Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Style Guide for Vikings

As more is known about the lives of the Vikings  so our impressions of their daily lives have been modified and periodically turns up on the Internet or in connection with specific discoveries. This was brought out very well in the very impressive British Museum exhibition minted jointly with Danish and German museums a few years ago which had everything from personal jewellery right up to a full-size facsimile of King Harold Bluetooth’s great stone from Jellinge and King Cnut’s biggest ship from Roskilde.

The other day I came across an article from the World History Encyclopaedia about the personal grooming, dress and jewellery of the Vikings which gives a vivid idea of what the average Viking man, or woman, about Europe would have looked like in the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries, and something of  the quality of their lifestyle.

It may not be quite GQ or Vogue but it is not as far away as you might think. One does wonder if the Vikings were the ever-so-slightly or indeed blatantly vulgar nouveau riches of the time. The censorious comments of pious Anglo-Saxon clerics give voice to an interesting contrast - though I would bet that Wessex Man and Woman were just as style and fashion conscious, only the clergy either never noticed or condemned them as well. Plus ça change, mutatis mutandis ..,,,

The article can be read at Viking Hygiene, Clothing, & Jewelry

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