Recreational Vikings reclaiming their heritage is today’s feature.
If you are a Viking descendant like me, then journalist Andrew Higgins’ article – “Norway Again Embraces the Vikings, Minus the Violence” – a great read on how Norway is reclaiming its Viking heritage. In his article, Higgins looks at culture and history and how it can be reclaimed after it has been misappropriated, in this case by the Nazis and heavy-metal bands.
Scandinavia’s first government-funded training course on how to live like a Viking has been established.
“Jeppe Nordmann Garly has for years been a “recreational Viking,” a keen member of a fringe fraternity of would-be Norse warriors who dress up in 10th-century clothing, attend weekend craft fairs and trade tips over the Internet on where to pick up an authentic helmet or sword. “I am a very peaceful man. I have never plundered anything,” said Mr. Garly, a “36-year-old Dane whose modest stature, jocular manner and portly figure belie his enthusiasm for ancient warriors. “Rape and pillage are not part of the curriculum,” Mr. Garly added.
Fourteen students — nine men and five women, all Norwegians — have enrolled in the Viking training class, attracted by the “opportunity to work with their hands and reconnect with a part of their country’s history that, once cleansed of its gruesome associations, made them feel proud. Hammering at an anvil in the campus blacksmith’s hut, one student, Alexander Fredriksen, 20, noted that Vikings had many talents beyond spreading mayhem. ‘They were great warriors and very good at killing, but this was just a small part of what they did,’ he said.”
Because the Vikings wrote only short messages in runic script and left no detailed written account of their exploits, much of their history — and terrible reputation — was shaped by Christian monks and others who suffered at their hands. “They miserably ravaged and pillaged everything,” a monk wrote of a late eighth-century Viking raid on a monastery on Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England. “Some of the brethren they slew; some they carried off in chains.”
Their grisly image, however, began to improve, at least in academic circles, when a revisionist view took hold in recent decades and convinced some historians that Vikings had been unfairly maligned.
In this case, recreational Vikings are also restorative ones. Now I guess I should go practice on my anvil.