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February 10, 2012

On becoming a Viking - 3

Today I started reading a nice set of two books on Swedish history. The author sums up the philosophy behind history re-enactment, or at least how I view this new project of mine:
"The past only exists by virtue of our knowledge of it, and each new access of knowledge transforms it. this process will go on until the end of time. As I see the matter, a historian's task is to recreate vanished worlds, to penetrate the lives of long dead generations. He must try to see their circumstances as they saw them, and so come to understand their age in the same light as they themselves did." - Vilhelm Moberg, 'A History of the Swedish People,' volumes 1 and volume 2.
Of course I'm only concerned with volume 1 right now, but so far it's a fantastic read and I might not be able to put it down.

Posted by carl1236 at 1:54 AM

February 8, 2012

On becoming a Viking - 2

After much reading, I'm amazed at how much I did not know about Germanic people and their place in history. One very interesting and informative item I found in my research is this wonderful Ph.D. Thesis. This is a good step in researching what it might have been like to live in those times : http://www.carlaz.com/phd/ Enjoy!

Posted by carl1236 at 2:15 PM

February 6, 2012

On becoming a Viking

No, not a MN Football player, but a MN-born, Viking re-enactor. On June 22 and 23, 2012 I will be participating in a viking camp at the huge "Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival / Midwest Viking Festival" in Moorhead, MN: http://www.nordiccultureclubs.org/
So where do I begin? I thought I'd document my adventure as I transform myself into a Viking for a couple of days, because when I look at this adventure I can't quite wrap my head around what it is like to live in Viking-Age Northern Europe. They were Germanic people, one step removed, like the other developing Germanic people from what is now Germany, England, France, etc. Those Germanic people who happened to settle in the North all had more regular contact with each other than with the southern Germanic people. So where do I begin becoming a Viking and experiencing what it was like to live then as a Viking?
I begin with research. Mainly I begin with research into what period-authentic items I will be wearing and using at the event. I will need tools, clothing, shoes, tent, sleeping and cooking ware, hand-made products to sell and trade.
Since I am a woodcarver/woodworker, I just picked up this book as a starter: http://www.amazon.com/Mastermyr-Find-Viking-Chest-Gotland/dp/917402129X
I also found some great information on woodworking, clothing and textiles from the Viking Answer Lady, who has posted a lot of good research information: http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/index.shtml
It's a start to becoming a good Viking.
Step 2: Start growing a beard, as It seems that almost all Viking men let it grow. It probably won't be very long by June, but we'll see.
Step 3: attend a Viking Feast in two weeks at the Danish American Center, put on by the Viking Age Club & Society-Sons of Norway. I hope to meet other Viking-Age enthusiasts. They have already been helpful in providing me with a Viking-Age tent plan.
Nothing to photograph yet, but the transformation will include visual and intellectual knowledge that I'll share here. Now I have reading to do...

Posted by carl1236 at 1:53 PM