What was the cultural background of Burgundians?

What was the cultural background of Burgundians?

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In the Middle Ages there was a big country in Europe between France and German kingdoms, Burgundy. What language did they speak there? Were they more German or French in origin?

The Burgundians were originally a Germanic tribe that settled the area that became known as Burgundy. Because it was so deeply in the heart of "French" territory, it adopted the French language and culture as soon as the Franks started pushing back the Saxons under King Charles Martel, and his grandson, Charlemagne. After the death of the latter, it represented the middle of the three "Frankish" kingdoms. Thereafter, it maintained ties to France, with their rulers typically being cousins or in-laws of French kings.

The two countries' paths threatened to diverge during the 100 Years' war when Philip, the Duke of Burgundy married the heiress to Flanders, which had rebelled against France, and was allied with England. During the rest of the war, Burgundy's allegiances flipped back and forth, largely depending on who was winning.

Even so, friction between Burgundy and France continued, especially when their respective kings died, and their heirs, Charles the Bold and Louis XI took over. In 1477, Charles the Bold rashly went to war against the Swiss over Alsace-Lorraine and lost his life, while the French continued to gobble up Burgundy proper, town by town. His daughter and heiress, Marie, married Maximilian I of Austria, and managed to carry the "Netherlands" (including modern day Belgium) into the Hapsburg empire, but Burgundy proper was lost to the French in the ensuing chaos.

Burgundian and Franc-Comtois dialects of the langues d'oïl was certainly spoken by a vast proportion of subjects. Some form of Flemish (which was called Diets at the time) was spoken in the Low Countries as well. Burgundy eventually split into Belgium, the Netherlands, and France with the core of Burgundy remaining in France.

Cultural History of India

India has a rich cultural history and continues to preserve it beautifully. India has accepted gracefully the good qualities of different religions which led to the rise of many different cultures in this mystical sub-continent. Different rulers and empires came here and ruled and left behind a rich legacy of their cultural heritage. The Indian cultural history is very rich and has carved a niche of its own. It continues to inspire other cultures of the world. Every state in India has a culture of its own and even then they all stand unified and form one single culture of India. Read about the cultural history of India.

Many religions took birth India like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc. These religions influenced not just our country but nations all over the world. With Islamic rule in India, Islam became one of the religions in India. Ancient architectural specimens and monuments of India stand testimony to the confluence of different religions in India. The Hindus and Muslims took inspiration from each other and formed new architectural styles like rounded domes and construction of pillars.

Art developed right from the Stone Age when early man used to draw animal figures and paint them in caves. This developed to a much more refined formed of painting as time went by like decorating the front porch of the house. This custom is still followed in modern India in many homes in the southern regions. Music and dance developed from a crude form to a beautiful refined form and took the form of present classical music and dance forms like Carnatic, Hindustani, Kathak, Bharatanatyam, etc. With the development of regions and states, they developed their own folk dances that were exclusive to one particular region.

There was great advancement in literature since ancient times. India has been the birth land of great thinkers, philosophers and scholars. This is evident in great literary works like Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. which are considered no less than holy epics. With time, languages developed and many great literary masterpieces and plays were written like Shakuntalam, Shilpadhikaram, etc. With the culmination of different religions, different cuisines came into the limelight that are now considered to be the traditional food of India. The culture of India is truly the blend of some of the best cultures of this world and is one of those very few cultures that are surviving since ancient times.

A Little Durag History

One of the earliest published records of the durag was in the June 1966 Akron Beacon Journal, then spelled "Do Rag". There, it was described as "a cloth band worn around the forehead as a sweatband to keep hair in place". They had evolved from the 19th-century when slave women used head wraps to keep their hair up and out of the way during labor. Companies like So Many Waves were credited for selling their version of the durag in the late 1970s, calling theirs the "Tie-down." It became a necessary tool for Black men, used to train their curl patterns or to lock down hairstyles during sleep. The durag remained exclusively functional until the 1990s, when it started to become a symbol of inner-city Black culture. Years before the fashion industry took notice, it had become fashionable in the streets. The durag transitioned from a haircare item into a legit style accessory, most notably popularized by hip-hop and reflected on the heads of men and boys throughout the country.

What Is the Meaning of Cultural Background?

Cultural background constitutes the ethnic, religious, racial, gender, linguistic or other socioeconomic factors and values that shape an individual’s upbringing. A cultural background can be shaped at the family, societal or organizational level. Examples of different cultural groups include Vietnamese, English, African American and Irish Catholic. Cultural background is an important way to define an individual’s identity.

