The Vikings

Posted in Middle Age Europe on May 7, 2009 by woodly11

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By Woodly Sineus and Ryan Pogue

The Vikings

When you think of the Vikings you might think of wild, adventurous, barbaric, and sea exploring men going around and taking over their neighbors by force of swords and fires. These men swept across the seas of Europe smashing and destroying anything or body that got in their way. The word Vikings has sometimes been used to recognize all the people who lived in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden in early medieval times.

The Viking age is known as the period of Viking expansion. The Viking age occurred from the 790’s to until 1066 and the Norman Conquest. The Viking age meant invasions in not only the Scandinavian lands such as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden but also to North Germanic territories. The Vikings with the use of their navigators explored new lands north, east, and west.  The basis of the Vikings society was agriculture and trade with other people. They emphasized honor, in both combat, and in the criminal justice system. What triggered the Viking expansion is still unknown but some think that their Scandinavian population was too much for their land and was not enough food to feed everyone.

During the times of the Viking age childhood was not easy. For children in the Viking age surviving birth was a challenge. The reasons for this is that in Viking society infants were born sick or with physical disabilities and were taken away from their mothers to die similar to the Spartans. The children that were embraced by their fathers were given a special naming ceremony. In this naming ceremony children were given names of deceased elders, Viking gods and goddesses, and popular Vikings. Even if a child of the Viking age was selected to live, still many suffered. In the Viking society you will find diseases that were incurable and killed many children. It has been estimated that only one out of every five children would die before their fifth birthday. It is also known that nearly as many reached their 20th birthday, and even less past their 50th birthday.

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In the Viking society, a child is considered an adult at the age of ten. The children did not attend school; there weren’t any school systems in that time. There were not any books yet, except for the religious books found only in churches and monasteries. Ordinary Vikings were not allowed to read such religious books. There was basically no time for school back then, most of their time was spent finding food, clothing, and shelter. Event though there weren’t schools doesn’t mean the children weren’t educated. Children were required to learn the jobs of their parents; since every Viking was a farmer both boys and girls were expected to become good farmers. To better survive in the Viking society meant a person had to learn these skills early and well. The type of skills learned by the children depended on their specific gender boys learned how to manage farms and make items useable for daily life, and girls were mostly taught how to run a household.

The Vikings were known to have a unique type of clothing choice as shown by archaeological facts today. The clothing of the Vikings was made of fabrics such as organic linen and wool. Since these clothing were organic they rotted quickly. The clothing styles of the Vikings depended on the things: Where in Scandinavia the Viking lived, their significance in their village, and how wealthy the person is. The men and women Vikings dressed less of fashion and more because of purpose and comfort. Their clothes were designed for their specific jobs and because the Scandinavian climate is cold the clothes were very snug fit. The clothing of the Vikings included many bright colors, the linens and wool received their colors from dyes extracted from various types of plants. The clothing of the Vikings was produced by weaving machines, and was time-consuming. Since the creation of the clothes took a long time, the cut of the clothes was simple. Most of the clothes had hoods, and winter clothing was mostly made of animal hides and wools. Vikings were known to love jewelry. Vikings were able to make exquisite jewelry from bronze, gold, and silver. The made brooches, finger rings, arm rings, pendants, necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

The Viking people spoke the language of Old Norse called the Danish tongue. Though there were minor variations this language was spoken throughout the Norse lands during the Viking age. This language was one of ten branches that make up the Indo-European family of languages which was spoken throughout Europe and southern Asia. The alphabet that the Vikings used in writing was the futhork runic alphabet. At first the futhork alphabet used twenty four letters in the alphabet, but was simplified to sixteen letters. The letters of futhork alphabet consisted of straight lines which made it easy for the people to carve into wood, stone, or bone which were normal writing material for the Vikings. Some runes are found carved into some of the historical buildings all across the European continent which shows proof of the extent of Norsemen roam over Europe.

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Not all Vikings had great long ships. The most common vessel was much smaller boats that were used to cross the fjords and rivers. These smaller boats were used to carry only a few people from site to site, fish, and to move some livestock to better forage at other locations. These smaller vessels are known as a faering. This faering included a man at the tiller, who is at the steer board but is not needed for steering, there is also two men called rowers who use the oars to steer the boat, and a steersman. When the faering is sailed it becomes very imbalanced once it sails against the wind, at any second a sudden change in wind direction could veer a boat this way or that. Since there is no anchor on a faering, the men have to set on shore or tie up to another boat that is anchored. Some questions about these faerings is that with their angular keel and shape of the boat, once the boat touches shore the boat becomes unstable and the boat becomes liable to tipping over and throwing the crew overboard into the ocean.

