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Vikings! On And Off Screen

Reimagining the Vikings, where history meets drama.

From the new History channel series "Vikings"

From the new History channel series “Vikings”

Picture the Vikings, and you’re instantly riding a lot of poetry and imagination.  They didn’t leave texts behind.  Anthropologists didn’t visit.  Their runes are a riddle.

But that didn’t stop balladeers and Wagner from painting the picture.  Bearded warriors from the North, in long ships and horned helmets.  Except they didn’t wear horned helmets, we’re told.

Pillagers and wayfarers, savages and tech innovators.  A new historical drama lets the Vikings sail again.

This hour, On Point:  the Vikings, in our imaginations and in history.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Hirst, creator and writer of the new History channel historical drama “Vikings”, which debuts on Sunday.

Anders Winroth, professor of medieval history at Yale University. Author of “The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “They are akin to NASA astronauts or the pioneers of Silicon Valley — except they lived 1,300 years ago, and it was the high seas that demanded navigation, not outer space or the Internet. The Vikings, who like those later explorers were driven by curiosity and armed with the latest innovations, also set out to conquer an uncharted world, the breadth and possibilities of which could not be entirely conceived.”

Los Angeles Times “Have the Vikings gotten a bum rap? At least according to popular imagination, they were fearsome barbarians in horned helmets who pillaged their way across Northern Europe during the Dark Ages. And while it’s true these seafaring Norsemen were hardly a bunch of peaceniks, the new History scripted series “Vikings” will attempt to bring some nuance to the caricature of the bearded brutes when it premieres Sunday.”

Trailer for the New “Vikings” Series

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  • Kyle

    dhovahkiin!

  • TELew

    As someone who is a Ph.D. in History and who does medieval recreation as a hobby, I would say that from what I saw on this video the Vikings still get a bum rap.  The compass was cool, but whoever designed the costumes should be fired.  This looks like replacing one bad conception (Hagar the Horrible style–but you have to love Hagar) with another (Medieval Fantasy).  I suggest the producers familiarize themselves with Regia Anglorum and the Vikings UK.

    Real history–especially the history of the Vikings–is incredibly dramatic and fascinating.  History does not need to be “reimagined;”  it should be recreated.  Of course, this show does come from a network that features ancient aliens, Larry the Cable Guy, antique hunters, and other stuff that is NOT history.  I guess this is all you can expect from a channel that should properly rename itself the Pseudo-History Channel.

  • SpeakTruth2

     In Norse mythology, the axis mundi or center of the world, is known as the connection between heavon and earth; or the celestial pole.

    Is there any evidence that the world travelling norse might have realized that the earth was round or that the earth was a sphere?

    • TELew

       I don’t know if the Vikings knew that the earth was a sphere, but any educated person (education provided by the Church, of course) in the Middle Ages–including the “Dark Ages”–would have known this.  The accepted model for the universe was the Ptolemaic model, which placed the earth as a sphere at the center, with the orbits of the various planets (including the Sun and moon) located farther out until one reached the firmament.  Each planet was actually located in its own sphere, which engulfed the spheres of the earth and any planet located closer to the earth (Think of a ball, within a ball, within a ball, etc.)  All of the planets were inside a sphere containing the stars, and the firmament was a sphere of fire beyond the sphere of the stars (I think there was actually an inner and outer firmament).  The Church found this compatible with the Bible’s teachings (although there is something about the “four corners of the earth” in the Bible-not sure how this was reconciled), which makes sense if you take into consideration that Hell was located at the center of the earth.   So the idea that the earth was a sphere was never an issue for the Church, and anyone suggesting that the earth was flat would in fact be advocating heresy.

      I don’t know where the idea that the earth is flat comes from, but it might have been part of Vikings mythology.  Being pagans and seeing the unprotected abbeys as storehouses of loot, the Vikings of course were not beneficiaries of a Church education.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    At least it’s not another reality show.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YMV2HJ2TBKMCN2QRAVI3I2OOGM Jim Jim

    could you talk a bit about Snorri Sturluson? Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1043274337 Sara Moore Giannoni

    Would love to see more historically accurate series.  I am no interested in watching inaccurate series.  It seems like our actual history is dramatic enough, why change it, cost?

