Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon, was a language spoken by the Angles and the Saxons, Germanic tribes who settled the British Isles. It is a language that forms the basis for the Angle-ish we speak today and shares a common ancestry with the tongues of other tribes of prehistoric northern Europe. Old Norse was one of those related languages.
The journey towards modern English began with the Norman invasion of 1066, which brought a new elite of French speakers to English shores. The church added to this development, introducing words with Latin or Greek origin. But, in the novel, this journey is interrupted. By removing or marginalizing the effect of Christianity, northern Europe is left with a Germanic linguistic foundation for a lot longer.
Even today, when you know where to look, the Old Norse rót is still apparent among the tangle of Anglo-Saxon, French and Latin roots. The language of the Vikings may have become subdued over the centuries, but make no mistaka about it – from byrðr(birth) until we deyja (die) – the raw energy of the Norse shapes many of our words. Just look at a Viking the rangr way, and he might þrysta (thrust) a knifr into your skulle. For the more literary, even the word Kindle comes from the Norse kynda.
Aurvandil is mentioned once in Norse mythology, in Skáldskaparmál, a book of Snorri Sturluson’s 13th century Prose Edda: one of Aurvandill’s toes became frozen in an escape across an icy river. wherefore Thor broke it off and cast it up into the heavens, and made thereof the star called Aurvandill’s Toe. Guesses as to the identity of this star have included the polestar, the planet Venus, Sirius and the star Rigel which forms the toe of the constellation Orion.
bitch. Literally, a bitch is a female dog. Its original use as an insult was based on a comparison of a woman to a dog in heat.
Blámenn, distinguished from Serkir, appear as the adversaries of Scandinavian crusaders in the historical works Orkneyinga saga and Heimskringla,but there is no information given on their physicality besides the skin tone implied in their name. For a more detailed account, we can turn to the imaginative Sörla saga sterka. Having set out from Norway, Prince Sörli and his men sail for days before landing in Africa: At that moment they saw twelve men heading towards them, large, determined and unlike other human beings [mennskir menn]. They were black and had ugly faces, with no hair upon their heads. Their brows [brýrnar] went all the way down to their noses. Their eyes were yellow like a cat’s, and their teeth were like cold iron … And when they saw the prince and his men they all began to squeal [at hrína] most fiercely, and egg [eggjandi] each other on … then the blámenn descended on him with great excitement [eggja] and savage noises and bellowing.
The Volga is the longest river in Europe. It is also Europe’s largest river in terms of discharge and watershed. The river flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, and is widely regarded as the national river of Russia.
Cathay is the Anglicized rendering of “Catai” and an alternative name for China in English. Originally, Catai was the name applied by Central and Western Asians and Europeans to northern China; the name was also used in Marco Polo’s book on his travels in China (he referred to southern China as Mangi).
barrow-wight, grave spirit. The draugr or draug (Old Norse: draugr, plural draugar) is a revenant. Draugar live in their graves, often guarding treasure buried with them in their burial mound. They are animated corpses — unlike ghosts they have a corporeal body with similar physical abilities as in life. Draugar possess superhuman strength, can increase their size at will, and carry the unmistakable stench of decay. They exist either to guard their treasure, wreak havoc on living beings, or torment those who had wronged them in life.
nonsense, flights of fancy
Shit – cognate with Old English dritan “to void excrement,” NB 15c. metathesis of “dirt” from Middle English drit, drytt “mud, dirt, dung”
Dublin. Vikings invaded the territory around Dublin in the 9th century, establishing the Norse Kingdom of Dublin, the earliest and longest-lasting Norse kingdom in Ireland. Its territory corresponded to most of present-day County Dublin. The Norse referred to the kingdom as Dyflin, which is derived from Irish Dubh Linn, meaning ‘black pool’. Norse rulers of Dublin were often co-kings, and occasionally also Kings of Jórvík in what is now Yorkshire. Under their rule, Dublin became the biggest slave port in Western Europe. Over time, the settlers in Dublin became increasingly Gaelicized. They began to exhibit a great deal of Gaelic and Norse cultural syncretism, and are often referred to as Norse-Gaels.
