The word "Vik" in viking is Old Norse for a bay (sea-side or river-side sort of bay). Viking simply meant "Bay-Dweller".
Maybe... maybe not. The etymology of ON 'vik' is still being debated - it could also mean 'settlement, camp'.
Their name is central to trade and comes up in many place names in the UK such as Smethwick and Greenwich....
Both of these place names predate Viking activity. The Old English (or Anglo-Saxon, if you prefer) element -wic
could variously mean 'settlement', 'harbour' or 'trading-place'. Smethwick was 'the Smith's settlement', while Greenwich was 'the trading-place on the green'. I can't honestly think of any -wick or -wich place-names that can be absolutely attributed to Viking activity.
Wick and Wich was originally pronounced in a Germanic tone..hence "Vik"....such places is where they used to trade regularly.
The OE affix element was -wic
, pronounced either 'wick' or 'witch' NOT 'vik'.
The MnE 'V' representing a voiced labio-dental fricative had no direct equivalent in OE and was merely a modification of (and represented by) the letter 'F' (unvoiced labio-dental fricative) or the 'feoh' rune. Whether it was voiced or unvoiced was decided by the adjoining sounds. As an aside, this is part of the reason that MnE still has such inconsistencies as hoof/hooves, calf/calves.
OE 'C' was pronounced either hard [k] or soft [tch], again largely depending upon the adjoining sounds, but it was far more inconsistent than the F/V case.
OE 'wic' was almost certainly derived from the latin vicus
- a settlement or camp. I don't really know enough about ON to have my own opinion.
It is supposed to be the later Christian missionaries who clashed with them in some areas and were entered into history books by such Christian scholars as murauding brigands. Hence the reason that the meaning of the word viking became synonimous for piracy in the dark ages.
Hmmm... a rather slanted view of history. A very small proportion of Viking raids were directed at Christian monasteries and the like. Vikings raided where there was the best chance of loot for the least effort (they weren't daft), which inevitably meant that such soft targets as Lindisfarne and Rechru were high on the list.
...Plus you have their old religion that did not require worship and of course Shamanism as the Allfather, Odin, the highest of the norse gods was mostly seen as a god of wisdom, knowledge and shamanism.
Maybe worship was not required
, but I think you'd soon find yourself running short of hamingja
and followers if you neglected it. Oðinn as god of shamanism? That's a new one on me.
Andrew, are you by any chance a pagan?
I like Vikings. I've studied early Northern Germanic history and languages for years. I just don't see any connection whatsoever to Steampunk.
Vikings share many similar cultural and language similarities to the Saxon. In the Dark Ages most of Britain was part of Denmark and York being its capital trading centre. Hence the Jorvik centre in York that celebrates the Vikings. Much of the Danelaw became Saxon towards the latter part of the dark ages. This is where language inadvertantly mingles as it always had.
With regards to Wic...this is looking at etymology before the word vikingur was concieved. Bays became trading centres themselves. If you look at the geography of these places such as Woolwich, Greenwich and Smethwick, you will find a river...and this is what the long boats were used for. This is how they got to the Byzantine empire by navigating down the Danube into the black sea. At many points of those journeys they would have to carry the ship across land to evade the shallow parts of the rivers. And with them came goods and Vikings were reknown for trade, it was the centre of their culutre as well as shamanism and wisdom.
Viking is not a tribe of people. It is many tribes and customs that share similarites to each other due to their geographical origin. The god Odin is not just seen with the Vikings but low down as present day Austria and Germany. And that includes the original lands of the Saxon. This god Odin traveled all over Europe, North Africa, the Roman Empire...Russia, Istanbul, Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. They get around the many tribes that later became known as Vikings. When the dark ages began, it was the so called great migration period. And much of their customs is based on travel. So its not all black and white by absolute origins and places where these blokes came from.
Anything can be adopted for Steampunk. Especially from an aesthetical point of view with the artifacts found. Afterall. It is their skills that contributed to the foundation of the industrial revolution. And the adventure they so represent with the sagas...they have so much potential for influencing steampunk on so many levels.