Tag Archives: Viking

Harvest Feast, Halloween, and Hanging out…

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I know I am petty bad about updating this thing, but really my blog its more for me than anyone else… If you choose to read it I do appreciate it, but really it is primarily a way for me to sort my thoughts out…

Since the breakup a lot has gone on, and yet not much at all… But life is starting to look up. I’ve been growing inside, which is great, I’ve seen a lot of good stuff happening around me… then again I guess there’s a lot of heart aches too.

I know the Jason is hurting and that kills me. I hate seeing a friend going through so much pain and knowing that it is my doing. but I have to be true to myself… and even Jason admits that he was trying to change me.

So Halloween went pretty well, I spent the weekend with Hengist, Mira, Thorolf, and Sabrina… It was really nice having us all together all weekend. On friday night we all went up to a Halloween party at a friend’s house in Bremerton. I ended up dressing as “Rosie the Rivitor”… Even loaned me an aluminum pipe wrench that totally made the costume… And I got to see a bunch of my friends that I haven’t seen in way too long. It was really a blessing.

Saturday we all went to another party in Seattle… And there I got to see a bunch more of my SCA friends that I haven’t seen in months or in a couple of cases a few years (along side the usual suspects of course)… This time I borrowed one of Mira’s costumes and so I was an “anarchy cheerleader.” Yet again we all got goofy and had a great time…

Strangely enough, Sunday everything was pretty tame… Mira had a belly dancing show scheduled at Karma in Puyallup, and Sabrina headed back home to Yakima. So Hengist, Mira, Thorolf and I went to the show where we saw Dana also… But the venue was putty barren so we just ate a nice indian food dinner… (lamb vindaloo – yum!) Mira want feeling too hot anyways, so it was probably good that she didn’t dance.

On monday, I woke up sicker than snot with a fever… And I have spent the whole week in bed recovering… It’s a brutal bug this year, almost everyone we saw this weekend caught some variation of it (lucky butts Sabrina and Thorolf exempt)…

I was capable of functioning about midday friday which is good because I discovered a horrible lump on Moses’s torso… so by the generous grace of Sven and Anne, we took Mo to the vet. The very want quite sure what was going on, but after he took some fluid from the limp he saw it was infected so mo got a shot of strong antibiotics which have been helping immensely…

Moses is still having thyroid troubles,  so we adjusted his meds a bit, hopefully that helps with his neurological problems, but he is ever too skinny… He only weighed in at 9.1 lbs when he should be somewhere around 16 lbs…. So somehow we have to get him eating enough food to start putting on the weight. Wish him luck, he needs it.

Saturday was harvest feast… Which was okay, but Hengist and Mira didn’t go because they couldn’t eat anything on the menu (stupid gluten), and Sven didn’t go because he was a groomsman in a wedding. Feasts are so bunch more fun with them there…

After harvest feast Thorolf and I went to an after party which was pretty tame (that was preferable though) and later we went to see my friends the Hard Money Saints, and James Hunnicutt play at a bar just past the Roy Y. It was great seeing James, Jack, Mondo and Nick after so long… Kinda weird wearing my viking garb to the trail end of a rockabilly show, but all was good. Lastly we hit up Walmart to pick up some last-minute toys for tots donations then home…

I think I did way too much because I’m feeling pretty icky again (or still) but it has been great seeing all my friends I have been missing. Kills like I may have some photocopy gigs coming up possibly too to help concert my gas bill a bit better… Which is a relief… But a real job is priority…

Also congrats go to my cousin who had her baby… He is a cutie-pie although I have never met him because I have been sick… And I have a phone interview on the 12th.. So wish me luck with that… I have been out of work so long… I’m stir crazy…

I feel like I’m figuring myself out which is exactly what I need to do… Still waiting on my final “no”from the military, and if that happens I will look into counseling to help sort me out memtally a bit more… I think it could be of great value…

I’ll try to keep this a bit more updated… It’s good for me to write out my thoughts, and if you care to read my ramblings, great! If not, oh well… like I said this is mostly for me!

God’s Stepping in…

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So life’s gone a bit nutty lately and everything has changed, while it’s not all necessarily good per se, I feel like it is.