    • TELew

      I don’t think cost is the reason.  I think the changes are to make the program more “sexy” (look at the recent movie Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters–gawd that was awful). 

      To make this program more historically accurate would cost very little.  As for researching costumes, armor, etc., most of that is available online for free on websites sponsored by recreation groups such as Regia Anglorum and the Vikings (UK) (two different groups).  Fabric is pretty cheap, probably cheaper than the leather or whatever-that-is they are wearing in the show.  As for labor, you have hundreds of historical re-creationists who hand sew, weave, embroider, etc., who would probably die for a chance to work on a project like this series–for free!  And there are certainly enough people among the re-creationists who could act as consultants for very low prices.

      No, I think its (1) the producers probably have no idea that historical re-creationists exist; (2) if they do seek consultants, they probably believe that the re-creationists don’t know anything; (3) to gain credibility, the producers generally hire consultants with an academic background who generally are more familiar with social and political history or literature rather than material culture; and (4) the producers want something “sexy,” and apparently authenticity is not sexy.

      I would love a genuinely authentic program about Norsemen going a’viking (“viking” was actually an activity).  I doubt this will be it.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/QPKUWKSE74YXZLIJ55JH7EMUPM Elie

        the documentary “Vikings ships” on youtube was fairly accurate, I think. Not the usual “RAAAAH ON YOU, LINDISFARNE” , more about actual life (for cultural life, “Viking Sagas” is better). I dont understand, why on the HS show the costumes are made of like brownish sacks and fur worth a few mammoths when the actual vikings loved colours since milennia’s back and had very ellaborate weaving techniques like all people that live in the North, look at the Samis.  Fur was worn I guess but not like the cro magnonmammothextense of Rollo’s shoulders.. I like that they’ve made him THE Rollo of Normandy, though :) at least it will make contrast to the ” blood sausage” dialogue ;P and the weird parts were they are having rowdy Things and beheading smiths ( they would never harm the village smith in any iron age culture..) The schaman culture was also very strong for the Old Norse, but they did not at all looked like Voldemorths siblings, :/. They were very respected and high status, usually priestesses ( Disr, Galdrar, Gydja, Volva,) and wives of kings or chieftains.. Yep.

  • bigbearsfan

    What do the panelists think of the movie, The 13th Warrior, which was based on the novel “Eaters of the Dead”?  I really liked the book and the movie was ok.

    • TELew

       I really enjoyed the movie, but did not care for the book.  What I enjoyed about the movie was its spirit–the  “when you will die, you will die, you cannot alter that, so don’t worry about it,” the “fathers of my fathers,” and the craftiness used in fighting (I am thinking about the fight between the large man and the smaller man).  On the other hand, the movie was full of anachronisms (the armor included both Roman era gladiatorial ca. 200 A.D. AND sixteenth century Conquistador helmets).

      I’m am both a fan of sword and sorcery fantasy and a authenticity orientated historical re-creationist. The movie was lots of fun–like a Conan story.  But it is not where I would go to learn about Viking culture.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.burr.3726 Chris Burr

       The first three chapters of “Eaters of the Dead” is closely based on Ahmad ibn Fadlan’s contemporary account of his actual journey north to what is now Russia.

      Chris

      • TELew

        It’s been a long time since I’ve read “Eaters of the Dead,” and to tell the truth, I remember little of it beyond the fact that it tended to be vague and was a really short book.  I remember “The 13th Warrior” much better. 

        IIRC, EOTD was supposed to be the story behind Beowulf.  I thought the idea of the glowworm being a group of horsemen bearing torches along a trail to be pretty cool.  However, I found the idea of Grendel really being a bunch of cavemen on horses (essentially a stone age people who had been totally unaffected by the surrounding iron age peoples–and when they meet, the iron age people generally win any conflict) as simply not credible for sixth-eighth century Scandinavia.  And I guess this is the reason I really did not care for the book.

