Friday, September 16, 2011

Ecce Viri Septentrionis!

Behold the men of the north! I suppose I could have tried to write that in Old Norse but I had only one class in it and it will be a while before I attempt any such thing. I shall be delving into Icelandic sagas and Norse mythology this year. Be prepared. The Vikings are coming.
I used the word 'septentrionis' for 'of the north' because the Romans referred to the north in this way. The septentriones were the seven stars near the North Pole belonging to the Great Bear. Or the Little Bear. Whichever. You could also use 'boreas'. It is all good.
Some people might object to calling Northmen vikings but it seems to have been a common word for sea-farers from Scandinavia especially those with tendencies to piracy and pillaging. The Anglo Saxon version 'wicinga' appears in the chronicle early on. The etymology is uncertain and the word 'viking' itself might not be derived from Old Norse but Old German since people along the northern coasts would be most at risk from their predations especially after the decline of the Frisian navy following Charlemagne's campaigns against them. It should be fun. I just thought I would warn my many followers why my posts will be seeming rather bloodthirsty this fall.


Kristin said...

The Vikings are coming! Excellent.

The North remembers. It is known. :)

Anachronist said...

Great, I love Norse mythology and vikings were present even in Poland, Turkey and Ukraine so it's good to know something more about them too!

Tracy said...

I wondered what the number 7 had to do with it! Glad you've explained that one.
I'm prepared for the invasion, LOL!

The Red Witch said...

@The North remembers. It is known. :)

It is known. :-)

@I wondered what the number 7 had to do with it!

Personally, it should only be the Little Dipper since it contains the North Star but the Oxford Latin Dictionary says both.
I heard a lecture about what and who are Norse. It is not so clear cut, Anachronist, and might not technically include those peoples.