Feudal ideas

Feudal ideas

The nobility normally creates feudalism and they need a certain population before they can live on others. After the Great Migration rose a new nobility that introduced private property. The earliest document is the Sparlausa stone around 800 AD.

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Romans and Erils | Golden Age of Erils

Feudal World Order 500 to 800 AD

It is only natural that the nobility drew in their horns in the entire Scandinavia after the fate of Erils. When we begin to see signs of a new upper class it is outside the former areas in Vendel Uppland and on Auland. In Swedish archaeology it is called the Vendel Age. However, we cannot categorise only from local finds.

Something like the finds of Vendel we have only at Auland and Gotland which surely were rich islands and seemingly easy to protect. Nevertheless, there seem to have been many fires on the islands in the middle of the fifth century. After that there were fires also on the south coasts of Sweden and after that the Erils vanished from Denmark.

Auland recovered to a rich place around Kauping. Maybe behind that was trade in iron. There are many finds on Auland and in nearby Smaaland they have found slag mounds indicating productions of more than 40 tons of iron. The heirs of the Erils maybe used old trade routes to West-Europe not only with Baltic Amber but also with iron pigs and they could get it also from Jaemtland in north Sweden.

Some of the Vendel finds are of the same kind as at Sutton Hoo and the symbolism have a lot in common with the Merovingian style.

Some of it is pure technique and some is special as the Merovingian Eagle rising against the sky ... associations go to the Gothic cathedrals created in the same area. The new trading partners were the Frankish smiths specialised in making good sword-blades. Local craftsmen made often the rest. Once they were in trade, they changed naturally other articles and landed at ports along the Atlantic Ocean.

The Ionic culture was common for most of Europe. First we can compare some symbolic figures. An Eagle was originally a ritual symbol for the moon year. In the Roman Empire they made it the symbol for their power. The Romans' eagles "flew" all over the empire. They saw everything and like a metaphor sea-eagle grip the fish. Of course the Northern nobility saw it also as a favourable symbol ... and later the Anglo-Scandinavian church used it too.

A bird from the Scythian area nears the Black Sea.


A mounting from a shield Vallentunarum Uppland


The preamble to Lucas XV: 10 in Book of Kells. On top the Sea-eagle griping the fish. Rest of the motives are seen in later Viking Age ornaments.


These eagles and swans in gold and insertions are from Sutton Hoo.


Noble men were of course always on horseback ... until World War II the cavalry was for the noble or those with goods enough. The riders are from the Gundestrup cauldron from early Iron Age. Note the bird and pig in the helmets.


On this plate from a helmet we see a tired Sleipner taking a tired Odin home after the wild ride.

No dead bodies for the snake this time. Odin's crows Desire and Memory are total empty and are only waiting for a good bed. The eagle in the helmet is happy when it need not fly Odin is a metaphor for the leader of mankind as well as the leader within everyone. Vendel.


Helmets of this kind are said to have been called "Helmet of fear" ... and if the man was horseback a lot of ingenuity was needed to fight him. Women and children hardly had time to look at him. Vendel.


On this plate the privates are said to be in swine-phalanx. Eagles are also seen in the helmets. Auland.

As the fighter with snakes in his helmet is one-eyed, maybe his Sleipner got enough. Is he fighting the Wolf-guise or not?


This is from Karatepe ca 700 BC and it looks like a dance with joy for them all.


This ornament from a sword from Sutton Hoo looks fairly neutral or then there are no guts in the man.


On this plate from Auland it is a serious business.

The helmets from Vendel are mostly local and perhaps they began to direct their trade eastwards. They had surely contacts with Sutton Hoo as well as the Franks. We know that the organisation in Uppland was maybe based on decimal arithmetic and the organisation of the fleet may suggest a mix of Roman efficiency and Scandinavian equality, as there were full equality on the ship. Other parts of Sweden had old arithmetic counting in thirds, sixes, fourths, eights and so on.