Two other types of ships were the longships and the knarr. The purpose for the longships were for warfare and exploration, it design gave it great speed, agility, and was able to sail independently of the wind.  These longships had narrow and long hull, and shallow draft, in order to make it easier for troop development and travel in shallow water. On the other hand the knarr ships were designed for merchants for the use of carrying cargo. The knarr possesses a broader hull, a draft much deeper than that of the longships, and limited number of oars.  Longships were known to be mostly used by the Leidang, which were the Scandinavian defense fleets. The word Viking ships are sometimes identified as with a romantic connotation.

Most of the information about Viking warfare and weapons are based on archaeological findings, pictorial representation, and some form the Norse sagas and the Norse Laws. According to customs, it is said that all free Norse men were required to own their own weapons, and were able to carry them at all times. These armors also helped distinguish the social status of the Vikings. A wealthy king would have a complete set of a helmet, shield, sword, and chainmail shirt. A typical free man would have spear and shield for fighting, and would carry a seax as a backup knife or sidearm. Bows were used mostly in the beginnings of land battle and at sea, but to the Vikings were known as less honorable than a hand weapon. The elite guards of the kings where equipped with two- handed axes which could split metal helmets easily. Axes are known as the premium or main battle weapons of the Vikings. Helmets were also a key piece of Viking warfare. The traditional helmet of most Vikings was horned helmets. Some historians believe that Vikings did not use horned helmets, but believe that these helmets were for ritual purposes.

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After a period of thriving trade and Viking settlement, other cultural factors flowed from the rest of Europe that interfered with Viking dominance. Christianity began to rapidly rise in Scandinavia and with the development of central authority and coastal defense systems; Viking raids became less profitable and risky. The church diminished the practice one of the Vikings primary profit centers of trade which was slavery, and with the newly enforced quasi-feudalistic system in Scandinavian rule helped seal the fate of the Vikings.

Battle of Thermopylae

Posted in Ancient Greece on March 12, 2009 by woodly11

By Woodly Sineus

The battle of Thermopylae is one of the great battles in the war between Greece and Persia. The Greek city-state of Sparta led the battle against the persians despite only having three hundred men compared to Persia’s million of men. The way these Spartans were able to do this was by using the geography of the pass of Thermopylae to there advantage. This pass allowed only a number of people to get through at a time which made the Persians large number seem like nothing. Sparta led by King Leonidas had  great weapons , equipments and had a great battle plan to defeat a large number of the Persian army.

The Spartans used there unique formations and shields to block many of the Persian spear attacks and with their childhood training it was not hard for them to win hand- to- hand combats. The Persians continued to try to persuade Leonidas and the Spartans to surrender to them but Leonidas relentlessly rejected their offers. By the second day of battle it seemed like the greeks were going to win their navy were winning, and the spartans were doing fine until something suprising happened.

After the second day a greek man named Ephialtes betrayed the greeks. This man went to the Persian king Xerxes and revealed a secret path that allowed them to go behind the Spartan line. After finding out about this betrayel Leonidas sent his allies, The Phosians, to attack the Persians on the journey allong the secret path. Ironically the phosians had a belief that the persians might attack their home town so they left before the Persians even reached their area which gave the Persians a clear path to attack. Once Leonidas became aware of what had occured he released some people to go home and stayed for the battle with his three hundred spartans and a couple other greek warriors. Though they fought hard Leonidas and his men were killed and battle and Persia took over Athens. But after a few years the Greeks returned and defeated Xerxes and the Persians.

Hinduism

Posted in Religion on February 23, 2009 by woodly11

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by Woodly Sineus

Hinduism

Hinduism meaning “the eternal law” is a religion that originated from beliefs of diverse groups in India. Hinduism is the Third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam. Hinduism has no single founder or sacred texts. To some Hinduism is referred to as Sanatana Dharma which means the eternal law. Hinduism is a complex religion that is polytheistic and includes countless ways of worshipping their gods. Hindu beliefs come from many other religions such as monotheism, pantheism, atheism and many others. Although Hinduism is very diverse all Hindus shared common beliefs. “Hinduism is based on accumulated spiritual laws that were discovered by different people at different times. The scriptures of Hinduism were transferred orally in verse form to aid memorization, for many centuries before they were written down (wikipedia).” As centuries went by scriptures were updated and changed by different sages to refine the teachings and expand Hinduism.

