Dökkálfar and the Ljósálfar are attested in chapter 17 of the book Gylfaginning. In the chapter, Gangleri asks the enthroned figure of High what other "chief centres" there are in the heavens outside of the spring Urðarbrunnr. Gangleri responds that there are many fine places including a place called Álfheimr. High says that the Ljósálfar live in Álfheimr, while the Dökkálfar dwell underground and look—and behave—quite unlike the Ljósálfar. High describes the Ljósálfar as "fairer than the sun to look at", while the Dökkálfar are "blacker than pitch"; as chapter 17 continues, Gangleri asks what will protect the beautiful hall of Gimlé described as "the southernmost end of heaven", when the fires of Surtr "burn heaven and earth". High responds; the first called Andlàngr, he says, is "south of and above this heaven of ours" and "we believe" Gimlé is located in the third heaven "still further above that one", Víðbláinn.
High adds that "we believe it is only light-elves who inhabit these places for the time being". There occurs an additional mention of the dökkálfar in the late Old Norse poem Hrafnagaldr Óðins, stanza 25; as the concept is only recorded in Gylfaginning and the late poem Hrafnagaldr Óðins, it is unclear whether the distinction between the two types of elves originated with Snorri, or if he was recounting a concept developed. The sub-classification resulted from Christian influence, by way of importation of the concept of good and evil and angels of light and darkness. Anne Holtsmark aired this view, though with some reservation, since "good vs. evil" dualism is not confined to Christian thinking. Aside from some additional observations to encourage the hypothesis, Holtsmark has been credited with demonstrating that Snorri borrowed from Christian writings that "Snorri’s description of Víðbláinn was certainly influenced by the account of the angels in the Elucidarius."Dissenters of the view that elves were a invention, such as Rudolf Simek and Gabriel Turville-Petre, feel rather that "dark" and "light" aspects of the same beings not inherently unlikely and fertility cults being related.
Since the Prose Edda describes the dökkálfar as being subterranean dwellers, they may be dwarves under another name, in the opinion of a number of scholars such as John Lindow. The Prose Edda uniquely mentions the svartálfar, but there are reasons to believe these refer to dwarves. Lindow and other commentators have remarked that there may not have been any distinction intended between dark-elves and black-elves by those who coined and used those terms. Lotte Motz's paper on elves commingles, hence equates "dark-elves" and "black-elves" from the outset. Jacob Grimm surmised that the proto-elf was a "light-colored, good spirit" while the dwarfs may have been conceived as "black spirits" by relative comparison, but the "two classes of creatures were getting confounded," and there arose a need to coin the term "light-elf" to refer to the "elves proper". This was counterpart to the "dark-elf". Preferring it over duality, Grimm postulated, but Grimm's "tripartite division" faced "trouble" in Snorri's statement that dark-elves were pitch-black, as this would lead to the "first reduction" that "dark-elves = black-elves."
As a solution, Grimm "pronounce Snorri's statement fallacious," and hypothesizes that "dark elves" were not really'dark' but rather'dingy' or'pale'. And while conceding that "such a Trilogy still decisive proof," draws parallels from the white and black subterranean in Pomeranian legend, the white and black troops of spirits come to claim souls in the tale of Solomon and Marcolf. Svartálfar
Biblical cosmology is the biblical writers' conception of the cosmos as an organised, structured entity, including its origin, order and destiny. The Bible was formed over many centuries, involving many authors, reflects shifting patterns of religious belief. Nor do the biblical texts represent the beliefs of all Jews or Christians at the time they were put into writing: the majority of those making up Hebrew Bible or Old Testament in particular represent the beliefs of only a small segment of the ancient Israelite community, the members of a late Judean religious tradition centered in Jerusalem and devoted to the exclusive worship of Yahweh; the ancient Israelites envisaged a universe made up of a flat disc-shaped Earth floating on water, heaven above, underworld below. Humans inhabited Earth during life and the underworld after death, the underworld was morally neutral. In this period too the older three-level cosmology in large measure gave way to the Greek concept of a spherical earth suspended in space at the center of a number of concentric heavens.
The opening words of the Genesis creation narrative sum up a view of how the cosmos originated: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". Jewish thinkers, adopting ideas from Greek philosophy, concluded that God's Wisdom and Spirit penetrated all things and gave them unity. Christianity in turn adopted these ideas and identified Jesus with the Logos: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God". Two different models of the process of creation existed in ancient Israel. In the "logos" model, God speaks and shapes unresisting dormant matter into effective existence and order. Psalm 74 evokes the agon model: it opens with a lament over God's desertion of his people and their tribulations asks him to remember his past deeds: "You it was who smashed Sea with your might, who battered the heads of the monsters in the waters. In this world-view the seas are primordial forces of disorder, the work of creation is preceded by a divine combat. Creation in the "agon" model takes the following storyline: God as the divine warrior battles the monsters of chaos, who include Sea, Death and Leviathan.
