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Scandinavians/Norsemen/Vikings/Danes... Time to clear this up once and for all.

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by RobinHat, Sep 15, 2009.

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  1. Ninja2

    Ninja2 Great Engineer

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    Very interesting debate, thanks for starting it RobinHat.

    I have already renamed the Vikings to Norsemen, and changed the citylist completely. But then, which flag to use? I toyed around with using my avatar, though I never finished it... :)

    I also very much support using Harald Hardrada and Margrethe as leaders. Splitting out Sweden can be done/has been done by modders also.

    As a curiosity, the Danish idiot that invaded the field and attacked the referee lives in Sweden and is probably the most hated Dane around these days...
     
  2. RobinHat

    RobinHat Warlord

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    I've never understood this hype about Harald Harderaade. He was only a Norwegian vassal king of Denmark who occasionally (unsuccesfully) tried to wrestle power from the Danish kings, and who (again, unsuccesfully) tried to invade England.

    If you're going to do a Danish civ (I still hate when people use 'Norse', 'Scandinavian' or 'Viking', but that's their own choice of course), Canute the Great (Knud den Store) is by far the most correct leader to use.

    As for the flag, your avatar is the correct one to use. It was the banner used by Danish kings all the way up until 1219 when the present Danish flag was introduced.

    The Raven banner is described in English texts as 'Dánibroki', which means 'the cloth of the Danes' (another arguement as to why 'Danes' is the correct term).

    This name is actually still used about the present Danish flag today, it is called 'Dannebrog'.
     
  3. Ninja2

    Ninja2 Great Engineer

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    Canute is a fine candidate. My reasoning for suggesting Harald is that IMO Margrethe is the best Danish candidate, and Harald is the best Norwegian candidate, and the Viking/Norse/Scandinavian civ is a combination civ, so using a representative from each country is a fine compromise. But, since you are advocating a pure Danish civ, I see your point.
     
  4. Sian

    Sian Emperor

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    norway as a 'self-owning' nation is a relatively new idea.

    Norway have since forever been the younger brother of either Denmark or Sweden
     
  5. Wimsey

    Wimsey Warlord

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    Wouldn't say 'forever', we had some initiative of our own before the 1300s. Other than that, I just want to add a Norwegian vote to the idea of having Danes, or possibly Denmark and Sweden as civs, as Norway is indeed the least deserving of them.

    By the way, As someone pointed out, the similarities in Danish and Norwegian comes from the last 700 years of Danish dominance, in the 'viking' age Norwegian was more similar to what Icelandic is today (Iceland was settled by Norwegians, and they have been much better at keeping their language than we have).

    When the Danes came, they took all written Norwegian culture and burned it in a great bonfire in Copenhagen. The fire burned for over 3 minutes, and you could see the smoke all the way to the other side of the town square.

    Norway gained independence in 1905, not 1909 by the way.
     
  6. lumpthing

    lumpthing generic lump

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    We're holding a vote on this issue over at the Rhye's and Fall of Civilizations subforum, if anyone's interested. Since it's based on what the civ should be called within a modpack, it has a distant chance of actually being implemented.
     
  7. Snerk

    Snerk Smeghead

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    Great post, good reading. I've watched many documentaries about the "Viking era", but like most historical knowledge i gain, i quickly forget it. So it is good to brush up on some Scandinavian history facts.

    As for what to call such a civ in this game, i'm not sure i agree that "Danish Empire" is the way to go. Partly due to the big difference in geographical are that would represent such a civ, with modern day Denmark. Norway is probably the Scandinavian country that in popular culture is most linked to the Vikings, yet calling the civ "Norway" or something similar would be completely wrong due to that Norway was never dominant in the region. And settlements in Sweden was not such a big part of the Vikings raid, so Sweden or Swedish empire wouldn't sit quite right either. Combined with the fact that Sweden alone later became a military powerhouse in europe.

