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Offline Petrea

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Vikings in Spain!
« on: December 02, 2010, 18:50 PM »
Taking up Tp´s recent challenge:
Quote
Vikings made several raids on the Ib. Pen. - and even held Seville under siege for a couple of weeks - I humbly suggest we start a separate thread for 'em.
.

Here is at least part of the story about the siege of Sevilla:

In 844, after an unsuccessful attack on Lisbon, a group of vikings sailed up the Guadalquivir to Sevilla. In spite of the fact that the emir Abd al-Rahman II had been warned by the governor of Lisbon, he was taken by surprise. The city was taken without much resistance; most of the people had fled to Carmona or the mountains north of Sevilla.
The vikings  probably held Sevilla for a week, maybe as much as 13 days.

In the meadows along the river, the vikings found many horses, which they could use in their raids in the neighborhood.

The people in Córdoba were afraid that the vikings would come their way, so they gathered an army. Apparently, they managed to ambush a group of vikings, whom they slaughtered.

When the vikings in Sevilla heard about this, they went up to castillo de Azaguac (anyone know where that is?) in order to rescue some of their companions.
They then fled to Isla Menor in the middle of the river, where they stayed for 3 days. After that they raided Coria, but in the end they were seriously defeated in Tablada. The survivors were hanged in the palm trees!

A small group escaped and conquered Niebla. They had not lost courage, so they also tried a second attack on Lisbon on their way home!

"No hay mal que por bien no venga": some of the defeated vikings saved their lives by converting to Islam. They settled, breeding cattle and making cheese - so the area around Isla Menor is renouned for the excellent cheese! ; -)
In addition, diplomatic contacts were (maybe!) iniciated between the vikings and Abd al-Rahman II. But that´s another story!

Source:
Los Vikingos en la Península Ibérica, Fundación Reina Isabella de Dinamarca, 2004.
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Iberianature Forum

Vikings in Spain!
« on: December 02, 2010, 18:50 PM »

Offline nick

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2010, 13:29 PM »
Many thanks for that Petrea. Very interesting
Nick
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2010, 04:02 AM »
Greetings Petrea,
Recojo willingly el guante (En. anyone?) :dancing:

Falling back on one of me sources  :booklook: (the catalogue (ISBN 84-7664-335-7) of the excellent exhibition organised by Fundació "la Caixa", in collaboration with Statens Historiska Museet, Svenska Institutet, Volvo and SAS in 1991), we find that sources for the Viking expeditions to the Ib. Pen. are basically Christian and Muslim chronicles, neither of which are likely to be particularly reliable (although I have a gut-feeling that the latter are marginally more factual  :angel: ), especially as we know that to get here, following the so-called "Western route", the Vikings had already decimated the British Isles, laid siege to Paris in 885 with their "Great Army" - consisting of 700 ships & 28,000 men (and having previously destroyed it in 845, after 63 ships had sailed up the Loire to attack Nantes in 843) - and generally overrun France, on their way to the Byzantine Empire, via North Africa. I therefore find it hard to believe that they were rebuffed everywhere they stopped off at in Spain, which is the official Sp. version of what happened in 844 when 54 ships landed near Gijón and raided the estuary of Arosa - only to be "forced" to go further south by Ramir I of Asturias who had defeated them at A Coruña.

So, if forced to flee, which is in effect what we are led to believe, how come they then had the strength to immediately and successfully attack Lisbon and Cadíz, after which they then sailed up the Guadalquivir to sack Seville?

Likewise, Ragnar Lodbrok's son, Björn Ironside and chief Hasting led 62 ships round the Peninsula between 858 and 862, attacked Algeciras and Orihuela before crossing over to Nekor (Morocco) and going back to do their stuff in the Balearic Islands, spent a year devastating the Rhône Valley, sacking Arles and Nimes. And what about when, in 859, Hasting sailed up the Ebro, turned right and went up the Rivers Aragón and Arga, and took the King of Pamplona, García Íñiguez, prisoner? With the 70,000 gold dinars they got in ransom, they headed off for the Italian Peninsula. (To be continued.)

