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Viking Age Podcast

Sharing the History of The Viking Age, one podcast at a time. We are covering the History of Scandinavia during the Viking Age. We're exploring Raiding, Trading and Settlement of Scandinavians abroad as well as the culture and society of the Norse homelands. Join us to learn more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the people, for better or worse, history knows as the Vikings.
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Now displaying: 2017
Nov 29, 2017

In this episode we continue to explore the dynamics of power, violence and law in Viking Age Iceland. We will do so by discussing many of the conflicts found in Saga of the People of Eyri. Along the way we will cover:

  • A curious young farmer who is mauled by a mysterious spirit.
  • Some legally questionable handshake deals.
  • The legal and social relationships which tied together goðar and free farmers.
  • The limits of a goði's power and the consequences of exceeding them.
  • A murder on a hay-stack.

For more information, resources and a map please visit: http://vikingagepodcast.com/the-people-of-eyri


I hope you enjoy.

Nov 3, 2017

In this episode we dive into the gritty details of Icelandic law, culture and politics by looking at the tale of Mord the Fiddle from Njal's Saga.

Along the way we talk about marriage in the Viking Age, the definition of a hundred and the importance of moderation and compromise in Icelandic Politics.

The "Recommended Reading" for this week is actually Recommended Listening. I cannot recommend enough the Epic 12-part breakdown of Njal's Saga done by the excellent Saga Thing Podcast. Check out their website or search for Saga Thing Podcast on your podcast player of choice.

For more information and Works Cited for this episode check out our website: http://vikingagepodcast.com/mord-the-fiddle

Oct 25, 2017

In this Halloween special we tell one of the spookiest ghost stories we find in the Icelandic Sagas - the story of Thorolf Twist-Foot as told in the Saga of the People of Eyri. 

The Saga of the People of Eyri is fantastic. My favorite English translation can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RI9XZQ/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o03_?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Oct 18, 2017

In this episode we explore the offices and institutions which made up the Icelandic Free State. Through comprehensive legal codes, accepted traditions and customs and regular, predictable assembly the Icelanders were able to govern themselves for over three centuries without a king, head chieftain or any other executive authority to speak of.

How did they do it? Well, that’s what we are going to talk about today.

This week’s recommended reading is near and dear to my heart. Viking Age Iceland by Jesse Byock is the definitive single volume history of the Icelandic Free State in English. Moving topically, Professor Byock explores all aspects of life in Iceland during the Viking Age. For anyone interested in learning more about Iceland during this period this book is a must read. Plus, you can see first hand just how often I have turned to Viking Age Iceland while researching these episodes.

For more information and to see the works cited for this episode please visit: http://vikingagepodcast.com/icelandic-free-state

Oct 4, 2017

In this week's episode we explore the growing number of challenges faced by the Icelanders as the landnám period drew to a close in the 930s. We will then take a long look at the key components of the institution the Icelanders turned to in order to solve that problem - the thing.

Along the way we will talk about beheadings over fish, witness a chieftain get given a bloody nose by a silver-wielding farmer and we will even examine the ever dodgy - if very helpful - writings of Cornelius Tacitus.

This week's recommended reading is Debating the Thing in the North - a collection of papers edited by Alexandra Sanmark, Frode Iversen, Natascha Mehler and Sarah Semple. Covering a wide range of topics, including the origins of the thing, its religious and cultural significance and even its spacial organization, this is a must read for those interested in the legal and political history of Scandinavia. And even better - it’s available for free online.

For all of your Viking Drinking Horn Needs - please consider checking out https://www.thefroggyviking.com/. And you can use the promocode vikingage for 10% off! 

Finally, for works cited and more information checkout our website: http://vikingagepodcast.com/conflict-and-things-in-early-iceland

Sep 20, 2017

In this week’s episode we explore the initial settlement of Iceland. We’ll talk about who settled the island, when they settled down and begin our discussion of the society they created.

To kick us off we are going to explore this topic by example by exploring the settlement led by Unn the Deepminded - one of the most remarkable figures from the Viking Age.

More details, works cited and recommended reading can be found on our website: http://vikingagepodcast.com/taking-land-in-iceland/

Sep 6, 2017
In this episode we will be exploring the initial discovery of Iceland by Norse Sailors in the mid-800s. 
 
First - we set the stage by discussing the literary and historical legacy of Iceland and discussing why it is so important to understand the culture of the island before using the amazing works which were written there in the 1200s. 
 
We then follow the stories told in the Landnámabók and the Íslendingabók about the discovery and initial settlement of Iceland - including storms, sworn brothers and path-finding ravens.  
 
Finally - we conclude with a discussion of high-seat pillars and the close ties which the initial Icelandic settlers maintained with the societies and cultures from which they had emigrated. 
Sep 6, 2017
We are back! This is simply a quick update episode to catch everyone back up to speed and set the stage for our next series of episodes. 
 
