Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Linkoping. Berg: Burials at Vreta Kloster, Vreta Abbey

Accounts of rulers before the area was converted to Christianity vary. One geneological recreation from the 16th Century put Swedish kings back to Magog son of Jephtha in Old Testament times, see ://wapedia.mobi/en/Monarch_of_Sweden/.  Records improve after the Church arrived, but remain in the dark about pre-Christian rulers, House of Yngling, or House of Munso, or House of Uppsala.  Most that are documented begin with the Kalmar Union 1397-1523.  Rulers are not collected in one place for burial. Two for the older ones seem to be most prominent:  Varnhem Abbey (a ruin of the first structure; and a later cloister) that we did not see; and, here, Vreta Abbey, Vreta Kloster.

Varnhem Klosterkyrch, Cloister Church:  Kings Eric (two of them) and Canute are buried there.

Vreta Klosterkyrch, Cloister Church.  Kings Inge the Elder and Inge the Younger are our interest, with speculative surname roots including the -ing floating about (none demonstrable, but all entertaining).

Inge the Elder founded Vreta Abbey sometime between 1099 when the Pope who ordered it began his reign,  and 1105 when King Inge the Elder died.  He and his Queen Helena, and their sons Princes Ragnvald and Sune; and Inge the Younger and his Queen Uhlvild are buried there, so we were told, so we went. Then we found that Inge the Elder is supposed to be at Varnhem, see ://wapedia.mobi/en/Monarch_of_Sweden. Dark inside, hard to tell and we didn't know the issue. This, then, must be Inge the Younger. Have to find our notes.

This is an attempt in the dark to get the inscription.  See the full image by someone else at ://wapedia.mobi/en/File:IngiYoungerSwedenGrave.jpg/  We tracked the cracks and words and compared.  Match! Discount!

Any country's accounts of successions of rulers when based largely on oral tradition or conflicting agendas:  what is legend, what is truth.  Read about King Inge the Elder and King Inge the Younger, and find that one may be the nephew of the other, see The History of Sweden by Anders Fryxell, from 1844 (!) at page 179 before and after, at ://books.google.com/books?id=6B4CAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA179&lpg=PA179&dq=King+Inge+the+Younger+history+sweden&source=bl&ots=t64vHslLvP&sig=199mBuRmbUUdxXLJ5_0hQy6uCfI&hl=en&ei=6dkUTerYNsP48AbRyJipDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDgQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Burial, King Inge the Younger, closeup, light shed, Vreta Kloster, Berg, Sweden

Other notables royal and not are there also: Philip of Sweden and Magnus the Younger.  Famous nuns and abbesses: Helena of Sweden, widow of King Canute V (Denmark). And stories of young girls being abducted from there, as power families came and went. Is Helena of Sweden buried with Canute at Varnhem?

Click to enlarge. 

Click to enlarge and enjoy the sprightly figures dancing at the top.  Is this a list of notables from the Family Munchenberg?  Munchenberg sounds German. Munchkins?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Linkoping, Vreta Kloster, Berg. Sancta Maria de Vretis.

First, get there.

The Vreta Kloster, Abbey at Linkoping where the old kings are buried, is really in Berg. King Inge, who (according to an undated letter in 1100, the year he also died) founded the monastery with Queen Helena, see ://www.vretaklosterforening.se/Jub/En/historia.html/  With the Reformation in 1527, the Abbey was isolated, and ceased to be a Catholic place when the last nuns died by 1582. Old buildings went to ruin, but were unearthed in the early 20th Century, followed by restorations in 2002-2007.

Try to find the burial place of kings, in pre-Christian polytheist era, and the guidebooks will point you to Linkoping.  Get to Linkoping and where is it?  It is not here. Go to a nice air military and cultural museum instead, mostly WWII, enjoy, and try again for the old kings.

Get lost and follow a sudden bus route toward Linkoping proper again, and find Vreta Kloster instead in the town of Berg. This is one of the oldest monastery sites:  Benedictine, and then Cistercian, or the other way around; dating from 1100 AD.  Guidebook people:  include a short GPS address with your sites. Every hour counts in the later afternoon. If all is locked up, because the official summer season hours expired yesterday, knock at the rectory.

Then, enjoy.  Enjoy the official caretaker, from his house. He was at home when we knocked, and really seemed pleased to show us and unlock the whole thing. Thank you, thank you. Do remember to compensate. I hope we did enough.

