Neck-ring, necklace, hall and hov
The collections of golden items we may get the impression that there was plenty of it. They have found around 60 kilos in Scandinavia in fact. The golden neckring was maybe sign of a league. The big halls were for the leaders in the traders league maybe
Gorget, lunula, torque, neck-ring, halsring, oath ring, Shield Maiden, Golden Ring League, Gudme, Peterfitz, thegn, thane, Aalen, Pietroassa, Pietroasele, snakehead, boar, hov, hall, sal, Triglav, Svantevit, Goths, ornum, Heorots hall, Offa, hus, Old Sigtuna, blot, gille, Morten Goose, rig, king, rex, Heruli
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Locally called "The Shoemaker" from Bohuslen
Maybe it is the shape of the "hammer" that gives the name. His gesture looks much like a ritual master. Anyway on the rock are several relatively big figures with something that should be a Celtic neckring. Denmark is the Promised Land for the Bronze Age but even in for instance West Gautland there are finds of bronze neckrings. There is a couple of golden small rings thought to be arm rings of around 50 grams but with knobs like the Cernunnos ring. They can be dated roughly to last millennium BC.
The horned idol on the Gundestrup Jutland cauldron 300 BC wears the ritual ring that is open in front with two knobs and that was in use as late as around 500 AD in Sweden. On some of them the knobs are in shape of ram heads or bullheads and that place them in astro-symbolism as symbols of spring equinox.
The Ram from around 1300 BC onward and the Bull the original from fourth millennium BC. The horned symbolise Perseus, the asterism that was fixstar of spring equinox around 1800 BC. The Greeks meant that ideas are eternal, but that is only if there are carriers or people know the meaning.
The female necklace is much older and we can compare it with the moon goddess Inanna using it to call youngsters to work in the fields. It is also gorget and lunula at Ireland. The later maybe should read "Luna/ Moon flows" meaning the rain nursing fertility. Especially in Denmark they used the necklace in bronze for the priestess I think. The big golden necklaces from the Golden Age are the ends of that tradition.
Collection of rings from the Snettingham finds of 63 golden neckrings
The male neckring was spread from Georgia to the Atlantic. But flowered mostly among the Celts at the British Isles before Roman times See Ann Ross & Team "dead of the Druid"
They say we should use the word torque, but as far as I see it that has the special meaning of twisted ring. Neckring or Nordic male halsring is a ritual ring with symbolic meanings. They are around 20-cm diameter and they could be used as neckring and many of them could be opened and have a lock.
In late times they made smaller rings 13 to 15-cm diameter and they were probably used as oath ring that was kept in the hand of the thing/ ritual master and the oath was sworn on the ring to the thing/ court/ assembly.
The idea of the rings became also symbol for the ring of the people. In Scandinavia we have some place names with the root "ring". The leader wore it as symbol of his duty defending his land to dead if necessary. We can also formulate it that he was responsible with his neck. Queen Boudica used it as leader symbol they tell.
This ring weighs 1085 grams and may have been worn by theQueen Boudica.
She took the Icenian throne after her husbands dead. He had bequeathed a third of his fortune to Emperor Nero by will. The Romans never told about their defeat. Surely they did not want the people in Rome to know that a woman had beaten them. This was the case in winter 59 - 60 AD told by Dio Cassius.
However the local executor Cato thought he could take the entire fortune. But he had met the lioness in Boudica. She became a Shield Maiden and in the battles her army slaughtered a Roman legion or 6000 soldiers. In the long run the Romans of course slaughtered the Icenians. In the Icenian land at Snettingham Norfolk they found 63 golden neck-rings and among them the heavy ring.
Perhaps Cato never got the entire fortune? It is told that Boudica wore a big golden twisted neck-ring in battle so why not this? see alsoBoudica
Golden Ring League
In Sweden alone we have finds of gold together more than 30 kilograms. The most numerous items are the golden medallions called gold bracts of which we have nearly 1000 mainly in Scandinavia Northern and West Germany but also in the Anglo-Saxon area. Since they weigh about 5 grams each that is together on 5 kilograms of the total weight.
Now I have registered around 30 male neck rings and we can draw conclusions. Raw gold we have around 15 kilos and the weight of the neckrings is maybe average 300 - 400 grams. The manufactured items are of course priceless and especially the female neck collars.
Most of the neckrings are of the same model as if they were ordered and produced by the central power. There seems to have been a league with the bretwalda probably at Funen from the beginning. Then it is of the same type as the Ionian League. We should not speak about a high king but the overlord the highest priest and ritual master. He was chosen among equal land (province/ county) leaders. It is essential to see this since it gives the right attitude to the peaceful society.
Some writers mean that everyone or every rider wore these rings. The finds do not support that theory.
