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[–]Minuted 16 points17 points  (4 children)

Maybe I need to watch the TV show (have been meaning to!), but I don't really understand:

a) Why Egil needed revenge, or why he would enact it in such a cowardly way (did the TV show try to hide these facts and portray him as somehow more wronged than he actually was?)

b) How the poetry he wrote about his murdering someone who beat him in a game saved his life. Did he recite the poetry when he was asked to account for his actions? edit: reading it again I think it just means that his poetry saves him later in his life.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 5 points6 points  (2 children)

He wanted revenge because he was embarrassed at losing to Grim. Why the show did that, I don't know. Egil is.not depicted in the show at all but there are so many things depicted in the show that is taken from Egils saga. I thought depending how this post went I would share more of his poetry and give more examples of how the show honored him.

The poetry did save him later on in life. When Erik blood axe had him captive. Erik's wife Gunhild hated Egil. Egil then recited a poem that saved his life. Details are long but I'd love to put them in another post.

[–]venerable4bede 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I keep really hoping they’ll throw in a horse-head cursing pole but have been disappointed.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh boy, it would have been nice to see more from their religion and beliefs.

For the sake of spoilers I'll spare you on where the horse head is in the show. I don't think it's meant as a curse bit it could have been a deliberate insult to the person it was intended for.

[–]GhostOfAChance 22 points23 points  (2 children)

I took a Viking history class as my degree final, and actually used this story in my paper (the role of games in Viking culture). My teacher for the class was actually an advisor for the show for the first season or 2, but they let him go afterwards. He complained that it became less grounded in reality thereafter, and he seems to be right, haha.

[–]Basura_XXIV 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Yeah he's definitely right. Had to stop watching the show at some point.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

He was right, what kept me going was the depiction of real men and some events. I also Loved the culture, after reading "The rights of Odin" seeing the rituals in the show helped bring the pages to life a little bit.

[–]froland445 12 points13 points  (3 children)

At least the writers openly admit the inaccurate depictions and give an explanation in some interviews you can find on YouTube.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Oh really!? That is awesome I'd like to check those out. Having read the saga's before I watched the show. I was taken back a couple of times when I saw some of the things I knew were inspired by the saga's. I'd love to see if they speak about the same things I noticed and noted.

[–]froland445 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Yeah they are pretty easy to find and he basically explains that he wishes he could include everything from the Sagas but due to restrictions on producing a TV show they have to make changes..

One of the things I wish they would have elaborated on more was Bjorn’s exploits in Italy, specifically when he sacked Pisa thinking it was Rome. In order to speed the siege he sent word that he died and wished to be baptized. When his body was sent into the city he sprung up and fought his way to the gates, opening them and letting his army in to take the city. Funny how they used this for Ragnar’s attack on France during the 4th season I think. It was also interesting to learn that Lagertha was not Bjorn’s mother and that it was actually Aslaug.

[–]jathrop 0 points1 point  (0 children)

In the seige the show took from, it was actually Bjorn's foster father who did the ruse that he was dying. I also kinda wish that Rollo was kept back as more of a contemporary of Bjorn rather than being depicted as Ragnar's brother.

[–]HansOlough 4 points5 points  (3 children)

I've also been watching and enjoying Vikings lately and noticed Queen Aslaug eating a turkey leg in a feast scene (early in season 3 I think). The turkey leg is out of place right?

[–]Slippy-Vagina 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Turkey is an American native animal, however in Europe we have a female variant that is technically still a turkey, but ours are MUCH MORE smaller than American turkeys.

[–]mcflyOS 4 points5 points  (0 children)

A female variant?

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I honestly never noticed, I did make mention once to my friend that I liked how they show Ragnar on several occasions eating fish in a way that was traditionally prepared. The other food I just didn't seem to notice. You make a great point.

[–]DATtunaLIFE 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Vikings makes cross bows look like machine guns at one point. It takes a whole minute to reload on of those things.

