14 February 2012

Runic Valentine

This little weaving sword from Lödöse in Sweden bears the inscription:
mun : þu * mik : man : þik : un : þu : m(e)r : an : þRr

Think of me, I think of you! Love me, I love you!
It's from the first half of the twelfth century, and both the object and the inscription may have been made by a lover for his lass. Seemed appropriate for today...

09 February 2012

Norway's Documentary Heritage

Here's a nice thing: Under the aegis of the UNESCO Memory of the World Program, the Norwegians have selected 60 documents or archives which are unique, irreplaceable and authentic documents of their time. It's a pretty mixed bunch, including delights such as the Leprosy Archive in Bergen (especially for my colleague CL), Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson's autograph copy of the words to the national anthem ('Ja, vi elsker dette landet, som det stiger frem, furet, værbitt over vannet, med de tusen hjem...' - stirring stuff!), Norway's first two printed books (both for the Catholic liturgy) from 1519, Bjørge Lillelien's amazing commentary when Norway beat England 2-1 in 1981 (have a listen, it's fab), Swedish King Carl Johan's imprimatur for the new Norwegian flag design from 1821, Edvard Munch's will, etc. etc. But most wonderful of all the rune stone from Kuli, erected when 'Christianity had been twelve winters in Norway' - whenever that was...

Thanks to Åge Hojem / NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet for the photo, and to www.middelaldernett.com for the tip!

03 February 2012

A Thor Head

Norse and Viking ramblers will be pleased to hear that Orkney's Highland Park distillery has just launched a new 'Valhalla Collection' of fine whiskies with the single malt Thor - 16 years old and 52.1%. 'Not for the faint-hearted', they say - I should think not! - 'a whisky of divine power'. Well, I won't be indulging just yet (have you seen the price?). But I like looking at the picture. If you want to get a Thor head, you can read his blog on the Whisky of the Gods website.