    Civilization's gameplay requires a united civilisation under one leader. That is often not completely compatible with history, so some big compromises are often required. The Scandinavian people during the "Viking era" is no exception.

    IMO, naming them simply "Vikings" as in Civ4 Warlords is a the only way to go. Originally the word is indeed a verb like described in the first post, but today it is used to name the poeple who lived in parts of the Nordic countries in the centuries at the end of the first millennium. Even in Scandinavia the word "Viking" is used for that and not its original meaning.

    Cnut the Great and Harald Hardråde would be my choice for leaders.

    Who are the Viking Leaders in Civ4 warlords? I forget..
     
  8. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Deity

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    Interesting post, but aside from that the Danes had the most impact of the Nordic countries during the Viking age, it all seems a bit skewed to from a national and Danish side. You're also claiming things that aren't certain. For example, the Viking term isn't as clear as you think. Viking was used as a verb but also as a noun and a name.

    The term Scandinavia or Scandza/Scandia was used way earlier than the late medieval ages. A quick search will show that.

    The divisions between Danes, Norwegians and Swedes were there at the time, but they weren't exclusively loyal to their "tribes/kings". Swedish vikings did travel east to trade and plunder, but they also joined the Danes in their conquest in the west.

    As for the similarities between the "new" Norwegian language and the Danish language, you've already been given a perfectly good explanation for it.


    As for naming the Vikings/Scandinavia, it's fine as it is, even if the Danes had the most impact during the Viking age, excluding the Norwegians and Swedes from it would be more wrong since they all shared a Viking culture at the time. Scandinavia would also be suitable since it depicts the area/culture/nations in an acceptable way without being too constrained in time.
     
  9. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Deity

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    I don't think he was a vassal king at all. If I'm right he was driven away from Norway, went to his Viking friends in Kiev, travel south and served in the Varangian guard, gathered wealth and fame, and then traveled up to Norway, became a king of Norway and almost took the Danish crown too. Then died in battle in England. It's a pretty good story, just involving a Norwegian viking instead of a Danish....
     
  10. RobinHat

    RobinHat Warlord

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    Well yes, but making him the leader of the whole Civilization is a bit silly... I mean that would be like making Cato leader of the Roman Empire... Sure he was a great personality and challenged Caesar, but still...
     
  11. Öjevind Lång

    Öjevind Lång Deity

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    I wouldn't have any problems with Harold Hardraada (as he is apparently called in English) being a leader of the Scandinavian civilization, and I'm not a Norwegian. He was mighty enough to invade England in an attempt to conquer it and give Harold Godwinson a very hard time before he was beaten at Stamford Bridge,
     
  12. RobinHat

    RobinHat Warlord

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    I wouldn't say he gave Harold a hard time. Sure he managed to invade the area near York and beat Edwin and Morcar at the Battle of Fulford, but his invasion was short-lived and he was defeated by Harold in one battle.
     
  13. CaptainPuma

    CaptainPuma Chieftain

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    Hello all, this is my first post to the forums.

    While I applaud RobinHats attempt at bringing historical accuracy to the game, as a Norwegian, I take issue with some of his historical "facts" regarding danish influence on viking-age Norway. In fact, when I read some of it I raged so hard I almost spilled my coffee.

    From the original post:
    This is at best a half-truth, at worst a bald-faced lie. More than anything, it is imprecise. It is true that Norway and Denmark has shared cultural ties for a very, very long time. It is also true that Danish kings at times wielded considerable influence in Viking-age Norway, instating and deposing Norwegian rulers at will. However, reading historical accounts from that time quickly makes it clear that resistance to danish rule also was fierce, and allegiances shifted frequently, often with brothers and fathers and sons taking different sides in the struggle.
    As a result of this, Danish rule of Viking-age Norway was intermittent and valid for only parts of Norway, mainly around the area of Viken (present day Oslo). The nephew of Harald Hardraada, Norwegian king Magnus the Good even ruled Denmark for 7 years in the middle of the 11th century.

