The era of the Normans can be called the middle of the IX - the beginning of the XI century, which was characterized by expansion and invasion of various countries for the purpose of easy money. The main type of trade of the ancient Scandinavians were incessant raids on a number of European countries and ancient Russian lands. Despite this, they were good shipbuilders, successful traders and experienced sailors. The culture of these peoples had a considerable influence on the further development of a number of countries in modern Europe and Ancient Russia. Many Old Norse names are as popular today as they were many centuries ago.
A little about the history of the life of the ancient Normans
The vast majority of Vikings were free pagan peasants of Norwegian, Danish and Swedish descent. The geographical location of Scandinavia with the harsh climatic conditions did not allow agriculture to develop sufficiently. Therefore, the main type of fishing of these peoples was hunting and fishing. It was the sea that was the source of food for the Vikings. Already by the beginning of the 8th century, sea trips for the ancient Scandinavians became a way of life. Gradually developed shipbuilding and navigation, so that the Vikings made long voyages. By that time, trade began to actively develop in Europe. At the same time, merchants from different countries began to deliver their goods from distant places, including by sea.
The ships, which were cracking at the seams from various goods and riches, did not go unnoticed by the Vikings, and they very quickly began to rob various merchants at sea. By the beginning of the 9th century, the Varangians began to raid a number of Western European countries. The history of the Vikings as naval conquerors dates back to 790 AD. er when for the first time the Norman ships approached the English coast. This was one of the first major invasions to plunder and robbery. Subsequently, raids for the Vikings became a way of life. Moreover, they settled many islands in the northern seas, which served as bases for the rest and division of the loot. Armed Viking attacks were carried out with sailing boats, which made up the majority of the Norman fleet. At the same time, several thousand robbers could take part in the attacks.
What were the ancient Scandinavians
The history of the Vikings is shrouded in many myths and legends, thanks to which there is a strong opinion about them. For example, in the view of contemporaries all the Normans are huge people with white long hair, and besides, they are wild and bloodthirsty. In fact, rarely when a Viking was over 170 cm tall, we could say that there were quite a lot of really fair-haired Vikings, but there were a lot of dark-haired people and even red ones among them. Few people know, but the Vikings were hospitable people, because they believed that the guest was in the house ─ God was in the house.
In addition, many foreigners joined their tribes, so afterwards there were many people from different countries among them.
The Normans were excellent gunsmiths, and for the manufacture of military weapons used various technologies. It is safe to say that the Viking sword was no worse than Damascus steel blade in terms of strength and sharpness. The history of many nations is somehow intertwined with the Scandinavian pagans, since subsequently the Normans began to settle around the world. Their roots can be found in the territory of modern Russia, and North America and even Africa.
The Scandinavian warriors had one peculiarity, which consisted in the complete destruction of everything that was not connected with their religion. They utterly destroyed the churches and temples of "dissenters", while not feeling pity for either the holy fathers or the congregation. This largely explains the reason why the ancient inhabitants experienced animal horror at the sight of the Vikings, whom they called ruthless and cruel murderers.
As we have said, the Vikings were excellent shipbuilders and navigators, skilled gunsmiths, warriors and hunters. The development of various spheres of economic activity among these peoples kept pace with the times. However, because of their affiliation with the pagans, their writing was extremely poorly developed, therefore everything that happened was transmitted from mouth to mouth. So there were the famous Scandinavian sagas, from which you can learn a lot about the history of the ancient Normans.
It was not until the beginning of the 11th century that the Vikings began to form writing and the first historical records, which were recorded using the well-known runic writing. Runes were used as written characters, and were also actively used in applied magic. They were carved on stones and carved on tablets, and they were also used to make protective amulets and divinations. Runic letters are often found in the history of the Romano-Germanic and Slavic peoples. With their help, subsequently began to write down the names of the Vikings, the origin and significance of which we consider below.
Origin of Scandinavian names
Scandinavian names have their origin and rich history. Let's start with the fact that they were given by the father of the family to a newborn child. He also had the right to accept this baby or refuse it altogether. Born children named names that had a direct connection with the progenitors of the family. The Normans were in the order of things to mix common names with nicknames. For example, the meaning of the name Ingrid is “beautiful”, it indicates the presence of the god of fertility in it. Sigrid is a name that confirms that a person has talent and talent. People with this name have a non-standard type of thinking and are non-trivial.
The names of the Vikings, received by the father at birth, did not differ constancy. They could be replaced during the life of another, when a person has already been formed character and a number of distinctive features. The names of the Vikings, the list of which is quite large, can be divided into one-component and two-part.