[–]ppitm 1 point2 points  (0 children)

9th Century crossbows were very fast to fire because the prods were wooden and low-poundage. You just pull the string back with both hands, and this takes scarcely any longer than drawing a self bow.

Long reload times for crossbows are due exclusively to winching mechanisms for high-poundage prods made of steel or compound materials (horn, etc) from the High Middle Ages onward.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yea, I did not like that. They show them reloading while ADS still. The string was so weak the bolt would have gone maybe 3 feet in reality.

[–]Darkchyylde 33 points34 points  (4 children)

It's a fictional television show... I'm not sure what the point of this post was.

[–]jsting 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It's a fictional show loosely based on some Viking legends and ballads. It's cool to delve into what is legend and what is comtemporary.

[–]Minuted 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Are you sure you know what the point of your post was?

Might be better off in /r/television or something but seems fine to me to discuss historical shows or at least the history they are based on here. Can't see any rules against it at least.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The show was made with intent and real events are shown and spoken about. One example is the characters and I'll give you well known one. Ivar the Boneless was a real man, in life he sailed to North Umbria and took over King Aellas lands by forcing Aella to grant him lands in exchange for peace. Aella said he would give him as much land that an Ox hide would cover. Ivar being the genius he was. Sliced the hide in such a thin strip he was able to encircle a huge portion of land. He then built a stronghold and used it later to invade the rest of North Umbria. Rollo of Normandy, Floki, and King Harald were all real men and each have their own stories.. I'm just unsure why they mixed them up so much in the show.

[–]nm_already_taken 10 points11 points  (25 children)

None of its real, Ragnar never even existed, so why stress about something as insignificant as that?

[–]Lord0fHats 14 points15 points  (17 children)

To be clear, Ragnar Lodbrok is considered to be a historical figure by some solely in the sense that he is classified with figures like Socrates, Solomon, and Buddha. He existed, but the records we have of his life are of a questionable nature and there is little to no independent means of corroboration.

For Ragnar, this basically covers every detail of his life. Most of the stories about him are fantastical, and those that aren't are still poetic in nature. Whoever he was, he lived in a time where his people weren't writing their own history and his enemies mythologized almost everything of era, leaving few reliable records.

The history of the man and who he really was is lost. Only the legends remain. He absolutely didn't do everything the stories attribute to him, and chronicles and sagas likely inflate everything about him. The men we generally consider to be his sons may not have even been related to him at all. Even when Viking started recording their own history, they needed to use Saxon sources and writers to do it and would thusly inherit their presumptions and misconceptions, and would rely themselves heavily on oral histories and folklore.

So Ragnar Lodbrok may have existed but if he did we know basically nothing about him and have no means of verifying any aspects of his history.

[–]Slippy-Vagina 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Ragnar is pretty much like Robin Hood: very questionable and all we have is sagas where also Giants, dwarfs and other fictional people were in.

Ragnar, same as Robin Hood, might even be the product of several historical people, merged together through tales.

Imo even Robin Hood is a safer bet since at least we have some historical names of Robyn of Langley in tax Scrolls and such, ergo much more credible sources than Sagas that were written centuries later.

[–]DustinDortch 2 points3 points  (0 children)

There is also speculation that Robin Hood may have been influenced by Hereward the Wake, or even the other way around.

[–]Lord0fHats 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Historians have been unable to ignore the historical accounts (namely the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle the Life of Alfred) that have uncanny references to elements of what we would now recognize as Ragnar's legend.

But these records mention no man by that name.

The figure we have today is almost certainly a product of amalgamation and conflation.

[–]LateInTheAfternoon 5 points6 points  (8 children)

He existed, but the records we have of his life are of a questionable nature and there is little to no independent means of corroboration.

How in the world is this relevant to Socrates???? The only uncertainty concerning Socrates is which opinions are genuinly his and which are Plato's (which he becomes a mouthpiece for) in Plato's dialogues. His life (as much as we know of it) is fairly well attested (certainly by the standards of antiquity and certainly compared to almost all of the other Greek philosophers).