This is preserved as it was some 900 years ago. We are always surprised at the size of medieval buildings, and these were renovated, but still -- all the nooks and crannies.  Grow like Topsy. Inside, see the uses of the connected nooks. Burials, including the Family Douglas, see below. It pays to lend your aid to other people's wars. See http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Sweden/Oestergoetlands_Laen/Vreta_Kloster-166898/TravelGuide-Vreta_Kloster.html/

There are royal family details still here: a son of a king with behavioral problems, could worship in his own pew. Checking our notes to see which monarch's son was here, out of the way, under the steps at the front, to the side.

What is the funnel, on top right back, of this old chest? Was this a "poor box" with a place for coins?

Very old wood carving, looks like madonna and child, probably, Vreta Kloster, Berg. The more primitive the carving, the more moving. Is that so?  Who stole the religion of Everyman and made it for the exclusionist fancies instead?

Another carving, Vreta Kloster.

The paint is still bright on this very old carving of a saint, perhaps an apostle in the Vreta Church.

Whose coat of arms is this?  Need to zoom and research.  To the bottom, the old chandelier.  To the right, the new silver.  Prefer the old. 

Always aim for choir stalls.  There, the people had to rest their bottoms during the long services.  Bum-proppers here as well. Flip them up, as though you are standing at attention, but you are really relaxing back.  Ahhhh.

Now to the burial areas:

Vaults octagonal, ironwork, copper coffins, marble urns. The 1663 burial place of the Douglas Family.  A recently deceased member of the Douglas family, Countess Margareta C.H. Douglas, who died in the United States, will be interred here. See ://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailyprogress/obituary.aspx?n=margareta-douglas&pid=142179776/ Still trying to find out how a "Douglas" came to Sweden. Long ago, apparently. Here it is:  Wikipedia says he Count of Skenninge, was a Scots, and a field marshal in the Swedish Army during the 30 Years' War, and Swedish-Polish wars. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Douglas,_Count_of_Skenninge/  He had been elevated to Baron, and Lord of the Horse. What? For the British view of that, see ://www.royal.gov.uk/TheRoyalHousehold/OfficialRoyalposts/MasteroftheHorse.aspx/

This appears to be part of the Douglas Family vault, and there are references elsewhere to the many crests located there.  What is striking:  how effective painted wood carvings are.  More so than plain stone we saw in more southern areas.  Breathtaking, and we don't say that lightly.  And unfaded.

There is nothing "folk" about wood carving in Sweden. Still looking up whose crest this is.
We always like doors.  Here, broad and squat. But look at the reinforcement at top and bottom for the slats, the iron bolts securing other-side reinforcements, and the huge lock. Then, the very plain surface otherwise.

Then there is more of the kind of simplicity seen in the door. Here, a simple chapel, and a baptismal font. One huge stone, decorated, on a pedestal. 

This would have been used later, as we understand that baptisms at the early times occurred outside, in outside immersion areas.  Is that so?

With the most medieval parts off to the side, as burials (see Kings, another post) the main sanctuary has been restored to its more renaissance style.  We like the more primitive.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Swedish History: Its Own Entity. Odin, Dan, Sigge Fridulson

Scandinavia's Separate Identities
Looking for Pre-Christian Histories 

Tribe of Dan; Sigge Fridulfson 
This topic is to file interesting bits, while looking for more concrete vetting. 

Old sources spark interest in history, offer a starting point for vetting truth from legend, as far as feasible. 

There is a 19th Century historian's account of Swedish history, along with its legends, oral tradition. See http://www.sverigeturism.se/smorgasbord/smorgasbord/society/history/vikings.html. Christianity stems also largely from oral tradition later written down, with conflicting accounts, as does any human tradition. 
  • Relevance:  Comparative Viking lore. There appears to be a difference in terms of violence between Swedes in the pre-Viking and Viking era, that are found as settlers and traders in Russia-Finland, on to Novgorod and Kiev and beyond: and those of Norway and Denmark.  This timeline makes no mention of the Eastern European Viking thrust, see http://jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk/who-were-the-vikings/viking-timeline/.  
  • If there is a difference, is that a matter of opportunity, and not culture. Eastern rivers and portages were areas offering furs, honey, slaves; but not gold (is that so?) and treasure.  Control of turf became a focus of the Vikings in the East, who established the Rurikid Dynasty, and were called the Rus. Vikings also gained territory in the West, but seem better known for their raiding, is that so.
  • Or is the difference one of heritage. Were there migrations north from Central Europe, the Middle East, so that the settlers -- who also might have stayed along the way - brought skills and lore with them that shaped the cultures.  Sweden:  exposed more to the East.  Norway and Denmark: exposed more to the West.  Not sure.  
  • Pursuit of migrations -- no idea if this will show any matters of verifiable interest.
Person-legend of interest: One Sigge Fridulson, or Sigge Fridulfson, or Sig Fridulfsson, long before the Vikings.  Does the word Viking come from Norse vik, meaning bay? see http://www.sverigeturism.se/smorgasbord/smorgasbord/society/history/vikings.html. There is a town of Vik and on a bay in Norway. 