Monolithic may indicate human qualities or his character (Wagni is calm, Dyarvi is bold, Magni is strong, Sverre is heavy, Tryggvi is true). Other Viking names speak about the external signs of a person (Bruni is ─ strong, Raoud ─ red, Lodinn ─ covered with hair). There are also many names that denote animals (Bercy ─ bear cub, Björn ─ bear, Orme ─ snake, Ulv ─ wolf), inanimate objects or phenomena (Brand ─ sword, Koll ─ coal, Skjeld ─ shield, Frost ─ frost, Una ─ wave ).
The two-part Scandinavian names have a complex structure. They may have in their composition the names of the gods, conceal a mythological meaning or characterize a warrior (Audun ─ rich wave, Asgeir ─ spear of aces, Greenolv ─ green wolf, Sigurd ─ protected by victory, Steinulv ─ stone wolf, Torbrand ─ Thor's sword).
Names of Norse Gods
Consider the names of some Viking gods, since they are directly related to the formation of the names of the ancient Scandinavians and their culture. The supreme god of all Viking pagans was the One ─ Wotan, the master of Asdgard’s Palace of Valhalla and everything that happens on earth and the universe. He patronized artisans and farmers, warriors and sailors, and also revealed the secrets of runic art and the knowledge of the world.
Among the higher gods-ases, the Tiu-Tyur Viks, the god of justice and law, who patronized justice, were also highly esteemed by the Vikings. The god Thor-Gromoverezh was for the Vikings the all-powerful defender of all people and many gods. Thor Tunar is the son of Odin and the Goddess of Earth Erda. Thor owned Mjollnir ─ with a magic hammer, which is able to hit absolutely everything and return after being thrown into the hand of his master. Viking Thorus worshiped with special zeal, and in their names one could often meet his divine presence.
The wife of Thunder Torah was the golden-haired goddess Seth. Their three children, the goddess Labor and her brothers Modi and Magni, were also revered by the Vikings. Goddess Frigg (Friia) patronized the home and order in the house. Also among the gods, the ancient Scandinavians worshiped Freya, the goddess of eros, physical well-being and magic; Freyra, who patronized material well-being, peace and prosperity; Njördu, the father of Freyja and Freyr, to whom the sea elements and the wind obeyed. He also influenced the well-being and wealth of all people.
Religious roots of the origin of the Norse names
Often the value of the name is of belonging to various deities and religious origin. As a rule, these are names consisting of two or more parts, one of which is somehow connected with pagan gods. For example, take Ingvar, the name that literally means “warrior of the god Yngwie”, where Yngwie is one of Freyr's divine names.
The following are the religious names of the Vikings: Asne ─ God's news; Astrid - God's power; Asveig - God's way; Gudrun is a divine secret; Torgerd - divine protection (patronage of the god Thor); Torhild - divine battle (Torah).
The religious names of the Vikings are listed below. The name Aswald literally means "divine authority." Names in which the main name of the god Thor: Torstein, Torbjørn, Torvar, Tormod, Torhsl, Torbrand, Torfred, Torrarn mean "stone", "bear", "army", "courage", "hostage", "sword", "World", "hearth", respectively. The names Freygeir and Freyvar "spear" and "army" of the goddess Freyja.
About some famous vikings
The old Norse king of the Vikings, Harald the Beautiful Haired (as the Varangians used to call them the monarch), managed to unite the small Norman tribes among themselves into one state. In the battle of Stavangergeg 885, he was seriously wounded, but after recovering, he retained power over the Varangians for many years.
The famous Vikings, whose names are Olaf and Haakon, were the kings of the Norman lands - the beginning of Christianity in the Norwegian state is connected with them. Haakon the Good is considered the first Norwegian king, at which the Vikings began to forget their pagan roots and became Christians. Although it is believed that it was Olaf I Trugveson (995-1000 years of government) and Saint Olaf (1015-1028 p.), In whose honor many churches of the Norwegian state were built, established the Christian faith.
How did the Christian faith affect the change of Scandinavian names
After Christianity appeared in a number of Scandinavian countries, the names of the Vikings remained for a long time. However, thanks to a decree issued by church clergy, Scandinavians had to name children according to the Christian calendar, in which the names of the saints were present. Thus, the descendants of the Varyags began to be reprimanded by ancient Greek, Jewish and Roman names, which were characteristic of Christians and, over time, acquired euphonious sound, becoming quite “native” to the Scandinavian peoples.
As for the names, they are derived from the names, but with the addition of particles. Therefore, the Scandinavians have such original surnames as Larsen, Amudsen, Hansen, Johansen, Nielsen, Christiansen, Carlsen and several others.
