Доклад опубликован в рамках III Областной научно – практической конференции учащихся на английском и немецком языках «Культурное наследие стран изучаемого языка», посвященной 350-летию Дж. Свифта, 25 февраля 2017.
Slozhenikin Anton, 8 form, Lvovsky School N4, Podolsk
Teacher: Travkina Olga Vladimirovna
The theme of our research is the mutual influence of the cultures of the Vikings and the Irish on one another.
The history of the Vikings' indwelling in Ireland can be divided into four periods.
The first period started in 795 and lasted till the beginning of 830-s. It can be characterized by short invasions of separate Vikings' groups into Ireland. They usually attacked monasteries situated on islands or at the seaside. They attracted the Vikings' attention because monasteries were especially rich. At that time there were no cities in Ireland and monasteries were the most important political, cultural and economic centres.
The second period lasted from 803 till 902. At that period the Vikings invaded the inner territories of Ireland. They moved along the rivers and their number was great. They also started to build settlements. The most important was Dublin. At that period the natives were able to defend some areas. Thus a lot of the Vikings left Ireland. Others were involved into inner wars and started to marry native women. Their children got Celtic names. Moreover, most of Scandinavians adopted Christianity.
The third period lasted from 914 till 980. A new series of invasions took place. But this time the Vikings came not from Scandinavia. They started to move from other invaded areas in Britain and Europe. A lot of new towns appeared. Some people were engaged in agriculture.
By the middle of 900s Dublin had become a rich wealthy city. It was also the most important. Besides, such cities as Arklow, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Wexford had appeared. Irish kings took part in their life and even had their residences in the towns. Everything was favourable for trade development. Culture and art had both Irish and Scandinavian features. The Vikings had become the part of Irish society. Since 997 they even started to mint coins like those in England.
Thus, the Vikings and the Irish formed the nation which had both Irish and Scandinavian features. We were interested how the Vikings influenced the Irish culture and what still reminds about their invasion.
Firstly, there are many geographical names in Ireland based on Scandinavian words. It is not strange because many towns were built by them. Such names as Lambey, Arklow, Leixlip, Limerik and many others are of Scandinavian origin. For example, Dursey means the island of deer. Leixlip means salmon's jump. Some names of counties are also Scandinavian. Longford means a castle. Wicklow means the Vikings' camp. Eventually some Irish and Scandinavian names mixed and formed one name: Dublin, for example.
The second impact of the Vikings' invasion was the appearance of the famous round towers or bell houses. They could reach 15 metres high. The first ones appeared in Irish monasteries in the 7-th century. At first they were used to announce monks about some changes of time and services. But later they were used to hide from the invaders. The door was at the level of 3 or 4 metres. Monks went inside and took off the ladder. They also hid their church relics inside. The shelter was quite reliable as the Vikings did not use to besiege anything for a long time. However, they sometimes tried to burn these towers. It was mentioned in some historic documents. The towers had been built till the 13-th century. Thus they are spoken about as a necessary feature of the architecture of ancient monasteries. However, this is not quite true.
The next sequence of the Vikings' invasion were the changes in metal skills. Before the invasion the Irish were famous for their fancy metal barrettes used to fasten clothes. They were exquisitely decorated with ornaments and stones. They even played some symbolic role. Such barrettes had been made till the 10-th century. Later they were replaced by more simple round ones. They became smaller and cheaper with little decoration. Although they were made of silver, not only kings started to wear them, but ordinary people as well. They may have also been replaced by buttons brought by the Vikings. Moreover, in Ireland they started to decorate their things depicting animals.
It is said that Irish literature was not influenced by the Vikings. However, the theme of the Vikings appeared in the Irish Folklore. There are also some series of Irish folklore which tell us about the invasion.
In spiritual life there appeared a lot of hermits who went to live in uninhabited areas. This movement lasted till the 10-th century. Later hermits did not go far and settled near monasteries. Due to the invasion monks started to speak their own language and Irish texts appeared instead of Latin ones.
No doubt, the language of common people had been influenced by the Vikings and had changed.
The social system was greatly changed. Before the invasion there has been a clan system and the clans had fought with one another. The appearance of strong cities, the ability to build ships and use bows and some other changes lead to the strengthening of the royal power and feudalism.
However, the Irish culture managed to influence the culture of the invaders. First of all, the Vikings brought fancy barrettes to Scandinavia. They liked them so much that it became the detail of their clothes as well.
Ancient Irish folklore changed Scandinavian folklore greatly. Thus, famous Iceland sagas appeared.
But the most important sequence was that a great number of Scandinavians accepted Christianity.
To sum up, the Viking invasion to Ireland caused significant changes in life and culture of both sides. There were changes in social, religious and spiritual aspects. Both cultures influenced each other.
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