One theory, not commonly found (not in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable from 1894, or other starting point for some mention of an issue, like Chronicles).  There are references there, however, to Dan, Tribe of Dan, not only for Scandinavia but Ireland, another migrant target in early days.

 Fridulfson: Should be be called merely Sigge, without the patronymic?  was a leader, perhaps later King, who arrived with his group from the Caucasus, took the name of Odin so he would be followed by the peoples of the North; and that worked so well that nobody (hardly) remembers his real name at all.  Is that so?  Sigge Fridulson, Legend of Origins of Swedes. Any Fact?

Find The History of Sweden, work dated 1844, by Stockholm historian and scholar Anders Fryxell, 1844. The origins of Swedes sound, in this account, from the Caucasus BC.  

Scandinavia is the misleading catch-all concept for three of the northern European identities: Norway, Sweden and Denmark.  Sweden differed from Denmark and Norway in where it spread its energies -- south and east, through Russia-Finland (boundaries evolved) to the Black Sea and beyond to Byzantium and Baghdad; rather than focusing on Western Europe and the British and other Isles around and inland into Europe, and then into the Mediterranean, and North Africa, and the Middle East-Eastern Europe. Much of that early distinction resulted from proximity to which waterways.

So far, these may be so:

1.  Early people were in Sweden as long ago as 12,000 BC.  They were forced back to the coasts as the climate became colder, then a cultural swing moved people from farm to boat and back, and settlements finally firmed up in both kinds of areas in 8000 BC, see http://www.geographia.com/sweden/history.html/
These are not related to later migratory groups?

2.  In Sweden, the most northern early group were the Svear of Svealand. They finally conquered the more southern Gotar of Gotaland, said to be (unproven) ancestors of the Goths.  The Swedes do not appear to share in the same degree of plunder-raid activities of the Norse, and the Danish, Vikings. See an everyman's history overview at http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/world/A0861386.html/

There could be historical reasons for this de-emphasis by Swedes on violence.  Swedes were not subject to the same degree of invasions and abuses of institutional Western Christianization moving north, see Charlemagne and the expanding and military Holy Roman Empire through Germanic lands and elsewhere. See Sachsenhain, Verden, Germany, for example. They had increasing reason to seek revenge against atrocities the institutional religious incursions as they escalated, including the Baltic Crusades, see overview of use of force at http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/essays/christianity-and-religious-freedom-in-the-medieval-period-476-1453-ceas.  That escalation was after the Viking Age, however.

Missionary activity:  Generally stage I is benign. Individual missionaries convert by example, living among the people, see Our own history:  not so nice, but how much of the violence is so, and how much is venting -- need to vet it all, but see the negative side at Christian History, at http://freetruth.50webs.org/A1.htm

Panoply deities:  see overview at http://languageisavirus.com/questions/were-pre-christian-germannorse-gods-historical-kings/  How many if any have historical roots.
Still, the Roman version of Christianity spread north into Sweden at an early stage. The impact was felt in laws, investiture rights, tax exemption of the church, and secular immunity for priests, see /://stason.org/TULARC/travel/nordic-scandinavia/2-5-6-Christian-and-pre-Christian-laws.html/

Use of the term "paganism" to describe the pre-Christian millennia seems patronizing.  A pejorative. Instead, there is merit to belief in a panoply deism religion, and even the Trinity idea is a panoply -- the rest is semantics. Is that so? The Christian monotheist idea spread more by violence than quiet voluntary persuasion, is that so. Convert or die?  See So why downgrade the panoply deists.

