I’m weary of the world tonight. Can’t think of anything to write that I wouldn’t regret tomorrow.
So here’s the latest trailer for the new Russian Viking movie. My reenactor friends complain that the costumes aren’t accurate, but in my view they look punctilious compared to the costumes on the History Channel.
The latest news I’ve seen says international rights have been sold, but there’s been no announcement of a US release date.
The winner says he had to test the non-viking weapon he’d made, so it appears here in this typically Viking-oriented skirmish. His long double-handed sword is a Thracian Romphaia, apparently a terrifying weapon in its day.
They no longer teach axe skills in high school, but thankfully the Internet has it covered. This is a longer video than we normally post for the Friday Fight, but it will give you an idea of how demonstrators need to practice in order to fight each other safely.
Compare this to the fighting we see in these videos:
Vikings didn’t wear two-horned helmets, making themselves look like bulls, and they didn’t carry giant battle axes into war. They carried light-weight, fast-moving longaxes that could drink your milkshake from all the way across the room. Hurstwic offers some photos and description of the Viking axe.
We used to share many videos from a couple Viking era combat reenactors, who worked hard to demonstrate the real fighting skill of the Viking while avoiding injury. If you search our blog, you’ll find many Friday fights. This one is a great example, an unarmored man versus a fully armored man. Who will win?
Andrew Lawler, at National Geographic, writes what I consider a very fine article about slavery in the Viking Age. For years I’ve been arguing against the current fashion for portraying the Vikings as peaceable but misunderstood businessmen. That’s both historically obtuse and insulting to a culture that took pride in its prowess with arms. I’m particularly annoyed by the trope that says, “Well, you know, most of them weren’t warriors but peaceable tradesmen.” I suppose you could say that, if you consider the slave trade a peaceable occupation.
“This was a slave economy,” said Neil Price, an archaeologist at Sweden’s Uppsala University who spoke at a recent meeting that brought together archaeologists who study slavery and colonization. “Slavery has received hardly any attention in the past 30 years, but now we have opportunities using archaeological tools to change this.”
Of course the Vikings were hardly alone in trading and keeping slaves. Other cultures that did much the same thing were… pretty much everybody.
I just get annoyed by the “peaceable tradesmen” line.
In other Viking news, there’s new Russian film that looks very intriguing:
This is an epic about Vladimir the Great, who made the Russians Christian. Like all great historical epics it’s probably stuffed with baloney, but it sure looks good. I can find some fault with the costumes, but this trailer just sings. It could be the good Viking movie we’ve waited for so long. Hope it comes out soon with English subtitles.
This comes from the Åland Saltvik Vikingmarket in 2009. It’s far more demonstration than the fights we’ve seen in Minot, ND. They aren’t playing by the same rules, but there’s some appeal here. It’s a crime they cut the video too soon.