        On the other hand, as it’s been more than a decade, and I am familiar with Ahmad ibn Fadlan, I might read EOTD again and see if I come away with a different impression.

        • http://www.facebook.com/chris.burr.3726 Chris Burr

          I wasn’t terribly impressed by EOTD when I first read it. But the first part struck me as almost a straight copy from ibn Fadlan since I’d read his version of the account not long before. It was actually looking at the start of EOTD as I recall that lead me to buy it originally when it first came out in paperback. It wasn’t nearly as good as Crichton’s “Andromeda Strain” which was the only other work by him that I’d read before EOTD.

  • TELew

    One other thing–we don’t actually have Norse mythology from the Vikings.  What we have was written down primarily by Snorri Sturluson, who was an Icelandic descendant of the Vikings and a Christian, in the early 1200s (about 100-150 years after the end of the Viking era).

    • http://www.facebook.com/chris.burr.3726 Chris Burr

      The Icelandic sagas aren’t a perfect record of Viking life and history  since they were written by their descendants 200 or so years after the actual period, but Iceland retained a culture much closer to that of the Viking period than other parts of Scandinavia so they do a good job of capturing the period. Besides Snori Sturlison’s Heimskringla (History of the Kings of Norway), many other sagas capture what normal life was like in the Viking period. Especially worthwjhile are “Njal’s Saga”, “Egil’s Saga” and the “Vinlandia Saga” . Many of these are available in Penguin editions.

      If you have a kindle, “The Sagas of the Icelanders” looks like a good collection of sagas for a reasonable price. I haven’t read it but have the full multi-volume set that this collection was selected from.

      Chris

      • TELew

         In addition to the Prose and Poetic Eddas (by Sturlison), I’ve read the saga of Burnt Njal before. It’s a fascinating window on Norse culture.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/QPKUWKSE74YXZLIJ55JH7EMUPM Elie

      this is not true. What Snorri Sturlusson wrote down was already existing, real, actual oral poetry that had been been kept retold since migration times or even before, ral poetry was a HUGE basic part of Norse culture which sadly is rarely told about, all the chieftains had a “skald” (bard) that followed them to put their deeds into poetry, there were constant poetry competitions and saga tellings, and singing, much like rap really, in the longhouses even among ordinary farmers. you have real evidence of the existence of these stories because several retellings from different places is based on the same 500th century characters, and archeaolighal evidence and latin texts figure the same names..hard to explain, please look at “hervararsaga” on wikipedia, or Norse Poetry, or Wikipedia, the Eddas, or Heimskringla. The Norse adored poetry and funny, witty rhymes much like the greeks. They even invented verse etymologies; There is a recorded event in which a random Viking sailor/warrior band is washed up on a cliff on an atlatic island, and this viking starts to make up a poetic rhyme about their situation, but because it is so cold his teeth is shaking, and therefore the Verse “measurement “(?) is known throughout the world of the proffessional bards as   “the teeth shaking way” – because it’s fairly staccato. look for “Skaldskaparmal”

      • TELew

        Elie,

        Your statement that what I wrote is “not true” is wrong.  Nothing you said changes the fact that we do not actually have what the pagan Norse spoke.  What Snorri wrote was filtered through 150-200 years of non-pagan (Christian) culture.  Yes, they were variations on the tales and other recitations told by the pagan Norse.  But Snorri’s own Prose Edda (I believe) has a very interesting, Christian take on the Norse gods when he wrote that Odin, Thor, etc., were actually great chieftains who had been deified by their descendants.

        How accurately Snorri’s and others’ writings reflect actual pagan Norse culture we will never know.  (I assume they are good representations)  Yes, we have much archaeological evidence, including rune stones.  And there are other (albeit less friendly, ie. Christian) contemporary sources that tell of the exploits of the Vikings (to go “a viking” was an activity pursued by the Norse at a certain time of the year, and the vikings were men who went on these trips of plundering.)  But ultimately all history is interpolation with often huge gaps missing.  Because the pagan Norse did not write their own histories, their history remains largely unknown.