Golden neckring with locks of the design we find in Norway and even Tureholm Sweden
At last I got the information from the Norwegian Oldsakssamlingen that have publicised their data on Internet. So now even Norway is on the map in this aspect with 1 neckring from Hedmark, 1 from Rogaland, 1 from Buskerud and 2 from Vest Agder weight 175 and 254 gram. The type is similar to the one from the big gold find at the Tureholm estate in Saudermanland. The small rings could be thrown aside to open the big ring.
This find confirm that at least southern Norway belonged to the Eril League that existed for a time in Scandinavia and also in Poland - North Germany, i.e. Pommern. Surely it was the upper class and its traders and warriors that carried the league. The ring as such is sign of the league and other finds such as bracts, luxurious buckles and fibulas plus the cruciform fibula tell about commonness in culture. The same artefacts we find especially in the graves of Kent England. The grave finds are similar to those in Norway and Denmark so it could not be only trade that brought them to Kent.
I am not sure that I have got all finds from little Denmark. Gudme with early hall and harbour Lundeborg at Funen seems to be the place for a bretwalda or center of trade with finds of golden bracts and neckrings near Svendborg and Odense. There is one from Bolbro and one from Hesselager. The hall was maybe meant as market hall for the noble class that could afford luxurious handicraft and import. We have the synonym "sal" that associates to "sale"
The biggest find is from Broholm with 1 big and 2 smaller neckrings and pieces from maybe 6 ornamented rings plus one bit of an ornamented ring. At Funen and Zealand the youngest find of solidus is from the time of Emperor Leo East Rome and coined before 474 AD. That would fit the fact that the Erils were driven out around 500 AD according to Jordanes.
For the eril texts, golden medallions / bracts and neckrings or necklaces see map and the H-lettersGolden neck-rings. Then it depends on what we compare with. In our days it is not much at all. In the time with a small population it was of course relatively much more. However some of the big neckrings including gold and work would cost a fortune today. The necklaces are simply priceless. Half of the finds are in pure gold and maybe it all together is about 50 - 60 kilos in the area with finds.
Normal male neck-ring in pure gold from Flackarp Skaane
The weight of this is the medium weight 837 grams but most of them weigh around 200 - 300 grams. The heaviest is from Peterfitz near Kolberg in Poland and the weight 2,1 kilos. However there has been a similar in Stargard 60 miles WSW from Kolberg and only 1440 grams are left. Perhaps trade with Baltic amber gathered gold for these golden items. In Poland there are finds of 60000 silver denars minted before 237 AD to be compared with 40000 at Gotland
From that we can decide that there has been a Nordic colony in Pommern and the name is uncertain. The pattern at the ring is the same as Wermland, West Gautland, Saudermanland, Skaane, Halland, Gotland, Auland, Funen, Zealand, Pommern and maybe those from Norway. We should add finds of two rings 13 to 15-cm diameter from Hammersdorf Ost Preussen. They could possibly be oath rings or signs of subordinated land/ tribe.
New moon ornaments on rings
The symbol new moon and on some there seem to be a bullhead at the ends. Maybe they saw the ring as the time snake we see on buckles with two heads. Time was their highest deity so to speak. Like capitalists today they maybe said, "time is money". That is also time and astro-symbolism fitting the main theme on the golden bracts and that was essential for all folks living on farming. We have also a few snake rings and bigger rings with snakeheads from Tofta Gotland and Våmb West Gautland.
See also theGerete bract with the arch-ideas of the Golden League. The masks and the icons could be compared to the Mithras cult but here in totally Nordic shape.
There are finds of 5 golden bracts from Kolberg and 3 from Wapno in this area. The youngest solidus from Kolberg is from time of Leo I 457 - 474 like the finds at Zealand and Funen. From Stargard there is one golden bract. There are also three bracts from Mecklenburg occupied by the Varners / Varodni at river Warne or west of Oder known as associated to the Heruli. Naturally it was good to have friends and colony near the mouth of Oder since much trade to the limes and Rome went this way from Denmark
I have found around 30 neckrings that most of them are of the Flackarp and the Norse model above. To that we can add 6 rings in pieces. See the map of the coverage that tells that there must have been a league that preferred this type of neckring. Together with the golden bracts we can decide that at least the upper class belonged to the league.
They were maybe the leaders of ritual in the countryside. The title "thegn" = thane seems to be of very old origin in Germania and it means "speaker" = taler on some rune stone. Today it means "foresinger" in Danish church. We should note that the population was settled in places with easily cultivated land with much forest in between the villages. That counts also for Denmark with much hard clay soil. We should mention place names from England that means "speakers place" or similar.
From Wermland we have the find of three rings from a find and that suggests some symbolism with the trojka and maybe derived from the tri-parted moon year. In a few places they have been found in pair and that suggests double lead which we see from other facts too. There is a single find with six thin rings from Svartborg Bohuslen and some other unique model that are curiosity besides the "standard model". These samples together with the female neckwear reminds us about the manifold according to which the ritual could vary from place to place.
