"I rarely read any Latin, Greek, German, Italian, sometimes not a French book, in the original, which I can procure in a good version. I like to be beholden to the great metropolitan English speech, the sea which receives tributaries from every region under heaven. I should as soon think of swimming across Charles River when I wish to go to Boston, as of reading all my books in originals when I have them rendered for me in my mother tongue."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Books"
Video Vikings

So here’s the trailer for the upcoming History Channel series, Vikings.

On the basis of this trailer, and what I’ve read, I’m not as sad as I have been that I don’t have cable and won’t be able to watch it. I suppose I’m hypercritical. The first thing reenactors look for is always costumes, and these seem… weird. Instead of dressing people as we’re pretty sure they actually dressed, they’ve allowed their costumers to get “creative,” especially with leather. And what’s with the guy (I think he’s the star, playing the legendary Ragnar Lodbrok) with the sides of his head shaved?

Also they have a woman warrior. You know how I feel about this. I don’t deny that Viking women could fight. But I’ve never seen any account, from sagas or the chronicles of the Vikings' victims, that mention women being a regular part of armies.

Maybe it’ll be OK. But I won’t order cable to see it. Maybe it’ll show up on Netflix.

Anyway, I think the people who made the trailer borrowed ideas from my book trailer.

Addendum: Re:the filth. One of the things we know for sure about the Vikings is that they were notably fastidious for the times. We have an Anglo-Saxon document complaining that the Vikings were stealing all the English women through their effeminate habit of bathing once a week.


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