Downgraded they are.  The panoply deist Kings lying in minimal state in a dusty old church, poorly marked, and off the glamour track.

829 AD:  St. Ansgar seems to be the first missionary of clout.  But it took another 200-300 years to count much of Sweden as converted.

12th Century --   Christianity by now entrenched.

What are the influences of the old panoply deist belief system, as it crosses over into Christian symbols and practices. 

The post-Christian era is well documented.

1319 -- Fast forward to Sweden and Norway unite.  King Magnus VII  (why?  why not tell us about the interim, between St. Ansgar and what he found and did, and hundreds of years later?)

1397 -- Queen Margaret I united Denmark to Sweden and Norway, in the Kalmar Union (see Kalmar Castle).  That did not last beyond her death, however.  The Swedes would have none of it.

1520 -- Christian II (nationality?) asserted his claim to the Swedish throne by force, and slaughtering the nobles of Sweden at Stockholm.

1523 -- The Swedes put their own Gustavus Vasa on the throne, as Gustavus I. But the southern provinces of Sweden were still held by Denmark, and Eric XIV, successor to Gustavus, then set about conquering Livonia, in the other direction. See the Sweden History site for the rest, into modern times.

But where are all the pre-Christian Kings, the panoply deists.  Why is that buried? Or is it simply too unrooted, too speculative.  Was everything of merit also disregarded, or stomped out by the Christians. Where are the Kings? Go back to Upsala.  Have to find Sigtuna perhaps, but at the time Upsala seemed enough.  Back to Linkoping: Vreta, Vadstena, Vanern, where else? King Inge. Woods people of the Ingwaz want to know. The Wids of the Tale. Wid-Inge. Recreational speculation is good for the humors.

Histories of Sweden, Legends of the Great, like Sigge Fridulson or Sigge Fridulfsson -- if there was such, or are the Swedes really descended from Odin? And legends of the little. Recreation, and curiosity.  Sweden could use a tourist bureau to set up a History Road, like Germany and other countries have a History Road, a Wine Road, a Fairy Tale Road.  Help us along.*


* Who was Odin. Name also given as Wotan, Odan. An ongoing journal of comments, sources, people's ideas about Odin as man or god or both, in any given belief system

 Re: Odin is God, comment by Anonymous Reader at the Origin of Swedes post, above, recopied here just to keep it handy. Note, though, that Godan is a rank in the martial arts; and also from a prominent Gaming system. Everybody games.
' It has very little to do with Sweden apart from that Odin incarnated again and came there. Odin is God. The very silly propaganda that are being posted and planted everywhere is a brainwash. Odin is the God of this world AND he has been reincarnated several times with different names. He is Allfather and all that comes with that title. There is no other "God" than Godan.'

Re:  How was Odin seen in the pagan sources later written down by a Christianized Icelandic scholar (tainted translation or recording?) this from a thread discussion between "Malthus" and "Mr. Tuffpaws", fair use of two bits from a long discussion (this is to urge you to go read it all) at http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-543500.html. Malthus and Tuffpaws:  if you object to my referencing this bit of your discussion, let me know and I will take it down.
Malthus: " *** An Old Norse book called Heimskringla purports to trace the ancestry of some of Scandinavia's historical kings back to someone named Odin. I believe the current crop of British and Scandinavian monarchs are descended from some of the historical kings mentioned in the book. The version of the book that has come down to us was written by the Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson, a Christian. In his telling, this Odin was a mortal man, not a god. I don't know if this Odin was the god Odin in Snorri's pagan sources."

Mr. Tuffpaws: " * * *  [I]t is quite possible that an actual man has been deified, or conversely, that a diety has been substituted for a man.

"In comparative anthropology, it is not unusual for a society at the "chieftianship" stage to have chiefs who claim divine descent (traces of this very ancient practice even show up in the Hebrew Bible, where the "heros of old" are said to be descended from "sons of God" mating with mortal women).

"It went the other way around. The god became manified. Snorri Sturluson, when he wrote his sagas, Christianity was well entrenched. No one of the time would consider gods outside of Christ as real, either in history or their current time. Snorri to make sense of the pagan pantheon, determined that the Vinar were made up of a ruling tribe of people that were attacked from the east by the Æsir tribe. After a protracted war, they merged and became the Æsir that is known as the gods of Norse mythology. Snorri considered them great men of history, and that view point carried on for quite sometime. It only makes sense that royal families would attribute their lineage to such legends."

