SAGA: Norse Farmstead Collection
Many Norse were ‘Vikingr’ (roving and marauding adventures) others were ‘Kaupamadr’ (buyers and sellers of merchandise) who were the masters of trading goods across their known world. More than a few of their ‘Hafn’ (harbour/port trading towns) have grown to be among the largest North West Europe Cities today, but the largest activity in Nordic society was domestic and rural (fishing and farming).
Rural Norse family's who owned a homestead were either ‘Karl’ or better off ‘Bondi’ (free born oath givers). They lived in a ‘Langhus’ (Longhouse), a form of dwelling that dates back to the Iron Age, with the communal living area of the family in part of the ‘Hus’ and the ‘Scypen’ (Shippon/Cattle Byre) in the other. The families most valued livestock lived in the byre end of their house with them, keeping livestock safe and providing extra warmth in cold weather.
There was more than just one family that lived in the Homestead, they also had their, freedmen and slaves living around them. A Freed ‘Fostre Thrall’ (hereditary slave) was a ‘Leysingi’ (Freedman), they were still at the beckon call of their former master’s household. ‘Leysingi’ families often lived in Hovels close by the Longhouse.
Below Freedmen were ‘Thrall’ (owned servants) these beings were the lowest of all, their jobs were menial, working about the homestead or working the fields and fishery nets. You could be born a ‘Fostre’ (hereditary slave) or enslaved as ‘Anaud’ by Vikings, either way you were a ‘Thrall’ and likely a hut like the smallest of these buildings would be where you were locked away at night, like some farm dog or oxen.
A brief look at the Icelandic Sagas shows why rural Norse built robust and well defended homesteads - often the stockade around the Longhouse was more of a defendable palisade - as ‘Vikingr’ had no qualms raiding other Norse. Dans, Swedes, Icelanders, Hiberno-Norse and Manx were just as likely to become ‘Anaud Thrall’ (enthralled captives) and sold alongside Finns, Slavs, Angles, Bretons and Welsh in a ‘Hafn’ slave auction. These rural families lived with the fear of raiders from afar but also with the risk of local feuds becoming deadly. Feuding and vendetta was a large influence on Norse culture at this time, vengeance needed to be seen to be had, or your family lost face and your followers deserted you. It was not unknown for feuds to become bloody little wars between close locals, sometimes ending with the losers held up inside their own Longhouse as it was burned to the ground.
28mm Scale models supplied unassembled. Miniatures not included. Colour of thatch may vary.
This kit is rated 4Ground skill level 4
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