Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Vikings: Their Life
If you want to learn about Viking life, not just the myth, then what's the best way to do it?
I'd argue not to see exhibitions like the one at the British Museum (as described earlier) but rather read this book.
Vinland by George Mackay Brown is a classic and sums up for me what life must have been like in Orkney around the time of the first millennium, of sailing with the Vikings to Iceland, Greenland, Vinland and Norway. Of the transition from fighters to farmers, from Norse gods to Christianity.
And the life story from boyhood to old age of Ranald Sigmundson.
I also got a glimpse of the Viking's beliefs when in Greenland. Surrounded by emptiness we were watched by a raven, and seeing that familiar bird so far from civilisation was rather spooky.
I really could understand how the Vikings could have believed they were sent by the gods, for what other reason could there be for seeing it in such a remote place?