[–]Lord0fHats 1 point2 points  (7 children)

You answered the question.

Socrates made no writings. We have only the writings of others, most significantly Plato, to provide any information about him and taking all that as a whole paints an inconsistent figure.

[–]LateInTheAfternoon -1 points0 points  (2 children)

We have only the writings of others [...] to provide any information about him and taking all that as a whole paints an inconsistent figure.

This applies to 99 % of all historical figures mentioned in historical records since forever, which makes your point completely trivial and begs the question: why did you single out Socrates, Salomon and Buddha specifically? When it comes to their historicity and the certainty by which we can regard their biographies they fall in entirely different categories. But that would mean leaving the comfortable zone of the trivial and banal. The difference between Ragnar and Socrates is that one is legendary, mentioned in a fictional setting centuries after he supposedly lived, the other is one of the best attested philosophers of antiquity for whom we have as much as three independent contempory sources! That's on a level we generally only have for Roman politicians in the Late Republic.

[–]Lord0fHats 2 points3 points  (1 child)

This applies to 99 % of all historical figures mentioned in historical records

Yes. I'm honestly confused why you want to make this an argument. We don't seem to actually disagree about the basic concepts here. It's not a trivial point either, because most people don't get it.

why did you single out Socrates, Salomon and Buddha specifically?

Because I wanted examples and there's not a lot of good ones who can elucidate how murky it can get to know 'realness' of historical personages.

But that would mean leaving the comfortable zone of the trivial and banal.

Yes, I imagine it might be uncomfortable leaving the zone of trivial banality. Leaving that zone means actually make a point rather.

If your sole contention is that Socrates doesn't belong in that category, fine I guess. The point isn't to lump figures together, it's to point out the very murky nature of knowing anything about anyone in history and that 'historicalness' is more a matter of degrees than a clear answer to what seems like a simple question.

[–]LateInTheAfternoon 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My sole contention is that sources can be ranged along a spectrum and consequently too the contents of those sources. Socrates is well attested for in very trusthworthy sources (sources that are independent and contemporary). The life of Buddha is more problematic but has many sources though there's some dependency between them and they're written a few centuries later. Salomon is much more problematic still (fewer sources and a much longer time span separating the time when they were written). It's a question of source criticism! My contention is that they belong in different categories because of the varying conditions surrounding the sources that speak of them. Ragnar's existence is probably as uncertain as that of Salomon and more uncertain by far than either those of the Buddha and Socrates.

[–]LateInTheAfternoon -2 points-1 points  (3 children)

I have no idea what you're talking about or why failure for historical figures to leave writings after themselves means that we suddenly cannot be certain of anything concerning their biographies. Even here Socrates is better off than a lot of other philosophers (like Zeno of Elea or Zeno of Citium or almost all the Cynics and Sceptics). At least in the case of Socrates we have two independent contemporary sources (Plato and Xenophon, his students) plus the much later biographical mentions that we have for other philosophers in Plutarch, Diogenes Leartes and company. Or are you saying that to understand the biographies of historical figures we must have access to their own writings? If so, goodbye Hannibal, we obviously don't know anything about you, they say you crossed the alps but we cannot be sure because you didn't write anything. Seriously, though, whatever argument you're trying to make it doesn't make any sense.

[–]Lord0fHats 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Seriously, though, whatever argument you're trying to make it doesn't make any sense.

I'll make it longer then.

Numerous historians have over the past century increasingly called into question accounts of the life of Socrates. There was a stint in like the 80s where it was super hip to go around saying 'Socrates may not have existed and was simply a rhetorical device invented by Plato and others' but the 80s were a crazy time and we don't live in them anymore.

As a consequence, historians have taken note that there is no consistent picture of Socrates. The most contemporaneous accounts are from his students (who paint different pictures of the man in their writings) and a playwright who seemed to think he was very funny. No one argues Socrates wasn't real anymore, but lots of historians question if we know anything about the man and point out all we really know is what his students ended up writing about him.