        Another thing–even though there was an oral tradition dating back to the time of the pagan Norse, there is no guarantee that what we have was the definitive version of the tale.  Snorri was an Icelander; what he wrote would have been Icelandic variations of these tales/poetry.  Were there differing variations told in Norway, Sweden, Gotland, Denmark, Kiev, Normandy, etc.?  My guess is that the history of the Norse literature was not that different from that of Arthurian literature in Christian Europe.  Authors readily modified and embellished tales as they saw fit.  New characters appeared, old central characters had their roles diminished, and the new heroes replaced the old in performing heroic deeds.  The La Morte d’Artur (15th century) bears little resemblance to the deeds of Merlin and Arthur in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Deeds of the Kings of Britain (early twelfth century).

        A final thing–although we have a wonderful collection of Norse literature, the question remains what do we not have?  A study of ancient Greek literature reveals a large number of titles that did not survive.  What were the Norse epics that did not get written down, and are lost forever?  Might they significantly modify what we believe about the pagan Norse?  And although Snorri and his contemporaries had favorites that they recorded, we have no way of determining if these the most important oral traditions or were fringe writings popular in Iceland.

        • cindy eriksson

          I thought the verse rhyme measurement random iceberg Viking story would win you over but, no. I mean come on, we know so much about this culture, the Jormundgandr scene with Thor is really common on runestones, as well as other scenes from the Sagas (The witch Hyrrokhin etc) , the Icelandic sagas pre 1200 are based on events in Scandinavia and pinpoints very well with quite a lot of archealogical evidence. the Norwegian mountain chain is still called “Home of the Giants” (Jotunheimen) and all the other placenames in the Norse myth universe have their actual parallel in a real place in Scandinavia, which is really more about a people putting anecdotes to their reality and not the workings of some later christian talent.  Yes, thankfully the national hero Snorre wrote it all down on paper including some smaller outfillings with christian morals, like with celtic myths, he did NOT invent it. does that argument make the Celtic green man or cernunnos (the guy woth the horns)  more of a “Christian-based literal concept”? Or perhaps he “didnt exist until the Christians had a sudden creative spurt ” I have been studying literature, and somewhat of a cultural history buff, therefore I want to get this right to peopel like myself that are curious and want to know about the different myths of the world and their origins and parallells such as the arthurian circles, which have strong christian influence (that does not make the pre-christian sacrificing Celtic culture any less real). But your arguments doesnt seem based on very much knowledge of Norse culture to me. socially, it was all about telling stories of myth to each other, with our without talent, short or long, ask any Icelander that stick to this tradition as a national trait, up until later medieval times farmers (“free men”, odalbönder, ) in sweden knew about a certain way of legally “claiming your land” by counting 10 generations back of ancestors and rhyming ; people told these Aesir stories into the middleage and carried a (pagan) boat around their fields in the 1800th century, people was named Tor, Sigge (war) Magnus (the Great, son of thor,) etc even in christian times through this day. and have you even actually READ any of the sagas or poetry that are made of stories that are supposed to represent migration or vendel age period, “Hervararsaga” for example; about the huns and goths, with accurate hungarian place names, compare it with ” Heimskringla” the “analogy” of Norse kings, and “Beowulf”, dated runes, and actual archealochical artefacts of the mounds in Sweden , with the other norse sagas and what they are actually about, etc.  However I’m not so much annoyed by the robbing of our High Heroic poetry history here lol which obviously is quite a lot of sensationalism or shared with other myths (;)) as I am, really,  by the (incorrect) robbing of our ancient and orally evaluated mythology and “everyday life” norse poetry; because thats like saying to the Sami or the native americans that their mythology or culture have never existed because of..Romano-Christian paper. I wish I was better at English I know I sound stupid, sorry.. I’ve actually read a lot on this subject due to a inherited smaller library of Norse culture. In all respectfulness, have you actually read anything of it, like really read the stories, made comparisions etc? Its pretty apparent how they are ancient old retellings of the same subjects with a pantheon and stories that has been deeply loved and practised for a very long time, and are evaluations of older stories, which are even older and about other places and subjects. The verses was all about remembering your ancestors names, your lore, your culture and wisdom gained through actual matters, morals and Norse mythos like every other schamanic illiteral culture. The placenames in sweden from the earliest times when these pantheons came here (ca 4000 bc)  to the  are virtually all names of the gods or practises related to the cult of them, or of the world of the myths, before that besides Tyr(-inge); Frey (Frösvinge, Frölunda) and Thor or other gods like “Luddh” or “Njärd”, fertility gods. We had priests and priestesses, schamans, gydas, volvas, rituals, galdrar- the Norse and the Vendel and Nordic Bronze age people were extremely shamanic, into these myths, ships have had dragon heads since they came, the Sami have sort of the same pantheon and shamantic practises. its still traceable in our folkmusic, lore and folk songs, society or morals. Its really like denying a whole existing culture and claiming it never existed, just because  wasnt literate. 