Male Old Norse Names
We have already said that the ancient names of the Vikings, obtained at birth, later changed to others that corresponded to human nature. Since the children themselves at birth did not show, they could be called as follows:
- Beinir or Bergir - names that mean "helper in everything"; Yeddur, Skuli ─ "protector of the race"; Leiv ─ "heir"; Oblud ─ "brave"; Ofeig ─ "long-liver, not condemned to death, happily living"; Train ─ "stubborn"; Tryggvi ─ "loyal, faithful."
Of course, parents could assume that a born son would be a brave warrior and protector, but a person could choose another way, becoming, for example, a merchant or hunter, then he received a different name:
- Frodi ─ "peace-loving or kind"; Helgi, which literally meant "holy, undefended"; Kollbjorn ─ "black, coal-colored bear"; Alv ─ "elf"; Vestaine ─ "holy stone"; Webrand ─ "holy weapons"; Vardi ─ "friend"; Gest ─ "welcome guest" and others.
Warriors and defenders were given formidable and sonorous names, since the Vikings believed that the warriors in the event of death on the battlefield would fall into Asgard and would be Odin's faithful servants:
- Brand ─ "sharp sword"; Vegeyr ─ "spear of the saints"; Webrand ─ "holy sword"; Gunnar ─ "battle sword"; Dyarvi ─ "brave"; Ryorik ─ "great glory"; Sigvald ─ "victorious power"; Hyarti ─ "lord of the sword"; Einar ─ "warrior of happiness."
Female names of ancient Scandinavians
The names of the Viking women at birth daughters also chose the father. The girls were supposed to benefit the family. The feminine was honored by the ancient Scandinavians. Newborn girls could be named as follows:
- Erna ─ "skilled worker, skillful"; Bjerg ─ "keeper, defender"; Una ─ "contented"; Bot ─ "assistant"; Guda ─ "good, kind"; Gerd ─ "home defender." However, a too militant father could give his daughter the name Hild, which meant “battle.”
Of course, none of the parents of Viking girls dreamed of a grown-up beautiful woman becoming a warrior and raiding for the purpose of robbery. Therefore, female names carried a completely different meaning. They could signify a parental hope for the happy life of their child, or they were simply chosen to be beautiful and euphonic:
- Frida - "beautiful, beloved"; Yolver ─ "happy"; Osk ─ "desired"; Eydr ─ "glorious"; Dalla, Birtha ─ "bright"; Lotter ─ "light".
Often the female names of the Vikings could be directly related to the animals, which they believed were their patrons:
- Ryup ─ "mountain partridge"; Bera, Byrne ─ "bear"; Khrefna ─ "crow"; Mave ─ "seagull".
Quite often, newborn girls were given names that are associated with the god Freyr:
- The name Inga ─ "winter", which has reached our time, is popular with many Slavic peoples; Freydis ─ “disa Freya”; Ingileiv meant "heiress"; Ingimudr is literally “the hand of the goddess Freyja”; Ingver - "knowing the gods" and others.
- The names of women were also popular: Oud, which meant “rich, wealthy”, Goodgerd ─ “well protected”, Rannveig ─ “fast, fast, running”, Rind ─ “protector of the weak, home”, Solveig ─ “sunbeam”, Swanweig ─ “swan road”, Una ─ “sea wave”, Helga means “holy”. The name Helga later acquired the form "Olga" from the Slavs.
Conformity of some male names of Vikings to modern
- Manahegni, Manaedur ─ Alexander. The name comes from two words: “manna” ─ man and “edur” ─ “protection, protect”.
- Skuli, Hegni ─ Aleksey, which means “defender”.
- Reskvi ─ Valeriy, “vigorous”.
- Konunglegur ─ "royal", corresponds to the meaning of the name "Vasily".
- Tiedvald consists of the words "own" and "people" ─ Vladimir.
- Siungur, Vakkin ─ Gregory.
- Ragnademul ─ "god" and "convicted" ─ Daniel.
- Bondur ─ "farmer" ─ Egor.
- Hakon ─ "high origin" ─ Sergey.
- Sohnheid corresponds to the name Yaroslav.
In conclusion, we note that the Vikings gave great importance to the children's naming, especially for newborn boys. As a rule, each genus had a number of names that they called children the same as their ancestors. The boy received the name of the deceased older member of the clan or the elder brother who died in the battles, as well as the father. The Varangians believed that with the birth of boys, the dead warriors revived in them. If there were several male children in the clan, then the eldest of them certainly became the heir, and he also received the name of the most famous and brave deceased male relative.
The ancient Vikings in their families decided everything. Therefore, an illegitimate child could get the name of a famous ancestor in the family of his father, even if there were stepbrothers ─ legitimate children of the head of the family. At the time of the pagan faith, the head of the family had practically no division into legal and illegal children. But with the advent of Christianity in the Scandinavian countries, only those born in a formal marriage approved by the church were considered native children.