#1  
Old 06-09-2004, 02:46 AM
Mighty_Girl Mighty_Girl is offline
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Horned Vikings

The Vikings didn't wear horned hats, but even in Denmark images of horned Vikings are everywhere, and along with the beard the horned hat is the distinguishing feature of the stereotypical Viking. Where and when did this idea come from? Who came up with the horned Viking?
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Old 06-09-2004, 06:12 AM
scm1001 scm1001 is offline
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according to this site is was based on 19th century romantic revivals (Wagner anyone?) http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/armor.htm

this site suggests it it may be from a mistranslation http://www.ravensgard.org/prdunham/norsefaq.html

"The misassociation of the "Vikings" with horned helmets is reputedly due to a 19th Century mistranslation of a phrase referring to horn helmets, or helmets utilizing plates of horn. I've never actually seen such a phrase however"

This site suggests confusion with earlier bronze age helmets:
http://www.mnh.si.edu/vikings/voyage...nd/archeo.html
"This idea may have been stimulated by confusion with Danish Bronze Age helmets, which had long, curved metal horns. When first discovered in the early 19th century, the 1,500 year time period between the Bronze and Viking Ages was not well understood, and so it was presumed that Vikings also wore horned helmets"


I never knew there were so many viking sites out there!
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Old 06-09-2004, 10:15 AM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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I remember seeing some History channel or Discovery channel program that claimed that the horned helmet first popped up in illustrations in popular 19th century British novels for young men about Vikings.
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Old 06-09-2004, 10:27 AM
BMalion BMalion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pravnik
19th century British novels for young men about Vikings.

[Peter Graves]

Billy, do you like movies about gladiators?

[/Peter Graves]
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Old 06-09-2004, 10:31 AM
DocCathode DocCathode is offline
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SCM1001 has given the two main theories. I've heard good evidence for both.

John Grant, in his fine book on viking mythology, entitled Viking Mythology includes a picture of a horned god from pre-viking Denmark.

The very knowledgable re-enactors at Viking day at the Philadelphia Swedish American museum, endorese the Wagner theory.

Semi Hijack-

While we're dealing with misconceptions about the vikings, all the pendants, carvings, etc depicting valkyries I've ever seen show them as thin women.
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Old 06-09-2004, 11:22 AM
Bruce_Daddy Bruce_Daddy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCathode
[b]his fine book on viking mythology, entitled Viking Mythology
How creative.
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Old 06-09-2004, 11:27 AM
scm1001 scm1001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocCathode

While we're dealing with misconceptions about the vikings, all the pendants, carvings, etc depicting valkyries I've ever seen show them as thin women.
the misconception is probably because only fat women sing opera well?
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Old 06-10-2004, 07:50 PM
bonzer bonzer is offline
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The various contributors to the Smithsonian's Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga (2000), ed. by Fitzhugh and Ward, tend to come down in the blaim Wagner camp. But the most striking point is made in the essay by Carin Orrling: there's really only one Viking helmet that's ever been found, in a cremation burial from Gjermundbu in Norway (it's reproduced as Figure 7.5). Needless to say, it doesn't have horns.
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Old 06-10-2004, 09:17 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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I'm working on a staff report on this topic, but I'm still waiting for interlibrary loan to come through with one more article before I finish. Stay tuned.

The short version is this. A few Celtic and Germanic horned helmets have been found that date from many centuries before the Viking Age. There are also a few images (rock carvings, etc.) of horned helmets that are closer to the Viking Age. It appears that all these horned helmets were used for ceremonial purposes only. That they were only for show probably wasn't clear in the 1820s when some artists of the Romantic movement started depicting Vikings wearing horned helmets. Other artists of the same period depicted them wearing winged helmets. As far as I have been able to tell, the Valkyries in the original productions of Wagner's Ring wore winged helmets, not horned. But the use of horned helmets in later productions was a major influence on the common misconception. There was a horned helmet in the original production of his Tristan und Isolde, but I'm not so sure that had an influence. Thatt's pretty far removed from anything having to do with Vikings. There are no actual Vikings in Der Ring des Nibelungen either, but it's easier to see why people would make that connection.
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Old 06-10-2004, 09:59 PM
jovan jovan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scm1001
the misconception is probably because only fat women sing opera well?
You mean, like Maria Callas?
Or, Kathleen Battle?
Or, Cecilia Bartoli? (Okay, she did put on a few pounds lately.)
Or, Barbara Bonney?
Or, Renee Fleming?
Or, Barbara Hendricks?
Or, Sumi Jo?
Or, Roberta Peters?
Or, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf?
Or, Anne Sophie Von Otter?
Or, Kiri Te Kanawa?
Or, June Anderson?
Etc. Etc. Etc....

I think the myth of fat opera singers is right up there with that of horned vikings.
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Old 06-11-2004, 12:31 AM
Mighty_Girl Mighty_Girl is offline
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bibliophage

Looking forward to reading your report. I have just come back from DK, and althought I had been there on many ocassions it was while visiting a Viking museum that my husband told me that the the horned helmets were a myth. I felt ignorant. Oh well, that's why I paid five bucks...
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Old 06-11-2004, 12:58 PM
DocCathode DocCathode is offline
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Bruce Daddy

It's actually an excellent book. When sources conlict, Grant notes this and gives both versions. He gives full and detailed versions of the myths, but the writing is never dry or lifeless. In telling one story, Grant describes Thor as 'as subtle as he was gentle' before saying that Thor solved his latest problem through the usual manner of killing a bunch of people.

Re Reubenesque Valkyries

I've heard (though I have been unable to substantiate this) several times that Wagner actually wanted to use thin singers for the valkyries. But, the ideal of the time was a zaftig woman. Wagner went with the singers who were available and the image stuck.
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Old 06-11-2004, 05:02 PM
Captain Lance Murdoch Captain Lance Murdoch is offline
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The Vikings have had horns on their helmets since 1961.





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