[Heralds] German/Norse name for Destiny

Richard Culver rbculver at hotmail.com
Fri May 4 09:16:48 PDT 2001


(BTW I am really enjoying this exchange, I rarely have people to discuss
with at this level)

>The various Nordic tribes which came into England prior to the Viking Age
>did have a lot of influence on the British Isle. There is no doubt of
>that. However, there is approximately 150 - 200 years between 550 and the
>start of the Viking Age.

  Indeed 150-200 years, the stream was still steady.  It was not like 449
everyone packs up like the death-trip to Guyana in this century.  The
Angles, Saxons, Jutes, some Franks, and Frisians had been in Britian years
before then.  So it was with the Scandinavians.  The bulk of the raiding,
the going aviking part, may have been seemingly launch in 749 at
Lindnisfarne, but trade was still heavy between the surrounding cultures
years before that.  That trade maintained many things which the cultures had
in commom.
   Even with the coming of Christianity, many of the folk culture remained
even among the nobles.  The customs towards women and the rights, the
practice wergild, and many converted religious practices remained.  In fact
Gregorian church law was not really enforcement upon the larger English
culture until the influx of the Normans.  Up until that time, the english
maintained their ways, sure with some difference-I am not saying they are
the same culture, just closely related subcultures under the Germanic

In a time when lifespans were as long as they are
>today, that is certainly enough time for cultural differences and language
>changes to be wrought. While the Old Norse of the Viking Age did share
>many commonalities with the speakers of Old English, including a common
>root to their language, there was a divergance and they did become
>seperate and distinct cultures by the time the Viking Age began. Yes, they
>could understand each other and shared several things in common, but they
>were two people and two languages.

   "The difference between a dialect and a language is the size of one's
army".  As above I think subculture is more apt here.

A key difference is that a good deal of
>the British Isle was already Christian by the start of the Viking Age, and
>that is a significant difference in culture and law.

   Officially, as far as the nobles were concerned, but the old ways
continued, if the rantings of the clergy where any indication, up 'til and
even past into the time of the Danish lordship.
   As to law, the local law was still based on the germanic common law style
and moots were still held in similarity to the Thing system.  As above
ecclesiastical law was not as powerful, enforced, or set in England until
the time of William.  Sure it held sway and often monarches preferred
retirement in a monastary better than at the end of a sword, as well as
often landed churches, but at its root, the law was not too dissimilar to
Scandinavian law.

The Anglo-Saxons were
>not -happy- with their long-lost cousins deciding they wanted a peice of
>England too, and paid them to go home. Several times.

  While the kings of England did pay them off, mostly to not usurp their
power,  I really have to wonder how "bad" the English reall saw it or
experienced it.  The Danes intergrated nicely, though as in any turn of
power _some_ conflict happened, and let the English be English.  Since
southern clergy even noticed the cultural likeness of the northerners to the
Danes, I really think they were quite happy.  If anything the Danes brought
a more disciplined legal system, which brought more fairness.  Fairness and
an at least stronger peace were not things the ever warring regions of
England could offer.

Then they gave them
>a chunk of land in hopes they would stay there and leave everyone else
>alone. The Danelaw in Northumbria came to be after the start of the Viking
>and there were differences between the residents of the Danelaw and the
>rest of England

  That was the House of Wessex's fault.  It is known the North and South did
not care much for one another even when related as nobles.  Each added their
own view of history and propaganda to the AS Chronicle.  Wessex knew the
Danes were the better army and would have England eventually so they let the
Danes have the "least valuable part".  Being fair men, the Danes seemed
happy with the comprimise, just as their kin in Normandy.  I have seen
nothing, outside of clerical writings, which picked more on religious
values, to indicate there was mass unhappiness under the Danes.

>Just because a concept exists in Old English does not mean that it
>exists in Old Norse. It -can-, but it is not a given. Both cultures had
>time to grow apart and add or subtract from things they once had in
>common. I absolutely know different things were borrowed back and forth,
>they weren't identical.

   In a mechanical sense, sure things were changed.  Things stressed in one
area may not have been as stressed in another.  One was decidedly Norse and
the other English, but the mechanics of the language may have changed, the
cultural basis was still close.  I just do not see any really divergent
practices which could differeniate the people from one another outside of
linguistics.  Played well, absent language, I really do not think a person
could see a significant difference between myself and Gunnora though we are
at least three centuries and a sea apart.


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