This myth was taken up in Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature and projected into the future, so that cosmic battle becomes the decisive act at the end of the world's history: thus the Book of Revelation tells how, after the God's final victory over the sea-monsters, New Heavens and New Earth shall be inaugurated in a cosmos in which there will be "no more sea". The Genesis creation narrative is the quintessential "logos" creation myth. Like the "agon" model it begins with darkness and the uncreated primordial ocean: God separates and restrains the waters, but he does not create them from nothing. God initiates each creative act with a spoken word, finalises it with the giving of a name. Creation by speech is not unique to the Old Testament: it is prominent in some Egyptian traditions. There is, however, a difference between the Egyptian and Hebrew logos mythologies: in Genesis 1 the divine word of the Elohim is an act of "making into". In the ancient world, things did not exist until they were named: "The name of a living being or an object was... the essence of what was defined, the pronouncing of a name was to create what was spoken."
The pre-Exilic Old Testament allowed no equals to Yahweh in heaven, despite the continued existence of an assembly of subordinate servant-deities who helped make decisions about matters on heaven and earth. The post-Exilic writers of the Wisdom tradition develop the idea that Wisdom identified with Torah, existed before creation and was used by God to create the universe: "Present from the beginning, Wisdom assumes the role of master builder while God establishes the heavens, restricts the chaotic waters, shapes the mountains and fields." Borrowing ideas from Greek philosophers who held that reason bound the universe together, the Wisdom tradition taught that God's Wisdom and Spirit were the ground of cosmic unity. Christianity in turn adopted these ideas and applied them to Jesus: the Epistle to the Colossians calls Jesus "...image of the invisible God, first-born of all creation...", while the Gospel of John identifies him with the creative word. The Hebrew B
In Germanic mythology, a dwarf is a human-shaped entity that dwells in mountains and in the earth, is variously associated with wisdom, smithing and crafting. Dwarfs are sometimes described as short and ugly, although some scholars have questioned whether this is a development stemming from comical portrayals of the beings. Dwarfs continue to be depicted in modern popular culture in a variety of media; the modern English noun dwarf descends from the Old English dweorg. It has a variety of cognates in other Germanic languages, including Old Norse dvergr and Old High German twerg. According to Vladimir Orel, the English noun and its cognates descend from Proto-Germanic *đwerȝaz. A different etymology of dwarf traces it to Proto-Germanic *dwezgaz, with r being the product of Verner's Law. Anatoly Liberman connects the Germanic word with Modern English dizzy: dwarfs inflicted mental diseases on humans, in this respect did not differ from elves and several other supernatural beings. Beyond the Proto-Germanic reconstruction, the etymology of the word dwarf is contested.
Scholars have proposed theories about the origins of the being by way of historical linguistics and comparative mythology, including that dwarfs may have originated as nature spirits, as beings associated with death, or as a mixture of concepts. Competing etymologies include a basis in the Indo-European root *dheur-, the Indo-European root *dhreugh, comparisons have been made with Sanskrit dhvaras. Modern English has two plurals for the word dwarf: dwarves. Dwarfs remains the most employed plural; the minority plural dwarves was recorded as early as 1818, but it was popularized by the fiction of philologist and author J. R. R. Tolkien, originating as a mistake and employed by Tolkien since some time before 1917. Regarding the plural, Tolkien wrote in 1937, "I am afraid it is just a piece of private bad grammar, rather shocking in a philologist. Norse mythology provides different origins for the beings, as recorded in the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda; the Poetic Edda poem Völuspá details that the dwarfs were the product of the primordial blood of the being Brimir and the bones of Bláinn.
The Prose Edda, describes dwarfs as beings similar to maggots that festered in the flesh of Ymir before being gifted with reason by the gods. The Poetic Edda and Prose Edda contain over 100 dwarf names, while the Prose Edda gives the four dwarfs Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri a cosmological role: they hold up the sky. In addition, scholars have noted that the Svartálfar appear to be the same beings as dwarfs, given that both are described in the Prose Edda as the denizens of Svartálfaheimr. Few beings explicitly identifiable as dwarfs appear in the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda, they have quite diverse roles: murderous creators who create the mead of poetry,'reluctant donors' of important artifacts with magical qualities, or sexual predators who lust after goddesses, they are associated with metalsmithing, with death, as in the story of King Sveigðir in Ynglinga saga, the first segment of the Heimskringla — the doorways in the mountains that they guard may be regarded as doors between worlds.
One dwarf named Alvíss claimed the hand of Thor's daughter Þrúðr in marriage, but he was kept talking until daybreak and turned to stone, much like some accounts of trolls. After the Christianization of the Germanic peoples, tales of dwarfs continued to be told in the folklore of areas of Europe where Germanic languages were spoken. In the late legendary sagas, dwarfs demonstrate skill in healing as well as in smithing. In the early Norse sources, there is no mention of their being short. Anatoly Liberman suggests that dwarfs may have been thought of as lesser supernatural beings, which became literal smallness after Christianization. Old Norse dwarf names include Fullangr and Hár, whereas Anglo-Saxon glosses use dweorg to render Latin terms such as nanus and pygmaeus. Dwarfs in folklore are described as old men with long beards. Female dwarfs are hardly mentioned. Dvalinn the dwarf has daughters, the 14th-century romantic saga Þjalar Jóns saga gives the feminine form of Old Norse dyrgja, but the few folklore examples cited by Grimm in Teutonic Mythology may be identified as other beings.