I am not saying he didn't exist or that we know nothing about him. I'm arguing against that entire idea and you make a good comparison. Hannibal wrote nothing down, but hardly anyone thinks the Romans made up the crossing of the Alps.

We can in fact be very fickle and inconsistent when it comes to picking a choosing which accounts of whose lives we decide are credible. Often the distinction is more of a judgement call than anything, based on a loose sense of what seems plausible.

The oldest extent written account of Alexander the Great is 200 years after the man lived. It's a good thing we have all the coins with his face on them. If he came from a culture that didn't build monuments, scratch old-school graffiti into walls, and slap faces on coins, you'd probably have people going around saying Alexander the Great is just a legend and no real man could possibly have done all that stuff.

The argument I'm making, is that laymen tend to want a black or white answer to the question 'did this person exist' and reality is that depending on what person we're talking about and what kind of evidence we have to work with, that questions is a lot more gray than people tend to want it to be.

[–]LateInTheAfternoon 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I'll return the courtesy by expanding my criticism which is basically this:

First of all, you conflate things for no reason which means that if there is an uncertainty concerning one aspect of Socrates's life then it is allowed to contaminate the whole. The historicity of Socrates (whether he existed), the character of Socrates (his personality), the philosophy of Socrates (his teachings) and the life events of Socrates (his biography) are four completely different things! The fact that there might be some unclarity about one of these does in no way affect any of the others - they are independent of one another.

Secondly, as for this

historians have taken note that there is no consistent picture of Socrates

I must assume you're still talking about the "crazy historians" of the eighties because it's extremely rare for historians not to expect discrepancies (and as one who has read both Plato's and Xenophon's portrayals of Socrates the discrepancies are not extraordinary in any way). If only two books would survive portraying FDR by two Democrats that worked with him we'd also see two very different pictures of FDR. Especially if the authors had two different kinds of relationship with FDR, which is the case with Plato and Xenophon. Plato lionized Socrates but at the same time used him for his own purposes; Xenophon was more lukewarm but felt a need to defend him while not hiding his flaws (as a result Xenophon's Socrates is much more human in that he's much more emotional and petty). But all this is just basic source criticism.

Thirdly, as for this:

The argument I'm making, is that laymen tend to want a black or white answer to the question 'did this person exist' and reality is that depending on what person we're talking about and what kind of evidence we have to work with, that questions is a lot more gray than people tend to want it to be.

This is all very good until one realize that to do this you adopt a black andx white view of the sources - they must either be immaculate or else everything is uncertain. This is just not how historians deal with sources.

Finally, when it comes to Socrates his historicity is extremely well attested for and his life is fairly well accounted for by the sources. However, his personality and attitudes are uncertain as here Plato and Xenophon are in disagreement. To me Xenophon is a tad more trusth worthy as the Socrates character was not central to him in the way it was for Plato in his philosophical project. As for Socrates's philosophy Xenophon's account supports the picture we meet in Plato of an old man who doesn't shy away from challenging the opinions of his fellow Athenians (though he's much more belligerent and petty, and his arguments are unrefined). Except for that Xenophon doesn't concern himself much with Socrates's philosophy which leaves us having to guess as for the rest of Socrates's actions and arguments in Plato's dialogues, how much of that reflect the historical Socrates and not Plato, the author.

[–]Lord0fHats 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'll return the courtesy by expanding my criticism which is basically this:

I'll be honest, I'm kind of accustomed to people getting more dickish, not less so... Sorry if I came off as aggressive before. Might have jumped the gun there.

First of all, you conflate things for no reason which means that if there is an uncertainty concerning one aspect of Socrates's life then it is allowed to contaminate the whole.

That's really not what I'm trying to do. This whole topic area gets so messy because of language barriers.

I'm not trying to dissect Socrates. I'm only trying to make a point about 'facts'.