        • cindy eriksson

          er, I’m Elie :). Sorry for bombing, hopefully people know how to use the “show less” -button, because I realized  didnt really try to answer your actual questions; “Because the pagan Norse did not write their own histories, their history remains largely unknown.”  Well, it IS known because they TOLD out loud, on thing that shows it was a serious and practised thing is the set of distinct commonly known, phonetic principles and rules (they were called “-mal”  and probably with some music to that, in halls, by the gille, )of these stories told by ordinary people (talking about thor dressing up as a girl to go with Loki to fool the Giants)  or proffessional skalds that travelled around if it was only to be visiting their third cousin in the swedish backcountry, to give him a heroic poem too or tell these isolated people about that huge berserk dude who once saved a bullied dane at a gille by making funny jokes (actual story, Björn something, have forgotten the actual joke).  these bards often insulted their lords with a “Dräpa” which was fatal but common, very appreciated. there is like a whole category of events to this. There was a sense of real wittyness or at least joviality then that we sadly have lost in later lutheran times. 

          “Snorri was an Icelander; what he wrote would have been Icelandic variations of these tales/poetry.  Were there differing variations told in Norway, Sweden, Gotland, Denmark, Kiev, Normandy, etc.?  ” prolly not really, because the place names and people’s names are very specific; like how the three nordic kings met up at Kongahälla, which is an actual strategic place outside Gothenburg. It seems to be based on actual history a lot, because no side is overrepresented, like even when Norway boasts they include actual swedish heroic acts (or stupidity). Scandinavia was such a big, underpopulated place with more wild nature than people and people with possibilities ( a boat) went around visiting each other all the time, their “kin”, if they were ever to leave the 10-household village apart from cult and thing gatherings. the traveling people (traders, craftsmen, skalder, warriors/hirdmän, people without land, luck-searchers) were all over the place and all wanted to collect more stories to their collection, I guess. So they were in constant contact with each other and therefore it was hard to not acknowledgning the common “known” stories. 

          “My guess is that the history of the Norse literature was not that different from that of Arthurian literature in Christian Europe. ” Except for that it wasnt all that exposed to Christianity, even though they included some frankish myths and made them strictly Norse-themed, but its clear they dont try to make the Franks Norse.   Authors readily modified and embellished tales as they saw fit.  New characters appeared, old central characters had their roles diminished, and the new heroes replaced the old in performing heroic deeds. ”
          Isnt that what myth and art is? we dont forget Shakespeares cultural heritage just because we saw a new film yesterday (hopefully). How does that make it less credible “over time”?  I think the pictural rune stones of illustrated saga episodes through the iron age are showing that the most popular Gods didnt change, also they were so isolated from the Roman europe culturally and only 300000 scandinavian people that were dependent on each other. however Balder was the new jesus-tempered guy for a long heathen time. didnt outshine the others, the other stories were still retold.  “A final thing–although we have a wonderful collection of Norse literature, the question remains what do we not have?  A study of ancient Greek literature reveals a large number of titles that did not survive.  What were the Norse epics that did not get written down, and are lost forever?  Might they significantly modify what we believe about the pagan Norse? “Too true. But you’re also in a way pointing out the fact that orally (?) told stories do, or should, count. ;)
          Hope Im not coming on too strong Im just a bit nerdy about this. :) 

