We have heard how south in Iceland
Gunnar guarded well himself,
Boldly battle's thunder wielding,
Fiercest foeman on the wave;
Hero of the golden collar,
Sixteen with the sword he wounded;
In the shock that Odin loves,
Two before him tasted death.
(From Njal's Saga)
Many people believe that the Vikings where barbarians who plundered and burned their way across the known world,not caring for their own lives or the lives of others,interested only in destruction and pillage. It is true that the Vikings did pillage and plunder but this is only part of the story. The energy that made them famous for these raids was also used in positive ways like exploration and trading.
Islendinga members research and recreate the costume, tools, domestic implements, food, armour and weapons of the Viking age. Our club is also centered in spirit and in focus around Iceland, a country settled by the Vikings in the late 9th century. This information and equipment allows Islendiga to arrange presentations on the domestic, cultural and martial aspects of the Viking age. The audience is encouraged to see, hear, taste and touch the past and obtain a better understanding of the Vikings through interacting with the display.
The Vikings loved feasts, and Islendinga attempts to recreate the food and abmbience of a medieval feast as closely as possible. For food, this means that "New World" items such as tomato or potato are not used. Authentic recipes are followed, and for a typical feast this would include fare such as smoked fish, strained whey, roast chicken and pig. Vikings were known to prefer mead (a fermented honey drink) but also consumed cider and ale at their feasts. Rich Vikings also drank imported wine from Germany. Setting for the feast is also important. We ensure no bottles are in view on tables and that all guests are wearing Viking-era clothing.
Islendinga recreates Viking combat using weapons that closely resemble the originals, but are blunted for reasons of safety. As such, we take extreme care both when training with each other and fighting with other clubs. Our main weapons are the sword, the short axe, spear and two-handed axe. Each member of the club usually learns one of these as his or her primary weapon and in time takes up each of the others. Variety has always been important to Islendinga on the field, as a good mix of axes, spears and swords usually sways the odds in your favour. Rather than fight as a military unit, we prefer to use our stronger fighters to back up the newer members of the club. Watching each other's backs is never easy but ensures that your force can hold its own against superior numbers.
Last revision 01/05/2000 by Nick Smith of the Islendinga Viking Society