The middle of the 9th - the beginning of the 11th century, for which there was a characteristic expansion and invasion of various countries for the purpose of easy gain, can be called the Norman epoch. The main type of fishing for the ancient Scandinavians was the incessant raids on a number of European countries and the ancient Russian lands. Despite this, they were good shipbuilders, successful traders and experienced navigators. The culture of these peoples had a considerable influence on the further development of a number of countries of modern Europe and Ancient Rus. Many ancient Norse names are as popular today as they were many centuries ago.
A little bit about the history of the life of the ancient Normans
The vast majority of Vikings were free peasant pagans of Norwegian, Danish and Swedish descent. The geographical location of Scandinavia with severe climatic conditions did not allow the agriculture to develop sufficiently. Therefore, the main type of fishing for these peoples was hunting and fishing. It was the sea that was the source of food for the Vikings. By the beginning of the 8th century, sea trips for the ancient Scandinavians had become a way of life. Gradually, shipbuilding and navigation developed, so the Vikings made long sea voyages. By that time in Europe, trade began to develop actively. At the same time, merchants from different countries began to import their goods from distant places, including by sea.
Vessels, cracking at the seams from different goods and wealth, did not go unnoticed by the Varangians, and they very quickly began to plunder various merchants at sea. By the beginning of the IX century, the Varangians began raiding a number of countries in Western Europe. The history of the Vikings as naval conquerors dates back to the 790s. e. when for the first time the Norman vessels approached the English coast. This was one of the first major incursions for the purpose of robbery and robbery. Subsequently, the raids for the Vikings became a way of life. Moreover, they settled a lot of islands in the northern seas, which served as bases for rest and division of the stolen. Armed attacks by Vikings were carried out with sailing rooks, which made up the bulk 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 Vikings is shrouded in a lot of myths and legends, thanks to which they formed a firm opinion. For example, in the contemporaries' view all Normans are huge people with white long hair, besides they are wild and bloodthirsty. In fact, rarely when the growth of the Viking exceeded 170 cm, and about the hair, you can say that really blonde Varangians were quite a lot, but among them there was a considerable amount of dark-haired people, and even red ones. Few people know, but the Varangians were hospitable people, because they believed that the guest in the house is God in the house.
In addition, many foreigners joined their tribes, so later among them there were many people from different countries.
The Normans were fine gunsmiths, and various technologies were used to make war weapons. It's safe to say that the Viking sword was strong and sharp, no worse than a blade of Damascus steel. The history of many peoples is somehow intertwined with 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.
Scandinavian warriors had one peculiarity, which consisted in the complete destruction of everything that was not connected with their religion. They destroyed the churches and temples of the "dissidents" to the ground, without feeling sorry for the holy fathers or the parishioners. This explains in many respects the reason why the ancient inhabitants experienced animal horror at the sight of the Varangians, whom they called merciless and cruel killers.
As we have already said, the Vikings were excellent shipbuilders and navigators, skilled gunsmiths, warriors and hunters. The development of various spheres of economic activity among these peoples was in step with the times. However, because of their belonging to the Gentiles, they had a poorly developed writing system, so everything that happened was passed on from mouth to mouth. Thus appeared the famous Scandinavian sagas, from which one can learn a lot about the history of the ancient Normans.
Only at the beginning of the 11th century did the Vikings begin to have written language and the first historical records that were recorded using the runic letter known to all. Runes were used as written symbols, and also actively used in applied magic. They were carved on stones and cut out on plates, and also used to make protective amulets and prophesies. Runic letters are often found in the history of Romano-Germanic and Slavic peoples. With their help, later they began to write down the names of the Vikings, whose origin and significance we will consider later.
Origin of Scandinavian names
Scandinavian names have their origin and rich history. To begin with, the father of the family gave them to a newborn child. He also had the right to take this baby or give it up altogether. The born children were called names that had a direct connection with the grandparents of the family. The Normans had a common way of mixing common names with nicknames. For example, the meaning of the name Ingrid - "beautiful", it indicates the presence in it of the god of fertility. Sigrid is a name that confirms the person's talent and giftedness. People with this name have a non-standard type of thinking and are not trivial.
The names of the Vikings, received by the father at birth, were not constant. They could be replaced during life by others, when a person already had a character and a number of distinctive features. The names of the Vikings, whose list is large enough, can be divided into single-component and two-part.