People of different cultural backgrounds often have to interact with each other. These interactions may lead to strong relationships that help build diverse communities capable of achieving substantial goals. For instance, it may be necessary to work effectively with people from divergent races or with those who speak a different language to promote economic development and health care within a community or secure a good education for children.

While it is important to learn about the cultures of other people to succeed in working together, one must first understand his own culture before he can appreciate any other. This understanding starts with recognition of the values, customs and world views passed down from grandparents or parents or those acquired from personal experiences while growing up in a given society. One can learn about culture by meeting people of other cultures, evaluating any biases towards other cultures, asking questions and reading.

Ethiopia — History and Culture

Ethiopia is one of the most heavily populated countries in Africa. Needless to say, it also has one of the richest cultures in the entire continent, and is mostly untouched by foreigners thanks to a long history of independence, broken only by a five-year occupation by the Italians. Amhara was the dominant ethnic group during the pre-war days, followed by Tigreans. Some degree of influence from neighboring countries like Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, and India, as well as its old Italian dwellers can still be seen in local music, religion and cuisine.


The earliest recorded history of the country can be traced back to the 8th century BC during which Ethiopia was part of the ancient D’mt Kingdom, which ruled over present day Northern Eritrea and Ethiopia. The 4th century BC saw the Aksumite Empire take over to reunite the independent kingdoms in the region. Evidence of early history are abundant in ancient towns like Yeha near Aksum, where old temples and ruins offer a glimpse into the pre-Aksumite civilization.

It was not until the 16th century when the territory made real contact with the Europeans. A relationship with the Portuguese was established, which proved beneficial during the Ethiopian-Adal War to provide munitions and soldiers to the local forces. The empire’s conversion to Catholicism led to years of blood-spattered revolt, which lead to the expulsion of Jesuit missionaries and the Europeans from the territory. Religion reverted back to Orthodox Christianity and it was during this time when many of the country’s historical and religious marvels were built, such as the Old Cathedral of St Mary of Zion, the Fasilides Castle and the Fasil Ghebbi Fortifications.

Modern Ethiopia began to rise as Emperor Tewodros II assumed the throne in 1855. During the second half of the century, Ethiopian troops maintained freedom by fighting off Turkish and Egyptian invaders who threatened their independence. The country eventually allied with both Turkey, Egypt, and Britain to combat the Sudanese in what was historically known as the Mahdist War.

The Italian occupation happened during the chaos of WWII, but Ethiopians didn’t have a hard time regaining power. The Italian rule lasted only five years, thanks to the leadership of Emperor Haile Selassie II, who oversaw the fight for liberation and outlawed slavery. Despite being one of the countries with the longest history of independence, Ethiopia remains plagued by food shortages, poverty and squabbles with neighboring countries, no thanks to the Dark Age brought about by the communistic Mengitsu Era, which marred their past with wars, state-sponsored genocide and famine.

The communist era ended in 1991, coinciding with the disintegration of communism throughout the entire world. Ethiopia established a new constitution in 1994 following the revolution, though its political situation remains relatively unstable due to continual conflicts with neighboring Eritrea.


Ethiopians have one of the richest, most well-preserved cultures in the world, with very little influence from other countries. Locals have a strong identity, passing on legends and customs from one generation to the next.

Christianity is the predominant religion, followed by Islam and other traditional animist beliefs. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea were among the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity. Up to 62 percent of the population is Christian, while 30-35 percent is Muslim. The remaining 4-5 percent follows traditional religions.

Ethiopian music is extremely diverse and modern influences come from folk music from all over the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia. Religious music has distinct Christian elements, while secular tunes in the highlands are played by wandering musicians known as azmaris. Some of the traditional instruments include the chordophone (a string instrument that resembles a lute and lyre, played with a bows), aerophones (bamboo flutes), idophones (used for liturgical music), and membranophones (hand drums).

Hand woven fabrics (often decorated with intricate patterns) are used to create elegant garments. Traditional garb includes pants and knee-length shirts with a white collar, a sweater for men and shawls to cover the women’s hair. Locally made jewelry is stunning, particularly the silver and gold necklaces, which are often worn on the arms and feet. Traditional clothes are often seen during religious ceremonies, weddings and other special occasions.