First off God’s really opened my eyes again which is glorious and so my faith is growing again by leaps and bounds; I can’t say I can take credit for this all, but Jason (my new boyfriend – more on that later) has really helped me a lot.
He has me reading “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller… This book is great! It’s all about Christian spirituality without being too preachy and is not afraid to talk about what’s wrong with the church along side what is right… it covers a lot of issues that I have which is nice because I have something I can share an affinity with.
I also went to Jason’s church (which is up in Kirkland) and I swear I just knew this place is what is right for me… it was great. The pastor is actually one of the old youth pastors from Life Center from back in the days when I was doing impact and he speaks awesome… Sitting in sermon was a new experience for me… I was so thirsty that I was sitting on the edge of my seat, it was awesome.
I really feel like god is working with my life to rearrange and fix it into what he wants it to be, so I am just trying to submit to his will. I lost my job; but that is okay really I was lucky enough to have a little money left from my tax return so hopefully I will be able to make it okay until I get a new one. I know there’s got to be something else out there for me that is better…
As for Jason, we have known each other for about 14 years, as he was one of my brother’s friends back in the day. However we’ve been pretty close friends for the last 8 years. Even when I was living in California we were in a reasonable amount of contact… the funny thing is it never really dawned on us that we should be an item…
We planned a pub crawl as we were pretty much the last single ones standing a couple weeks ago and in planning that we got to talking a lot about what our hopes and dreams are in life, you know the deep rooted ones like me wanting to be able to be a stay at home mother with my children and build guitars in my own wood shop… He has his dreams too and it’s amazing how spot on we are with each others hopes dreams and goals in life. I guess that is probably what sparked it… but when the pub crawl came around, magic happened. after that weekend we waited a couple days hardly able to stop talking to each other…
We sat down to Coffee and asked ourselves what is going on and determined that we’re going to go for it. We are being smart about things and set down the ground rules, like my SCA and viking stuff and his business. I really believe in him and he believes in me. I feel like god has put us together and is blessing us.
The weird thing is because we’ve been close friends for so long, it’s like we’re skipping that whole getting to know you stage of the relationship… I mean it’s not like we’re engaged, but it’s something we talk about possibly happening someday once we’ve met some of our current goals. It’s so nice though, he’s amazing.
But what happened with Spyder you ask? Well, he pretty much cut contact to me and so I had to just snip those heartstrings out. I know I said I love him, and I always have as a friend… as I do allow myself to love freely, but perhaps I let myself get too caught up in the moment? I still care for him, I just had to admit defeat and call him a good friend… it’s funny – once I did that God puts Jason right there…. and Jason is a much better match for me anyways. And I am working to not say things too early this time…

update…

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So I don’t work at Jenny Craig any more… and also have moved back down to Tacoma again… there’s plenty more to update but I am tired after Viking fest… but I do still love John Very Very much…. such is my curse…. Like I said to him at Viking fest — and It rings true both ways… It was never for a lack of love why I ran away… everything just could not seem to mesh….

Of Thralls and Freemen – Norse Social Structure During the Viking Age

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Much like most societies throughout history, the Norse of the Viking Age practiced a hierarchical society consisting of multiple class levels. At the top was the ruling class of kings, jarls, and landsmen who oversaw their own lands. The middle class included freemen; these were the landowners, skilled workers, and farmers. The lowest social class was that of the thralls and slaves, these people were the major source of hard labor in Norse society. In this article a number of the various roles and rules involving the social structure of the Norse during the Viking Age will be discussed.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing social classes during the Viking Age is that of the thralls and slaves. These were the men and women who did the hardest labor and the most unpleasant jobs. The majority of slaves were acquired through war, piracy, and trade. They also could be born into slavery or become a slave as punishment for a crime. If a man was caught stealing from another, he would become slave to the victim of the crime as a consequence for his actions. Also, a debtor could become thrall to their creditor until his debt was repaid.

Life wasn’t particularly pleasant for the thrall, for the slave born and bred life was exceptionally hard. For a freeborn warrior taken in the wars, or a well-nurtured girl who was ravished from her burned home it could be hell itself. He could be bought and sold just like any other chattel. Occasionally the thrall might be put down like a horse or a dog once his usefulness was past. He also might be sacrificed or executed to follow a dead owner into the afterlife. The mutineer or runaway thrall could expect no quarter. The owning class would as soon tolerate a wolf on the fold wall as a slave on the run, and his end was a wolf’s end, quick and bloody.

Thralls had few rights and couldn’t own land, if they broke the law they were beaten, maimed, or killed as consequence; however, life wasn’t all bad for the thrall, and he did have some legal advantages to his status. For example, if a freeman and a slave committed theft together, the freeman was the one to be charged with the crime and the slave was not considered an accomplice. A slave also had the right to kill for his wife even though she was a bondmaid, but a freeman could not kill for a bondmaid even though she was considered his woman.

If a man’s slave was murdered, there was no need for a leveling oath to be sworn. The thrall was considered chattel, and avenged as such; with money paid instead of blood shed as repayment for his life. In England, a thrall would be repaid with the gift of eight cows; in Iceland it was eight ounces of silver; and in Scandinavia, the killer must make amends according to the slave’s value naked. If his master was the killer, he was not considered liable before the law unless he killed him/her during a legally ordained festival, or during Lent. If he killed the thrall during these times, the consequence of such actions was banishment.