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There are many beliefs in Hinduism including Reincarnation. Reincarnation refers to a rebirth of the soul in another bodily form. Hindus believe that every individual lives life in a cycle or continuous circle, unlike the Christians who think individuals live life in a straight line. Some Hindus believe that individuals once they die are reincarnated into animals, mainly cows. Reincarnation does not only allow Hindus to continues new lives but also allows them to work towards moksha wish is union with Brahman. In Hinduism all existence is ranked. The closest to Brahman is humans, and then comes animals, plants, and objects like rock and water.

Another belief that Hinduism possesses is in Karma. Karma refers to all the actions a person commits that will affect him or her in the life after reincarnation. With the laws of Karma Hindus believe that you can become closer to achieving moksha. Hindus believe that people who live by dharma, which is the moral and religious duties of an individual, will be reborn at a higher level of life after reincarnation. A person’s karma and dharma has a big affect in another property of Hinduism which is the caste system. The caste system is used to keep social order of Hinduism organized. The caste system insures that if you did live by good morals and were virtuous in your previous life you will be rewarded by being born in to a higher class of the caste system. The caste system involves the priest class, the warrior class, the peasant and merchant class, the labor class, and last the impure individuals class.

For the many beliefs and gods that Hinduism has comes many ways of worshiping and practicing their beliefs. According to Wikipedia, “Hindu practices generally involve seeking awareness of God and sometimes also seeking blessings from Devas.” One of the ways Hindus worship is by praying also called puja. These puja can be performed at either the individual’s homes or at temples. The puja require people to worship an icon. According to Wikipedia, “The icon serves as a tangible link between the worshiper and God.” Hindus use this icon because know one really knows the image of a god, but there are some Hindus who don’t perform these pujas because they don’t believe in using an icon as god.

In Hinduism there are many types of imagery and symbolism in there worshiping, arts, and literature. According to Wikipedia, “many of these symbols gain their meaning from the scriptures, mythology, or cultural traditions.” Forms of symbolism in Hinduism include the syllables Om which represent Parabrahman and Swastika which represents auspiciousness. On a daily basis Hindu perform their religious rituals. These rituals can be utilized at home but this can vary among individuals, location, and societies. Some of these daily rituals can include worshiping at the dawn after bathing, reciting scripts, meditating, reciting hymns and scriptures.

In Hinduism there are also known to be pilgrimages that are not mandatory for Hindus. Some of the holy visited cities include Allahabad, Haridwar, Varanasi, and Vrindavan. In these cities there are also sites that support the pilgrimage circuit like Puri, Drawka, Badrinath, and Rameswaram. One of the holiest pilgrimages is the Kumbh Mela that is held every four years resembling the world Olympics. There are also many festivals that are held in Hindu traditions. Almost all of these festivals are prescribed by the Hindu calendar.” The festivals typically celebrate events from Hindu mythology, often coinciding with seasonal changes (wikipedia).”Some of the most visited festivals are Holi, Ram Navami, Diwali, Durja Puja, and the Krishna Janmastami festival.

Hinduism is a polytheistic religion that incorporated characteristics from other religions such as monotheism, pantheism, and atheism. Since it is a polytheistic religion they are know for many gods. In Hinduism as said in Wikipedia:

“One Supreme God is worshipped within Hinduism. The Supreme God is regarded as an entity that exists in and gives life to all things. He is believed to have created the universe and many other Gods or Devas, to be his helpers. Different aspects of the Supreme God are worshipped, depending on the Hindu tradition. The other Gods, helpers of the Supreme God, are also worshipped.”

In this quote the concept of the Hindu Supreme god is explained, it also explains how different features of the supreme god are worshipped depending on the people.

In Hinduism the concept of gods is very complex because of different beliefs of different school systems. But all Hindus share a common belief and that is in Brahman which is known as the Absolute and Supreme One. Actually Christianity and Hinduism aren’t that different because they share a common characteristic in their gods. In Christianity they believe that there is one absolute god and he comes in three different forms called the holy trinity. Hinduism also relates this with their god in which they have one absolute god called Brahman and he comes in three different forms known as the Hindu trinity consisting of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu (according to the Trimurti concept).

In Hinduism Brahma is known as the creator. According to Wikipedia, “

At the beginning of the process of creation, Brahmā created eleven Prajapatis, who are believed to be the fathers of the human race…He is also said to have created the seven great sages or the Saptarishi to help him create the universe. However since all these sons of his were born out of his mind rather than body, they are called Manas Putras or mind-sons or spirits.”

Brahma is said by this quote to have created all humans and the universe. The are many beliefs of how Brahma was created, some legends say that he was self-born in a lotus flower that grew from Vishnu’s belly button. Others believe that he was created by a golden egg that came from water. Brahma has many characteristics that he is recognized for. Examples include his four arms that represent north, south, west, and east and his lotus that represents the nature of all existence in the universe.

