Historians agree the Battle of Brávellir cannot be confirmed — or that it can be denied.

The Battle of Brávellir

June 20, 2020 — The legendary Battle of Brávellir took place somewhere in the southeast of Sweden in the 600s or 700s CE. Remarkably, the battle was one of honor and wasn’t based on aggression. For what reason then? READ MORE »

Midsummer, Kupala Night, and the Summer Solstice

June 17, 2020 — The European summer solstice is soon upon us, and in particular, the “Swedish Midsommar” — which neither Amajarl nor Seidrsunna can stop talking about right now — is a festivity that has been celebrated in northwestern Europe since time immemorial. READ MORE »

Fish, wild boar, and horse meat kept Vikings alive.

Staying Alive: Health and diet in the Viking Age

May 2, 2020 — How did the Vikings manage to be almost always combat-ready when they drank A LOT and ate plenty of meat? Well, to start with, they only drank mead and ale. Some Jarls could afford wine if they had the trading connections to continental Europe or Kievan Rus’. READ MORE »

An anecdote of life and death in the North Sea at the end of the Viking Age

March 2, 2020 —  Viking raiding was more often than not a part-time occupation. The Orkneyinga saga (included in the Icelandic Flateyjarbók) describes the habits of one Norse gentleman by the name of Sveinn Ásleifarson. In the spring, he oversaw the planting of grain on his farm at Gáreksey (today a small island in Orkney, Scotland with the modern name Gairsay.) When the farming preparation was completed, he went off raiding in the Hebrides and Ireland, but he was back to his home on Gáreksey to take in the hay and the grain by mid-summer. READ MORE »

Ostrogoth armor recreation.

From Gotland to Aujum and Beyond: The Birth of Europe

January 15, 2020The birth of Europe was anything but a smooth and effortless process. The region known as Europe today has been reshaped several times by centuries of wars, raids, and the falls and rises of petty kingdoms and vast empires alike. The most destructive, intense, and violent events that eventually led to the formation of modern-day Europe — even dwarfing the brutal onslaught of the sub-sequent Viking Age — occurred in a period roughly spanning four hundred years, from around 200-600s CE. READ MORE »

Wild Boar

A wild boar looking for food in southern Norway.

Sónargǫltr — Sacrifice of the Wild Boar

December 15, 2019 — The midwinter festivities of ancient Europe are often called Yule or Yuletide. Ritual celebrations were important and essential components in old times, especially in the Norse cultures because of the long dark winters in Scandinavia and Finland. The Norsemen held great feasts to venerate their ancestors, swear oaths, for fertility, and to celebrate seasonal shifts in nature.

Towards the end of the year, Vikings in western Scandinavia (and Varangians in the east) welcomed the new year through great feasting. These Yuletide celebrations hailed from a distant past, perhaps further back than the Bronze Age, and had thus been a recurring tradition since long before the Viking Age. READ MORE »

Four-horned Manx Loaghtan

Manx Loaghtan sheep in the living museum of Cregneash village on the Isle of Man

Manx Loaghtan: The Four-Horned Goats and Sheep of the Vikings

December 2, 2019 — If someone asked whether you’d ever seen a four-horned goat, you’d be forgiven for initially thinking it was the start of a joke. Few breeds are actually polycerate, a word used to describe sheep and goat mammals that can grow more than two horns (those who do often have their additional horns removed for commercial or safety purposes.) The rare Manx Loaghtan is different, because having four horns is actually one of its accepted characteristics, and the term rare isn’t simply a subjective designation. In fact, The Rare Breeds Survival Trust of the United Kingdom classifies the Manx Loaghtan as an at-risk breed, since there are fewer than 1,500 breeding females registered in the whole of Britain, spread across the Isle of Man, the Isle of Ramsey, and a few other nearby islands. READ MORE »

Excavation of Atil, Khazaria

Excavation of Atil/Khazaran.

Særkland and the Khazar Khaganate

November 16, 2019 — Included on Draugablíkk’s recently released EP, the song “To Særkland and Back Again” is inspired by real events that took place in the Eastern lands of Særkland in the Viking Age. Historical sources describe how Varangian Rus’ (eastern Vikings) met betrayal, massacre, and death on the Caspian Sea — at the hands of the Khazars. But, who were they, these little-known Khazars? READ MORE »

The Nine Runes of the Oseberg Viking Ship

October 23, 2019 — This picture, taken in 1904 by Norwegian photographer Olaf Væring, shows the Oseberg Viking ship excavation in Norway. The placename Oseberg literally translates to “Ásmountain” which in this context means “Burial Mound of the Æsir.” The Oseberg Viking ship is famous for many reasons, such as its beautifully carved ornamentation and possible connection to the mythological (but widely attested) Yngling dynasty. READ MORE »

Hermóðr and Sleipnir boldly deliver news from the far reaches of Ásaland.