POPOLI

Terre e Origini

Circa 8000 anni fa, quando nel nord Europa terminò l’ultima era glaciale, nacquero i primi insediamenti nelle terre scandinave. Piccole fattorie spuntarono in Danimarca e in Svezia, dove abbondava la terra fertile. Intorno al 2000 a.C. gli abitanti iniziarono ad usare il bronzo ed il ferro a partire dal 500. a.C.

Molto prima dell’era vichinga, gli scandinavi avevano iniziato a viaggiare per mare.

Alcune cronache di epoca romana descrivono, infatti, conflitti con abitanti della Scandinavia. La presenza di basi fortificate come quelle di Eketorp, sull’isola di Oland, o di Gamla Uppsala, in Svezia, lascia presupporre l’esistenza di sovrani locali.

Nell’era di Vendel (600-800 d. C.) gli scandinavi erano già una civiltà evoluta.

I notabili locali venivano sepolti nelle loro navi e in Danimarca la società era abbastanza organizzata da permettere la costruzione di un muro difensivo sul confine meridionale. Diversi sovrani si erano avvicendati in Danimarca prima dell’era vichinga. Per esempio re Goffredo che ordinò la costruzione del Danevirke (l’opera dei Danesi), un muro di terra che correva lungo il confine meridionale dello Jütland.

Nato come linea difensiva per frenare l’espansione di franchi e germani negli anni seguenti il Danevirke diventò un punto di raccolta per i danesi che si preparavano a marciare verso sud contro gli slavi.

Temendo le espansioni dal sud, Goffredo estese e consolidò la fortificazione

Dopo il suo assassinio, avvenuto nell’810, la regione sprofondò in una serie di lotte fratricide tra i suoi figli e nipoti. Solo un secolo più tardi ci fu l’unificazione sotto il controllo di Gormone il Vecchio. In seguito suo figlio Aroldo Dente Azzurro, si proclamò sovrano di tutta la Danimarca e con una decisione alquanto controversa si convertì al cristianesimo. La maggioranza dei vichinghi proveniva dalla Scandinavia che in origine era la “Via del Nord”.

Una lunga catena di isolotti e baie che si estendeva lungo la costa occidentale della Scandinavia e offriva protezione alle navi dalle tempeste del Mar di Norvegia. Le terre pianeggianti adatte all’agricoltura corrispondono alle regioni di Trondheim e di Oslo

Terre e origini
Fiordi

I fiordi, strette insenature che si spingono in profondità verso l’interno, solitamente costituite da impervie montagne, permetteva con relativa facilità il passaggio delle navi da una città costiera all’altra. Da nord a sud una vasta catena montuosa percorre la Norvegia separandola a est dalla Svezia, per i vichinghi era Keel, che significa desolazione.

Fu proprio da queste terre che arrivarono i capi che si contesero per primi la corona norvegese.

Il Keel non era una terra desolata, anzi ospitava molte tribù di sami, allevatori nomadi che facevano pascolare le loro renne sugli altipiani della catena. I vichinghi li chiamavano finnici, nome dato anche ad altre tribù presenti in Finlandia. Questi allevatori erano noti anche con il nome di lapponi, termine dispregiativo che deriva dalla parola finlandese “lape”, cioè periferia. I lapponi ebbero contatti prolungati con i vichinghi, infatti compaiono nelle saghe come sacerdoti, sciamani, streghe ed è possibile che ricoprissero cariche religiose.

Si diceva che avessero il potere di invocare i venti durante la navigazione e di poter usare il proprio corpo come guida nel mondo degli spiriti. La Svezia, che si trova a est del Keel, era ricoperta da fitte foreste e zone montuose che rendevano difficoltosi i viaggi via terra. Gli spostamenti avvenivano via mare e questo fece sì che i mercanti imparassero presto a navigare nelle tranquille acque del Baltico, alla ricerca di mercati in Finlandia, Polonia e negli altri paesi baltici.

L’isolamento geografico dell’Islanda, non permise ai vichinghi un insediamento tale da esaltare le loro radici, tuttavia il paese ne divenne colonia e rifugio.

Le terre e le origini
Le navi
Danesi, normanni e la successione al trono inglese
Armi e armature

POTREBBE INTERESSARTI
Mitologia nordica

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