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September 18, 2011

The Varangians

The Viking before of Russia. "Rus" is "rows."

It looks a lot like a Canadian before of Russia.

A thought: Historians who have never done a portage need to shut the hell up about what is and is not possible for a crew of determined hard asses. That goes double for estimating the trouble posed by rapids and cataracts.

Pro-tip: Moving your trading base to the convenient side of rapids and cataracts is what we might call a "good idea".

There's impossible and there's not knowing what you are about. The Vikings never had this problem.

Also: I would be grateful if anyone might recognize the uprights pictured in line along the centre of the river boat (screen capture below). I have no clue what they are for but they look exactly like conventional representations of Irminsul, the world tree. Are they purely decorative?

Longship_feature.JPG

If these uprights have some sort of function than Irminsul designs are not abstract representations of trees but representative, uhh, representations of a central feature in longships. This would not only change the symbolism attached to Yggdrasil - the world tree as something mobile, your ship as the centre of the world and the entire universe as a boat traveling across the waters.

Or it could just be the archaeologists decided to be a bit fanciful in their ship construction. If this is the case, I guarantee you they regretted the weight at the first portage.

Update: The Father of the Flea has an answer... oar racks! "No checked baggage on this flight!"

A challenger appears: Fenris Badwulf writes:

Your mysterious uprights are used to hold the mast when it is not being used for sailing.

The mast, when 'stepped down' is large and bulky, so it is just stuck up there. It can then serve as a joist and have a canvas or cloth (leather?) tarp thrown over it for the comfort of the crew and captain.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 18, 2011 07:28 AM