There is a great variation in the context of finds. The old assumption that they were offered to some god does not fit the circumstances. See alsoFinds and conditions. Since they are found in pieces in West Gautland and on Gotland we could suggest that they were taken out of use and hidden or thrown away in many places but in other places reused for making golden or plated buckles
The golden neck-rings were used in ritual customs of agriculture since late Bronze Age and maybe earlier. Especially the model "torque wit knobs" we see on Cernunnos and on statues in the Celtic World. I rather use the term "ring or neckring" because the idea was the ring of people behind it and with a leader in charge. It was a ritual item also used at thing = court and when swearing oath. My assumption is that the upper class was leaders of ritual in their counties. Together with the league they traded and organised the legionaries for Rome. In their home county they we just an enclave or the term ornum/ birke.
On theMaglemose finds we see the supposed leader/ bretwalda wearing the ring with knobs. The only finds we have are two identical expensive rings from Vittene West Gautland and from the fortress at Hablingbo Gotland. To the latter finds belonged a Roman service for drinking wine so it is near to speculate in some secret club in this case or at least that only the noble rich traders could import wine . See Finds
Since around two third of the neckrings are nearly identical it speaks for a league and not for peasant communities. However the ritual varied in the folklands as we see from the find by number 1, 2, 3 and 6 from different places. The finds from West Gautland show that some have been for a Maiden or moon priestess and so the one from Auland.
But first a few words about other continental neckrings. Mamertinus tells about the Heruli that crossed the Rhine ad attacked the Gauls in France in 287 AD. That shows the times that peace was very relative. We can deduce that there was a colony of Heruli on the "wild side" of the Rhine. Maybe it has been there from the times the Danes began to trade with the Romans. We know that they later became brothers in arm with the Batavians at Lower Rhine.
Occasionally there is a find from Aalen of a neckring in silver. However with the same idea of representing the leader as the Scandinavian rings. I have not got more data about it yet. We can also note that 42 % of the rune finds in Germany are from Baden-Württemberg. And 79 % of the runes are on assumed gifts to a girl. There is also the rune text from Sogn og Fjordane Norway, I am from other marks BaijiR. So maybe a man from Bayern had heard about the handsome Norse Girls.
The reconstructed neckring from Pietrosele
Then we have the temple find from Pietroassa/ Pietrosele in Romania. It contains 2 neckrings of which one is gone and there were also golden plates, cups, vases, bowls and jewellery in the find. The text read GUTAN IOVI HAILAG "sanctified to IOVI = Jupiter" that was the highest god in the Roman army.
We know that the higher ranks practised secret rituals and the Mithras cult was spread in all military colonies. In Scandinavia we have the masks on some bract indicating that the mercenaries practised maybe Mithras cult. Someone wants to see that the mask represented shamanism, but I doubt that when thinking about the Roman connection of the nobility. For more on Mithras seeWild Ride
We get more indications when we hear that there was a Roman castle in Pietroasele. It was one of today 31 known fortifications at the left side of the lower Donau. The castle is from the time of Constantine and we know that the Heruli/ Erils were surely at duty under the emperor. Wee have the Brangstrup finds that contains 49 golden coins from 270 - 361 AD They were coined by East Roman Emperors from Constantine time onward with exceptional 13 solidus from his time when the normal is just a few.
The castle was abandoned in 365 AD and we can suppose the treasure was hidden then. The Goths by the pressure of the Huns began to threaten the Romans. That ended in the big battle at Adrianopole 378 AD seehttp://apar.archaeology.ro/db_artrjaeng.htm
Another thing is the castle Ismantorp at Auland could have been inspired from Balkan. Already the name makes think and maybe the other castles like Eketorp also got model from south. Recently they have excavated a Roman bath on the island too. We have the finds of wine service at the castle Hablingbo at Gotland and can associate to the fact that the lands around the castle were known as a good wine producer. The legionaries learned to drink wine there.
On Funen there are finds of for instance brooches from Moldavia and we have to remember that the Heruli came after the Goths to that neighbourhood. They were enrolled after 268 AD with their leader Naulobatus and became the Heruli known by the Romans. So we can expect that the families dwelled near Pieatrosele.
The golden "lunula" for a priestess on Faerjestaden Auland weight 707 grams
We have also the Aalleberg necklace with 3 rings weighing 620 grams and the Maune necklace with 7 rings weighing 823 grams. It seems obvious that these have been for female use and that they are caring the old idea of the necklace of Inanna, which was saying "Come man, come" with the intention to get the young men to the agriculture fields.
Besides the bronze necklaces from Bronze Age we can also associate to the Egyptian necklaces and to Celtic gorget and lunula = "the moon flow now". In the Edda literature we have the necklace of Freya called Brisingamen, that men had to search for their own lady at home.