    Now this is only considering the Viking age. Following the Viking age was the Norwegian Civil War era lasting over a hundred years, with even more confusion about who ruled what at behest of whom. Emerging from the civil war, completely independent, Norway enjoyed a consolidation and strengthening of the state under stable rule for about a century. At its high-watermark the Norwegian kingdom ruled parts of Sweden, Iceland, the Greenland colonies, and all of the island groups in the North Sea. RobinHat seems blissfully unaware of all of this as he casuallyand arrogantly dismisses the whole line of Norwegian kings as "vassals".

    Norwegian history has few bright spots as it is, without it being downplayed by our former oppressors. I have lived in Denmark, and been shocked by Danes claiming "credit" for discovering America, Iceland, and Greenland, for instance.

    I am truly sorry if this comes off as strident and angry, but I guess being treated as Scandinavias little :):):):):) for 450 years leaves you with little-man issues :p
     
  14. RobinHat

    RobinHat Warlord

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    I do not appreciate being called a liar and 'blissfully unaware' of historical facts, especially when you have nothing to back up your words except patriotic pride. I have a history degree and have studied this particular field for several years.

    One thing that is very important to take into account is that at this time, 'nations' as we know them today did not exist. It was more a question of loyalty towards a lord and a feeling of unity within the people itself.
    With that taken into consideration, your claim of Norwegians 'fiercely resisting Danish rule' is completely untrue. There was much infighting between rulers over who would wield the most power, but in general througout the Viking Age there was not bad blood between the Danes and Norwegians.
    Before Danish king Harald Blåtand united Norway with Denmark, Norway had its own king, Harald Hårfager who was the first king of a united Norway (if you want to mark specific borders that are similar to the ones today).

    Your claim that Danish power was limited only to the southern part of Norway is also untrue. Coins bearing the face of Canute the Great have been found as far north as Bodø, and when Svend Tveskæg (Forkbeard) invaded England, many of his ships set out from the area around Trondheim.
    Magnus the Good was indeed king of both Norway and Denmark for a short period of time. He was the son of Olav the Holy and succeeded Canute the Great's son Hardeknud (Hardicanute) as king of the whole realm due to massive political unrest that had errupted after the death of Canute. Both Canute and Hardicanute were strongly criticised by both Danish and Norwegian lords for spending too much time in England and not enough in Denmark (Hardicanute actually lived most of his life in England, and may well have considered himself more an English king than a Danish one, especially considering the fact that he left the throne to Edward the Confessor, an Englishman). Magnus was chosen as king by both Norwegian and Danish lords who felt that he was the only candidate stable enough to handle the task.

    You are making it sound like there was a continuous civil war going on in Norway for ages with Norway emerging as a single independent country on the other side. This is a very simplified version of what happened. The centuries that followed the Battle of Hastings (perhaps one of the most significant turning points in European history) saw all of Europe undergoing immense shifts in power and identity. Norway was not the only area where infighting and instability reigned. Denmark even had a period where the king practically sold off the whole country to German counts throwing the whole country into a maelstrom of civil strife.
    However, when the dust settled around the middle of the 14th century, Danish power in Norway was reestablished. The last Norwegian king died in 1387 and Norway came under Danish rule for 400 years (this was the darkest time for Norway as Denmark was vastly superior power-wise to Norway, and this period is actually known by Norwegians as the 400-year Night).

    During these 400 years, Denmark and Sweden ground each other down in a seemingly endless series of wars. Every single time one was fought, Norway fought on the Danish side.

    Near the end of this period, Norway and Denmark was effectively one nation, both in terms of borders and spirit. The Norwegian hero, Tordenskjold, born in Trondheim, was a hero of the Danish navy and spent most of his life in Denmark fighting Swedes. He is celebrated by both nations up until this day.