We like facts to be black and white. Either something is a fact and therefore true, or it is not a fact and therefore false. And especially in abstract societies tend to lump facts and not-facts together rigidly. In history this means accounts are often either taken as wholly true or wholly untrue.

But all this is just basic source criticism.

The typical laymen doesn't understand source criticism. The general public horribly underestimates how very convoluted the entire practice can become. Scholars and laymen have very different ways of engaging with historical material with different degrees of scrutiny.

In retrospect, maybe Homer would have been a better example than Socrates, but I didn't think of that at the time XD Homer would have been way more effective.

This is all very good until one realize that to do this you adopt a black andx white view of the sources - they must either be immaculate or else everything is uncertain. This is just not how historians deal with sources.

I'm not saying it is and it's not. Though, I would argue pretty much all sources must be taken as 'everything is uncertain' but I think that goes way off into theory that's maybe beside the point here. I honestly don't see a disagreement point here, except that I'm not the best explainer in the world.

[–]Platypuskeeper -1 points0 points  (1 child)

You don't know what you're talking about. Ragnar Lodbrok is not considered a historical figure by Scandinavian historians. Your post is a load of uninformed drivel.

[–]Lord0fHats 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Historians of the era don't exactly have a lot to work with. The Scandinavians of the Viking era wrote no records. Saxon and Frankish accounts were prone to building figures into legends far beyond anything verifiable even when contemporary with the period.

Building men into legends basically is the history of Europe in the 7th-9th centuries. But the legends are basically all we got when it comes to working out narrative history.

To speak of 'uninformed drivel', historians from Scandinavian countries buy into these legends more anyone. You'll be amazed how frequently we offhanded conflate figures ourselves. There's a basic college text book on the Viking Age published by Oxford in multiple languages that just takes for granted that Ragnar Lodbrok is the same figure as 'Reginherus' and that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (which doesn't mention anyone by the name of Ragnar) was referring to said figure when discussing the Viking invasion of 865.

[–]-uzo- -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

Still a better love story than Twilight!

[–]ddm50 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Can’t know that for sure.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Not true at all Ragnar was a real man, in the saga's Ragnar was known as Ragnar saggy breaches. He is mentioned as the grandfather of Olaf the red. King of the Scott's. Olaf the red threatned the lands of King Athelstan of England. Olaf had taken all the lands of North Umbria and then fought with Egil and Egils brother Thorolf. Athelstan hired Egil and his brother as mercenaries to fight Olaf. Athelstan won the battle vs Olaf but it claimed Thorolfs life. This is another story in its own and events. Which is also depicted in the show.

Edit : spelling

[–]LateInTheAfternoon 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Ragnar is considered a legendary figure by historians (so basically similar to king Arthur), but this does not mean, as OP argued, that there's no justification for us to wish for (or expect) some historical accuracy in the show. After all, there are many works about fictional characters in historical settings (e.g. Ben Hur, Robin Hood, the Three Musqueteers etc) that are elevated by being situated in the time period in question and which (I think many would agree) benefit greatly from some fidelity to that historical past.

[–]alchahest -1 points0 points  (0 children)

The show was made with intent and real events are shown and spoken about. One example is the characters and I'll give you well known one. Ivar the Boneless was a real man, in life he sailed to North Umbria and took over King Aellas lands by forcing Aella to grant him lands in exchange for peace. Aella said he would give him as much land that an Ox hide would cover. Ivar being the genius he was. Sliced the hide in such a thin strip he was able to encircle a huge portion of land. He then built a stronghold and used it later to inv

the OP isn't "Stressing" about anything? just discussing an interesting bit of inspiration the show had

[–]TiloN3 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The history Channel is not to be trusted

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I have to agree with you whole heartedly! With as much emphasis as I can possibly express. You are correct.