      • TELew

         Elie,

        To answer your latest posts (although you deleted them, I still received them), the first thing I want to say is I already know the information you are providing about poetic traditions, etc., and it does not change the facts that I have previously presented.

        Secondly, yes I have read some (though not all) of the sagas.  These would include both the Prose and Poetic Eddas by Sturlison, and the Saga of Burnt Naal.  I have also read Beowulf–the first time in high school.  I just recently finished reading a large portion of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England, and I have read sections of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.  I have an interest in Norse culture dating from the time I was about 12 years old.  Though it is not my primary interest, I periodically return to a perusal of various aspects of Norse culture.  Finally, medieval history, which includes Viking history, was one of my fields of study when I completed my Ph.D.

        Third, I do not claim a “Christian” origin of the Norse pagan myths.  And I don’t claim that lots of Christian themes creeped into what today is viewed as pagan Norse mythology.  What I do claim is that what we have are myths filtered through about 150-200 years of Christian culture.  How “Christian” the Icelanders really were is debatable; their cousins in the British Isles, though “Christian,” retained a lot of their warlike Germanic culture centuries after conversion.  Note that neither Snorri nor his kinsmen were practitioners of pagan Norse religion.  The real meaning of a religion no longer practiced disappears, and historians make what can best be called educated guesses based on the materials that have survived.   Direct survivals of pagan Norse culture include only archaeological evidence and the writings of hostile contemporaries.  What Snorri and his contemporaries wrote are more indirect survivals–they were not written down when or in the immediate wake of when the pagan Norse were living.  We have a very good picture of parts of pagan Norse culture, but is far from a whole picture.

        I have a few other things to say, but I will save them for subsequent posts.  

      • TELew

        Elie,

        With regards to my purpose of referring to Arthurian literature, I used that as an example of how literature changes over a period of several hundred years.  It is not because it was a product of Christian Europe (here fans of Celtic culture yell “Malbinogean”).

        As I said, we do not know how the pagan Norse myths changed because we do not have works collected over a period of time.  What we have is a body of literature written down in the late twelfth-thirteenth century.  We cannot compare these tales to versions existing in the ninth century because we simply don’t have them. 

        I am not arguing that what we have is not true to their earlier versions. The various rune stones testify to a great degree continuity.  On the other hand, we don’t know when the tales as we have them were composed.  It is possible that the tale of Thor dressing like a woman (at Loki’s suggestion) when he visited the giants to recover his hammer was actually composed in the twelfth century.  This is true of other tales as well. Lacking materials predating Snorri’s time, we just can’t know. 

        Snorri wrote down the oral tradition as he had it.  It is possible that he embellished the tales to make them more interesting.  This is no crime, but simply artistic license.  Of course, there is no way we can know how true he remained to his sources.

        It is also a fact that cultures evolve.  They have a common source (locality, culture, ancestors, etc.), but as the culture is dispersed, variations arise, and after some period of time they are not actually the culture they started as but are rather unique cultures sharing common origins.  I think Iceland in particular is a good example of this. It was originally settled by Norsemen, and throughout the medieval period continued contact with Scandinavia.  However, different traditions developed, with the fact that Norway and Denmark eventually had kings at the end of the Viking era, while Iceland did not, being an excellent example of what I am talking about.  As it pertains to the Norse myths, there is undoubtedly a great degree of continuity between what existed in pagan Scandinavia and the tradition that developed in Iceland.  But there also developed a literary tradition specific to Iceland and not shared by other Norse countries.  This Icelandic tradition is reflected in such writings as Njal’s Saga that I have referred to before.  But the saga of Njal (what I have called “burnt Naal” because the first time I encountered it that was the title of the book) does not reflect what was happening in Scandinavia; it reflected what happened in Iceland.  It is a good source for what we know about feuds in Iceland, but it does not tell us much about Scandinavian culture except by inference.

