The Northern Folk started out as hunters and gatherers on the Scandinavian Peninsula. They didn’t live in homes and they only ate what they could find in the forest, like berries and herbs. They also hunted for animals to eat like reindeer, wild boar, and rabbits. Archaeologists have only been able to find flints for arrows, knives and spears. They have not been able to find any remains of settlements. These people were Nomadic. Although little evidence of how they lived remains, they did carve many pictures on the cave walls where they lived. This is the time when the Northmen first made the dug-out canoe. This called the Arctic Stone Age.
In 3000 BC, our ancestors learned how to farm for food. These are the people Pytheas encountered . Around this time Germanic Tribes or Battle Axe People, who were a warlike people, invaded the North people. This made the Northern Folk that became Vikings. These invaders were travelers and traders, and they brought these special traits to the farmers. Now the Northern Folk had a whole new world of travel and trade opened to them. This was the start of the Bronze Age. At this time our Folk started creating beautiful artwork with gold, silver and bronze. The Battle Axe People brought their Gods and Goddesses with them. Instead of destroying the old Gods and Goddesses of the Northern Folk, they became all part of the same family of Gods!
Finally, the last evolution was that of the Viking type Northmen. These Northmen were the result of the combination of the two Northern Folk. Before everyone else knew them, these Folk built the beautiful longships and developed a highly organized and powerful society. They produced beautiful artwork, jewelry and clothing. They had a strong code of Honor and lived very well. The weather at this time was quite warm and made the Folk flourish. This time was the Iron Age, which is when the Northmen started attacking Christian strongholds in their dragon ships.
Did they have families like ours now?
The Northern people grouped their families into tribes. The tribes were large extended families that lived together in a village along a fjord. They would build large longhouses. When they would grow too big for one long house they would build another and then the groups of longhouse would become a village and then a town then a city.
Within their tribes, people had special jobs. For example, smiths made swords, shields and other weapons; skalds had the job of keep the oral history of the tribe. Everyone did the jobs they were best at doing. What are you best at? What would your special place be in our tribe?
Were there rich and poor like now?
Yes. The Northern Folk were divided into three classes. The chieftain, or ruling class, was the Jarls. They were the leaders of their tribes. They owned the most cattle and land. The next class was the Karls. They were also called Freemen. They owned their own land and were the workingmen and women of the era. They were the smiths and the carpenters. Finally, there were the Thralls. They were the slave or lower class. Both the Jarls and the Karls owned the thralls. The thralls were the ones who helped in the fields and in the longhouses. They served the meals and took care of the children. People back then were able to move into and out of these classes. A person could either marry into a class or win into it through deeds or conquest. If you were born into a family that built longships, you would probably build longships when you came of age. But if you were really good at another job and could prove it, then you would be allowed to do it! Deeds made a person not their social status.
What were their families like?
The people of the North had very close-knit families. They put Family and Folk above all else. They loved their children dearly and took care of their elderly parents. They also would accept orphaned children into their families. They considered other members of their Folk as part of their family. They even considered their pets as part of their families! Everyone was important. And each member of the household helped cook, weave, garden, tend herds and guard against invasion. They were a very strong group and they stuck together. They taught us what being family and friends is really about.
In conclusion, the Northmen, women, children and pets were all important parts of their community. They started out as hunter-gatherers and, through the ages, became warriors, poets, artists, sailors, merchants and craftsmen. They lived hard lives and nurtured strong families. Today we are the remnants of the Northern Folk. We need to make sure that our traditions and our people have many more generations into the future!