Vikings connection with Orient

Discussion in 'History' started by arauca, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. arauca Banned Banned

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    The Norwegian Vikings were more oriented towards the East than we have previously assumed, says Marianne Vedeler, Associate Professor at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo in Norway. After four years of in-depth investigation of the silk trade of the Viking Age, she may change our perceptions of the history of the Norwegian Vikings. The silk trade was far more comprehensive than we have hitherto assumed.

    The Norwegian Vikings maintained trade connections with Persia and the Byzantine Empire. A network of traders from a variety of places and cultures brought the silk to the Nordic countries. Her details are presented in the book Silk for the Vikings, to be published by Oxbow publishers this winter, but in this article you can glimpse some of her key findings.

    In the Oseberg ship, which was excavated nearly a hundred years ago, more than one hundred small silk fragments were found. This is the oldest find of Viking Age silk in Norway.

    At the time when the Oseberg silk was discovered, nobody conceived that it could have been imported from Persia. It was generally believed that most of it had been looted from churches and monasteries in England and Ireland.

    Waterways

    Vedeler believes that in the Viking Age, silk was imported from two main areas. One was Byzantium, meaning in and around Constantinople, or Miklagard, which was the Vikings' name for present-day Istanbul. The other large core area was Persia.

    The silk may have been brought northwards along different routes.

    "One possibility is from the South through Central Europe and onwards to Norway, but I believe that most of the silk came by way of the Russian rivers Dnepr and Volga."

    The Dnepr was the main route to Constantinople, while the Volga leads to the Caspian Sea. The river trade routes were extremely dangerous and difficult. One of the sources describes the laborious journey along the Dnepr to Constantinople:

    A band of traders joined up in Kiev. Along the river they were attacked by dangerous tribesmen. They needed to pass through rapids and cataracts. Then, slaves had to carry their boat.

    Persian patterns

    On the basis of the silk that has been found, there are indications that more silk came to Norway from Persia than from Constantinople.

    "Large amounts of the Oseberg silk have patterns from the Persian Empire. This silk is woven using a technique called samitum, a sophisticated Oriental weaving method. Many of the silk motifs can be linked to religious motifs from Central Asia."

    Another pattern depicts a shahrokh, a bird that has a very specific meaning in Persian mythology; it represents a royal blessing. In the Persian myth, the shahrokh bird is the messenger that brings the blessing to a selected prince. In a dream, the bird visits the prince holding a tiara, a tall head adornment, in its beak. The prince then wakes up and knows that he is the chosen one. The image of the imperial bird was popular not only in silk weaving, but also in other art forms in Persia. The motif gained widespread popularity in Persian art.

    "It's an amusing paradox that silk textiles with such religious and mythological images were highly prized and used in heathen burial sites in the Nordic countries as well as in European churches."


    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-11-norwegian-vikings-silk-persia.html#jCp
     
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  3. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

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    intriguing I have not heard this. thank you for sharing it
     
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  5. arauca Banned Banned

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    I suppose you are familiar they visited Paris in several occasion and ransacked.
     
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  7. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

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    Yes I am. And my name is supposed to go back to viking origins. Not really sure but I have liked learning what I have about them and there ways. Blood eagle is neat. And how much they did.....
     
  8. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure why this is supposed to be surprising news, or "more oriented towards the East than previously assumed".
    It is generally assumed that the Vikings established what were to become the Rus Empires (based around what is now Kiev and Novgorod) and had extensive links to the Byzantine Empire. Given that the Abbasid Caliphate was immediately southeast of that (well, it was around then 7th century onwards), it isn't really a stretch to assume trade between the Arab world and the Vikings. Ahmad ibn Fadlan documented his travels in the Rus region extensively. Interesting read, If you have the inclination.
    Therefore;
    ""One possibility is from the South through Central Europe and onwards to Norway, but I believe that most of the silk came by way of the Russian rivers Dnepr and Volga."
    Isn't exactly earth shattering information.

    For those who are mired in pop culture, the movie "The 13th Warrior" was a dramatised version of a part of Ahmad ibn Fadlan's travels. The movie probably has about as much relation to reality as "Braveheart"does to William Wallace, but at least it might prompt anyone interested in history to actually do some reading.



    ... those Vikings really got around, you know. The popular view of the horned helmeted warrior archetype becomes a little blurry when one actually delves into what those guys got up to. They had a major influence on what is now Russia, England, France and Italy, and we're not talking raids for loot. we're talking the establishment of empires.
    Serious folks, those Norsemen.
     
  9. arauca Banned Banned

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    I know the Swedes established themselves in the area were Ukraine That area was called Malo Russ and if I remember right the Founder was Ruric. but that was navigating the river Dnepro , I vaguely remember the history the connection with Byzantium relation was Tzar Vladimer the Great who married the doughtier of the ruler of Byzantium in about 900 AD were Vladimer the Great baptized thousand of his peoples .
    But I like to know . your reference of Vikings penetrating to Italy
     
  10. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

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    Well, I wouldn't say "penetrate" as such. You're still thinking of raiding warships.
    Sicily had a Norman King somewhere in the early 12th century who was largely responsible for the island now being mostly Catholic and "Italianised" rather than an extension of the Byzantine empire or the Moors.
    A little indirect, I suppose, but still.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
  11. arauca Banned Banned

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    Very good. It opens more my horizon into history
     
  12. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

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    Wait until the sun comes up completely.
    All sorts of things become more clear.
     

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