Basically what I'm getting at is that - as we have seen with the historical accounts of other contemporary events, such as Covadonga, which was actually little more than a local revolt, Muslim troops being more concerned with raiding France, but which was later exaggerated beyond all proportion as the start of a crusade, or Reconquista, or more recent events, such as the Invincible Armada  >:D - such accounts differ greatly and for differing reasons (often for religious motives, as in the case of the tale of both the Reconquista and the Armada) and the chronicles of the Vikings are one-sided 'cos they themselves didn't bother with keeping their diaries up to date which suited their victims as they didn't really want to go down in history as losers... But the Vikings basically got everything they axed for  :dancing: over the three centuries that they were being footloose and fancy-free all over Europe.

One particularly good example of this is the urban myth, originating in the Arab chronicler Ibn Fadlan's account, of the Vikings as being "the filthiest of Allah's creatures" when there is in fact little doubt as to their almost obsessive personal hygiene, with both men and women taking great care over their hair, moustache and/or beard, when worn. Likewise, the Old Germanic word for Saturday, lördag, = bath day. And one reason Vikings were said to be so popular among Englishwomen is precisely because of their cleanliness and care in dressing. It was the Spanish Arab Al Tartushi, who visited Hedeby in the 10th century, who commented on the fact that both men and women used eye make-up, with the result that "their beauty never fades; on the contrary, it increases in both men and women."

And-I-wanted-an-early-night :banghead: regs.,
Technopat

PS.
Here's a somewhat more colourful version from Google Books: Kendrick, T. D. A History of the Vikings
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 04:31 AM by Technopat »
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Offline Petrea

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2010, 09:26 AM »
Hi Technopat,

you´re probably right in the sense that the viking chiefs themselves did not keep diaries. However, they had their storytellers, as e.g. the extended sagas from Iceland demonstrates.

So why did they not settle in Al-Andaluz? Well, the arabs were also great warriers and very well organized, and the vikings knew that they would not have any success with their settlements if they did not find local friends they could trust. They were also tradesmen and their trade routes would not be stable in a purely hostile environment. Perhaps they did not find any such friends in the south? Then better take what they could get and run!

After all, they did settle to some extend on the north coast of Spain. Closer to Scandinavia of course, but perhaps it was more important that the arabs were not in charge there?

Saludos
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 09:34 AM by Petrea »
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Offline Petrea

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2010, 10:07 AM »
Now here´s one for Dave:

La cajita de San Isidoro

The Museo de la Colegiata de San Isidoro in León has got the only find of viking origin from the Iberian peninsula! (And I didn´t know yet, when I visited León in the spring of 2009!!!!!!  :banghead:  :banghead:  :banghead:  :banghead:)

It is a small cylindrical "cajita", diameter 33mm and 44 mm high, nicely carved out of an antler of a deer. It probably dates from the end of the 10th century, or the beginning of the 11th, in the transition time between the "Jelling" and "Mammen" style.

The black and white photo in my book is a bit blurred, so, Dave: is it possible that you could get us a better one? It will be the first on the internet, so it will bring eternal fame to this forum - and you! I don´t know if the museum allows photos, but if you explain that you have been entrusted with this important mission by numerous friends from many countries.........   :noidea:

Saludos
Petrea
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 10:08 AM by Petrea »
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Offline Dave

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2010, 12:32 PM »
Hi All
I will get onto it next week, its warmer than counting rooks
Regards
Dave

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2010, 12:40 PM »
Hi All just found this on the web
http://www.sanisidorodeleon.net/visita_tesoro_eng.htm#
Regards
Dave

Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2010, 14:16 PM »
Greetings All,
Great response!  :sign:

Just one thing puzzles me, however:
Quote
you´re probably right
 :o  ??? :speechless:

I'd just like to point out that we Full Shroomies get to get where we are by ALWAYS being right, except in my case, when it comes to correctly IDing species of the animal, plant or fungi kingdoms, in which case most Full Shroomies - and even Sr. & Hero Members - have the edge over me (Sp. anyone?)

Regarding that snapshot of San Isidoro's box, most places are tolerant of mobile phones being used as cameras - without flash, of course. But I always ask, just in case. Not that I've ever seen museum staff confiscate a camera and rip out the film (memory stick?).

As for
Quote
trade routes would not be stable in a purely hostile environment
, Our Heroes traded extensively with the Arab world (to such an extend that I seem to remember reading that most of the things that have been excavated at Scandinavian burial grounds are of Arab origin or based on Arab design). Mind you, given their reputation, "trading" might be a euphemism  :dancing:

Likewise, their ships had shallow draughts, i.e. ideally suited for going up rivers/estuaries and coasting. This very relevant fact means that in order to have rounded the Ib. Pen. to get to the Med., they needed to stop off - probably sleeping on shore - every night.