Buckle from Galsted South Jutland 5th century

We may expect that trade routes were used as ever before and the trade increased again. Little by little some may have adapted the Roman-Frankish ideas of feudalism. In England began a struggle about power in the provinces. It is significant that we also find a few runic items in England and Mercia seems to have been a retreat for some Eril too.


Neo-Hittitian horsemen in temple Karatepe ca 700 BC.

History is often about these macho things. We are brought up without a critical eye and questions about how normal people lived. Another question is that these finds are mostly occasional and only from a few places. There are no general picture and no proportions of anything.

We may suppose that the peasants were not interested in paying taxes and they were not interested in owning land. They new that Mother Earth was borrowed only for the time being and after each individual generation followed another.

The nobility in Scandinavia learnt about individually owned farms within the Roman Empire. The Franks' feudal idea they could get when bartering with iron and weapons. They saw how the Franks organised the country and the kings sent out bailiffs and tax collectors. Parts of the country were given to the heirs or others who could support and defend the ruling family. Northern nobility wanted of course to do the same. However they know that they had too much against. We can suggest this from that we does not see signs of feudalism, but it is a natural desire within most of us to be a king.

There was no treat from outside such as the time when Attila could be used as an argument for armament. A permanent military class could be motivated against outer pressure. And in peace that could be used as something to show up as an unspoken treat against the peasants.

Picture stones on Gotland

During the Vendel Age 500 to 800 AD and after follows an Age where we see their thoughts in some pictures on stone and mainly from Gotland. This lady seems to be that old Inanna giving birth again.

Unusually we see three entwined snakes with different heads ... normally they show two. They thought life being a struggle between two forces and it was over at dead. Philosophically and physically they were of course right. As living beings we prefer the living force, however as a whole subversive force is needed to take care of the waste. In their philosophy they saw that always is something left, as for instance when something is burnt there are still the ash. Sometimes they pictured it as the skin. The third snake is perhaps the upper one symbolising outer Mights.

The lady is sitting as in birth giving and symbolises perhaps what the Egyptians wished for a rebirth if the funeral was carried out like sowing in the earth ... of course we have all an afterlife. Some Egyptian kings live forever however it is only a few of them. We all contribute to the ongoing life and it is hard to point out when and where our efforts become eternal. The symbolism on this stone is still the old Ionian style.

Another noble stone from Gotland

On the stone with the stallions they are representing the life-battle itself, while the snakes in corners are the two forces in life ... we can never say which of them is the former. It depends on the cases and time. The shield is surely influenced from Greece and so the others on Gotland.

Parallel to the ornaments and figures in mountings an oral and sometimes written literature began its life in old Germany and the Anglo-Scandinavian area. Most of it was later written down but the legends lived orally after the age of Great Migration. We see fractions of it on our picture-stones. Beowulf is an example and perhaps written by an Eril. He refers to places that must be in the wooden and stony parts of Scandinavia.

Many have set the kingdom in their province although it is perhaps a normal landscape of fiction. However, the writer must have a real experience of something like that. I prefer to let it be fiction in spite of the fact that we have the folk memory of a Heorot or the hall of the hero here on Dal.

In some of the poems they tell about real details which are confirmed by finds of the items.

For an example the iron shirt made of small rings is one of our finds. Other finds are from Vendel and Pappilanmaeki Finland. They are bears as mounting on the spear shaft near the head. In the Kalevala poem is a line about this "A bear growling at the rivet hole." Those poems were loved by the machos everywhere ... and still man gives easily his head to a military leader when opportunity is given.

Of course we do not know if there were real battles about power aiming at ruling lands. It seems that most of it was weather from the mouths around the beer cauldron. The real fight has been on foreign land during the Roman period and when it started again it was perhaps a planned gathered action against the neo-Roman wolf in the guise of the Franks lead by Carlemagne. He began the formation of what should be the Holy Roman Empire.