Viking Poetry

Scalds and Vikings: What Was the Viking Poetry?

It is not a secret that the Vikings were beautiful jewelers. They made wonderful decorations such as women and men necklace, pendant, pin, bracelet, ring and a lot of others. This kind of art was highly valued at this time. The ornaments were worn by all members of a family: women, men, and children. Besides, jewelry indicates the status of the owner. Rich people wore gold or silver decorations. While the Vikings of the low status preferred the ornaments from the cheap metals.

Besides, poetry was highly valued at that time too. The masterful poet, who wrote graceful poems praising the victories of a king, could get rich in no time. He was awarded rings, weapons or other gifts. The most talented poets were Icelanders. Many of them served overseas courtyards. Such Norse poems have become a valuable source of information for the historian.

Who did have the possibility to write Norse poetry?

However, such semi-professional poets were not the only ones who were able to write poems. Many could make an octave. In them, Viking recalled the minute of the victory or the danger in the battle, the love to the girl and a lot of other themes. Characteristic features of such poems were strict compliance with the strict rules of the metric. Despite all this, in the creativity of everyone who knew how to write poetry were dozens of admirers.

Very popular was skaldic poetry. Its first examples had appeared in the middle of the IX century. The presence of skaldic poems in the Swedish runic stones of the XI century shows that it was known not only in Norway and Iceland.

Much more ancient and simple was the Eddic poetry. These poems represented anonymous tales, dialogues or complex of proverbs and religious retellings. Plots of poems were mainly formed on mythology and legends of ancient Germanic heroes.

Germanic tribes made up a lot of poems and songs about the heroes of this. All the skaldic peoples had to know the translations of these masterpieces before the Viking era, but the Icelanders were the only ones who eventually saved some of them in writing.

Where did Vikings listen to skald poems?

Celebrations in Vikings lasted for several days. In the intervals between food and drink, people tried to entertain. The most popular amusements were the struggle, various tests of strength, jumping, and, of course, reading skaldic poems and, stories in prose.

A lot of poems were performed in the banquet halls of the leaders or kings, possibly accompanied by harps. These proud stories of revenge, fidelity, fate, and death perfectly reflect the heroic ideals of Scandinavian culture.

Vikings cared about personal glory so much. They wrote poetry about their victories. For this reason, there are a lot of poems about Vikings. Especially, it concerned kings and great warriors.