As Petrea ever-so-subtly points out, women were held in high esteem and enjoyed many rights, including those of demanding divorce - and establishing the terms. Likewise, and possibly deriving from the frequent absences of hubbie, they had absolute control of the household and the running of the farm - the symbol of which was the keys which were carried ostentatiously for all to see, hanging from a belt. There was, however, a clear distinction between wives, of which there could be more than one per household, and concubines, and slaves, of which there could be several. I suspect, however, that the rights mentioned were probably only for married women.

As for yer mindless stats., while not a student of genealogy/genetics or whatever is the relevant field, it has always struck me that the north of Spain - Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia, especially - does have what I consider a surprising number of blue-eyed blondes, which in the case of Galicia, is also weird, given the Celtic Connection.

Will-try-to-get-round-to-Part-II-over-the-weekend-while-Mrs-TP-is-stuck-in-Brussels-'cos-of-the-effing-Spanish-air-controllers-"strike" regs.,
Technopat
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 15:43 PM by Technopat »
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2010, 14:48 PM »
PS.
Regarding the cajita, the close up of Dave's link shows that it is bottomless... and the "top" looks as if it's fixed with studs/nails. Any other ideas?  :noidea:
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 14:50 PM by Technopat »
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2010, 15:12 PM »
Greetings Petrea,
Re. yer
Quote
No hay mal que por bien no venga
,

Every cloud has a silver lining... :sign:

Technopat
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Offline Petrea

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2010, 15:44 PM »
Blimey, so the cajita was in the internet after all!    :o   Sorry for promising too much, Dave.   :'(  Nice photo!  :)

The cajita is closed at the ends by metal plates, decorated in the same way as the rest. The bottom is fixed (as we can see in the photo), while the top lid could be opened and closed.

Now as for the trade routes I mentioned: I was thinking of the trade between different viking settlements (including the home lands). If you are a small group far away in enemy territory, you may have serious communication problems.

Saludos
Petrea
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2010, 23:31 PM »
Greetings Petrea and All,
Re. yer
Quote
The bottom is fixed (as we can see in the photo), while the top lid could be opened and closed.
, are we looking at the same pretty pic?  :speechless:

Assuming that it is indeed a "cajita", :technodevil: what would it have been used for? Probably something valuable, to warrant the amount of work the craftsperson obviously went into. Snuff? Nah, unless it were lined with some sort of material like velvet or leather, anything remotely powdery would fall out of the holes. Pills? Nah, it wouldn't keep 'em dry. Locks of hair (Sp. anyone?) from the kiddies back home...?

The upshot is that we have, in my not-so-humble-opinion, an unidentified object - purportedly a "little box" 33mm in diameter and 44 mm high (that's just two inches, you lot) - and we really do need Our Man in León, Dave, to mosey on down to the Museo to have a gander at it (Sp. anyone?). As he rightly points out, it's "warmer than counting rooks" - and if he can certify that - in his considered opinion, based on his down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach to life - that it is indeed a "cajita", that's more than enough for me :dancing:

As-so-often-the-case-on-tenterhooks-in-Madrid regs.,
TP
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Offline Petrea

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2010, 00:27 AM »
The cajita is placed upside down in the photo!

By the way: apparently, nobody knows how it ended up in León.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 00:38 AM by Petrea »
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2010, 00:39 AM »
Greetings All,
As Mrs TP is now headed back Madrid-wards on a train and won't need want to be picked up at the station until 9am on the morrow, and I've dropped the Technopatlets off in the village, am now able to devote the intervening time to Part II of Fundació "la Caixa"'s catalogue. In Part I, we left our Danish hero, Hasting, who would, by the way, in 892 - that is, 30 years later - lead the second wave, consisting of 80 ships, of an attack against our 'Arold (later named "the Great"), having sacked the Ib. Pen., heading off to sack the Italian Pen.

As the It. Pen. is going a bit off-topic, we'll leave out Hasting's exploits there - which included devastating the coasts of the Aegean - and concentrate instead on his return through the Straits of Gib. OK, so Abd al-Rahman II,  the Emir and Caliph of Córdoba, who just happened to be the most powerful prince of al-Andalus, i.e. the Ib. Pen., had ordered the construction of a specific fleet to destroy the "madjus" - "mad" as in "berserk"? - and his successor, Muhammed I, surprised the returning Viking fleet in the Straits, destroying part of the fleet. Much of the remainder was destroyed by a storm, although Hasting was able to return to the Loire with a significant part of his booty.

