[Sca-cooks] Viking Dining Light
Pixel, Goddess and Queen
pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com
Wed Apr 1 12:32:17 PDT 2009
On Wed, 1 Apr 2009, Sharon Gordon wrote:
> As a series of facts in a book about Vikings the author notes that Vikings
> lit their homes with torches of bundles of marsh grass called lyssiv (light
> straw). It has a central core of wicklike white pith.
> Does anyone know if this was from an edible grain such as barley or flax?
> I'd also be interested in whether the pith was used like a wick in oil or
> fat or whether it was used to soak up oil in a more sponge like way and then
> lit if anyone is familiar with this.
It would have been used for fats that are less solid than say, beeswax, or
liquid oils. Look up "rushlight" for an idea of what they're talking
about, and also "cresset" which is an oil lamp made of soapstone or other
Rushlights are also period for much of Europe--there's a wrought-iron
rushlight holder in the Medieval Household book from the Museum of London
that looks for all the world like the rushlight holders that were used in
colonial times in the US.
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