“Everybody wants a counter-narrative for the narrative that’s been put forward by white supremacists,” said Stephennie Mulder, an associate professor of Islamic art and architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. She was referring to the tendency of white supremacists to appropriate the symbols of Vikings, whom they claim constituted a pure-bred white race; in Charlottesville, for example, neo-Nazis were seen toting banners with Viking runes. The idea that Vikings were influenced by Muslims would likely be anathema to them. “The Vikings are every white supremacist’s favorite white guy.”
In fact, for Vikings, Arabic may have come with cultural cachet. They circulated coins bearing Arabic inscriptions, as well as weights for measuring silver bearing pseudo-Arabic inscriptions (writing that imitates the look of Arabic but doesn’t get it quite right). In a journal article for Current Swedish Archeology, scholar Lotta Fernstal writes that Vikings may have used the language to “‘spike’ certain objects with additional meaning” as part of constructing their self-image. “It seems likely that the Eastern, Oriental, Arabic and/or Islamic was alluring and desirable, perhaps as an ideal image of the ‘Other’ as part of a Viking Age Orientalism,” she adds.
Given this exoticizing attitude, Mulder said, it wouldn’t be surprising if Vikings were to have bought funeral clothes with Arabic inscriptions. “It would be like, for us, buying a perfume that says ‘Paris’ on it,” she told me. “Baghdad was the Paris of the 10th century. It was glamorous and exciting. For a Viking, this is what Arabic must have signaled: cosmopolitanism.”
Responding to critics who say that the burial clothes say “lllah” and not “Allah,” Larsson wrote, “If it is another word, it is still Kufic … that’s interesting.” She does not agree with the experts who say that there’s a dating issue with that claim and that “lllah” is a senseless jumble of letters.
“The meaning of research is to open questions,” Larsson added. “This discovery opens new questions.”
That, at least, is certainly true. Perhaps unusually for questions in medieval archeology, these questions feed directly into a contemporary heated political debate. The answers and debunkings of those answers are sure to be used as fodder by the left and the right alike.
Wed 18 Oct, 2017 03:07 pm
I don't think evidence of contact with Islamic culture is what stands out,
there's a certain group of white people that is really pissed off that there is more evidence
An expert has disputed claims that Allah's name was embroidered into ancient Viking burial clothes - a discovery hailed as "staggering" when Swedish researchers announced their findings last week.
the source of this was as interesting as anything
Thu 19 Oct, 2017 12:54 am
Hitler funded an archaeological dig in Tibet to find 'evidence' of the Aryan race's origins, so there's nothing new there.
Some archaeologists paid the price. Otto Rahn ended up committing suicide after convincing Himmler he could find the Holy Grail.
When your ideology is based on bullshit any historical/scientific studies are only going to end in failure.
Fri 20 Oct, 2017 06:11 am
What a good misunderstanding of society behavior in those discoveries and in the discussion here.
A dude, who is from India, and have hundreds of gods figures decorating the shelves in his house, hired a company to install electrical receptacles outside of his house. The motive for this improvement in his house was to install Christmas lights on December.
He wasn't christian at all, but he and his wife loved the Christmas light the neighbors decorate their houses at the end of the year, and they just wanted their house to look "as pretty as their neighbor's".
No matter if religious or not, capitalist or socialist, in the US or China, people dress T shirts of all kind regardless of the message, simply because they don't really care of the written words but the decoration, the color, etc. And if the T shirt is written in a different language, for many people this is a bigger reason to wear it.
From thousands of vikings, one or two burials are found with Arabic words with Muslim names won't mean that the entire viking culture was leaning on such tendency.
Up to the 90's. the "football" games with the Mayas was thought as exclusively a religious ritual.
I wrote the contrary, that people used to watch those games as today with do with sports. They have had fun watching the game, like Romans did in the Coliseum watching gladiators fighting lions or lions eating people.
Amazingly, someone read my postings and years later "a new theory" appeared that yes indeed, Mayans may have enjoyed those games as people do today. The rules, appeared to be that losers were killed because they were losers, mot necessarily as a sacrifice for idols or gods.
For some reason, lots of dudes still have the tendency to think that everything man made in the past is related to religion.
About this discovery of the vikings with Muslim names in funeral clothes, it might be that he "converted to that religion" but is not a signal that the whole population was Muslim.
As a foreign dude converting to a different religion, probable was the reason why the name "Allah" was written, because for "orthodox" Muslims, the sacred names can't touch the impure, and the dead body becomes impure (corrupted).
A weird discovery.
Mon 28 May, 2018 03:01 pm
It would be most unusual for "Allah" to be written on any Muslim textiles other than funeral shrouds and other ornamental textiles.
However, Jews and Christians from Arabia also called God "Allah", even before Islam. For example, the son of the Jewish rabbi of Medina was called Abdullah bin Salam., Abdullah meaning Abd ul Allah.
Another thing: many Vikings and Goths did indeed convert to Islam, for example among the Volga Tatars of Russia, and the Lombards of modern Italy.
For more about the Vikings converting to Islam look at the travel accounts of Ibn Fadlan, fictionalised in Hollywood's "The 13th Warrior" (which omits the Viking conversion to Islam altogether), or maybe also the account of Ibn Rustah.
I get that reference, it's from the film starring Omid Djalili.
Tue 29 May, 2018 03:51 pm
Funeral shrouds. Afterthought: anything else not worn on body, but l can't think of anything else. Maybe not as "big" an "other than" as you might think Can you think of anything ornamental in Islam other than a funeral shroud? Maybe the shroud on top of the Black Box.
Hi there, none of them are actually part of the religion, nor any cultural accretion around the religion, in fact not even funeral shrouds / clothes are part of the religion so far as l'm aware, but they are definitely used in a cultural context of Islam, and so the only thing l can think of right now that would have "Allah" written on would be funerary textiles, and the shroud over the Ka'aba shrine. Nobody would put it on a carpet, for sure!