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Shiva, one of the aspects in the Hindu trinity is known as the destroyer. In Some Hindu traditions like the Shaiva, Shiva is regarded as the Supreme God. People who follow and worship Shiva are known as Shaivites or Shaivas. There are many ways that these people worship Shiva, some of the ways include deep meditation and a lord dance called the Tandava. There are also many characteristics that Shiva is well known for. Some examples include the Third eye that Shiva possesses and used to burn desire to ashes. There are many depictions and forms of Shiva. A depiction called Nataraja which is one of the most popular depictions, illustrates Shiva as a dancer. Another called Dakshinamurthy shows Shiva facing south, which is supposed to represent Shiva as a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom. According to philological and linguistic evidence it is perceived that Shiva is closely related to a Vedic god called Rudra. Rudra as the god of roaring storms and is illustrated as someone with a fierce and destructive deity, resembling Shiva who is also known as a god of destroying. Also in Vedic scripts that were addressed to Rudra consisted of instances in which the individual invoked Rudra as Shiva.

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Vishnu the third member of the Hindu trinity is known as the preserver or maintainer. In Vaishnavite traditions, Vishnu is perceived as the Supreme God. According to Wikipedia in Vaishnavite traditions “It describes Vishnu as the All-Pervading essence of all beings, the master of—and beyond—the past, present and future, the creator and destroyer of all existences, one who supports, sustains and governs the Universe and originates and develops all elements within.” Vishnu is depicted to have the divine colors of clouds, four arms, and is holding a lotus flower, mace, conch, and wheel. Vishnu is known to have many theological attributes. Vishnu is known to have a Supreme soul in which all souls are contained. He is also known to be the only individual that possesses divine glory. Vishnu is also known to be able to travel in three strides. The first stride being the Earth, the second stride is the visible sky; the last stride is known to be the location that cannot be seen by humans. The last stride is known to be “heaven where all the gods and righteous dead live (wikipedia).”

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Nefertiti Ressurected: Was the body found in the tomb Nefertiti?

Posted in Ancient Egypt on January 29, 2009 by woodly11

To me I think that the body  archaeoligists found is Nefertiti. There  are many clues that were found that can prove that the body is Nefertiti. Historians say that Nefertiti was a powerful queen that though liked by many, was still hated by others. Historians have concluded that when Nefertiti was killed, the killers smashed her face in and all the items that had her face to stop her from reaching the holy place after death. Shown in the movie one of the bodies was badly beaten and had scars that resemble the information of the historians. These researchers also found out that queens of ancient egypt all wore a special wig on their heads. And in the movie near the body was a wig that resembled the special wig that historians talked about.

There was a few other clues found that also help Fletcher an archaelogist conclude that the body found was Nefertiti. Fletcher on her examination also knew of the piercings that Nefertiti had. Nefertiti was known to have two piercings on each ear and once Fletcher saw that the examined body had two piercings on each ear it was clear to Fletcher that the body was probably Nefertiti. Another supporting evidence to my opinion is that in the tomb where I think Nefertiti’s body was there was two other bodies that were discovered to be Nefertiti’s family members. So how many more clues do you need, you can clearly see that the body in the tomb is Nefertiti.

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Neolithic Revolution: Why was it important?

Posted in Paleolithic and Neolithic World on January 27, 2009 by woodly11

The Neolithic Revolution was important because it contributed to advancing our cultures and the way we live today. The Neolithic Revolution was a period when our first farmers developed, which allowed people to become food producers. Once the people learned to create a constant system of developing food the populations grew which helped our world substantially. Farming helped solve the problems of starvation and increased the survival rate.

With the invention of Farming followed other great techniques and systems. To help farmers organize the harvest seasons of farming, farmers created the first calendar that not only helped the farming, but also helped organize civilization. With less time spent on hunting and gathering, Neolithic people created weaving and clothes. Now these days clothes are worn by mostly everybody in the world. Another technique that the Neolithic people invented was taming animals. Taming animals reduced the constant waiting for migrating animals to return each year, and the animals provided a good source of proteins. Also used today, the technique of taming animals is not only used as a source of food, but as a way to control pets.

In Conclusion the Neolithic Revolution was a major period for people in this world. It created a new way of living for many people and helped advance the way people survived. The Neolithic Revolution created many inventions still used today such as calendars, farming, clothes, and domesticating. Without the Neolithic Revolution the world and the people wouldn’t be the way it is.

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