Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


25.7.12
  It's Too Hot, So Here Are Some Beach Photos

The title pretty much says it; summer is doing a guest visit, and as usual, really shows off. 30°C is not my favourite temperature, nor do I like the increasingly high humidity.

The Baltic coast at the Curonian Spit

It was hot, too, when we visited the Curonian Spit, but water on both sides made it bearable. The beaches facing the Baltic Sea are lovely, and only so full of people as in the photos when a tourist group arrives, or during high summer. The beaches at the German coasts are a lot more crowded in summer. Though I still have happy childhood memories of our holidays there.

Another beach shot

Too bad there wasn't enough time to take a swim. Sure, the water was still cold in May, but if I want a warm bath, I can fill up my tub. *grin* Right now I may fill said tub with cold water, though.

A different angle

And as usual, when the weather is too hot ro work, there's a lot of extra work to do. Why didn't that happen last week when it rained more than anything else? Well, at least I'm not the only one being behind updating her blog. ;)

Evening at the beach

When we sailed along the coast of the Curonian Spit in the evening, a light fog came up that made for a melancholy atmosphere. The changing moods are one of the things I love about the sea.

Sunset at the Lithuanian coast

And then the clouds decided to add some nice effects to the sunset that night (it still happened later than in Germany though there was some actual night, other than in St.Petersburg).

Now I hope the heat and the work will lessen next week. :)
 


12.7.12
  Theodor Fontane, Gorm Grymme, 1864

Here's another translation of a ballad by Theodor Fontane. He not only liked Scottish subjects but took up the occasional Scandinavian (hi)story as well, like this tale about Gorm the Grim, better known as Gorm the Old (Gorm Gamle), a king of Denmark.
(The German original can be found in the comments)

King Gorm rules over Danemark;
He's ruled for thirty years.
His mind is sound, his hand is strong,
But white has turned his hair.

White are his bushy eyebrows now
That silenced many men.
An irate look he oft assumes;
They call him Gorm the Grim.

Reconstructed Viking ship, Roskilde

And the Jarls held feast at Jul's high time;
Gorm Grymme sits in the hall
And beside him on her bone carved chair
Sits Thyra, Denmark's pride.

Quietly, they hold each other's hand
And look in the other's eye;
There is a smile in both regards -
Gorm Grymme, what softens your mind?

Down the hall and near the gate,
Long curls are flying wild.
Young Harald plays with stick and ball,
Young Harald, their only child.

His frame is slender, blond his hair,
His tunic golden-blue.
Young Harald has seen fifteen years,
And both parents love him true.

Oseberg ship, Viking Ship Museum Oslo

They love him both, but foreboding
Darkens the noble Queen's heart.
But Gorm the Grim points t'wards the gate,
To Young Harald he extends his hand.

He stands to speak, his crimson cloak
Slides softly to the ground,
"Whoever tells me he is dead
Will die this very hour."

Another view of the Oseberg ship

And moon's times pass. Snow melted long,
And summer came as guest.
Three hundred longships set to sea,
Young Harald stands by the mast.

He stands by the mast and sings a song
Unitl the wind lifts it off,
The last sail vanished beyond the horizon;
Gorm Grymme followed its trail.

And moons did pass. Grey autumn day
Lies over sound and sea;
Three ships sail slowly homeward way
With tired rowmen's beat.

Black are their pennons; on Brömsebro Moor
Lies Harald in his blood. -
Who dares to bring the king this news?
Not one man was so bold.

Gokstad ship, Viking Ship Museum Oslo

Queen Tyra walks down to the sound,
She had just seen the sails.
She says, "and if your courage fails,
I'll tell him of this tide."

She lays aside her gemstones fair
And the coral rings and straps.
A robe she dons of deepest black
And strides into the hall.

Into the hall. Along pillar and wall
Hang golden tapestries;
Black curtains now with her own hands
Drapes all across the queen.

She lits twelve candles; their flick'ring light
A sombre glow but give.
And she spreads a weaving black and tight
Over the chair of ivory.

Remains of a sunken Viking ship, Roskilde

Enters Gorm Grymme with trembling gait,
He walks like in a dream.
He stares along the hall, black-veiled;
The candles he barely sees.

He says, "the air is sweltry here,
I'll go to sea and strand;
Give me my cloak of red and gold,
And then lend me your hand."

She handed him a fine-made cloak
That was not gold nor red.
Gorm Grymme said, "what no one dared,
I will speak: he's dead."

Gorm Grymme sat down where he stood;
A gust swept through the house.
Queen Thyra held her husband's hand,
The candles all blew out.

A dragon head from a ship prow (Viking Museum Oslo)

We know but little about King Gorm. He died in 958/59 according to dendrochronological dating of his burial site, and he erected a rune stone - the smaller Stone of Jelling - for his wife Thyra, Pride of the Danes (Danebod).

Historiographic evidence by Snorri Sturluson (Heimskringla, about 1230) says that Gorm was a son of Hardaknut who first conquered Denmark (or more likely, what today is Jutland), that he had at least two sons, Knut and Harald - later known as Harald Bluetooth - and a daughter, Gunhild, who married Erik Bloodaxe. Knut must have died rather young because his brother inherited their father's lands alone, but he left behind a son, Harald the Golden, named so for the riches he gained in his Viking excursions. Gorm also survived his wife, else he would not have made a runestone in her memory.

There is a legend that Gorm swore an oath to kill whoever brought him the news of his son Knut's death and that Thyra managed to make him guess the sad news himself by hanging the hall with black cloth. But the legend is not, as some websites say, to be found in the Heimskringla. I found a version in Charles Morris' Historical Tales ('Gorm the Old', vol. 9, 1908), he may have used the same sources as Fontane.
 


Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction and Fantasy living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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