Velkommon means Welcome
Congratulations, and again, welcome. Here you are. You may have navigated to this page for a couple of reasons:
- You have recently completed a DNA ancestral research analysis and discovered some ancient Scandanavian ancestors,
- You, like many others, have watched the shows “Vikings” or “The Last Kingdom” and think the individuals of the north were bad-asses.
- Spiritually you have been unable to “connect” with the mainstream practices of the modern-day and are in search of something that feels right.
In any case, I’m personally glad that you have come here. I am compiling a list of informative books, in addition to the resources below that can help you understand the several different cultures involved in the whole “Viking” era. First and foremost, you’ll need to know that “Vikings” were never a group of people, it was an activity that people participated in. Like hiking, boating, hunting, and many others, it was an action taken by individuals. Secondly, you will need to know that the act of “Viking” was a part-time gig for most Scandanavian’s of the time, as they had homesteads and harvests to attend to as well. We know from the historical records that there were several distinct groups that seemed to surge and ebb throughout the “Age of the Vikings”.
- Germanic tribes moving north from conflict with Roman expansion. Many Germanic tribesmen would form the “Franks”, as one of the most successful repellents against the Roman empire. The Gaul was another large group that fought against Rome.
- As Denmark is landlocked to Germany along its southern border, the “Danes” as they came to be called, would become the most powerful, and well-organized of the Scandanavian countries involved in Viking. Danes focused their raids on England, France, and ultimately all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, and would be the first of the three to fall to the new monotheistic religion sweeping across Europe.
- Norway and Sweden would ultimately become independent, however, for most of “the Age of the Vikings” would fall under Danish rule. Norway and Sweden would also have a substantial migration of populations across the northern mountains from what would become Russia.
- Finally, and maybe more importantly, was the Icelandic contribution of the written word. Throughout most of the defined “Age of the Vikings”, there were only oral traditions with a few carved runestones throughout all of Scandinavia. However, a huge contribution, and possibly the salvation of the history of Vikings was the Icelandic contribution.
Messenger of Truth
In a manner of speaking, I would like to be the harbinger of resources to help all understand the “Forn-Sidr” of our Norse ancestors. I feel that the all-father Ó∂inn is pushing me to ensure that the many different individuals interested in the culture, or more importantly, the acceptance of the one true faith, that of the Norse paganistic life, have access to a port in their storm of misinformation. So as to be honest, my translation (and preference) lies with the Germanic-Dane understandings. As this is where my ancestry comes from, I think it is only right that you know where I stand. Nothing against the other translations that can be found on the internet, as most of it stems from the same Germanic history.
While “required” might be a pretty strong word, to understand the culture and mysticism around the Norse beliefs, one must understand the fundamental historical aspects involved in what modern-day scholars “know” about the ancestral culture.
- Poetic Edda – The Poetic Edda is the modern attribution for an unnamed collection of Old Norse poems. Several versions exist, all consisting primarily of text from the Icelandic medieval manuscript known as the Codex Regius. [Read online at Sacred Texts [Click here]]
- Prose Edda – The Prose Edda, also known as the Younger Edda, Snorri’s Edda, or simply Edda, is an Old Norse work of literature written in Iceland in the early 13th century. Together with the Poetic Edda, it comprises the major store of Scandinavian mythology. The work is often assumed to have been written, or at least compiled, by the Icelandic scholar and historian Snorri Sturluson around the year 1220. [Read online at Sacred Texts [Click here]]
- Hávamál – ‘Words of Hávi [the High One]’) is presented as a single poem in the Codex Regius, a collection of Old Norse poems from the Viking age. The poem, itself a combination of numerous shorter poems, is largely gnomic, presenting advice for living, proper conduct, and wisdom. It is considered an important source of Old Norse philosophy. [Read online at Pittsburgh University [Click here]]
- Völuspá – ‘Prophecy of the völva, a seeress’; is the best-known poem of the Poetic Edda. It tells the story of the creation of the world and its coming end and subsequent rebirth, related to the audience by a völva addressing Ó∂inn. It is one of the most important primary sources for the study of Norse mythology. The poem is preserved whole in the Codex Regius and Hauksbók manuscripts while parts of it are quoted in the Prose Edda. [Read online at Sacred Texts [Click here]]
Determining how the stories that we know today came about. While most of the basics are contained within the Eddas (above), additional interactions and relevant information to help us understand how the Gods played a part in our ancestor’s life, a very good start is to read the Sagas. Sagas are prose stories and histories, composed in Iceland and to a lesser extent elsewhere in Scandinavia. A good collection of the Sagas can be found [HERE] at the Icelandic Saga Database non-profit organization. Please feel free to donate to their cause as it was Iceland who (almost) single-handedly saved the Viking and Norse culture.
Other Recommended Books
Listed below are visitors’ suggested readings. This website is not responsible for the book list contained here, and we have not had the opportunity to review the submissions, therefore understand that you will need to keep in mind that the suggestions may, or may not have some level of a different interpretation. That’s all right, however, just so you are aware going into it. (List to be created as suggestions are provided).
- Viking Mythology – Neil Gaimon
- Norse Mythology – Neil Gaimon
- Myth and religion of the north – Turville Petra
- Gods and Myths of Northern Europe – H.R. Ellis Davidson
- Children of Ask and Elm – Neil Price
- The Vikings – Else Roesdahl
- A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru – Patricia M. Lafayllve
- Dictionary of Northern Mythology – Simek
- The History of the Danes or Gesta Danorum – Saxo Gramaticus