A bit of the three turns ring from Aaleberg Westgautland
These necklaces are not the normal and we have only three finds. Still they show us the ultimate ritual collars. This is decorated with 105 figures and of nine types/ icons. There is the head ANSUR, the Fenris wolf, horse, raven, naked man, a pair, the boar, the dog, the snake and the spiral. Partly the same as on the World Order of theGerete Bract. The same style and a few rings was used as ear on the golden bracts when used as pendant. They are spread all over theScandinavia and northern Germany
More details athttp://www.historiska.se/collections/treasures/folkvandring/Karleby.html
We must admire the exceptional skill of the goldsmiths. The original skill came surely from in Olbia at the Black Seas where the Greek gold smiths had a colony for many hundreds of years. They designed much of the Schytian gold. But the Nordic art and skill is a step higher. We can follow the style in one type of neckrings as the new finds at Vittene Westgautland; similar at Havor Gotland and one at Fyn Denmark and then jump to Poland and a couple of neckrings in South Russia. The same style is seen in charms.
Maybe some of the gold came from the temple of Ephesus in Anatolia and came to ritual use again. No goldsmith today would take the job to do such fine work. They do not have the eyes for doing the small golden pearls.
At least a pair of the rings has ornament in shape of the crescent moon. That may be symbolising the New Moon goddess. The neckring mentioned here are all king-size and supposed to be ritual rings but even for the things as oath-ring in the same way as we use the Bible when swearing oath. But these necklaces must have been used at the spring ritual when the priestess lead the ritual and maybe at other ritual occasions since we see the entire World Order in this magnificent triple-ring from Aalleberg.
Neckring/ halsring from Nousiainen Finland found 1770
There are finds of smaller neckrings with snakeheads, which could have been used for the priestess. The weight is normally around 300 grams. The snakehead is symbol of fertility and spring ritual. However it has not been possible to list them all and they are not in this list. Note also that there are some finds from Finland of Celtic neckrings with the typical knobs. Of this type I have noted around 10 finds.
Only in one case we have descriptions that tell there may have been a "lund" = grove. Tacitus told that the Celts worshipped their gods in groves. The only evidence is the stone formations and some with signs of a wooden temple. They tell about ritual culture of the same kind as in Anatolia and other sparsely populated landscapes. But we have no finds telling about that. However we have theAnglo Saxon place names telling about various types of ritual place.
This statue is from Marne district France, in other places they had simply a pig statue
We can suppose that the spring ritual in some of the groves was celebrating Cernunnos, the horned. From Marne we have the statue with the idol with a knobbed neckring and a boar. We do not know the name at that time but in Edda time it was Frey. They surely kept and hunted boars in the oak acorn woods. We see the love of boars in their symbolism and maybe they called the noble tribe "boars" at a time. In symbolism it was popular even in Viking Age. The use varied maybe with the acorn woods I have "dipped in the cauldron" at Christmas in Karelia and West Gautland in the old fashion.
Then we should be careful in connecting this to ordinary people and peasants' culture of the time. That was surely simpler and earth bound but reflected the rituals of upper class. In many places surely the upper class was a part of the society. Normally history is always about the nobility and as ever ordinary people are only "legs". However there is also the possibility that the "big farmer" in a folkland was the leader of the local culture.
Yet the rich graves are normally situating at common graveyards, however we have also separate rich graves. The Norse landscape is special with the many fjords and some big farm in the bottom or elsewhere. Often it has been a big farm as centre of the fjord. All this is about the diversified cultural landscape.
On the big farming fields the "hidden number" is big since much of the remains were destroyed in 19th century. The wilderness is the best friend of archaeologists since much is spared there, however nowadays the big forestry machines destroy much. Man is sitting on his "high horses" and does not see a flint axe occurs when ploughing.
Hall and the noble hov
Thanks to Haakan Dahlin for this picture from Jersberg Vaermland. The rune stone is from ca 500 Ad and the text, "Leubar is my name, Rafn I am writing the runes". It is evidence of some that was an Eril and could afford to tell his name and set up the stone.
The ideas of hov and hall/ sal could nurse those loving the romanticising of great chieftains and martial legends. Then dreaming about times when "real men" sat around the table drinking beer and telling about all things that could be done is easy. Then the Norse sagas are the good bandying walls. But here we are seeking for the truth and mainly for the times before 600 AD.
The hov would be a literary project described in sagas like Eyrbyggija Saga and Kjalnes Saga. However maybe they just wanted to compete with Christianity. Then they made a little temple with three idols of Celtic Trinity then mirroring the Christian Trinity. In our time we romanticise and some maybe want to see wild rituals and sacrifice. Literary proof hangs usually in the air and it is not much to trust.
The description of the hall for the how is similar to Salomo temple in the Bible and why not the Gudean temple for Ningirsu in Sumer however those were in much bigger than the Nordic hov. The Gudean story was surely known in the Levant and the idea reached Scandinavia already in Stone Age. In Denmark there are a few remains left.
Many things could be made only in one way so a temple would always have been a temple. The folk memory tells that people in pre Christian times rather kept their celebrations in the air, i.e. at the ritual place see the place names. So did the Arians however we cannot point at the source so it is just a rumour.