    It wasn't until after many years of Danish stupidity that Norway was lost to Sweden and Denmark finally declined into a minor power in Europe.
    Here is also an example of unity between the Denmark and Norway. In the very short period of only a few days before the Swedish takeover in 1814, Norway declared independence and immediately called up the Danish prince Christian Frederik to be king of Norway - they didn't choose one of their own. This only lasted a few days before Sweden took Norway by force.

    Finally, in 1905, Norway became the independent country that it is today. The Danish prince Karl was appointed king of Norway by the Norwegians, and he took the name Haakon. The Norwegian flag was also designed at this time, and was based on the Danish flag as a symbol of Norway's long-time brotherhood with Denmark. The addition of the blue colour was to give the flag the red-white-blue colours that were synonymous with free nations around the world.

    Would you please give me the name of the king who ruled Norway, parts of Sweden, Iceland and Greenland? I would love to know what period of time Norway was such an immense power without being influenced by Denmark at all.
    It is true that Iceland and Greenland was colonised by Norwegian travellers, and up until the early 11th Century, the hight of Danish power in Europe, these areas were relatively independent, only in contact with Norway and Denmark via trade routes.

    Apart from the time of civil strife between the 12th and the 14th Centuries, Norway was effectively under Danish rule from the 10th Century up until 1814. I'm sorry if this hurts your patriotic pride, but it is historical fact.
     
  15. Weik

    Weik Warlord

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  16. RobinHat

    RobinHat Warlord

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    I said EFFECTIVELY under Danish rule. The periods I mentioned are correct in terms of Denmark's power and influence over Norway.
     
  17. Barbar

    Barbar Chieftain

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    As both (and also the other scandinavian) nations share nearly the same culture I don´t see a need for multiple factions. When there would be 200 civ slots, why not? But with only around 30 I would prefer new Asian or African civs instead.

    Why not a Scandinavian civ with two leaders to choose - Canute and Gustavus Adolphus? So everyone can decide if he plays with a Danish or Swedish Leader. :)
     
  18. RobinHat

    RobinHat Warlord

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    What about Germany and the Netherlands? Or Spain and Portugal? These nations also share similar culture, but they each have their own civ in the game. Denmark and Sweden are not more similar than these countries.
     
  19. lumpthing

    lumpthing generic lump

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    Civs behave like single powers, not amorphous, politically divided, cultural areas. For me it's much more flavorsome and immersive to pick a definite historical empire where possible.

    It was great to read your reposte to CaptainPuma's post by the way RobinHat. I don't know enough to really judge, but it seems persuasive and, assuming you are right, it's great to see historical accuracy refusing to submit to sentiment-driven revisionism. Well, maybe CaptainPuma will have some persuasive counter-counter-arguments. I'll have to wait :)
     
  20. Öjevind Lång

    Öjevind Lång Deity

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    I don't want to blow on flames, but the claim that Norway was effectively under Danish rule throughout the Viking Age simply isn't true; neither was Norway part of Denmark afterwards until the 15th century, when the Union of Kalmar (which was enacted in the 14th century) gradually degenerated into a Danish principality. Which is why Sweden repeatedly rebelled against the Danish kings until it had regained its independence. Norway rebelled once, in the 15th century, but since it was smaller and weaker than Sweden, the Danes managed to suppress the rebellion and retain their grip on the country. (Denmark was much bigger then than now; several provinces that are now part of Sweden were Danish at the time.)

    Originally, the Union of Kalmar was simply a dynastic arrangement: the three countries shared the same monarch but retained their respective national Councils of the Realm (governments). But the old dynasty (descended from the royal families of all three countries) died out and was replaced by the German dynasty of Oldenburg, collaterally descended from the old Danish royal family. The Oldenburgs had the ambiton to turn the union into a unitary kingdom. After Sweden (with Finland) had conclusively seceded in 1521, the Oldenburgs did manage to create a unified Danish kingdom out of Denmark, Norway, Icleand and the Faroes.
     
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