One of the vikings from the southern Sweden have carved a huge granite block with runes in the early ninth century. The story that he has carved on could tell us a lot about people’s fears at the time when several natural disasters have led to the death of almost half of the Scandinavia population.
The mourning of the deceased son was the original reason to carve the stone with runes. But this runic message tells us much more.
This Viking shows his fears about the freezing summer and the approaching of terrible and cold winter. Cold weather and changing climate was common to Scandinavians of that period. And the harsh climatic conditions made northern Europeans very resilient and resistant to natural phenomena.
However, something strongly stirred up the creative Viking. The reason lies in the terrible frost year that happened 300 years before the runic writer was born. This natural catastrophe has led to mass extinctions in Sweden and the Scandinavian peninsula. The legend has been preserved even through nine generations of people.
Two solar eclipses and a cold summer occurred during the life of our Viking. It is possible that these phenomena frightened him so much that he decided to perpetuate his fear in the stone.
The runes tell us about his fear of a freezing winter. This fear is understandable, given what the legends say. Eclipse and cold winter are heralds of Ragnarök which is the end of the world in Scandinavian beliefs.
Most of the runic inscriptions remain unsolved and it will be very interesting to know – what else this Viking wanted to tell us?
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