        My impression is, that because of its geographical isolation, Iceland may have more effectively preserved many elements of pagan Norse culture, even though its population had converted to Christianity.  But its isolation was far from total, and people of Snorri’s era were probably eager to embrace the modern material improvements of society available in mainland Europe. It may also be the case that by Snorri’s time interest in the old pagan times had almost disappeared.  Snorri recorded what was a dying tradition, and though imperfect, we owe him a great debt for his preservation of pagan Norse culture.

  • Michiganjf

    In the film, Outlander, there’s a great scene of warriors running on a circle of upheld shields as part of their debauchery… 

    …PLEASE…I’d love to know if this drinking game has any basis in reality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heather.p.emerson Heather Peckham Emerson

    I have always had a fascination for the Norse and Celtic cultures, and found both well described in the historical fiction of Juliet Marillier – her Wolfskin series dealt with the Vikings spreading west and settling the Orkney Isles. I’ll admit to adoring the horned helmets, fictional as they may be, and I enjoyed Kirk Douglas in The Viking, but I’m very interested in the new historical knowledge that we have of the governing and trade practices of this culture, who is usually portrayed as little more than evil beasts.I can’t wait to watch this series! In fact I would greatly enjoy seeing well researched docu-dramas on many ancient cultures – I think it is a wonderful way to bring accurate cultural educaiton to adults and students who often see history as dry dates.

    • TELew

      Heather,

      As I mentioned previously, my impression judging by the costumes is the producers did not do much research, but rather went for the generic medieval fantasy look you find in series like Game of Thrones.

      If you want to see well researched recreations of Viking-era culture, look at the websites of the groups Regia Anglorum and the Vikings (UK) (two different groups–I am not affiliated with either, I am just very impressed with their work).  They are authenticity-oriented historical recreation groups that do in-depth research and use period methods to create their costumes, armor, etc.  Regia Anglorum is especially impressive because they have built their own mead hall, which is the center piece of their own little medieval village.  The process is well-documented and viewable online.

      One other thing–I know for sure that Regia Anglorum has provided people for television documentaries whose producers believed authenticity is important.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jjchaconas John Chaconas

    Viking rune-stones also record their visits to Greece (the Mediterranean and Agean seas) prior to 1100.  I would love to learn more about that.   I am looking forward to the series.

  • David Wilkes

    A most interesting program.  My only negative comment is that the theme music is very annoying. 

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    They break into onpoint so we can hear from a modern day viking.

  • J__o__h__n

    I hate when WBUR cuts On Point. 

  • coyotejazz

    Excellent program… Thanks so much!

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    OMG.  I just tuned back in and Obama is still bloviating.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrik.winroth Patrik Winroth
  • cindy eriksson

    from Elie./cindy

ONPOINT
TODAY
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When the boss is a bad apple. How some pretty dark traits can push some to the top.

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Jul 30, 2014
Janitta Swain, Writer/Exec. Producer/Co-Director Dinesh D'Souza, John Koopman, Caroline Granger and Don Taylor seen at the World Premiere of 'America: Imagine The World Without Her' at Regal Cinemas LA Live on Monday, June 30, 2014, in Los Angeles, CA. (AP)

Conservative firebrand Dinesh D’Souza says he wants an America without apologies. He’s also facing jail time. We’ll hear him out.

 
Jul 30, 2014
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. (AP)

Social media is changing how the world sees and talks about Israel and Gaza, Israelis and Palestinians. We’ll look at the impact.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
This 15-Year-Old Caller Is Really Disappointed With Congress
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

In which a 15-year-old caller from Nashville expertly and elegantly analyzes our bickering, mostly ineffective 113th Congress.

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Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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