Those episodes are going to cover the Discovery, Settlement and Development of Iceland. This will all serve as part of our quest to understand why the Sagas, Myths and Legends of Pagan Scandinavia were recorded there in the 1200s. 
Jul 6, 2017

In this episode we conclude the story of Harald Finehair and we take a look at what life looked in Harald's Norway was like. 

Along the way we encounter more berserkar, polygamy and lots and lots of chieftain's fleeing Norway for the greener pastures of Iceland. 

Jun 21, 2017

In this episode we trace King Harald Finehair's rise to power as he conquers his way up the Eastern Edge of Norway and then back down the West Coast. Along that way the young, shaggy king will kill, negotiate and bully his way into the history books.

Plus - this being the Viking Age Podcast - we also discuss some myths around the berserkir and Harald's administrative innovations! 

For those who want to learn more about the Berserkar - check out this excellent MA Thesis by Roderick Dale: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/28819/

Jun 7, 2017

Welcome to the first episode of our Viking Stories series. Today we will be explore the early life of Harald Finehair the first King of Norway. 

You can download a free PDF with additional information about the events discussed in this episodes here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bz9Rd-bR8nwOSkZxeUpycG9fMlU

For more information about this episode and others, visit us at: http://vikingagepodcast.com

 

Jun 6, 2017

It has been far too long since our last episode! In this short update we'll talk about why it has been so long and what is planned for the future. 

May 3, 2017

In this episode we begin to explore the gritty details of Norse society in the Viking Age by reading the Eddic Poem Rigsthula. 

Along the way we will talk about cross-dressing, lumpy bread and generally introduce our discussion about Viking Age Society and how factors like gender, class and status could impact one's place within it. 

 

Apr 12, 2017

In this episode we answer listener questions to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the podcast! 

Curious why Lee cares about the Viking Age? Want to know about Viking Age Textiles? Is there any truth to those damned horned helmets? All this and more will be revealed. 

For links to a bunch of useful stuff checkout the show notes here: 

Apr 4, 2017

In this episode we get deep into the weeds and examine some intriguing clues as to what Pagan Scandinavians may have though about the soul. 

We talk about decorated helmets, battles with bears and women who are taller than the mountains. Along the way we will hopefully get a little closer to understanding the nature of the Viking worldview.

This episode is a little different, but I hope you enjoy! 

Mar 16, 2017

In this episode we talk about the role of fate in the minds of Viking Age Scandinavians. 

We will talk about Ragnarok, Individual Destiny and the dictators of fate themselves, the Norns. Then we'll conclude the episode by talking about the relationship between Fate, honor and reputation. 

Mar 2, 2017

In this episode we take a birds-eye view of the natural and human landscape of Denmark at the Dawn of the Viking Age. 

We'll talk about geography, settlement and set the stage for our future discussions about all the gritty details of life in the Viking Age. 

Feb 23, 2017

In this episode we explore the importance of Myth within Viking Age Scandinavia. Specifically we talk about Pagan world views and how the stories we classify as Norse Mythology give us an insight into those views. We'll discuss our sources for these myths and then dive headfirst into the Norse creation myth. 

Feb 2, 2017

In this episode we conclude our discussion about the reign of Charlemagne and his 30 year-long war against the Saxons. 

This time, we dive into the meat of the Saxon wars, talking about the various campaigns, rebellions and mass executions which marked this brutal conflict. 

Then, we turn our attention to how Charlemagne and the Franks ruled Saxony once it was conquered, with particular attention paid to how central religion was to the Carolingian ideology of rule. In many ways the Kingdom of the Franks resembled a theocracy, and we explore this in depth in this episode. 

Jan 19, 2017

In this episode we talk about the reign of Charlemagne and his three decade long war against the Saxons. 

We'll talk about the early years of Charlemagne's rule - and explore just why he decided to go to war against the Saxons. Along the way we talk about the pre-Christian life in Saxony and why conversion was such an important goal for the King of the Franks. 

Jan 12, 2017

In this episode we will witness a Carolingian ruler, Pippin the Short, finally take his seat on the throne of the Frankish Kingdom. 

Before we get there, first we will take a look at the early career of Pippin and his brother Carloman, as they secure their grip on the Kingdom their father had left them. We'll see how, thanks perhaps to guilt and piety, Pippin was catapulted onto the top of the political ladder and why he decided to take the crown. 

Then we'll talk about the problems of being a usurper - coups are never easy and we'll see how Pippin was able to use the endorsement of the Pope to secure his position and leave the Kingdom of the Franks to his sons. 

There is a lot to cover, and with it, we move ever closer to returning to the stories the Northern Neighbors of the Franks. 

 

 

Jan 5, 2017

In this episode we will explore the decline of Merovingian power and the rise of the Carolingian dynasty. 

Specifically, we will see how a lack of strong Merovingian rulers in the 600s led to the unchecked rise of Aristocratic wealth and power - much of which was concentrated in the hands of the Mayor of the Palace. 

We will then see happened when the Carolingian dynasty got their hands on this high office - and specifically the remarkable career of the first Carolingian ruler - Charles Martel. 

For more, you can always see us online at: vikingagepodcast.com.

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