Again we have to keep in mind the diversified picture of Scandinavian culture. In Denmark there are remains of a few small temples in the size for a small tribe. They have the same shape as the one Moses describe/ order. It is just the idea created to separate a sacred place. Our stony monuments such as cists and stony graves have often a symbolic fence and could also have an inner sacred room. It just the idea as such that is the same everywhere.
Then we should ask for evidence of the hov/ hall and sal. It is not mentioned among the forbidden ritual places in province laws of Gotland and Uppland. But we have around 20 place-names that indicate that there may have been a hov. Some of the place names are connected with stones and specifically three standing stones.
Some Celtic god names associate to a triad we also know from statues and Triglav = tri-head known also in Poland. We do not know in which direction the culture flow and maybe we should speak about interaction between all shores around Mare Balticum. We have also the Slavic four-head Svantevit = Nordic Aelle = Age to be compared with Indian Vishnu. The latter is seen on a picture stone from Gotland 700 - 900 AD. We cannot know if the Slavs brought it or if they took over the old Nordic time ritual. Saxo Grammaticus has described the slaughter of Svantevit in Arkona at Rügen in 1169 AD
They could symbolise whatever we like but I prefer to compare with what we know and have. Probably they symbolised the quarters of the sun-year and the trisected year in the starry night sky with leading stony persons that age knew. Then they are surely representing the Celtic Trinity we see in symbolism on golden bract and precious buckles.
Reconstructed hall from Gudme Funen
The hall is of the normal size 47 x 10 meters and one of the first known build in 3rd century. Maybe shortly after the big battle at Illerup near Aarhus seeFind and Conditions for a typical warrior. The culture lasted to end of 5th century with the latest solidus from Leo in Byzantium dead 474 AD. There are older finds at Gotland in Sweden so we can conclude that maybe the Erils/ Heruli were expelled from the island. Around 500 AD.
At Gudme and other places at Funen there are find from the places where we know the Heruli /Erils have been in south from ca 260 to 500 AD. That would be natural in the landscape of a bretwalda/ overlord. Some want the Scandinavians to be Goths, but their mainland was in Poland from Danzig to Poznan in their heydays. We have not many artefacts with runes from the Black Seas or Goths in south. In fact only one I know of, the league ring from Pietroasa Romania.
The Ostrogoths lived originally eastward in Balticum. There are not many artefacts in East Sweden from contacts with the Goths in south but more from the entire coastland of the Baltic Seas. In Pommern there was an enclave of rich Erils with contacts with Funen. Probably these were called Rugi and we know them as brothers with the Heruli and the Varodni/ Warners were also brothers in trade.
At Gudme there are naturally "import" from Rhineland and the old brothers in Thüringerwald. In the late period we see the connection to the Anglo Saxons and especially in Kent. Lastly we have to mention the brothers in Frisia and the coastlands of West Europe. "The Merchant Flag does not known borders" my old teacher told. The trade with amber probably started with Nero that followed the first agreement that started the bartering between the early Erils and the Romans at Rhine seeAt Elbe 5 AD See also the Hoby man
I would sooner call Gudme a centre of trade and we have to see the other buildings in our mind. I have a couple of other samples of halls from later time but excavated so we get the entire picture. It is Sigtuna East Sweden and Kalmergaard West Zealand build later than Golden Age.
The list of early halls contends in North West Germany Feddersen Wierde near Bremerhaven a real market place with 35 halls and 12 known houses living from100 AD to 400 AD and then Gudme as the next in age. Another is Wijster build 400 AD with a hall and some farm houses.
In Denmark there are from the early period Dejbjerg West Jutland, Vorbasse sin Bronze Age and Dankirke South Jutland. Note that Widsith mentions Haelsingas and we have the finds of the cruciform brooch in the landscape and the hall at Högom Helsingland. There are at Gotland Vallhagar and the castle Eketorp at Auland. In early Anglo Saxon times they build Yeavering in Yorkshire and Cowdery's Down at Cornwall.
The famous Lejre at Zealand is younger than Kalmergaard and build after the Golden Age in late 5th century. We should mention the big Borg at Lofoten Northern Norway. That big place was probably build as a base for rich fishing and trade with fish. The narwhal was the real thing and sprout for the high-priests/ kings. It was probably told to be the horn of the Unicorn used as symbol even in the early medieval church. By now we know about at least a dozen later build halls but let us concentrate on picturing the Golden Age.
The hall or sal was in the size of 10 x 50 meters suitable for gathering many people. The synonym is "sal" in old Germanic that associates to "sale". The sal was naturally the suitable place for big business and they needed a place for the merchandises and men to protect it. I think that in many cases they organised a fleet when they went out for trade to unknown places. Then they would bring many goods back.
