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Saved by Rick Fehrenbacher
on December 18, 2009 at 2:20:37 pm



Welcome to the Viking World Wiki! This wiki site was constructed by "The Viking World" class at the University of Idaho during the Fall 2009 semester. A reading list and syllabus are included at the bottom of this page.


As you can see from the student presentations listed below, the class examined the Viking World both historically--we read the Eddas and many Old Norse Sagas--and as a cultural phenomenon--that's what accounts for the presence of  Neil Gaiman's American Gods on the syllabus. Throughout, we focused on the concept of "Vikingness" and how it has been used in different periods by different groups for different reasons.


The wiki consists of two parts. The first is an annotated links page to different Viking sites, ranging from hardcore historical documents to Monty Python videos.  The second is a collection the class member's projects. Again, the projects are eclectic in nature and examine a variety of topics, from early Viking history to representations of Viking women to Tolkein's and Wagner's use of the Viking World to Vikings in graphic novels.


Finally, I'd like to thank the class for a most enjoyable semester.


The Viking World Links Page

We scoured the web for links to all things Viking , and came up with this most excellent list of sites, many of them quite scholarly, some of them pretty silly, but all of them damned Viking. The Viking World Links Page


Student Projects

Eddaic Tales of the Gods as Told by Modern Viking Metal (Andrew) At the beginning of the class we had some inkling that there was some music called Viking metal. We had no idea how much of it there was. Now we do: a lot.  In his presentation, Andrew examines how popular Viking metal bands have retold tales from the Eddas. With videos and lyrics!


Odin's Challenge (Joe) Based on the Vafthruthnismal, Odin's Challenge is an awesome Flash game that tests your knowledge of the Eddas, Viking history, the Norse sagas, and Norse mythology. Can you beat old One-Eye at his own game? Please.


Wagner's Ring (Laurel) Much of contemporary culture's view of Viking myth and legend comes direct from Richard Wagner's Ring cycle. Laurel's project introduces you to Wagner's great opera, and includes a plot summary as well as a discussion of leitmotifs and criticism. Good collection of links, too. 


Real Women of the Viking Age (Carmen) Our ideas about Viking women too often stem from visions of stout Wagnerian divas or curvy Frazetta-ish shield-maidens. Carmen's annotated collection of links on historical Viking women (and her summary of the information gleaned from it) is an excellent corrective.


Runes: The Alphabet of Odin (Tristran) Used, misused, appropriated and misapporpriated by everyone from Tolkien to Hitler's SS, runes still remain a powerful iconic symbol of the Viking Age. Tristran discusses the origins and historical uses of runes, runestones, and the continued use of runes today.


More Than Raiders (John) While there's no denying the violent nature of the Viking raids on Europe, there was also another side to Vikings. John examines the ways in which Vikings have been unfairly and inaccurately portrayed and sheds light on their contributions to trade and exploration during the Viking Age.


The Early Settlement and Trade of Iceland (James) Iceland is the home of the sagas, and James' presentation examines the early exploration and settlement of Iceland, including a discussion of how this settlement was affected by the need to trade. Also includes some videos and links about Icelandic history.


Halldor Laxness (Tim) Iceland's only Nobel prize winner, Haldor Laxness, has written many novels that contain themes from the sagas and the Viking Age. Tim's page is an excellent resource for the study of Laxness. Many links and a good biography included.


Independent People (Tim) In conjunction with his page on Haldor Laxness, Tim discusses the use of Viking, Eddaic, and saga themes in Independent People, Laxness' most important work.


The Role of Odinism in Contemporary White Supremacist Movements (Margret) Recently, there has been a surge of popular interest in early Germanic pagan religions. Sometimes these religions have been used by ultra-nationalist or white supremacist movements. Margret discusses how to tell white supremacist Odin-worshippers from more inclusive sects and how music and tattoos play a role in these groups.


Part I – Twilight and Dragon-Fire: The Children of Húrin and the Völsungasaga While many have remarked upon the "Northernness" of Tolkien's The Children of Húrin and its stylistic and thematic similarities to Old Norse sagas, nobody's done a sustained analysis of Tolkein's use of saga materials in his work. Until now. Karyn's examination of The Children of Hurin and the Volsungasaga is in-depth and extremely enlightening. 


The Kingdom of Mann and the Isles (Clare) Like Ireland and England, the Isle of Man and the Orkneys were also islands in which the Vikings settled. Clare's presentation and paper shows how Viking culture was transplanted here.
































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