Ethiopian cuisine is also one of the most distinct in Africa, known for its unique flavors and use of local ingredients. Some of the most popular entrees include injera and wat. Traditional Ethiopian cooking does not use pork or seafood (except for fish), as most of the population adheres to Ethiopian Orthodox, Islam and Jewish faith, all of which disallow consumption of pork.


During the 1920s, some freedoms were expanded while others were curtailed. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1919, had banned the manufacture and sale of “intoxicating liquors,” and at 12 A.M. on January 16, 1920, the federal Volstead Act closed every tavern, bar and saloon in the United States. From then on, it was illegal to sell any “intoxication beverages” with more than 0.5% alcohol. This drove the liquor trade underground–now, people simply went to nominally illegal speakeasies instead of ordinary bars–where it was controlled by bootleggers, racketeers and other organized-crime figures such as Chicago gangster Al Capone. (Capone reportedly had 1,000 gunmen and half of Chicago’s police force on his payroll.)

To many middle-class white Americans, Prohibition was a way to assert some control over the unruly immigrant masses who crowded the nation’s cities. For instance, to the so-called 𠇍rys,” beer was known as “Kaiser brew.” Drinking was a symbol of all they disliked about the modern city, and eliminating alcohol would, they believed, turn back the clock to an earlier and more comfortable time.

Cultural Traditions in Dance & Dress: A Brief History of Egyptian Folklore Dancing

Almost every country in the world has its own national dance and dress, passed down through generations, encapsulating the very essence of what makes each culture unique. Most countries even have a variety of different folkloric dances that represent the nuanced differences of the various regions of the country.

That being said, Egypt’s traditional folklore dance and dress is both fascinating and entertaining, perfectly capturing the country’s rich culture. Although folklore dancing may not necessarily be widely recognized or alive to this day – rather bellydancing takes the lead as a recognized national dance – it is still practiced, performed and celebrated on a smaller scale.

There was a time however, during the mid-to-late 20th century, when Egypt’s folklore dancing was both highly regarded and widely recognized this is in large part due to the wonderful Reda Troupe, which will be a point of focus later on in the article.

Before we explore Egypt’s folklore dance and dress further, and how this artistic form of expression is integral to the maintaining of a society’s traditions and culture, we will take a look at a brief history of dance in Egypt.

Dancing in Ancient Egypt

The traditions of dancing in Egypt date all the way back to ancient times, as many wall paintings have been found depicting various types of dances carried out in ancient Egypt.

What is known about dancing in ancient Egypt thus far is the fact that women and men have not been depicted dancing together, but rather each gender would dance separately. Women are mostly depicted dancing either alone, in pairs or in a group and they seem to have also had a specific kind of dress for dancing.

Dancers would usually wear skirts and occasionally a transparent robe they would also adorn themselves with ribbons, bracelets and garlands.

According to an article published on Ancient History Encyclopedia, “Music and dance were highly valued in ancient Egyptian culture, but they were more important than is generally thought: they were integral to creation and communion with the gods and, further, were the human response to the gift of life and all the experiences of the human condition.”

Nubian dances are colorful and upbeat, with men and woman mostly standing straight and moving their feet to the beat – it doesn’t involve much footwork. Saidi dances are perhaps the most well known, most especially the Tahtib (stick dance) performances. Tahtib is mainly performed by men and it involves the use of sticks in a choreographed dance style that fuses fighting techniques as well. The Western Desert region is known for its amusing Haggalah dance, which mainly involves fast and controlled hip movements performed by female dancers.

When it comes to folklore traditional dress, most of the regions dress somewhat similarly, with men often donning galabeyas (long dress-like garments) and women also wearing galabeyas that are more fitted and colorful. Men’s galabeyas are usually loose, plain and found in a range of darker or neutral colors such as beige, brown and navy, whereas women’s galabeyas are more fitted, vibrantly colored and could also consist of various patterns.

Women also adorn themselves with various accessories such as scarves wrapped around their waists, scarves wrapped around their heads, as well as bracelets and anklets. These accessories vary from one region to the other.

The Reda Troupe: Reigniting Egyptian Folklore Dance

It wasn’t until the late 1950s when a bright light was shown on traditional Egyptian folklore dance, all thanks to the Reda Troupe which performed publicly for the first time in 1959.

The Reda Troupe was established by the Reda and Fahmy family, both artistically inclined and passionate about the arts, dance and preserving their culture.