Aller River. The Aller is a 211-kilometre (131 mi) long river in the states of Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony in Germany. It is a right-hand, and hence eastern, tributary of the River Weser and is also its largest tributary.
Eth (uppercase: Ð, lowercase: ð)
Eth is a letter used in Old English, Middle English, and Icelandic. It was also used in Scandinavia during the Middle Ages but was subsequently replaced with dh and later d.
Baltic Sea, sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Scandinavia, Finland, the Baltic countries, and the North European Plain. The first to name it the Baltic Sea (Mare Balticum) was the eleventh-century German chronicler Adam of Bremen, who compared the sea with a belt. In Germanic languages, except English, East Sea is used: Danish (Østersøen), Dutch (Oostzee), German (Ostsee), Icelandic and Faroese (Eystrasalt), Norwegian (Østersjøen), and Swedish (Östersjön).
Finns or Finnish people (Finnish: suomalaiset, Swedish: finnar) are a Finnic ethnic group native to Finland. Finns are traditionally divided into smaller regional groups that span several countries adjacent to Finland, including the Kvens and Forest Finns in Norway, the Tornedalians in Sweden, and the Ingrian Finns in Russia. The most notable autochthonous group is the Finnish-speaking population of Sweden, who trace their origin to Second Swedish Crusade after which Finland came under Swedish rule.
Ancient Land (Africa)
The Franks are historically first known as a group of Germanic tribes that inhabited the land between the Lower and Middle Rhine in the 3rd century AD, passing on their name to modern-day France and becoming part of the heritage of the modern French people. In later times, Franks became the military rulers of the northern part of Roman Gaul. With the coronation of their ruler Charlemagne as Imperator Romanorum by Pope Leo III in 800 CE, he and his successors were recognised as legitimate successors to the emperors of the Western Roman Empire.
The F-word – has probable cognates in Germanic languages, such as German ficken (to fuck); Dutch fokken (to breed, to beget); dialectal Norwegian fukka (to copulate), and dialectal Swedish focka (to strike, to copulate) and fock (penis).
Furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
“From the fury of the Northmen deliver us, O Lord.” This phrase is alleged to have been the litany of despair raised up in every medieval church and monastic institution, starting after the first Viking raid upon Britain and continuing during the years of Scandinavian attacks upon Western Christendom. It has been shown, however, that the phrase is apocryphal. The closest documentable phrase is a single sentence, taken from an antiphony for churches dedicated to St. Vaast or St. Medard: Summa pia gratia nostra conservando corpora et cutodita, de gente fera Normannica nos libera, quae nostra vastat, Deus, regna, “Our supreme and holy Grace, protecting us and ours, deliver us, God, from the savage race of Northmen which lays waste our realms”
Galdr (plural galdrar) is one Old Norse word for “spell, incantation”; these were usually performed in combination with certain rites. The Old English forms were gealdor, “spell, enchantment, witchcraft”, and the verb galan meant “sing, chant”. It is contained in nightingale.
Long-Necked Gigantelope, Grandidorcas roeselmivi, an Asgardian tropical grassland species. It is able to browse on twigs and branches 7 meters above the ground, well out of reach of the smaller herbivores. As well as a long neck this animal also has a long, narrow head, enabling it to push its thick muscular lips between the branches of the trees to reach the tastiest morsels. The horns of its ancestors are reduced to long, low, bony pads at the top of the skull. Anything more elaborate would become entangled in the branches.
Mediterranean Sea. The term Mediterranean derives from the Latin word mediterraneus, meaning “amid the earth (note: earth in the sense “soil”, not Planet Earth)” or “between land”. The Mediterranean Sea has historically had several names. For example, the Carthaginians called it the “Syrian Sea” and latter Romans commonly called it Mare Nostrum (Latin, “Our Sea”). Similarly, in Modern Arabic, it is known as al-Baḥr [al-Abyaḍ] al-Mutawassiṭ. “the [White] Middle Sea”, while in Islamic and older Arabic literature, it was referenced as Baḥr al-Rūm, or “the Romaic/Byzantine Sea.”