However, in the Swedish ballad "Herr Peder och Dvärgens Dotter", the role of supernatural temptress is played by a dwarf's daughter. The Anglo-Saxon charm Wið Dweorh appears to relate to sleep disturbances; this may indicate that the dwarf antagonist is similar to the oppressive supernatural figure the mare, the etymological source of the word "nightmare", or that the word had come to be used to mean "fever". In the Old English Herbal, it translates warts. In Middle High German heroic poetry, most dwarfs are portrayed as having long beards, but some may have a childish appearance. In some stories, the dwarf takes on the attributes of a knight, he is most separated from normal humans by his small size, in some cases only reaching up to the knees. Despite their small size, dwarfs have superhuman strength, either by nature or through magical means
Animism is the religious belief that objects and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Animism perceives all things—animals, rocks, weather systems, human handiwork and even words—as animated and alive. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of many indigenous peoples in contrast to the more recent development of organised religions. Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, "animism" is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples' "spiritual" or "supernatural" perspectives; the animistic perspective is so held and inherent to most indigenous peoples that they do not have a word in their languages that corresponds to "animism". Due to such ethnolinguistic and cultural discrepancies, opinion has differed on whether animism refers to an ancestral mode of experience common to indigenous peoples around the world, or to a full-fledged religion in its own right; the accepted definition of animism was only developed in the late 19th century by Sir Edward Tylor, who created it as "one of anthropology's earliest concepts, if not the first".
Animism encompasses the beliefs that all material phenomena have agency, that there exists no hard and fast distinction between the spiritual and physical world and that soul or spirit or sentience exists not only in humans, but in other animals, rocks, geographic features such as mountains or rivers or other entities of the natural environment, including thunder and shadows. Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as words, true names or metaphors in mythology; some members of the non-tribal world consider themselves animists. Earlier anthropological perspectives, which have since been termed the "old animism", were concerned with knowledge on what is alive and what factors make something alive; the "old animism" assumed that animists were individuals who were unable to understand the difference between persons and things. Critics of the "old animism" have accused it of preserving "colonialist and dualist worldviews and rhetoric"; the idea of animism was developed by the anthropologist Sir Edward Tylor in his 1871 book Primitive Culture, in which he defined it as "the general doctrine of souls and other spiritual beings in general".
According to Tylor, animism includes "an idea of pervading life and will in nature". That formulation was little different from that proposed by Auguste Comte as "fetishism", but the terms now have distinct meanings. For Tylor, animism represented the earliest form of religion, being situated within an evolutionary framework of religion which has developed in stages and which will lead to humanity rejecting religion altogether in favor of scientific rationality. Thus, for Tylor, animism was fundamentally seen as a mistake, a basic error from which all religion grew, he did not believe that animism was inherently illogical, but he suggested that it arose from early humans' dreams and visions and thus was a rational system. However, it was based on unscientific observations about the nature of reality. Stringer notes that his reading of Primitive Culture led him to believe that Tylor was far more sympathetic in regard to "primitive" populations than many of his contemporaries and that Tylor expressed no belief that there was any difference between the intellectual capabilities of "savage" people and Westerners.
Tylor had wanted to describe the phenomenon as "spiritualism" but realised that would cause confusion with the modern religion of Spiritualism, prevalent across Western nations. He adopted the term "animism" from the writings of the German scientist Georg Ernst Stahl, who, in 1708, had developed the term animismus as a biological theory that souls formed the vital principle and that the normal phenomena of life and the abnormal phenomena of disease could be traced to spiritual causes; the first known usage in English appeared in 1819. The idea that there had once been "one universal form of primitive religion" has been dismissed as "unsophisticated" and "erroneous" by the archaeologist Timothy Insoll, who stated that "it removes complexity, a precondition of religion now, in all its variants". Tylor's definition of animism was a part of a growing international debate on the nature of "primitive society" by lawyers and philologists; the debate defined the field of research of a new science: anthropology.
By the end of the 19th century, an orthodoxy on "primitive society" had emerged, but few anthropologists still would accept that definition. The "19th-century armchair anthropologists" argued "primitive society" was ordered by kinship and was divided into exogamous descent groups related by a series of marriage exchanges, their religion was the belief that natural species and objects had souls. With the development of private property, the descent groups were displaced by the emergence of the territorial state; these rituals and beliefs evolved over time into the vast array of "developed" religions. According to Tylor, the more scientifically advanced a society became, the fewer members of that society believed in animism. However, any remnant ideologies of souls or spirits, to Tylor, represented "survivals" of the original animism of early humanity. In 1869, the Edinburgh lawyer