Mahmoud Reda and Farida Fahmy, both of whom married each other’s siblings, were the troupe’s two main members. Reda was the lead male dancer and choreographer, while Fahmy was also the troupe’s lead female dancer.

Through years of travel, research and experience, together they were able to manifest the various magnificent traditional dances of Egypt into wonderful show-stopping performances these intricately designed performances garnered so much success and attention that the troupe found themselves performing alongside the likes of Abdelhalim Hafez and Um Kulthoum.

One can also watch the troupe’s mesmerizing performances on screen through cinema classics such as Agazeit Nos el Sana (Mid-Year Break – 1962) and Gharam Fel Karnak (Love at Karnak – 1965), which showcase the dancers’ wonderful abilities through song, dance and dress.

Although the Reda Troupe rose to great popularity, the troupe slowly began to demise towards the late 1970s and early 1980s, after which both Reda and Fahmy ended their careers as dancers and there was no one left to take over their legacy.

Where Does Folklore Dance Stand Now?

“I am writing this postscript not with anger but with a heart that is filled with disappointment and sorrow. The glorious years spent in hard and passionate work by Mahmoud Reda and his co-founders pioneering the first and most popular theater dance group in Egypt and the Arab World have now disappeared,” reads a powerful postscript written by Fahmy on her website in 2015.

Following the Reda Troupe, Egyptian folklore dance slowly lost its appeal and although a national folklore troupe exists, minimal funding and a lack of public interest has left little to no spark for its dancers.

According to a 2010 interview in Ahram Online with Reda, the late folklore dancer and choreographer says, “management, and especially the ministry, prefers opera… the salary of a lead folk art dancer is only LE200-300 a month, while the salary of a junior ballet dancer is around LE2,000 a month. Folk art will only regain its success when there is a ministry that appreciates it.”

Seeing as how folklore dance is not really deemed as a necessary preservation of culture, it is no wonder that both performers and audiences alike have lost interest. One of the few places however, in which one can still enjoy a folklore performance akin to that of the Reda Troupe is at The American University in Cairo (AUC).

AUC has a traditional folklore dance troupe that still exists, practices, and performs to this day. Most of the dances, songs and dress are almost the same as that of the Reda Troupe as the AUC’s troupe’s main choreographer from when it was first established years ago was originally a member of the Reda Troupe.

Although, it it a wonderful thing that one can still enjoy Reda-style folklore performances at places such as AUC – not to mention that one can travel across the country to actually experience the more traditional forms first-hand in each of their specific regions – since the Reda Troupe, there has been neither much interest nor innovation when it comes to folklore dance.

That being said however, perhaps with time, one will re-discover the wonderful treasures folklore dance and dress withholds, enough to want to revive life into it once again.

*Featured image depicts Mahmoud Reda and Farida Fahmy of the Reda Troupe. Image source unknown.

Real Talk . Understanding the Content of Reality TV

Reality TV covers a broad spectrum of topics, from quiz game shows to singing competitions. Culture, therefore, plays a large role in the kinds of reality shows that each country chooses to show. For an understanding of the types of reality shows each country displays, here’s a brief background on Australian and Indian culture. The diverse cultures and histories of these countries interested me into understanding what makes the content of their reality shows so different and provide a better way to understand them when comparing them.

Language: No official language, but English is most widely spoken

Location: Sits between the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean

Education: 99% Literacy Rate

History: Australia is the only country that is also its own continent. Add to that, it is also an island. It began as an island inhabited by all aboriginal people speaking over 250 languages. These diverse people lived all over the island, from the snow capped mountains to the outback. In the late 1700s into the early 1800s, British settlers began invading the island and exploiting the aboriginal people. In 1850, gold was discovered on the island, attracting even more British and Chinese settlers to the island. By 1901, Australia was established as a single nation under the reign of Britain. Following the Second World War, Australia began to grow more independent and tried to pull away from Britain, resulting in a massive change to their political, economic and social atmosphere. Today, Australia continues to pull away from Britain and operate on its own political system.

Culture: Australian culture is heavily immersed in the arts, sport and humor. It is similar to the Western style of culture, with a heavier outlook on individualism and self-indulgence. Australia is a highly diverse land, with multiple languages always being spoken and many ethnicities present on the island.

Below is a video highlighting some of Australia’s beautiful cultural elements.