Thralls did have the right to own some possessions, hold money, and have time to work for themselves. They were allowed to do business at public markets and make their own private transactions if the value involved less than one ortug (1/3 ounce of silver, or 20 pence). He also had the right to marry (although any resulting children would also be slaves), and the ability to purchase, earn, or be rewarded with his freedom. Also, the ill treatment of thralls was regarded as an undesirable quality in norse culture, and masters seemed to have treated their slaves quite well. The slave did not bear arms unless he was defending the stead, or fighting off invaders. If he were to kill such an invader, he could expect to be rewarded with his freedom.

Once a slave was released from servitude, he was considered a freedman (leysingi). Although he was now free, and no longer a slave, his position in society was still limited. He was still dependent upon his master and family for multiple generations, this also made it so the freedman could not conduct legal proceedings against his former master. He needed someone to protect his new freedom and often looked to his old master to defend it. A freedman could gain his full freedom by purchasing it with an even larger payment than would normally be required to be freed from the binds of slavery.

Above the freedman were the bondi and the karls – these were the truly free – the land holding farmers, sailors, hunters, merchants, and other skilled workers. They varied from poor peasants to those with great wealth and localized authority. All these people were still essentially considered farmers; even if their absence required other people to work their land, either free or thrall.

Theoretically, the bondi had a farm of his own, but oftentimes most young men lived with their parents, or farmed the lands of a large and/or absent landowner. These men still retained their social status. They would till the land, raise stock, bear witness, and produce verdicts, vote on matters of public concern at the Thing; these matters could be as important as the election of a new king, a change of religion or simple verdicts on legal cases. The freeman would attend religious and lay ceremonies, forge and bare weapons, man ships, serve in levies, be aware of their worth and what they owed. The bondi impressed upon others such traits and rights as these that they stood as a class of their own in Europe as a free peasantry.

Above the bondi were the landowners that held hereditary rights to their own land. “In Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles, these were known as odalsbondi, In Norway as hauldr, and in England as holdas.” (Regia Anglorum) Odal rights were ferociously defended because they distinguished a family claim that could not be usurped by jarls, or even the crown.

The upper levels of Viking society were composed of various forms of nobility and kings. The lowest rank of the ruling class was that of the landsmenn (approximately the equivalent of a medieval ‘baron’). These men were also known in Denmark as straesmen. They originated as ship commanders, but later included men who could field and maintain approximately 40 armed men. Their positions were not hereditary and were gained positions through an oath of loyalty to the king, on whose behalf they held their authority.

More common was the jarl. He was either a partial or fully independent lordship. Some of these men inherited their lands by odal right, while others fought their way into power. In the early period there was little clear difference between some of the more powerful jarls and the many petty kings of Denmark and Norway. Later these men were defeated making the Viking captain and his fleet and hirð a thing of the past. The new successors for these positions were chieftains, landed men who wished for stability and peace. They were the members of a bondi aristocracy who supported a centralized kingship.

At the top of the social ladder was the King. He was the one who ruled – the one that the jarls and landsmen reported to. A king’s revenues derived in large measure from royal estates. He also received a share of the confiscated property of outlaws and felons. His outgoing expenses would also be great. He could make a number of limited demands on his subjects for national works and instruments of defense. When his kingdom was at war, he took command of his fighting forces.

With the king traveled his hirð or bodyguard, which was composed of retainers who had pledged loyalty to him and if need be their lives. In war these were the core of his army, in peace the ones who enforced his authority. The hirdmen were the kings elect – or their lord’s elect. He would give his men swords, helms, arm-rings, torques, clothes, food, drink, axes inlaid with silver, and women if his men so desired. In exchange, the king expected them to claim what was due to him, service at home and overseas, during war and peace, difficult tasks and sometimes even their lives.

A king’s revenues derived in large measure from royal estates. He also received a share of the confiscated property of outlaws and felons. His outgoing expenses would also be great. He could make a number of limited demands on his subjects for national works and instruments of defense. When his kingdom was at war, he took command of his fighting forces.

In this article a number of the various roles and rules involving the social structure of Norse society during the Viking Age were discussed. It consisted of numerous social classes ranging from the ruling class down to the classes of the free and unfree, all of which had a number of roles and rules that allowed for a very successful society to thrive during the Viking Age.

Sources:

Jones, Gwyn. A history of the Vikings (revised edition). Oxford University Press; New York, New York. 1984.

Regia Anglorum. Viking Social Organization. http://www.regia.org/history/viking2.htm