Mark Neumayer

author of the Valda & the Valkyries series

Tag: Vikings (page 1 of 2)

Viking Movies

The Vikings with Kirk Douglas

The Vikings with Kirk Douglas

I was in the mood for watching a Viking movie and stumbled across this list . I could share with you some of what they say but instead – just give them a visit. The list is well-written, funny and intelligent. Highly recommended.

The Vikings of Bjornstad‘s List of The Top Ten Viking Movies

World Tree Project

Check out this cool fundraising item from the World-Tree Project. They are building “an interactive digital archive for the teaching and study of Norse and Viking cultures.”  The link below will take you to there page where you can learn a lot more.

Viking Round Shield

I’ve been a bit under the weather and surfing a lot. I had to share this video where Dark Horse Industry Arts shows how they made a sweet-looking Viking round shield.

Warrior Women in the Viking World


Viking grave photo courtesy of Dark Ages Re-Creation Company

This interesting article from talks about how some of the bodies found in Viking graves with weapons are actually women. It seems that even though the sagas speak of women fighting alongside the men, many archaeologists would just assume that if there was a weapon in the grave then the person buried there had to be a man. Pretty lame move in my opinion.

Ignore the subhead of the article. The study they reference claims half of the “settlers” were female, not half of the “warriors” found in graves but why expect a journalist to let truth stand in the way of a good headline? (Is my bias against lazy writers who don’t bother to read the entire article they are lifting quotes from showing?)

Anyway, I highly recommend reading the comments, there are some thoughtful additions and a few links to further reading.

Vikings on Pinterest

Viking longship by Flickr user Jomme

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Pinterest. It is a social networking site that focuses on sharing cool images with other users. When you find an image or article that you like you can pin it – kind of like making a bookmark for it. The nice thing about Pinterest is you can then organize boards that collect together your pins based around a particular theme. Other people can then follow those boards and see what you’re up to.

As you can probably guess, I follow a lot of boards that feature Viking themes and Valkyrie artwork. There are some really stunning images out there that I would not have run across if I wasn’t on Pinterest. (Like the awesome picture I’m using for this post.)

My own boards feature my artwork or neat images I’ve found. I also like to start a board for whatever book project I am involved in (or just thinking about.) I pin stuff that I find inspirational or might want to use for reference at a later date.

Here are a few boards that I think you should check out:

Modern Viking Crafts – modern day interpretations of traditional Viking work

Norse – a nice mix of new and old Viking-related items from tools to posters and funny images

Viking – Anglo-Saxons – lots of great illustrations and really good photos of people in authentic dress from these two ancient cultures

Go on and check them out. If you have any favorite boards, show them some love by posting a link in the comments.

Viking: The Norse Warrior’s [Unofficial] Manual – Review

VikingManualI recently finished reading John Haywood’s Viking: The Norse Warrior’s [Unofficial] Manual and highly recommend it. The author covers basic details such as why a Norseman would choose to be a Viking in the first place, the various social levels in Viking times, weapons and tactics and the various types of Viking ships.

I like the way Haywood packs in a lot of historical information about life as a Viking and manages to do this without ever being stuffy. The whole book is written in a friendly tone that comes across more as a talk between friends than a lecture or lesson. There is a nice sections that breaks down the different countries of the world and describes them in terms of how hard it was to raid them and what kind of spoils you could expect to plunder there.

There are a good number of period illustrations scattered throughout the text along with some color photos of a modern combat reenactment group demonstrating some fighting techniques. While the book delivers a ton of information it also lists sources for further reading. John Haywood definitely has the pedigree to write an authoritative book on this time period. With Viking: The Norse Warrior’s [Unofficial] Manual he has written abook that is also entertaining.

Viking Miniatures

I have a great love for miniature soldiers despite the fact that I can’t paint them that well and I don’t own that many. I was going to write a post about some of the various companies that produce Norse-themed miniatures but once again my research revealed someone who had done a better job of it than I ever could. Go to this page and read White Knight’s exhaustive listing of Viking figures from all the different companies that make them. It is a really thorough write-up that includes a lot of pictures and gives all sorts of details about the minis. Some of the links are dated. They do bring you to the company’s website, you just have to search for the specific figs yourself.

By the way, when I am writing I like to have inspirational artwork for my computer desktop. I used an image of this Dwarf female from Reaper Miniatures  as part of the mix while writing Valda and the Valkyries.

Viking Longship

viking_longship_paper_modelI stumbled across this project while taking a break from my editing chores today. Looks like a nice way to spend some free time. Now if I just had some free time…

Vikings and Archery

Uller by W. Heine, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes I think of writing something and my research turns up someone who has already done a great job on the subject. Check out this web page for an article on the use of archery among the Norse by Judson Roberts. Nicely researched and annotated.

Rán, the Sea Goddess

The Norse sea goddess Rán has been portrayed as a cruel woman, filled with a greedy desire to drag ships full of men down to the bottom of the ocean so that she may steal their lives and their treasure. She, along with her brother/husband Ægir, are sometimes identified as being neither Aesir nor Vanir, but older beings than the actual gods.

In Fridthjof’s Saga the hero is caught in a storm and mourns the idea the he must soon lay himself to rest on “Rán’s bed.” This saga also has the following passage:

“Gold is good to carry  / When you go a-wooing,
Empty-handed no one  / Comes to sea-blue Ran.
Cold is she to kisses,  / Flee’th from embraces,
But the sea-bride yieldeth / Met with shining gold.”

This ties in with the idea of Rán’s greed, for the men of old would make sure to always carry at least some small bit of gold with them when they were in dangerous waters. This gold would be used to win the favor of the sea goddess should the sailors meet a watery doom.

It seems odd that a society that has such strong ties with the sea would view it in such a negative light. It is not as if the Vikings were afraid of the open waters. They would sail out of sight of the land (something the ancient Greeks would never do) and the Vikings sailed far and wide. They went to sea in ships that were amazingly well-adapted to traveling both on the ocean and inland waters but they also undoubtedly had a healthy respect for the dangers one could encounter when traveling Rán’s road.

I think the key point to remember is that death by drowning was not considered a noble thing, it would not earn you a seat in Valhalla but a place in the undersea hall of Rán.

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