Le navi vichinghe erano molto leggere, tanto da poter essere sollevate dai componenti dell’equipaggio e avevano un basso pescaggio, ideale per la navigazione lungo i fiumi o in laghi poco profondi.
I costruttori scandinavi usavano la tecnica del fasciame sovrapposto, in modo da conferire alle imbarcazioni maggiore flessibilità in caso di mare mosso.
Le navi erano a “doppia prua” così la marcia poteva essere invertita semplicemente cambiando il senso delle vogate.
Il timone, sempre posizionato sul lato destro dell’imbarcazione, veniva spostato da un’estremità all’altra.
Nel corso degli anni le teste di drago che spesso ornavano le prue divennero mobili poiché, con l’avvento del cristianesimo molte comunità si rifiutarono di accogliere in porto simboli pagani.
La presenza di isole e fiordi fece sì che il potere in Scandinavia dipendesse anche dall’abilità nella navigazione.
Conosciamo le loro imbarcazioni attraverso le saghe nordiche, ma anche grazie ad alcune raffigurazioni e ai relitti ripescati dai fondali. Alcune navi, usate come sepolture, sono state riportate alla luce durante gli scavi archeologici.
Verso la fine dell’XI secolo gli abitanti della città danese di Skuldelev bloccarono uno stretto canale che lambiva le loro case, facendo colare a picco cinque vecchie navi. Due erano da carico, una da pesca e due da guerra e furono recuperate intorno al 1960.
Le navi di Skuldelev hanno dato un contributo fondamentale alla conoscenza degli scafi vichinghi.
Il relitto noto come Skuldelev 5 è una tipica nave da guerra vichinga, molto bassa in modo da rendere difficile l’avvistamento quando procedeva a vele ammainate. Veloce e leggera la nave affondava, anche a pieno carico, appena mezzo metro sotto il pelo dell’acqua.
Perfetta per la navigazione costiera poteva facilmente risalire i fiumi ed essere trasportata per brevi tratti dall’equipaggio. Le dimensioni erano relativamente ridotte, infatti la sua gemella lo Skuldelev 2 era grande il doppio e poteva trasportare un equipaggio molto più numeroso.
Una delle più famose imbarcazioni vichinghe fu estratta, nel 1880, da un tumulo funerario nella Norvegia meridionale: la nave di Gokstad.
Scoperta integra, tranne che per l’albero maestro, insieme alla nave era stato sepolto il suo proprietario e una serie di animali sacrificali. La nave aveva sedici paia di remi e trentadue scudi lungo le fiancate, ciò fa supporre che ogni vichingo manovrasse un remo solo.
Non abbiamo nessuna certezza sul metodo di navigazione dei vichinghi.
Con ogni probabilità nelle acque costiere stabilivano la propria posizione servendosi di riferimenti a terra, mentre in mare aperto usavano altri accorgimenti, come scrutare il cielo in cerca di nubi e uccelli marini.
Un altro elemento utile era il cambiamento di colore del mare o le acque calme che potevano indicare la vicinanza di un’isola.
I vichinghi usavano anche un altro sistema per localizzare la terraferma oltre la linea dell’orizzonte:
un particolare fenomeno detto “Fata Morgana”.
In certe condizioni metereologiche, la rifrazione dei raggi solari fa sì che l’immagine di una terra lontana appaia nel cielo come una figura distorta e mutevole.
In Groenlandia gli archeologi hanno ritrovato un frammento di legno che potrebbe essere un bussola solare, uno strumento di navigazione costituito da un’asta che proietta la propria ombra su un quadrante graduato.
Finora non sono stati scoperti altri oggetti di questo tipo.
Le terre e le origini
Danesi, normanni e la successione al trono inglese
65 pensiero su “NAVI VICHINGHE”
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