history, travel

A Visit to Keldur, Iceland

Anyone familiar with Iceland has likely heard something about turf houses, the iconic grass-roofed houses that grace the countryside, carried over from insulation methods in medieval Norway. I wrote once before about RΓΊtshellir, a famous old cave guarded by a turf-covered barn. But while the cave itself might be the oldest man-made residence in Iceland,… Continue reading A Visit to Keldur, Iceland

history, linguistics, literature

Dragons and Sin in Medieval Germanic Literature

Dragon-like figures feature prominently in folklore from around the world. They often hold---or once held---special significance to their respective cultures. Chinese dragons historically symbolized good luck and imperial power, and were used in iconography surrounding the emperor. The founder of the Han dynasty went so far as to claim that his mother dreamt of a… Continue reading Dragons and Sin in Medieval Germanic Literature

history, literature

History through Poems: Examining Beowulf

Epic poems have incredible staying power both as literary achievements and as historical resources. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is one of the foremost examples of this. Despite its mythological themes, the story offers historians a rare insight into Anglo-Saxon ideals of masculinity, heroism, and society. At the same time, it presents literary scholars with a… Continue reading History through Poems: Examining Beowulf

culture, history

A Brief History of Fraktur

𝕻𝖔𝖕 π––π–šπ–Žπ–Ÿ: π–œπ–π–†π–™ π–Žπ–˜ π–™π–π–Š π–“π–†π–’π–Š 𝖔𝖋 π–™π–π–Žπ–˜ 𝖋𝖔𝖓𝖙? At first glance, many folks in the English-speaking world would probably call it "Old English," but that name isn't really accurateβ€”the Old English language predates this style by a few centuries, and the calligraphic hands used to write Old English were entirely different. Its real name… Continue reading A Brief History of Fraktur

history, travel

Meeting the Lindow Man

In general, I don't consider myself to be the morbid type. I've never had a particular fascination with death and the majority of exhibits centered around human remains--like Body Worlds, for example--fail to pique my interest. So a few years ago, when I started researching bog bodies, I guess you could say my interest in… Continue reading Meeting the Lindow Man

culture, history, travel

Inside RΓΊtshellir

Iceland has become a popular destination in recent years, for photographers and tourists alike. With the closure of WOW airlines in 2019, ticket prices have skyrocketed, but the draw of the island country remains irresistible for many. Iceland offers photogenic, otherworldly landscapes and an interesting Nordic history that keeps people coming back for more. The… Continue reading Inside RΓΊtshellir