Re:  Odin, Odan as it sometimes appears [see comment above]  as leading the lost tribe of Dan  - and this area gets into theological-agenda sources I am not interested in except as those sources may corroborate or contradict demonstrable history -- the Lost Tribe of Dan. Those sources also help interpret representations of Dan, see eagle and snake.

Overviews: See  Tribal Identification: Dan The essence seems to be that there was a great tribal migration from Israel and that is tracked by trackers to most of the globe -- see all the places with Dan Den Din Don Dun Dyn in the language word (Hebrew would be DN, with the vowel to be supplied, and which, and how it sounded, is speculation). Danube, etc. Dan-mark. Etc.

Why is this, if it is tribe of Dan, at Town Hall in Bremen?  Those of the Tribe of Dan liked to go to court, they were the judgers, so it is said. See http://www.britam.org/dan2.html; see also http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/il_tribe.html (do a "find" for Dan)

Bremen Town Hall:  see http://germanyroadways.blogspot.com/2010/11/bremen-babies-and-gryphons-crypt-celts.html

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ekeby Kyrke

 Identifying Churches in Sweden

We have old photos from a grandparents' visit home -- Kinnekulle and Boxholm -- in the 1920's, another in 1930's.  Those turned out to be Ekeby, near Boxholm.

Identify by steeples and front doorways to start.  Then get puzzled by a steeple and then a house roof,  not churchy at all.

Is this one still old Ekeby?

This matches the steeple for the larger Ekeby. But an images search shows an Ekeby with this kind of steeple in a very different setting.

This had "Ekeby" on the back. Steeple not visible. But the steeples on the first two match an images search for Ekeby. The setting for images photos, however, look different. This setting looks so rural.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Boxholm II - Philadelphia Widings' Photos 1920's, 1930's.

Tiny photographs, curling, barely identifiable people, places that were roots to the emigrant family that left a long time ago: ours -- Philip Wilhelm Widing. If there is an archive at the Boxholm Library, or elsewhere, these may fill in some other views. Family resemblances: the current crop of Widings look very much like these. Strong roots.

Are some from Anna Osterlund Widing's family's home, at Kinnekulle? The church steeple below looks like it is Husaby, at Kinnekulle. Is the lake here the nearby Lake Vanern? We do not seem to have seen Ekeby, where we now understand there are Widings buried.

Not enough beard to be Farfar, or Hans Widing. 

This looks like our photo of Husaby Kyrke, at Kinnekulle. So, some of these photos may well not be Boxholm, but the Kinnekulle area. Families, label your pictures.

Note to self. Take church pictures full front with steeple. Every time.

The sudden plateau does not look like Boxholm.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Home II. Boxholm and Kinnekulle

Family Photos

Good heavens.  Now, the back row third from left looks like a photo of Kajsa Johannesdotter -- was this a big family reunion back there, with all nine of Kajsa's children? No idea. We keep spotting that little boy, there in profile. The back of one of the pictures with a child by a hedge says "Fallehagen."

Was there another trip to Sweden in 1953?

We see MS Kungsholm on the back of a ship photo, here, and that TransAtlantic liner on the Swedish America line was not commissioned until 1953, and went from Gothenberg to NY. See ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_Kungsholm_%281953%29
 Anna front, second from left.


Who are the Bungers?? Did a Widing or Osterlund marry a Bunger?? If nobody knows, I'll take these out.

1. Bill, Marie and Dona
2. Elmer's brother Ray and family, Amy, John, Billy
3. Ma Bunger
4. Elmer's sister Ora and husband
5. Elmer's cousin Lena and family
6. Leona and Bette - Oscar took the picture
7. The Bungers


People should not be forgotten.

Here is the mystery on the Kungsholm.  The name is indicated for the ship, on the back of some of these, but the MS Kungsholm was commissioned in 1953.  A third trip to Sweden to visit? This shows a hemline like the 1950's, for example. And some shuffleboard. 

That is the Lee as in Lee's family? Now, who is Lee?

Another puzzle:  This has "Vadstena" or Wadstena written on the back, but it does not look like other photos we see online. Then what is this?  There should be many old and royal burials in it, and fine wood sculptures. What connection to the ruin

We usually spell it Vattern. This is the third largest of the lakes in Sweden, see ://www.vattern.se/index.php?lang=en/  Boxholm is not far. See Granna there, and Vadstena.