Language: Hindi and English

Location: South Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea

History: The history of India begins 75,000,000 years ago, with some of the first signs of modern human life. The Indus Valley was one of the first major civilizations in Southern Asia. A technologically advanced civilization grew out of this area, and saw the teaching of Gautama Buddha. Over a period of time, different parts of India were ruled by various Middle Kingdoms, and in time saw the resurgence of Hinduism in what is known as the “Golden Age of India.” Following this, India went through a period of wars over religion and ownership of land, but out of this, came a shining period of a mathematically advanced nation. Large areas of India were taken over by Britain in the 1700s and 1800s during the trade exploitation of the British East India Trading Company. In 1947, India finally gained independence from Britain and divided into India and Pakistan. India’s history is characterized by a constant reforming of structures and adaptations due to outside influences in the political and economic sphere.

Culture: India is the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism. It has seen the over ruling power of various kingdoms and therefore it’s culture reflects this diversity. Indian culture is filled with vibrant festivals and arts. There is an absolute respect for marriage and an emphasis on collectivism within society. Food, sport and dance also play an integral role in Indian history and culture. Hard work is a key element to success within the country.

Below is a video highlighting some of India’s beautiful cultural elements.


The Burgundian kingdom is one of the early Germanic kingdoms that existed within the Roman Empire. In the late fifth and early sixth centuries, the Burgundian kings Gundobad and Sigismund compiled and codified laws to govern the members of their Barbarian tribe, as well as Romans living amongst them. Those laws governing the Burgundians themselves are called collectively the Lex Burgundionum, while the laws governing the Romans are known collectively as the Lex Romana Burgundionum. Both are extant. The laws codified in the Burgundian Code reflect the earliest fusion of German tribal culture with the Roman system of government. [1] It promoted and helped maintain harmonious relations between such widely different people who had been previous enemies. More devotion has been given to other Germanic tribes of this time and little is known about the culture and way of life of the Burgundians beyond what can be inferred from their legal code. Dr. Katherine Fischer Drew claims that it is the most influential of all barbarian law codes because of its survival, even after Frankish conquest, until the ninth century. [2]

The Romans consistently allied themselves with certain barbarian groups outside the Empire, playing them out against rival barbarian tribes as a policy of divide and rule, the barbarian allies being known as foederati. Sometimes these groups were allowed to live within the Empire. Barbarians could also be settled within the Empire as dediticii or laeti. The Romans could henceforth rely on these groups for military support or even as legionary recruits. [3] One such group were the Burgundians, whom the Roman Emperor Honorius in 406 had invited to join the Roman Empire as foederati with a capital at Worms . [4] The Burgundians were soon defeated by the Huns, but once again given land near Lake Geneva for Gundioc (r. 443-474) to establish a second federate kingdom within the Roman Empire in 443. This alliance was a contractual agreement between the two peoples. Gundioc’s people were given one-third of Roman slaves and two-thirds of the land within Roman territory. [5] The Burgundians were allowed to establish an independent federate kingdom within the Empire and received the nominal protection of Rome for their agreement to defend their territories from other outsiders. [6] This contractual relationship between the guests, Burgundians, and hosts, Romans, supposedly provided legal and social equality. However, Drew argues that the property rights and social status of the guests may have given them disproportionate leverage over their hosts. [5] More recently, Henry Sumner Maine argues that the Burgundians exercised "tribe-sovereignty" rather than complete territorial sovereignty.

Gundioc’s son, Gundobad (r. 474-516), began commission for his kingdom’s legal codification in 483, which his son and successor, Sigismund (r. 516-532) completed. The laws deal mostly with inheritance and monetary compensation for physical injury. The earlier work, antiquae, and the later additions, novellae, together make the whole Burgundian Code. [7] The Franks began attacking the Burgundians in 523 and completely defeated them by 534, when Sigismund’s brother, Godomar (r. 532-534), fled and left the kingdom to be divided amongst Frankish rulers. However, the Franks kept Burgundian law in practice. [8]

Legendary and EarlyKings of Scandinavia

This page supplements The Kings of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, 588 AD-Present with diagrams of the earliest kings, with some of their legendary and mythic progenitors. When that link is used, a new browser window will open for the page. If one of the windows is reduced in size and positioned conveniently, the diagrams here can be compared with the tables there.

