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The Norse

NORRONA, Old Norse, the equivalent of "Nordic," the language of the remote north western part of Continental Europe. It is claimed that a common tongue (much like that of the ancient Celts) existed for much of Germany and Scandinavia, and that this persists in modern Iceland. This common language is sometimes mentioned as the Donsk tunga, or "Danish tongue." The name was applied to these people by the Anglo-Saxons with the sense of "northern tongue," but interestingly the Gaelic equivalent "noir," indicates the "east," as these folk lived to the eastward of their land holdings. According to Sturlason's mythological history, the people of Odin were driven from homelands in the south east of Europe by the Roman conquests. They intruded upon the Celts and Finns in Germany and Scandinavia. It is said of Odin that "He had many sons; he won kingdoms far over Saxland (Germany) and set his sons as rulers over them. From there he fared north to the sea and found himself dwelling in the island called Odenso (Odin's Island) in Fyn." His final conquest was Sweden and he established his religion at Upsala. His Anglo-Saxon descendants, named the Ynglings or Inglings, after King Ingvi-Frey, invaded Britain and renamed Celtic Britain "England." His Scandinavian progeny , pressured by an overgrowth of population invaded Britain at a later date. These were the Fingall and Duthgall of Gaelic tradition, the sea-pirates the English called the "Vikings."

The Norsemen created the French province of Normandy. Erling Monson has noted that these rovers "invaded the north of Germany, the Baltic Provinces and Russia as well as Holland; but it was the British Isles that had the greatest attraction for them." England, of course, had Danish kings following the invasions of Swein Forkbeard and Canute the Great. Ireland also had an attraction for them as it also had fertile lands and wealth in precious metals, but northern Scotland had little excepting land markers which the Vikings used in setting sea-courses along the east or west coasts of Britain. This was also the place of the Great Caledonian Forest, which they used for repairing their ships. Eventually, they found that this forest contained human and animal wolves and they torched them to eliminate ground-cover. The German and Scandinavian northerners sometimes ruled portions of Scotland, especially the north western islands and highlands. Sometimes they co-existed with the Gaelic tribesman in these parts but as often were captured and became bondsmen to a clan. Their offspring eventually became freemen and indistinguishable from their countrymen in language or habits. The Mackay patronym is said to be Teutonic, but they certainly had strong Gaelic and Norse bloodlines as well.

The text on this page is courtesy of Rod C. Mackay.


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