One-part can indicate the human qualities or its character (Vagni ─ calm, Dyarvi ─ brave, Magni ─ strong, Sverre ─ heavy, Tryugvi ─ true). Other names of Vikings speak about external signs of the person (Bruni ─ strong, Raud ─ red, Lodinin ─ covered with hair). Also there are many names that denote animals (Bercy is a bear cub, Björn is a bear, Orm is a snake, Ulv is a wolf), inanimate objects or phenomena (Brand ─ sword, Koll ─ coal, Skjeld shield, Frost frost, Una ─ wave ).
Two-part Scandinavian names have a complex structure. They can include the names of the gods, contain mythological meanings or characterize the warrior (Audun ─ rich wave, Asgeyr ─ spear of the ases, Grinolv ─ green wolf, Sigurd ─ protected by victory, Steinulv ─ stone wolf, Torbrand ─ sword of Torah).
Names of the Old Norse gods
Consider the names of some of the Viking gods, since they are most directly related to the formation of the names of the ancient Scandinavians and their culture. The Supreme God of all Gentile Vikings was Odin ─ Wotan, the master of Asgard's palace of Valhalla and everything that happens on earth and the universe. He patronized artisans and farmers, soldiers and sailors, and also discovered the secrets of runic art and the knowledge of the world.
Among the higher gods, the Ases were also venerated by Vikings Tiu-Tür, the god of justice and law, who patronized justice. God Thor Thunderer was for the Vikings an omnipotent protector of all people and many gods. Thor-Tunar is the son of Odin and the Goddess of the Earth of Erda. Thor owned Mjollirom ─ a magic hammer that can hit absolutely everything and return after throwing into the hand of his master. With special zeal worshiped Vikings Torah, and in their names it was often possible to meet his divine presence.
Thunderbolt's wife Thor was the golden-haired goddess Sif. Their three children, the goddess Trud and her brothers Modi and Magni, were also vikings. The goddess Frigg (Friya) patronized the home and the order in the house. Also among the gods the ancient Scandinavians revered Freyu ─ the goddess of eros, physical well-being and magic; Freyr, who patronized material prosperity, peace and prosperity; Njørde, the father of Freya and Freyr, to whom the elements of the sea and the wind obeyed. He also influenced the well-being and prosperity of all people.
Religious roots of the origin of the Old Norse names
Often the meaning of the name is attributed to different deities and religious origin. As a rule, these are names consisting of two or more parts, one of which is somehow connected with the pagan gods. For example, take Ingvar ─ a name that literally means "warrior of the god Yngvi", where Yngwi, one of the divine names of Freyr.
The religious names of the Vikings are the following:: Asna is God's news; Astrid is God's power; Asweyg is God's way; Gudrun is a divine mystery; Torgerd is divine protection (the protection of the god Thor); Torhild is a divine battle (Torah).
The religious names of the Viking men are listed below. The name Aswald means literally "divine power". The names in which the main name is the god Tor: Torstein, Torbjorn, Torvar, Tormod, Torghis, Thorbrand, Torfred, Torarinn means stone, bear, army, courage, hostage, sword, "Peace", "hearth", respectively. The names Freyhire and Freivar "spear" and "army" of the goddess Freya.
About some famous Vikings
The Old Norse King of the Vikings, Harald the Great-Horned (as the Varangians were called by the custom of the monarch) managed to unite the small Norman tribes into one state. In the Stavangergh battle of 885, he was seriously wounded, but after recovering for many years retained power over the Varangians.
The famous Vikings, whose names Olaf and Haakon, were kings of the Norman lands - they are associated with the beginning of Christianity in the Norwegian state. Haakon Kind is considered the first Norwegian king, in which the Vikings began to forget their pagan roots and became Christians. Although it is believed that it was Olaf I Tryugveson (995-1000 years of government) and St. Olaf (1015-1028), in honor of which many churches of the Norwegian state were built, established the Christian faith.
How the Christian faith affected the change of Scandinavian names
After the emergence of Christianity in a number of Scandinavian countries, the names of the Vikings remained for a long time. However, thanks to a decree that was issued by the church clergy, the Scandinavians were to call the children according to the Christian calendar, in which the names of the saints were present. Thus, the descendants of the Varangians began to be called Ancient Greek, Jewish and Roman names, which were inherent in Christians and eventually acquired euphony, becoming quite "native" to the Scandinavian peoples.
As for the names, they are derived from names, but with the addition of particles. Therefore, the Scandinavians carry such original surnames as Larsen, Amundsen, Hansen, Johansen, Nielsen, Christiansen, Carlsen and several others.