Greenland, the world’s largest island. Three-quarters of Greenland is covered by the only permanent ice sheet outside Antarctica. From 986, Greenland’s west coast was settled by Icelanders and Norwegians, through a contingent of 14 boats led by Erik the Red. They formed three settlements—known as the Eastern Settlement, the Western Settlement and the Middle Settlement—on fjords near the southwestern-most tip of the island.Norse Greenlanders submitted to Norwegian rule in the 13th century under the Norwegian Empire. Later the Kingdom of Norway entered into a personal union with Denmark in 1380, and from 1397 was a part of the Kalmar Union. The Norse settlements, such as Brattahlíð, thrived for centuries but disappeared sometime in the 15th century, perhaps at the onset of the Little Ice Age.
The Yellowstone Caldera is a volcanic caldera and supervolcano located in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano.
Jews. A survey of medieval literature in general will reveal Jews which are horned, tailed, malodorous, feminized, or hideously corrupted with disease. In Old Norse literature, however, we do not find any of these traditional aberrations appended to the Jewish body. In medieval Scandinavia, the gyðingar are teemingly indivisible. They have no gender, odour, height, or hue or individual traits of any kind. There is only the massed body, possessed of an inscrutable physicality to match its inscrutable unified consciousness.
Kraken, a legendary sea monster of giant size that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland. In the late-13th-century version of the Old Icelandic saga Örvar-Oddr is an inserted episode of a journey bound for Helluland (Baffin Island) which takes the protagonists through the Greenland Sea, and here they spot two massive sea-monsters called Hafgufa (“sea mist”) and Lyngbakr (“heather-back”).[a][b] The hafgufa is believed to be a reference to the kraken. The English word kraken is taken from Norwegian.In Norwegian Kraken is the definite form of krake, a word designating an unhealthy animal or something twisted (cognate with the English crook and crank).
Heill ok sæll
Be happy and healthy. Originally a Norse greeting, “heill ok sæll” when addressed to a man and “heil ok sæl” when addressed to a woman. Other versions were simply “heill” (lit. healthy). According to Store norske leksikon, the originally Norse greeting “heill ok sæll” was—adjusted to modern orthography and pronunciation—adopted as “heil og sæl” by the political party Nasjonal Samling. According to Bokmålsordboka, the adoption was inspired by Germany’s “Heil Hitler” and similar. It has subsequently remained closely associated with nationalism.
Derogatory term for Indians. The historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to India in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in Indian subcontinent around or beyond Sindhu (Indus) river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of India who were not Turks or Muslims.
Old Norse war-band. The hirð had a special ceremony of reception for new members and held regular meetings, which functioned as a court of law for its members and as a council advising the king. By the 12th and 13th centuries, there were three groups within the Norwegian hirð: the hirðmenn (“men of the hirð”); the gestir (“guests”), who served as a royal police force; and the kirtisveinar, young men who served as pages
Hogmanay greeting. The roots of Hogmanay perhaps reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Norse, as well as incorporating customs from the Gaelic celebration of Samhain. The Vikings celebrated Yule, which later contributed to the Twelve Days of Christmas, or the “Daft Days” as they were sometimes called in Scotland. Christmas was not celebrated as a festival and Hogmanay was the more traditional celebration in Scotland.This may have been a result of the Protestant Reformation after which Christmas was seen as “too Papist”.
Hollywood. According to the diary of H. J. Whitley, known as the “Father of Hollywood,” on his honeymoon in 1886 he stood at the top of the hill looking out over the valley. Along came a Chinese man in a wagon carrying wood. The Chinese man was asked what he was doing and replied, “I holly-wood,” meaning ‘hauling wood.’ H. J. Whitley had an epiphany and decided to name his new town Hollywood. “Holly” would represent England and “wood” would represent his Scottish heritage.
Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the sky, known also to the Norse peoples as Lokabrenna, “Loki’s brand”.
dog fart. It is one thing is to break wind loudly (farting); quite a different thing is to do it quietly (the now obscure “fisting”).Both words for the emission of wind (fart and fist) were current in the Old Germanic languages. Frata and físa (the accent over the vowel designates its length, not stress) turned up even in Old Icelandic mythological poems. According to a popular tale, the great god Thor was duped by a giant and spent a night in a mitten, which he took for a house. He was so frightened, as his adversary put it, that he dared neither sneeze nor “fist.”
Whitehaven, a town and port on the coast of Cumbria, England. Historically a part of Cumberland, it lies equidistant between Cumbria’s two largest settlements, Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, and is served by the Cumbrian Coast Line and the A595 road. The area was settled by Irish-Norse Vikings in the 10th century. The area name of Copeland, which includes Whitehaven, indicates that the land was purchased from the Kingdom of Strathclyde, possibly with loot from Ireland.
White Man’s Land (Continental USA), also known as Great Ireland (Old Norse: Írland hið mikla or Írland it mikla) was a land said by various Norsemen to be located near Vinland. In one report, in the Saga of Eric the Red, some skrælingar captured in Markland described the people in what was supposedly White Men’s Land, to have been “dressed in white garments, uttered loud cries, bore long poles, and wore fringes.” Scholars and writers disagree on the nature of the land, from either being treated as a myth based on faded knowledge of lands in the western ocean, to theories on actually locating it somewhere in North America.
Jakarta has been home to multiple settlements along with their respective names: Sunda Kelapa (397–1527), Jayakarta (1527–1619), Batavia (1619–1942), Djakarta (1942–1972), and Jakarta (1972–present). Its current name derives from the word Jayakarta. The origins of this word can be traced to the Old Javanese and ultimately to the Sanskrit language. “Jayakarta” translates as “victorious deed”, “complete act”, or “complete victory”.
Jersusalem. The Norwegian Crusade was a crusade that lasted from 1107 to 1110, in the aftermath of the First Crusade, led by Norwegian king Sigurd I. Sigurd was the first Scandinavian king to go on crusade to the Holy Land. The crusaders did not lose a single battle during the Norwegian Crusade. In the summer of 1110, they finally arrived at the port of Acre (Akrsborg) and went to Jerusalem, where they met the ruling crusader king Baldwin I. They were warmly welcomed, and Baldwin rode together with Sigurd to the river Jordan, and back again to Jerusalem. The Norwegians were given many treasures and relics, including a splinter off the True Cross that Jesus had allegedly been crucified on. This was given on the condition that they would continue to promote Christianity and bring the relic to the burial site of St. Olaf.
Pechenegs semi-nomadic Turkic tribes, The Russian Primary Chronicle stated that the “Torkmens, Pechenegs, Torks, and Polovcians” descended from “the godless sons of Ishmael, who had been sent as a chastisement to the Christians”. The Pechenegs were forced to leave their Central Asian homeland by a coalition of the Oghuz Turks, Karluks and Kimaks and settled in the steppe corridor between the rivers Ural and Volga.
Cunt. The etymology of cunt is a matter of debate but most sources consider the word to have derived from a Germanic word (Proto-Germanic *kuntō, stem *kuntōn-), which appeared as kunta in Old Norse. Originally, rather than being a taboo word, it was the general descriptive term for the vagina. Cunt is, etymologically, more feminist than vagina, which is dependent on the penis for its definition, coming from the Latin for “sword sheath.”
The institution known as leiðangr (Old Norse) was a form of conscription to organise coastal fleets for seasonal excursions and in defence of the realm typical for medieval Scandinavians and, later, a public levy of free farmers. In Anglo-Saxon England, a different system was used to achieve similar ends, and was known as the fyrd.
