This is Part Two of our mini series on the lives of women during the Viking Age in Sweden and across the Viking world. We examine which sources can help us find out about these amazing people, then look at the role women played in marriage, politics, battle and what they might have worn. We also look at the darker side of Viking life as we see how women slaves would have been treated.
We are back in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia after our trip eastwards to look at the Rus. We are now starting a short series of episodes on the lives of women in the Viking age. We will look at everything they had to face in society in the next few episodes. This time we give an overview of all the things that these women would have got up to, including childbirth, running the farm, owning businesses and getting involved with politics and marriage.
News Update: We are moving to live in Sweden and the podcast is coming with us! Listen to this brief announcement as we talk more about it and explain how the move might have an impact on the next few episodes, but also the exciting opportunities to come. Tack så mycket!
Still with the Viking Rus in the east, this time we quickly finish off leader Oleg with a dramatic, prophecy heavy death. We then examine his successor Igor and look at what we know about the events from his time ruling the Rus from Kiev. Spoilers: Heavy use of Greek Fire as the Byzantine Navy appears, more trade treaties with help from the Primary Chronicle and another ugly death to finish with.
In this episode we continue the story of our Swedish Vikings as they venture both east and south, heading towards Kiev, the Black Sea and Constantinople. The Rurik dynasty of rulers take hold of a few major towns in the region, such as Kiev and Novgorod and begin to set up a bit of a power base. We look at about 50 years of relations between these Rus and the Byzantine Empire, covering attacks, trade and treaties as we delve into what happened during this dramatic period in Viking expansion eastwards.
We begin this episode by getting to know the Rus in more detail, a name for the Swedish Vikings as they headed east towards modern day Russia, Ukraine, Greece and Turkey. We see how the Byzantine and Arabic sources describe these new arrivals and determine exactly how "Swedish" they remained after their many trips to the region. We also talk about how some of these Rus ended up back in western Europe, as part of a Byzantine diplomatic mission to Louis the Pious from the last episode, and how this explains in more detail how these Vikings could be Rus and Swedish at the same time.
In this episode, the Vikings get a visit from our most interesting character so far. Ansgar is the fascinating first Christian missionary to Sweden, who tirelessly tries to spread his religion throughout Sweden, in the town of Birka. We meet many other interesting characters, including the Viking "Kings" Björn and Anund, Father Witmar, Gautbert, King Louis the Pious and a host of supporting characters in this exciting story of exploration, violence and religion. We also look in detail at Birka itself to see what life was like in Viking towns.
In this episode we start the real chronological journey through the Viking period. We begin with a look at the first large Viking raids on western Europe, in the rough period of 790-850. The Vikings started their now famous raids in this period, with the pivotal moment being the attack on the Christian monastery of Lindisfarne in 793. We look at the reaction to this attack and the following raids over the next few decades, before having a look at what day to day life would have been like in rural Sweden during the Viking Age. Chris even dusts off some of his basic Maltese to thank our guest reader!
They have arrived! The Vikings are finally here. In the first of many episodes on this famous period of Swedish history, we give a rough introduction to the Viking period as we look at origins of the name Viking, where they lived, what they got up to and what kind of people they were. Were they even all Vikings?
We also hear from Jerry of the Presidencies Podcast as he reads out a quote from us, so do check out his great podcast. You can find him on Twitter at @Presidencies89 and at presidencies.blubrry.com for his website.
Surprise! This is our first special episode, breaking the chronological order to talk about an interesting historical object we found in our flat recently. Sweden issued civilian dog tags to all new born citizens for 50 years between 1960 and 2010. But why? We look into it and also have a brief chat about the history of dog tags in general.