The information here is derived from the Royal Families of Medieval Scandinavia, Flanders, and Kiev by Rupert Alen and Anna Marie Dahlquist [Kings River Publications, Kingsburg, California, 1997], The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens by Mike Ashley [Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., New York, 1998, 1999], the large genealogical chart, Kings & Queens of Europe , compiled by Anne Tauté [University of North Carolina Press, 1989], and Kingdoms of Europe , by Gene Gurney [Crown Publishers, New York, 1982]. These sources are not consistent, and choices and compromises have been made, especially to simply get a coherent picture of some things, which is actually not always possible. Thus, neither of the two sets of dates for Ragnar Lodbrok (750-794 or 860-865), King of Denmark and Sweden, works if he is the Viking chief who sacked Paris in 845 and treated with Charles the Bald. If he was, then, actually, all we have to do is split the difference, more or less!

Royal Families of Medieval Scandinavia, Flanders, and Kiev does not begin very early in the chronology and so avoids some of the issues with the legendary kings. The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens gives a bare genealogy that goes from Halfdan to Helgi to Yrsa to Eystein. (The original, bare genealogy is shown in the table for the Kings of Dublin.) This skips over information such as that Yrsa was both the daughter and the wife of Helgi (or even a woman), conceiving with him the hero Hrolf Kraki, who is not listed in the genealogy at all. This is perhaps the high point of a legendary period that we may be perceiving through the most distorted of lenses, and there are many versions of the story, and of the names, from different, and of course much later, sources. The dates are entirely conjectural and inconsistent between the sources. We suspect that where there is smoke there must be fire, but we are nevertheless very far from a real historical picture of these people.

While writing exists in the Scandinavian countries for the entire period covered below (and eventually across a broad swath of Europe from Britain all the way to the Ukraine), namely the system of Runes, as shown at left, it ends up being of limited value for historical information. Objects and small monuments are inscribed with names and some references to events and transactions, but we do not find great monumental historical inscriptions like that of Ramesses II about the battle of Qadesh or like that of Darius at Behistun about his rise to power, much less texts on practical media that tell us much about ongoing developments. As Christianity crept into the region, bringing the Latin alphabet with it, full texts began to be written, preserving Sagas and instituting chronicles. One gets the impression that Runes were regarded as somewhat more magical than utilitarian, which is pretty much the way they were later remembered. Or the more practical media of utilitarian inscriptions may simply have decayed in the damp climates. Nevertheless, Runic inscriptions continue throughout the Middle Ages in Scandinavia for the traditional epigraphic and magical purposes.

The descent of the earliest kings is reckoned all the way back to Odin (Wotan, Woden -- hence "Wednesday"). This may be a dimly remembered historical person, but the fact that other Germans, like the Saxons who invaded Britain, also reckoned their descent from Odin may indicate that this is a mythic device and that Odin indeed is understood as the Odin, the king of the gods. That full genealogy is not shown here (it is in Ashley, p.209). Instead, I pick it up where the Danish line divides, with one branch picking up kings of Sweden, who otherwise seem to have a separate descent from Odin for earlier kings. These early, mythic kings are the Ynglings , which end in Sweden with Ingjald Illrade. Ingjald is succeeded either by Ivar Vidfamne or Olaf Tretelgia (or Tretelia), who is also said to have fled Sweden and founded the royal line of Norway. Ivar is also reckoned as a king of Denmark, but the coordination between the two lines is not always clear. Much the same can be said for subsequent kings down to Ragnar Lodbrok. Fortunately, the sons of Ragnar are supposed to have divided his inheritance, and this begins to get us on more secure historical ground (which means that the 9th century rather than the 8th century dates for Ragnar are probably more like it). Especially noteworthy is the line of descent that involves rulers of York (Saxon Northumbria Eboracum in Latin, Eoforwic in Old English, and Jórvik in Norse), the Isle of Man, and Dublin -- note that the genealogy shown here is a bit different from that presented in the separate treatment of Dublin. Thus we are well into the period when Viking raiders are spread all over Western Europe, and Eastern as well (Randver Radbartsson is supposed to have been fathered by a Russian, i.e. a Norseman in Russia, a Varangian). This diagram continues with the Swedish kings, who, however, as described by Alen and Dahlquist, do not necessarily continue the same line of descent. This is a little more organized than we get with Denmark, but it may well indicate that kings are ruling simultaneously and that the legendary genealogy is in fact a mythic construction. Erik I thus may indeed precede Erik II, even though the dates here have him later in the 9th century. With Erik VI, however, we get into more historically secured material, which is where Tauté begins her diagram.