Widsith ca 600 AD? tells about "good old days" in 3rd to 6th century and use the name "meoduhealle =mead-hall". Naturally bards and saga tellers as well as brave warriors and bartering merchants needed a place for drinking beer. Maybe the poem was written in such a hall? But the poet sees what he wants to see and do not ell about all things happening around that is because he is in the "dreamland". I think those with spear and shield rather would be called warriors than guards of merchandises at shore and rowers at the sea!
Around the halls were many houses for handicraft and storing. The hall owned / contacted peasants in the neighbourhood for supply of domestic products. The Hall at Kalmergard near Tissau Zealand is just an example build maybe in 6th century and in use during Viking Age. It is a typical hall and around the fenced place with domestic houses.
The map shows Halleby river nearby and on the other side there is the village Hallenslev = "bread of the hall". In west there is the place name "Ornum"= "for the boars" which legally was a property taken from the ordinary peasants land. Read it as "free from taxes/ fees but with other duties". It is equal with "birke" that word was used for the early market place with special laws or a special law room
On Dal we have two places. Hallebo was at the mouth of Dalbergsaa River. It was known as king's property in early medieval doom books. But I think it has deeper roots since there is the Copperby and Tinbarn nearby. The other is Hallebol in another hundred and the oldest mentioned name is "Hjord's Hus" in fact that means the same as the Heorot's Hall = The Stag's Hall in Beowulf! Both have been suitable as central place in a county.
In many places they want to set the "World Pole" just in their own place. Heorot the Hall they want to be Gudme but I cannot see that the landscape fits too well to the poetry in Beowulf. I know of one discovery by Gus Johansson in early 20th century. I have been at the place Hrones nes at Skepplanda near Gautaelf river that would fit the description. Here I show how folk memory or maybe later romance could place Heorot in many places and even in my neighbourhood.
Usually I let the saga be saga. Naturally every saga build on folk memory but it is free to create suitable scenes to fit the story and "sens morale". It is meant as fiction that should teach folk things about the past. Widsith is just a memory list with names and places from the Golden Age. Names like Hwala and Sceaf we find in the early kings' list as cultural concepts.
Widsith also mentions King Offa of the Angles and he could not be the better-known Offa from end of 8th century. There could have been several Offa or other with same name as those in Widsith. And even name of the kings were often cultural remains so people could associate to what they knew about these. We have to fill in it by ourselves. We have not the memory and knowledge of those days so we create "another world"
I do not put war and warriors or chieftain and battles into that time. There is no evidence, while we have evidence of the ritual society in Scandinavia and the battles in the Roman Empire. We should not let a few Nordic fights overshadow the peaceful times. The nobility kept the trader god known by the Romans as Mercurius/ Wotan/ Wedne; Laur the god of flow and time and the Lady as the highest archetypes in society. The Lady and Laur were the links between the nobility and the peasants. All arguments have to fit together. We cannot use the Edda fiction for times that lies more than 700 years earlier.
The word "hus" was used mainly in Uppland where the concept was common and there are also a lot of Hus-place names in Uppland and less southward. Still also in Denmark occurs hus-names and the form husby tells that the concept is from early Viking Age. Generally hus associates to stony building and early medieval times.
ReconstructedOld Sigtuna. The hall is on the hill with domestic houses around. The squared housed is the larder. On the hill in the background the hall seems to have been for warriors. Reconstruction and picture Emilia Lauer-Andersson
The hall-name is surely older than hus-names and occurs also in England. In plain language it means house of course. There are many hall-names in Sweden, but it is a difficult word and can sometimes mean "rock" or something else. In Denmark there are also many hall-names. Hus became a name for the king's larder and often fortifications and as such a concept of the kingdom. The early king-title was used for the leader in provinces or lands smaller than that.
My comment about place names is that I only skim the concept since true analysis would imply deep analysis about every single name and how it was written in the earliest texts. I do not have another lifetime for that. Knowledge about the certain place is also essential. I think Scandinavian linguists have done too little in this matter or maybe they need to be in a team with other disciplines. The question is of the kind that multidisciplinary knowledge is needed. Another thing is that my work with ideas will help them to understand some of the very old ideas and concepts in building the society.
The noble description of the late hov in Eyrbyggia Saga tells about holly nails, oath ring, the bowl, the altar and more nails. There are naturally also wooden idols of Odin, Thor and Frey for the male league. It sounds like an idolised hall and only nobility had the resources to build such things. As far as I know they have found one at Iceland and another in England. But one swallow does not make a summer. It is only that these gods have little representation in South Scandinavian place names see alsoTrinity
The bowl, altar and offerings have roots back in Stone Age and Bronze Age. They tell about slashing the blood in Sumerian songs. The bowl we know from Minoan and Mycenean culture. Some is found dated Bronze Age even in Scandinavia. Naturally brave men need a drink to lift the spirit. Another thing is that at the Sumerians halls they sang to the domestic animals that were the family and the flesh nowadays I doubt that families sing too much at feasts ---- at least not songs to the food. In my younger days such things happened in the noble families.
