Norse loanwords in Old and Middle Irish

old irish

It is my objective to detect what the semantic development of Norse loanwords in Old and Middle Irish can tell us about the language and social contact situation of the Irish and the Norse raiders and settlers during the Viking Age.

The Names of Islands in the Old Norse Faereyinga Saga and Orkeyinga Saga

Picture of King Harald from the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók.

The Names of Islands in the Old Norse Faereyinga Saga and Orkeyinga Saga Hilda Radzin (St. John’s University) Literary Onomastics Studies: Volume 5, Article 7 (1978) Abstract In the Old Norse language the word saga denoted any kind of story or history in prose, whether written or oral. Used in this sense, the word saga […]

The Viking Language of the Highlands and Islands: Reconstructing the Norn Language from Old Norse

Viking carving

The Orkney and Shetland islands of Scotland were at one time colonized by Vikings and belonged firmly within the field of Scandinavian cultural influence. During this time the people of these archipelagos spoke a unique language known as Norn which evolved from the Old Norse language.

How well do you know the origins of English words? – Part 2


Can you tell which English words come from Anglo-Saxon or Old Norse?

Making Sacrifices: Beowulf and Film

The Thirteenth Warrior

This essay reviews opening scenes in some recent film Beowulfs, which, although they have nothing at all to say about Scyld Scefing, suggest a sacrificial reading of the prologue and perhaps even the whole poem.

From Old Norse to Modern Icelandic

old norse

Thus the language spoken and written in Iceland today is quite close to what has been called Old Norse, such as it appears in the medieval texts.

‘Warrior-women’ in Viking Age Scandinavia? A preliminary archaeological study

Viking women - Artistic reconstruction of grave A505 from Trekroner-Grydehøj, Denmark - Mirosław Kuźma

This paper seeks to provide a new contribution to the debates on Viking Age women by focusing on a rather controversial notion of ‘female warriors’. The core of the article comprises a preliminary survey of archaeological evidence for female graves with weapons (axes, spears, swords and arrowheads) from Viking Age Scandinavia.

Old Norse Influence in Modern English: The Effect of the Viking Invasion

Old Norse

It is estimated that there are around 400 Old Norse borrowings in Standard English. These borrowings are amongst the most frequently used terms in English and denote objects and actions of the most everyday description.

Norse Rune code cracked

Norse rune code-  Sigurd and Lavran written their names in both the code and the common runes. It helped runologist Jonas Nordby to crack jötunvillur code. (Photo: Aslak Liestøl / Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo)

A scholar of the University of Oslo has cracked one of the rune codes used by the Vikings, revealing they were sending each other messages such as ‘Kiss me’.

The Colors of the Rainbow in Snorri’s Edda


In the second part of his Edda, the Gylfaginning, Snorri Sturluson gives a systematic account of Norse mythology from the creation of the world to its end.

Orkneyinga saga : A Work in Progress?


The reconstituted text conventionally known as Orkneyinga saga has many points of interest for Old Icelandic literary history, in addition to any intrinsic literary qualities, and its interest as a source for the history and culture of Scandinavian Scotland.

Taming the Shrew: The Rise of Patriarchy and the Subordination of the Feminine in Old Norse Literature

Cold Counsel Women in Old Norse Literature and Mythology

Old Norse literature is a unique source in that it shows a connection between the oppression of women and Norse patriarchy during the phase of its establishment.

Shadow and Paradoxes of Darkness in Old English and Old Norse Poetic Language

Photo by Sayhey1111 / Wikimedia Commons

This thesis confronts, explores, and attempts to meaningfully interpret a surprising nexus of stimulating cruces and paradoxes in Old English poetry and prose and Old Norse skaldic and Eddic poetry.

Lexical imposition Old Norse vocabulary in Scottish Gaelic

Old Norse

Although few specifics are known about the historical daily patterns of interaction between ON speakers and Gaelic speakers in the Highlands and Western/Hebrides Islands of what is present-day Scotland, it is clear neverthe- less that the groups lived more or less side by side in that region over a period of several centuries.

Listening for the Vikings: Some Evidence from Etymology

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

The Vikings left behind several kinds of evidence during their stay in Anglo-Saxon England. Richard Dance notes that ‘one crucial aspect is the etymological.’

Saga Motifs on Gotland Picture Stones: The Case of Hildr Högnadóttir

The Stora Hammars I stone. - Gotland picture stone

This article will only examine one of these legends, namely the ‘Hildr legend’ in the context of two of these stones, lärbro stora hammars  and stenkyrka smiss . An attempt will be made to place the images in a larger context than has been done before, and by doing so to strenghten the probability that they were indeed intended to refer to the original Hildr legend.

Novgorod the Great in Baltic Trade before 1300

Medieval Novogrod

The information on trade contacts between Novgorod and Scandinavian countries preserved in the works of Old Norse

The Old English Rune Poem – Semantics, Structure, and Symmetry

Old English Folio

The later runic alphabets do, of course, follow the basic pattern of the earlier Germanic Fupark though considerably modified by the late eighth century, decreasing in the number of runes in Scandinavia whilst increasing in number in the runic alphabets of England.

Awkward Adolescents: Male Maturation in Norse Literature

old norse

Although medieval masculinities have become a subject of scholarly interest, there has been relatively little discussion of the transition in Old Norse until very recently.

INTERVIEW: Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths

Song of the Vikings

An interview with author Nancy Brown on her latest medieval offering: “Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths”.

Talk to the Dragon: Tolkien as Translator


When Bilbo, and the readers of The Hobbit, are confronted with the dragon, they are in for a surprise, as Smaug’s behaviour is somewhat unusual for a dragon.

The Emergence of the North

King Haakon IV of Norway

Apart from this bipolar system that contrasted North and South, authors writing in the Old Norse-Icelandic language also appear to use the term Norðrlönd within a quadripolar system that held good beyond the immediate region: Norðrlönd, the Vestrlönd (the British Isles), Suðrríki (Germany, the Holy Roman Empire), and Austrríki or Austrvegr (Russia and other lands to the East).

The Language of Birds in Old Norse Tradition

The ravens Huginn and Muninn

Special individuals capable of understanding the language of birds are spread throughout the medieval Icelandic literary corpus. This phenomenon has received surprisingly little academic attention and is deserving of detailed, extensive, and interdisciplinary study. Capable of flight and song, birds universally hold a special place in human experience. Their effective communication to people in Old Norse lore offers another example of their unique role in humanity’s socio-cosmic reality.

What Was Viking Poetry For?

The Karlevi Runestone is a skaldic Old Norse poem in dróttkvætt, the "courtly metre", raised in memory of a Viking chieftain.

The most characteristic kind of verse that has been preserved from the Viking Age is praise poetry — praise either of the living or of the recently dead…

Re-forging the smith: an interdisciplinary study of smithing motifs in Völuspá and Völundarkviða

Odin and the Völva - by Frølich


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