Mahārāja is a Sanskrit title for a “great ruler”, “great king” or “high king”. It has also been the title of emperors, including Maharaja Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh empire, and Maharaja Sri Gupta, founder of the ancient Indian Gupta empire.
From Chinese Manzi (southern barbarians). While Northern China was called Cathay, Southern China was referred to as Mangi. Manzi often appears in documents of the Mongol Yuan dynasty. As Marco Polo used it, the word “Manzi” also reached the Western world as “Mangi”. The Chinese themselves saw “Mangi” as a derogation and never used it as a self appellation. The name is also commonly used on medieval maps.
The Marathas are Hindu warrior group from the western Deccan Plateau (present day Maharashtra) that rose to prominence by establishing a Hindavi Swarajya. The Marathas became prominent in the seventeenth century under the leadership of Shivaji who revolted against the Mughal Empire and carved out a kingdom with Raigad as his capital. Known for their mobility, the Marathas were able to consolidate their territory during the Mughal–Maratha Wars and later controlled a large part of India.
Norse version of Menlo Park In 1854 two Irish immigrants purchased a 1,700-acre (690 ha) tract of land on the former Rancho de las Pulgas snf erected a gate with a wooden arch bearing the inscription “Menlo Park” at the entrance to their property. The word “Menlo” derived from the owners’ former home of Menlo in County Galway, Ireland, and is an Anglicized version of the original Irish name of the place, Mionloch, meaning “middle lake”. In 1876, Thomas Edison set up his home and research laboratory in Menlo Park, which at the time was the site of an unsuccessful real estate development named after the town of Menlo Park, California. Midwater (same meaning as Menlo)
Constantinople, literally ‘The Great City’. Many peoples neighboring on the Byzantine Empire used names expressing concepts like “The Great City”, “City of the Emperors”, “Capital of the Romans” or similar. During the 10th to 12th century Constantinople was one of the largest two cities in the world, the other being Baghdad. The medieval Vikings, who had contacts with the Byzantine empire through their expansion through eastern Europe (Varangians) used the Old Norse name Miklagarðr (from mikill ‘big’ and garðr ‘wall’ or ‘stronghold’), later Miklagard and “Micklegarth”.
orange: when oranges (the fruit) were exported from India, the word for them was exported too. Sanskrit narangah, or “orange tree,” was borrowed into Persian as narang, “orange (fruit),” which was borrowed into Arabic as naranj, into Italian as arancia, iand eventually into English as orange. The color of the fruit was so striking that after borrowing the word and the crop, English speakers eventually began referring to the color by this word as well. Before oranges were imported in the 1500s, the English word for orange (the color) was geoluhread (literally, “yellow-red”).
In Scandinavia, there existed the famous race of she-werewolves known as Nattmara. The mara (or nightmare, as is the English word for them) appears as a skinny young woman, dressed in a night gown, with pale skin and long black hair and nails. As sand they could slip through the slightest crack in the wood of a wall and terrorize the sleeping by “riding” on their chest, thus giving them nightmares. They would sometimes ride cattle that, when touched by the Mara, would have their hair or fur tangled and energy drained, while trees would curl up and wilt.
Dnieper River, one of the major rivers of Europe (fourth by length), rising near Smolensk, Russia and flowing through Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to the Black Sea. It is the longest river of Ukraine and Belarus and the fourth longest river in Europe. In antiquity, the river was known to the Greeks as the Borysthenes and was part of the Amber Road.
