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Norse Drinking Trads

Norse Drinking Trads

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Published by Mark Bailey

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Published by: Mark Bailey on Jul 18, 2012
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12/25/2012

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Norse Drinking Traditions
Christie L. Ward Alexandrian Company Symposium on Food and Festival in the Middle Ages
Hávamál 
(Sayings of the High One)
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These are the words of the great god Ódinn,cautioning against drunkenness and unrestraineddrinking. And yet the drinking of alcoholic beverageswas a prominent feature of Scandinavian life in theViking Age.Unfortunately, while there are many passingreferences in Old Norse literature and occasional bitsof evidence in the archaeological record, there is far from a complete picture of Viking Age brewing,vintning, and drinking customs. In the course of thispaper, evidence from several Germanic cultures willbe presented to help fill out the evidence and providea more complete view of this topic. Although theculture of other Germanic peoples was not exactlylike that of the Norse, many similarities exist. In thecase of drinking and rituals associated with drinking,the Old English materials seem to present the bestdetailed view of this activity, which further enlightensthe materials surviving from Norse culture.Many pieces of related evidence survive, even fromthe earliest records of the Germanic peoples. Thereare significant similarities that suggest thefundamental structure of drinking as a formal ritualactivity was established in the early Germanic tribesbefore the Migration Age split the Germanic peoplesinto their familiar nations of the modern day.Drinking and drinking customs among the Germanictribes were recorded by Romans such as P.Cornelius Tacitus in his
Germania
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Norse Drinking Traditions Page 2
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