[–]I_Saw_A_Bear 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Somehow that anime vinland saga managed to be more accurate despite dudes getting cleved in half by swords and axes

[–]TheAlexam 1 point2 points  (1 child)

There's lots of historial inaccuracies in that show, probably the hot air ballon from recent season 6 is the worst of them

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I enjoy knowing the real stories and that we have the ability to speak about them.

Edit: sorry if that seemed as an abrupt response. There are so many inaccuracies I agree. Having read the saga's I sincerely love that this show in some degree brings the sagas to life. I have longed for the opportunity to be involved in some reinactment of a battle or be involved with an excavation site. I cannot express my love for the history of our world and the nation's that were. To me it is breath taking.

[–]mcflyOS 2 points3 points  (3 children)

I know why none of the main characters wear helmets - so they can be easily distinguishable on screen - but my god is it stupid and inaccurate.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

There is only one time Floki wore a helmet. It was a very ineffective leather like helmet with a created brim. It was very inaccurate agreed. The king's wore helmets and often were very noticeable in battle due to the unique look of their armor

[–]mcflyOS 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Another exception was when Ivar ruled Kattagat he had a bodyguard that wore helmets and they looked really intimidating.

[–]NapoleonOak 2 points3 points  (6 children)

The inaccuracies are a bit frustrating

There's inaccuracies every second of the show. It's a fictional show based on some historical records.

It's fiction, a TV drama.

[–]LateInTheAfternoon 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This is not a good argument. Ben Hur, Austen's novels and The Scarlet Pimpermel are all fictional stories, yet in their film adaptations it's still expected to be some historical accuracies in them, right? After all, they are historical dramas (a fictional genre, true, but dependent on evoking a sense of a historically plausible past – i.e. they're not fantasy).

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

In every episode there is historical accuracies. While it is widely fictional we can still appreciate the work they put in to give you a view of their culture. The rituals, clothing, fighting style, weapons, celebrations, homes, characters, and locations of battles are accurate to a degree. I do agree though there are a lot of inaccuracies and it is sometimes filmed like a Viking themed soap opera. I however, like to look past that because I have an appreciation for what they tried to do. I also feel comfortable knowing the real stories behind what you see in the show. Which makes me appreciate it more knowing they honored the real stories in a way.

[–]ppitm 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Ehm, the costumes, armor and fighting are the most inaccurate in any pseudo-historical film or TV show that I can think of.

The Saxons are shown wearing helmets from NINE HUNDRED YEARS in the future.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I'd love to see some references you may have. Color is something that is inaccurate for sure.. most had no color to their clothing except for its natural coloring. Higher figures in society had dyed clothing.

[–]ppitm 2 points3 points  (1 child)

My critique is mostly focused on the armor, but every "Viking" costume that prominently features leather and fur is pure fantasy. You don't need a reference to know that the Norse didn't dress in BDSM fetish gear before battle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO6gQK5uA5M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwcsz8MuGug

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ok I see what you are talking about now. Yes I agree with you. No I didn't think this is what they wore regularly by any means. I was mainly focused on the linen garments and the depictions of the looms in the show. I wasn't very specific sorry. Leather was used but not in the sense the show depicts it. The furs were also used in garments but again not in the sense shown in the show. I myself have made garments out of hides I've tanned. In fact I have a deer skin rug I did myself. The other hide I'm going to make a satchel.

[–]Slippy-Vagina 0 points1 point  (1 child)

All in all The Last Kingdom is based more on history than Vikings. Especially the books are widely praised and very immersive.

It's less fictional than Vikings, and also has a better pacing due to being based on books.

[–]tyrannydeterioration[S] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I watched that show also. I never really looked into it's history. The way it was filmed had me thinking it was just another themed soap opera. The actor that plays Utrid is...... Well I've just heard better accents on Xbox live I'll just say that. His last line in the series had me really laughing. It was seemingly out of place. "Destiny is ALL!" I occasionally say this line around my house for a laugh cause it was so funny to us when we heard it.
Maybe if I looked into it's history I'd have a better appreciation for the show. I can always appreciate bringing stories to life.