Straits of Gibraltar, a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Europe from Morocco in Africa. The name comes from the Rock of Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq (meaning “Tariq’s mountain”) named after Tariq ibn Ziyad. In the Middle Ages, Muslims called it Al-Zuqaq, “The Passage”, the Romans called it Fretum Gatitanum (Strait of Cadiz), and in the ancient world it was known as the “Pillars of Hercules”
“Serpent’s tongue”, an insult. For example, Gunnlaugr Ormstunga was an Icelandic poet. His life is described in Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu, where several of his poems are preserved. He was also a skilled author of mostly derogatory poems, which earned him the cognomen ormstunga, “serpent’s tongue”
The Raboon, Carnopapio spp., is a bipedal, carnivorous cercopithecine Asgardian monkey. It is a massive predator/scavenger of African tropical grasslands, evolved from baboons. (from After Man: A Zoology of the Future, written by Dougal Dixon)
man who allows himself to be buggered. Homosexuality was not regarded by the Viking peoples as being evil, perverted, innately against the laws of nature or any of the other baggage about the concept that Christian belief has provided Western culture. Rather, it was felt that a man who subjected himself to another in sexual affairs would do the same in other areas, being a follower rather than a leader, and allowing others to do his thinking or fighting for him. Thus, homosexual sex was not what was condemned, but rather the failure to stand for one’s self and make one’s own decisions, to fight one’s own fights, which went directly against the Nordic ethic of self-reliance.
Red Thor, the Norse god of thunder. Unlike other Indo-European peoples such as the Greeks and Romans, we do not have surviving Old Norse names for the planets that identified them with gods in the Scandinavian pantheon, although clearly Old Norse preserved the deity/planet names in adaptation of the words for the days of the week. Ares/Mars was equated with Týr as a warrior god. Zeus/Jupiter was equated with Thórr as the god who hurled lightnings. Mercury was equated with Óðinn, since both had a role as psychompomps, the one who leads the dead to their afterlife. Aphrodite/Venus was equated with Frigga/Freyja.
Saracens, was a term widely used among Christian writers in Europe during the Middle Ages. The term’s meaning evolved during its history. In the early centuries AD, Greek and Latin writings used this term to refer to the people who lived in desert areas in and near the Roman province of Arabia, and who were specifically distinguished as a people from others known as Arabs. By the 12th century, “Saracen” had become synonymous with “Muslim” in Medieval Latin literature.
The term skald or skáld, meaning ‘poet’, is generally used for poets who composed at the courts of Scandinavian and Icelandic leaders during the Viking Age and Middle Ages. Skaldic poetry forms one of two main groupings of Old Norse poetry, the other being the anonymous Eddic poetry.
Norse name for inhabitants of Greenland encountered by the Viking settlers there, from Old Norse Skræingjar (plural), apparently literally “little men” (cf. Icelandic skrælna “shrink”); another term for them was smair menn. The name may have been used first in reference to the inhabitants of Vineland (who would have been Indians), then transferred to Eskimos, who adopted it into their own language as Kalaleq.
Skuld (the name possibly means “debt” or “future”) is a Norn in Norse mythology. Along with Urðr (Old Norse “fate”) and Verðandi (possibly “happening” or “present”), Skuld makes up a trio of Norns that are described as deciding the fates of people.
Siberia, originating from the Siberian Tatar word for “sleeping land” (Sib Ir). The modern usage of the name was recorded in the Russian language after the Empire’s conquest of the Siberian Khanate.
The highest officer of the hirð was the stallari (literally “marshall”) who served as the king’s champion and also as a sort of general of the warlords forces. IThe second ranking officer in the hirð was the merkismaðr (standard-bearer). Ranking after these officers were the lendir menn, the “landed men”, equivalent to barons, and then finally the body of warriors who made up the bulk of the hirð.
Old Norse preserves almost no star-names, and mentions are often ambiguous. “The Star” (stjarna) indicated the constellation of the Pleiades, used for winter timekeeping at night. However, to sailors “The Star” was the “lode-star” (leiðarstjarna) that we recognize as the North Star or Polaris today. Or the same term might instead refer to Arcturus, the brightest star of the northern hemisphere, which was also termed the vagnstjarna or “wagon-star” because of its nearness to the constellation of The Wagon (Ursa Major)
A variant table game. Tafl games are a family of ancient Germanic and Celtic strategy board games played on a checkered or latticed gameboard with two armies of uneven numbers, representing variants of an early Scandinavian board game called tafl or hnefatafl in contemporary literature. Tafl spread everywhere the Vikings traveled, including Iceland, Britain, Ireland, and Lapland. Versions of Tafl, comprising Hnefatafl, Alea Evangelii, Tawlbwrdd (Wales), Brandubh, Ard Rí, and Tablut, were played across much of Northern Europe from earlier than 400 B.C. until it was supplanted by chess in the 12th Century.
