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Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23rd T Day

T day is probably the last really tough Norse themed day to do, so I figure even if I start late, like seems to be the case with all my posts lately; I'll probably not have to cut too much content. Not like poor S that got totally shorted.

T is for Thegn, an Old Norse word for a free person, that is someone who was neither a Thrall (serf) or a Jarl (lord).

T is for Thor, a God of the Aesir, the son of Odin and Jorð, easily the most popular god of the Viking age among the Heathen Norse. He is the protector of Asgarð and Miðgarð, and took pride of place in most temples, front and center, between Odin and Frey. He is the patron of common born men.

T is for Thing, a combination of a democratic assembly meeting and law court; usually with a wide variety of social and religious functions thrown in for good measure.

T is for Thrall, the unfree class in Norse society. They may have been born to this status, or they may have been captured and had it forced upon them. It is an unpleasant fact of history that many societies have relied on unfree labor, we modern Americans associate this strongly with racism. There wasn't really a strongly racist element to Norse Thralldom, and there was upward mobility to freedom, although it was usually rather difficult. I hesitate to translate Thrall as "Slave", because it is more akin to "Serf", although the methods by which you may have entered Thralldom may certainly have been similar to becoming a slave, and, unlike Serfs, you could be sold along to someone else, although that was really more a thing that happened in the actual slave markets they set up for dealing with foreign slave traders, to sell captured people. So it's a fuzzy distinction, if you were born a Thrall in Norway, you were probably better off than if you were captured in Scotland or Russia and sold off in Dublin or Kiev.

T is for Tyr, a God of the Aesir, the one that sacrificed his hand to uphold his oath to Fenrir. He is widely associated with order, justice, stability, courage, honor, and truthfulness. Some say that he was once ruler of the Aesir, but he lost his place to Odin. Some say he has a wife named Zisa, who shares many of his traits.

T is for Trade, the activity for which the Vikings are NOT widely known, yet indulged in at least as much, if not more than the whole raiding thing.

T is for Thurs, a type of supernatural being, a giant, that is strong, surly and generally stupid. They are hostile to the Gods and to men, and to pretty much everything that isn't their own kind. There are several "orders" of Thursar, Fire Giants, Frost Giants and Trolls.

T is for Trolls, the most important thing to remember about these guys, aside from what I said about Thursar in general, is what Tolkien wrote about the in "The Hobbit", these boys are extremely photosensitive. There was a recent Norwegian movie called "Troll Hunter" that covered the same topic.

This stuff came in the mail today-

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