Almost a century later, in the second half of the 10th century, the Vikings returned to attack Lisbon (966) and Santiago de Compostela (968), and Andalucía (971). And they returned to pillage Compostela again in 979.

In short, many specific visits on specific dates. And little mention of what went down in between.  :dancing:

Too-many-gaps-in-the-story-for-my-liking-but-plenty-of-room-for-further-research regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2010, 01:16 AM »
PS.
Surely they had to stop off somewhere to refuel occasionally...
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2010, 02:02 AM »
Greetings All,
And while on the subject of dispelling myths regarding Our Heroes, and only going slightly off-topic, yet another popular urban legend is that so little documentation exists 'cos the Vikings were illiterate and could only write using primitive runic characters "written" in stone - actually, the Roman letters were designed for use in stone, whereas the Viking runes were designed for use in wood, although many of those which have survived have logically been on rune stones. Sigh!  :banghead: Runes were never used on paper or vellum, or for literary texts, but for inscriptions, commemorations and invocations and usually placed where as many people as possible could read them, i.e. at crossroads.

And then there's the Landnámabók manuscript - written on skin - a sort of Domesday Book detailing the earliest settlers on Iceland from 874 onwards (although the island had been discovered in 860).

Other interesting sources include:
The Árni Magnússon Manuscript Collection

And another oft-quoted gillipo piece of nonsense is the origin of the name Vinland. The sagas refer to the place and Adam of Bremen assumed that it meant "land of wine", especially as they had discovered a spot with wild vines growing in abundance, and which, according to Adam, "give the best wine". If our Adam had been a student of Thomas Hobbes, he'd have learnt not to jump to conclusions, and on investigating would have been interested to learn that Vinland means "Land of Meadows". That said, the following paper seems to knock that one on the head: Haugen, Einar Was Vinland in Newfoundland? Haugen (1906-1994) was Professor emeritus of Scandinavian Studies, Harvard University.

Only-slightly-off-topic-but-necessary-so-in-the-interest-of-contextualising regs.,
Technopat
« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 02:13 AM by Technopat »
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2010, 21:20 PM »
Greetings All,
Since time immemorial, Spain has been targeted by visiting heathens from the North - véase Torremolinos, Benidorm, las Islas Canarias y Baleares - and I had forgotten to mention that because of their frequent visits to these lands, and especially Galicia, the Vikings felt so much at home there that they even referred to it as Jakobsland - Tierra de Santiago (St Jack to his friends) - I was reminded of it by a link to a book in Spanish that I happened to come across this afternoon while looking for Petrea's "Castillo de Azaguac":
Velasco, Manuel Breve historia de los vikingos Ediciones Nowtilus S.L. (2005) at Google Books It gives some local colour, and, if nothing else, it's useful for comparing the names of the different actors in Spanish and English :booklook:

Likewise, regarding their need to beach the ships on a daily basis and the fact that the Ib. Pen. coastline is very long, to strandhugg means to pop in at the beach and get provisions - a term Swedes still use when picnicking on the beach. :dancing:

Personally-I-reckon-that-Azaguac-is-a-typo-'cos-that-final-c-in-there-looks-weird regs.,
Technopat
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Offline Petrea

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Re: Vikings in Spain!
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2010, 19:44 PM »
Greetings all viking fans!

Time for next part of the story:

There is ample evidence for the viking raids in Spain. But did they settle anywhere?

The absence of archaeological evidence for the presence of the vikings in Spain is striking. We have to look for more indirect clues.
The arabs believed that the vikings attacking Sevilla came from bases on the north coast of Spain. Muhammad I had ships constructed in Cordoba, Sevilla and in other places where wood was available. He sent them towards Galicia in order to destroy the viking bases. However, all his ships were wrecked during a storm (866). Can´t help wondering what would have happened, if that storm had not been!  ???

Such bases could have been near Baiona or Busturia

The name of the town of Mundaka is of Danish origin:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mundaka
Mund = mouth = boca, here of the river.

Perhaps the most striking evidence is the strong resemblance between the fishing boats of Cantabria in the Middle Ages and the viking ships. Some nautical term have also remained in the languages (see picture).

And the viking raid of Pamplona in 859, where they captured king García Íñiguez and collected a huge ransom! Could they have ventured this withhout a safe base?

Saludos
Petrea



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