From: morten thoresen
Message: 5313
Date: 2001-01-04

> An alternative trade route to the North Sea is by
ship through
> Gibraltar into the Atlantic Ocean. The danes and
norse often chose
> this route in the viking age (and probably hundreds
of years
> before.) The swedes more often went east, up russian
rivers. Even
> norse and danes chose such eastborne routes from time
to time.
> Morten

I tend to be suspicious about the (19th century?) claim
of the
preferred routes of Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes. It
smells too much
of an academic collusion within Scandinavia to reserve
territories for oneself exclusively, so as not to start
academic wars
about the various modern-ambition tainted
interpretations. The claim
might of course be true in a statistical sense, but if
the primary
purpose of those travels was trade (or loot, which in
this context is
the same thing) they had to exchange stuff coming from
east or west,
so they had to be at least aware of the "other" route.
As to which came first, the Russian river route or the
Atlantic Coast
route, I vote for the former, since it was the safest.
Crossing the
Bay of Biscay is not something you do without a very
good reason.
Take an example I am familiar with: Trade from the
North Sea to the
Baltic was, until the coming of large Hanse "kogge's",
done overland
in Schleswig at Haithabu. The "ummelandsfart" (around
Jutland) was considered too risky. If this was the
economics of it
given late Viking age technology, there must have been
even greater
emphasis on river travel before.
Also, but now I'm getting very speculative, some have
connected "Dane" with *dan- "river" (as in Don, Dniepr,
This would then be a river people doing trade through
Russia. Saxo
Grammaticus mentions conflicts between Danes and
Ruthenians in this context are Ukrainians.


It is well documented that the norse and danes during the viking age
ruled great parts of western europe. Norse kings ruled in Ireland,
England, Isle of Man, Scotland and Normandie(Gangerolv/Rolv/Rollo).
Snorre (13th century) tells of raids in the Mediterrinean sea, Sicily,
Africa, Spain etc. Archeology also shows that norse traded with Roman
Empire and Italy well before Christ. Read history.