Among the Roman import are many utensils for wine and even in other parts of Northern Europe. However the local beer or mead was surely preferred and we see import of horns too, however they made easily a horn out of a cow horn. Those imports were for people that could afford it. Drinking from a horn needed a man and especially those in the size of the Gallehus horns.
The cauldron is a special Celtic utensil for the "blot" or the flesh/meat feast with the common name "gille". Later the word got the meaning of fraternity. Most famous is the Gundestrup cauldron with a Bull in the bottom. That was symbol of the sun, man and the meat feast the Celts called "Bron Trogain" = "meat rage" at Samain. However it seems to be a feast after the autumn hunt or slaughter or maybe harvest feat. Maybe w should make a distinction between "common blot" and "local blot". The former was a kind of meeting in periods of maybe 3, 4 or 9 years, while the local blot was in pace with the year ritual.
In my childhood we eat duck at Morten Goose 10th October, while in Skaane the goose was custom. The later feast was of course at Christmas = former Roman harvest feast and the "blot" was then eating the pig. In from West Gautaland to Karelia they call it "dip in the cauldron" and then the bread is dipped in the pot with steak pig with it's fat. I think that is the original "blot". I can not see we should make our Nordic feasts more mystical and sacred than we celebrate in our days.
The culture imperialism of Christianity wants to make it pagan, mystic and sometimes primitive and not allowed among Christians. They even look at it more seriously than needed because they want to create the situation "we and them". Since I am living in a world with freedom of religion and I love my forefathers I want to know that they did the same thing as I do. I would never say they were pagan or inferior compared with me me living in a period of humankind destroying the earth????
Offering is a matter of definition and a custom with very deep roots and I think we should not make any valuations. When the priest prepared me for the initiation rite of confirmation he told about the communion. He said that the oblate is Christi body and soon I thought that it is very dry. The wine should be Christi blood and I began to think about me as the cannibal. My scepticism deepened and I never drink red wine since I automatically think of blood.
Mankind often says things without thinking about the real meaning. Maybe Christianity is just that it is allowed to offer man, however everyone is saying that we should protect mankind. I do not like doubletalk and unclear definitions since I know it always lead to misuse in the name of the poor definition.
The concept oath ring seems to belong to nobility and fraternity: There are some rings with diameter 13 - 15 cm that could have been handhold. On some of the picture stones we see them with lifted arms and rings at funerals in Viking Age. We have to ask were some oaths needed? The normal need is agreements and other contracts, That was matters for the class of traders, legionaries and other with much doing in and outside society.
Ordinary people lived as peasants guided by their rituals and year calendar. As far as we know sowing ritual and funeral was just the same and they believed in resurrection in many places. We cannot generalise and that seems to have been altering from time to time. We have also the Nordic "trust in faith". We can assume that until around 700 Ad nobility and peasants lived mostly in clans or collectives and that means nobody or everyone owned the settlement. The matters of peasants were settled at the doom rings, thing places or other kinds of ritual places in the folkland.
The local kings maybe build the hall on his own and gathered "a hird" within his birke/ornum. They were warriors or at least skilled with weapons and to that surely some bard that could tell them about what they did when drinking and fighting. That was not the normal life of ordinary people.
Especially from Norway we know about local kings in the early kingdom period. On the Rauk Stone ca 800 AD East Gautland Arin tells about 20 kings and family clans among the nobility. The ruler of the entire country was in the beginning named by the Latin Rex. For instance the Holly Olaf gathered the small kingdoms by force in the name of Christianity.
Rig is also an old Celtic word and that surely means ritual leader. On Dal we have a document from 1380 AD telling about "a kunung" = king that must have been a local leader. We have also the word "ness-king" that may have been leader of ritual ". Vising is also a word and it seems that the Erils used Vi in some places ... see more onVi and also the golden bracts. There may have been a hall at the Vi also like the one at Jelling the place for the first king/rex in Denmark.
There is little evidence of the hov as a house from excavations. As said they tell about one place at Iceland and two in England. They are telling about fighting nobility but no burned halls are found. However maybe the interest for this has been little in Scandinavia. I think that there have been some kind of temples at certain places since Stone Age, but the big halls came late in Iron Age and maybe with influence from the Greeks and the Romans.
We can only guess about everyday life in the noble hall. We could know for sure that they did not sit all day with king in the high-seat and the crew around the long table drinking beer. The crew was probably out on sail for 16 weeks or more in summer. We can guess that most of the men were skilled also in other things than rowing and fighting. They could be specialists that used the long winter for making things for sale or nursing their weapons and skill in using. Craftsmen and warriors were of the same class of freemen and if someone cared they were higher in rank than the peasants.