The þættir (Old Norse singular þáttr, literally meaning a “strand” of rope or yarn are short stories written mostly in Iceland during the 13th and 14th centuries.
Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ)
Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ) is a letter in the Old English, Gothic, Old Norse and modern Icelandic alphabets, as well as some dialects of Middle English. The letter originated from the rune ᚦ in the Elder Fuþark. It is familiar to English speakers as the ‘th’ in thing.
Urðr (Old Norse “fate”) is one of the Norns in Norse mythology. Urðr is together with the Norns located at the well Urðarbrunnr beneath the world ash tree Yggdrasil of Asgard. They spin threads of life, cut marks in the pole figures and measure people’s destinies, which shows the fate of all human beings and gods. Norns are always present when a child is born and decide its fate. T Urðr is commonly written as Urd or Urth. In some English translations, her name is glossed with the Old English form of urðr; Wyrd.
The Varangian Guard (Greek: Tágma tōn Varángōn) was an elite unit of the Byzantine Army, from the 10th to the 14th centuries, whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Byzantine Emperors. They are known for being primarily composed of Germanic peoples, specifically Norsemen (the Guard was formed approximately 200 years into the Viking Age) and Anglo-Saxons (after the Norman Conquest of England created an Anglo-Saxon diaspora, part of which found employment in Constantinople). The Guard was first formally constituted under Emperor Basil II in 988, following the Christianization of Kievan Rus’ by Vladimir I of Kiev. Vladimir, who had recently usurped power in Kiev with an army of Varangian warriors, sent 6,000 men to Basil as part of a military assistance agreement. Basil’s distrust of the native Byzantine guardsmen, whose loyalties often shifted, with fatal consequences, as well as the proven loyalty of the Varangians, many of whom had previously served in Byzantium, led the Emperor to employ them as his personal guardsmen.
Warlock song. A vardlokkur is a type of song linked to the practice of seidhr, as cited in the Saga of Erik the Red. These “ward songs” prepared the völva (literally “staff carrier”, meaning something akin to seeress or prophetess) for trance and called the spirits to her for prophesying.
Old Norse “To grow”, cognate with wax (of the moon).
Weser River, in Northwestern Germany. Formed at Hannoversch Münden by the confluence of the rivers Fulda and Werra, it flows through Lower Saxony, then reaching the Hanseatic-town Bremen, before emptying 50 kilometres (31 mi) further north at Bremerhaven into the North Sea.
In Norse mythology, Verðandi (Old Norse, meaning possibly “happening” or “present”), sometimes anglicized as Verdandi or Verthandi, is one of the norns. Along with Urðr (Old Norse “fate”) and Skuld (possibly “debt” or “future”), Verðandi makes up a trio of Norns that are described as deciding the fates (wyrd) of people. Verðandi is literally the present participle of the Old Norse verb “verða”, “to become”, and is commonly translated as “in the making” or “that which is happening/becoming”.
Wends (Old Norse: Vindr) is a historical name for the West Slavs living near Germanic settlement areas. In the Middle Ages the term “Wends” often referred to Western Slavs living within the Holy Roman Empire, though not always. Mieszko I, the first historical ruler of Poland, also appeared as “Dagome, King of the Wends” (Old Norse: Vindakonungr).
The Waspedr is a large, predatory ammophiline sphecid that inhabits the Asgardian Tropical Rainforest. It is one of the multiple species of large wasps as big as birds of prey that make light work of killing the unwary.