With the continuation of Swedish kings, there are just a few uncertainties. We are missing the name of Stenkil's wife, the daughter of King Edmund III. After Stenkil's death, there is some trouble, and two usurpers became sufficiently established, or remembered, that they get numbered as Erik VII and Erik VIII. One of these may be a king listed in other places as "Erik Arsaell," but there is no discussion of this name where I might expect it, in Alen and Dahlquist. Another uncertainty is whether King Blot-Sven was or was not married to a daughter of Stenkil. And then there is the question whether Sverker I was or was not descended from Blot-Sven. Alen and Dahlquist show that he was Tauté does not show it. Some sources show rather different dates for Halsten and Inge I, and Inge II may also have been reigning simultaneously with Filip. Tauté does not list Magnus Nielsson at all, and Alen and Dahlquist have Inge II dying in 1125 on one page and living until 1130 on another. After they are all out of the way, we get rival lines, the "Sverkerska" and "Erikska" dynasties, between whom the Throne swaps back and forth, often violently, for a century. The execution of a number of heirs prepared the way for both male lines to die out, and the Throne passes to the sons of Birger Jarl, beginning the "Folkung" dynasty. From there, the genealogy of Sweden is continued on The Kings of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden page.

The diagram for the kings of Denmark begins with some of the same figures given for Sweden above. Here we get another phenomenon. From various sources we known of several kings who do not fit into the legendary succession or genealogy. While these figures can be found given authentic looking dates and listed in succession, the impression persists that most of them were in fact ruling simultaneously. If sufficient time had elapsed, they all either would have been dropped from memory or worked up into a seamless legendary picture. As it happened, history was fast approaching and a jumble is what we get. Denmark was not a unified kingdom, much as we get that sense from the earlier legendary material. It was probably much like contemporary and adjacent Saxony, which consisted of three major tribes (Westphalians, Angarii, and Eastphalians) and two minor ones (Wihmuodi and Nordalbingi). The chief of the Westphalians, Widukind, surrendered to Charlemagne in 785. Widukind is supposed to have been related to some Danish kings and spent some time there in refuge. The first properly historical king of Denmark was Gorm the Old, who is said to have been a son of Hardeknut (Canute I), but is shown by Ashley descended through Canute, Frodo, and Harald II. Harald is completely ignored by Alen and Dahlquist. This confusion gives us a fitting end to the legendary period -- though Gorm is more than a little legendary himself. We are then quickly into the fully history period, for which there don't seem to be major uncertainties, except for some overlapping reigns that result in some kings being dropped from some accounts. Again, from here, the genealogy of Denmark is continued on The Kings of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden page.

Norway may have begun as a colony of Sweden, represented by the legendary founder, Olaf Tretelgia. This simplifies things, since there may have not been the large number of rival kingdoms as may actually have existed in Sweden and Denmark, and which serve to confuse the account. As with Sweden above, branch lines lead to interesting colonial acquisitions of the Vikings. For instance, the line of Thorstein the Red intermarries with the Earls of Orkney -- the Orkneys are the group of islands off the north end of Scotland. Similarly, the line of Olaf Geirstade leads directly (according to Ashley) to Rolf (or Rollo) who became the first Duke of Normandy. For subsequent Norman influence on European history, this was one of the most fateful events.

An interesting career is that of Harald III Hårdråde. When his brother St. Olof II died in battle against Canute II the Great of Denmark in 1030, Harald flees into exile in Kiev. He makes his way as a mercenary all the way down to Sicily and eventually back home to Norway in 1047, where the Danes were gone and Olof's son, Magnus I the Good, ruled Norway and Denmark. Harald joins Magnus in rule, but the nephew doesn't last long. After Harald's long quest, then follow years of successful rule. In 1066, however, Harald's ambitions overwhelm him. He lands in England, intending to follow Canute in the rule of that country. He is unexpectedly defeated and killed, however, by Harold II. This is often regarded as the end of the Furor Normannicus , the Viking Terror. Harold, unfortunately, rode from victory over Harald to defeat and death at the hands of William of Normandy, who thus effects the conquest of England by Northmen, somewhat removed from their Viking past, after all.

After the succession jumps around a bit, we get a couple of major uncertainties. Harald IV may not really have been a son of Magnus III. And then Sverre almost certainly was not a son of Sigurd II, but he claimed to be -- probably just a convenient pretext upon which a usurper could fight for the Throne. Since his fight was successful, subsequent kings of Norway were descended from him. After this, as above, the genealogy of Norway is continued on The Kings of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden page.

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