We know of more than 20 halls but some of them disappeared again in 6th century. They do not give the impression of centres for high chieftains and many warriors. When we think of the need for a ship crew there is not much room left for sole warriors? The owner of the hall and merchant maybe furnished a couple of ships and hired the rest if needed. The only place we know as the real exception is Feddersen Wierde with 35 halls in a place. That was maybe a centre that should be called market town. Funen is small and there were several halls in the nearest 100 square kilometres around Gudme. That is also an exception.
There was no need for rulership and we know about the "isolated" noble class in their own law room. It was probably enough that the noble class showed their wealth and got the people with them. We know from the symbolism since third millennium BC that the upper class stood for stability and showed up archetypes that would fit the ordinary people. They were the ritual leaders and merchants and we know of no taxes. However the peasants surely had to feed merchants and tour as we need from later times.
Our doom rules are like old proverbs and surely used in court for thousand of years before they were written down. In Swedish tradition there is a doom rule "Do not let enemy be witness in court". That concerns all people that can gain from the sake.
Then in general we should not listen too much to the Greeks describing North Europe and they told we were barbarians. Neither to Julius Caesar, Tacitus, Adam of Bremen, Procopius, Jordanes and others "sitting" far away telling about us. Some of the writers had intentions like Julius always thinking of gaining in Rome from his deeds.
The Icelandic saga tellers are not much better since they all wanted to be a king and dream about better days in Norway "the old land" sorry Icelanders. Writers then and nowadays always want to make their own history better and use much of the gold to impress on others. Another thing is that many of them are written long time after the pagan times and as always bards are idolising things ... we do the same today when we to the world show our best side.
The famous Snorri Sturluson they think wanted to ride on two horses. He wanted to tell about the old times, but did not dare to do it in full scale. Much of his works were influenced by Christianity and Greek Sagas too I believe. Many of the first writers were trained in monasteries that owned some classical literature. For some reason monks seems to love martial adventures.
Of course it was the way it was that the old and new culture was mixed into the old, but we do not have true cultural stories from before Christianity. Christian culture builds on the old. However the Christians want that their truth is the only one, but that do not work in objective science who knows, maybe we get a better picture of Christianity if we are true to facts?
They say that there are few adjectives in the Bible. First sign of tendentious writing is the adjectives. The followers of the Bible easily devaluate and use adjectives about their "enemies". Tendentious valuation has nothing to do with objective science.
It is a normal trick of writers to focus on curiosities and make generalisations out of them. The scientist makes statistics and focus on the common thing at first and later looks later at the special cases. Written evidence is of no value if there is no physical evidence proving how big issue it is.
The medallion from Tjurkau has the frequent "Sunrider with his Sun Eagle", which could be compared to Jupiter and his eagle. However the Sun Eagle is much older than Roman culture
This rune text should perhaps be "Heldar wrote runes on the Welsh corn for Kunimund"
Then it is understood that Heldar was an Eril and skilled craftsman. They think that the words "walha kurne" means Welsh corn = gold. It was the trade route from Tara on Ireland through the metal district in Wales and to East Anglia and a port maybe in Norfolk to Scandinavia. Another path was going to south England.
We are talking about another gold source then Rome, however it was not always open. The route was perhaps created in Bronze Age and had maybe to be secret during the Roman era.
Celtic culture was much diversified and the entire Europe was the place for immigration of people and cultural ideas. They dropped in now and then through the year thousands. To that there was the trade connecting important sources of metal and even salt and amber for jewellery as far as we know. The Romans needed many supplies in their garrisons and surely they get much from the North.
Lastly it is a question about our own attitude. If we see our forefathers as primitive barbarians they are that. I cannot see that we need a special language and special words for thing we have in common with the past. With friends we always seek the common denominator and why not with our forefathers? Worst of all with all our global problems we cannot say we are better than our humble forefathers.
Unfortunately most of the finds are from 19th century under the great expansion of agriculture everywhere in Scandinavia. Very few professional excavations were done and often we know little around the finds. The heydays of the Erils were only around 250 years and we can still get a diversified picture of their culture.
As I see it, the finds have belonged to ritual societies. We have to ask, "From where came the gold?" Who could afford to make ritual items out of it? That also speaks for a league of Erils since they gave the gold to the league. The biggest hoard find weigh 12110 grams and it is naturally gathered from many sources.
Then it is only trade and the legionaries that can have brought it to Scandinavia and the North is special with all that ritual gold. From the map with the finds of neck-rings we see they are spread, however there are many areas without finds. Is there golden items to be found in future? We can only tie the use to the find places and then we do not know was the neck-ring for the fraternity or the entire settlement.
The League of Erils maybe lasted from around 225 AD to 500 AD. That is after the Norse attacked near the Illerup bog Aarhus Jutland and to the time when the Erils were driven from Zealand around 500 AD as Procopius tells. Before that there was attack on the southern coast of Denmark and Sweden around 450 AD. That is the heydays of the Golden Age and we see the old Celtic culture flowering but with influence from Rome via trade and the Heruli in the Roman Empire seeHistory of the Heruli