Thursday, June 19, 2014

Avaldsnes. The road to Bukkoy, Viking Farm.



Water everywhere. Walk around a fine reconstructed Viking farm settlement at Bukkoy, and water is never fr away.  From St. Olaf's Church, follow a narrow paved pathway through sheep and burial mounds, across a little bridge to get there. The island is still wooded, with smaller paths angling in many directions.  Recommendation:  Go directly to the settlement, and then strike off on your own. Keep the water in sight until you find the little bridge again.then amble along the coastal pathway, never leaving sight of water, until you find the little bridge again.

On the way:  sheepfolds, or are these shelters for wells? Or shelters for people then and now?

Burial mounds:  These witness the importance of this area in times gone by.  It was a royal seat, for generations, as rulers moved about their spheres of influence.

Avaldsnes, Norway. Sheep safely grazing on burial mounds, on road to Bukkoy, near St. Olaf's Church.

At St. Olaf's, the large burial mound, that had obscured the prominence of the later Christian church, was leveled in the 19th Century, the result of great Christian macho fervor.  Ancient burial mounds nearby signaled a prime spot for Christians to build and counter the old powers. The traditions coexisted for centuries, until the power play took over. The vanity of ideology required the removal of forbears.

That issue of cultural arrogance aside, walk through sheepfolds and acres of remaining burial mounds at Avaldsnes.   Go slowly. Breathe in the eons. Eventually, cross the little bridge, and find the reconstructed old royal settlement farm on the island just beyond the island on which the church itself is constructed.
  • This paved walkway is wide enough for necessary maintenance vehicles, needed to recreate the Bukkoy that archeologists and historians authenticate:  the ancient tradition of royal or other distinguished manor farms of this area, serving chieftains and kings of the Viking era: in past times.  Sometimes, communities here served as the actual place of royal residence; others periodically housed and provisioned the powers as the king du jour traveled around their spheres of influence; some served as "vassal" farm-manors to feed the leaders wherever they were.
Bukkoy, Viking farm, still natural, Avaldsnes, Norway

Who was the king or chieftain here, as Christianity evolved militarily nearby?
  • Originally, the king or chieftain among Viking groups was chosen by the people, at a formal gathering called a Thing. That soon succumbed to the ideology of the church, whereby its development of multiple sacraments required a church-sanctioned bedding before the offspring was eligible to rule.  See FN 1.
  • The king, chieftain, however put in power, needed sustenance while traveling, and a home base for repose. Enter the royal farm, the farm manor.

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FN 1 Even pop "historians" agree on the transition issues of power shaping Scandinavian history:  Time Magazine, Norse History.  Early Vikings were indeed basically democratic in terms of calling an assembly to choose the successor.  Then what happened?  Read the history, at http://alanmacfarlane.com/TEXTS/bastardy.pdf/  Bastardy alone had not been a disqualifier. 

It took dogma and sacraments, including a new emphasis on church "marriage",  to enable the church to destroy that vestigial democracy and establish a church-controlled system of descent.  Thereafter, even the most qualified, intelligent, battle-ready, charismatic bastards were out.  Son of a gun. Enter the centuries of dullards with the bed behind them, leading ha when the skilled outside-the-sheets were excluded. When the institutional church took hold, suddenly offspring of a formally institutionalized sanctioned "marriage" became a precondition for eligibility for leadership.  Only an offspring of a Christian-sanctioned-marriage bedding could be king.  And, boyoboy, did that lead to decades of violence.  Thank you, church. The bishops wanted control of who reigned, and so they eventually did.

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