Men's Old Norse names
We have already said that the ancient names of the Vikings, received at birth, subsequently changed to others, which corresponded to the human essence. Since children did not show themselves at birth, they could be named as follows:
- Beynir or Bergir - with names that meant "assistant in everything"; Yoddur, Skuli - "the protector of the clan"; Leiv is an "heir"; The region is "brave"; Офиг ─ «the long-liver, not doomed to death, happily living»; Train is "stubborn"; Tryugvi is "faithful, devoted."
Certainly, parents could have assumed that the born son would be a brave soldier and defender, but a person could choose another way, for example, becoming a merchant or a hunter, then he received a different name:
- Frodi is "peaceful or kind"; Helgi, which literally meant "holy, sinless"; Kolbbjørn is a "black, charcoal-colored bear"; Alv is an elf; Vestein is a "holy stone"; Webrand is a "holy weapon"; Vardi is a "friend"; Guest is a "welcome guest" and others.
Warriors and defenders were given formidable and sonorous names, as the Vikings believed that the soldiers in the event of death on the battlefield would certainly fall into Asgard and be Odin's faithful servants:
- Brand - "sharp sword"; Vegeur is the "lance of the saints"; Webrand is the "holy sword"; Gunnar is a "battle sword"; Dyarvi is "brave"; Rörik is "mighty glory"; Sigwald is "victorious power"; Hjarti is "the lord of the sword"; Einar is a "warrior of happiness."
Female names of ancient Scandinavians
The names of the Vikings were also chosen by the father at the birth of the daughters. The girls were supposed to benefit the family. Women's beginning was honored by the ancient Scandinavians. Newborn girls could be christened as follows:
- Erna is "skilled, skillful"; Bjerg is the "guardian, protector"; Una is "pleased"; Bot is the "helper"; Guda is "good, kind"; Gerd ─ "home defender". However, a very militant father could give his daughter the name Hild, which meant "battle."
Of course, none of the parents of the Viking girls dreamed that the grown-up beauty would become a warrior and raided for the purpose of robbery. Therefore, women's names carried a completely different meaning. They could designate the parental hope for the happy life of their child or simply were chosen beautiful and harmonious:
- Frida is "beautiful, beloved"; Yolver is "happy"; Osk is "desirable"; Eydr is "glorious"; Dalla, Birta is "bright"; Loot is "bright".
Often, the women's names of Vikings could have a direct relationship to animals, which, they believed, were their patrons:
- Ryupa is a "mountain partridge"; Bera, Byrna is a "bear"; Khrefna is a crow; Maeva is a "seagull".
Quite often newborn girls were given names that are associated with God Frey:
- Reached to our times, the name Inga is "winter", which is popular among many Slavic peoples; Freudis is the "disya of Freya"; Ingeleev meant "heiress"; Ingimudra - literally "the hand of the goddess Freya"; 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 is "the defender of the weak, domestic hearth," Solveig is a "sunbeam" Svanveig is a "swan road", Una is a "sea wave", Helga meant "holy". The name Helga later acquired the form "Olga" from the Slavs.
The correspondence of some of the male vikin names to modern
- Manahagni, Manaedur ─ Alexander. The name comes from two words: "manna" is a person and "edur" is "protection, protect".
- Skuli, Hegni ─ Alex, which means "defender".
- Resci ─ Valery, "cheerful".
- Konunglegur ─ "royal", corresponds to the meaning of the name "Basil".
- Tiedwald consists of the words "own" and "people" ─ Vladimir.
- Siungur, Vakkin ─ Gregory.
- Ragnademul is "god" and "tried" ─ Daniel.
- Bondur ─ "farmer" ─ Egor.
- Hakon ─ "high-born" ─ Sergey.
- Сокнхейд corresponds to the name of Yaroslav.
In conclusion, we note that the Vikings gave great importance to the naming of children, especially the newborn boys. As a rule, each genus had a number of names, which called children as well as their ancestors. The boy received the name of the deceased senior member of the family or the elder brother who died in the battles, as well as the father. The Varangians believed that with the birth of the boys the dead soldiers were reborn in them. If there were several male children in the family, the oldest of them inevitably became the heir, besides, he received the name of the most famous and brave deceased relative in the male line.
In the ancient Vikings in families, everything was decided by the father. Therefore, the illegitimate child could receive the name of the famous ancestor in the family of his father, even with the presence of half-brothers, the lawful children of the head of the family. During the time of pagan faith, the head of the family had virtually no division into legal and illegal children. But with the advent of Christianity in the Scandinavian countries, only those who were born in an official marriage approved by the church were considered to be their own children.