Bonus Episode – The History Channel’s Vikings

Much thanks to Jim Cartwright who joined me on this episode… and thanks to everyone who has joined the Facebook community!

4 Responses to “Bonus Episode – The History Channel’s Vikings”

  1. I’m not a historical linguist but … given that the Angles, Saxons, Frisians and Jutes spoke a low German dialect, and given that the Norsemen (or people from the Vik, later referred to as Vikings) also spoke a low German dialect, and knowing that the Frankish Kingdom of low Germanic speakers held great political, religious and probably linguistic influence on at least the area now known as Kent, and knowing that a language needs at least 500 years of separation to become mutually unintelligible, it makes sense to me that the need for translation between the Norse raiders and the Anglo-Saxon monks was far less than suggested in “Vikings” and agreed by you and Jim Cartwright. In fact, it was the first thing I thought of when Athelstan was captured. It seems logical to me that all the languages reference above were still somewhat mutually intelligible at this point. It seems like a good question for a historical linguist. Or, I might simply be full of it.

    Just a thought.

    I also noted that the reference to ‘England’ seemed historically early. I don’t think the audience would have been confused if they called their destination Ænglaland (or Anglaland, or Englaland), though even this might be about 100 years too soon.

    As for the historical inaccuracies of the ‘Vikings’ series, I guess I give them a bit of slack given that when they began the project, they had no idea if they would be renewed for a second or third season. As such, I suppose they went the lazy route of using characters known to contemporary viewers while ignoring the proper timeline in the name of entertainment rather than in the name of accepted historical fact. I also agree that the violence is substantially toned down for the delicate sensibilities of modern viewers. C’est la vie. Or should I say Sen är Fjǫr, Sådan er livet, Det er livet, or Sånt är livet?

  2. WAs it my imagination, or did Jim do a John Oliver style shout-out to the Bugle at the end?

  3. Re: Your comments about Floki “No one names their kid Floki”

    You are so wrong about that.

    Ragnar is a semi-mythological character. Floki is an actual historical character. He was the first person to deliberately sail to Iceland (after others had discovered it and returned to tell the tale).

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