Vikings

From: BBC with additions by WhyILeftSweden.com

Overall interesting documentary about the Vikings. There are a few major omission however. Nowhere in the documentary is the immensely important area of Götalanddiscussed or mentioned. Despite Neil Oliver’s quest in the first episode to find the root culture that gave rise to the what later became the Vikings, he fails to recognize the importance of Götaland (Västra Götaland in particular).

He’s correct to assert that the Vikings didn’t spring up over night, in fact there are plenty of written sources that discuss several different cultures/peoples, so why there is no mention of any of these are disappointing.

In accordance with the more “Stockholmcentric view,” he does bring up the Vendeland the Vendel Era, but he does not reference or recognize there there are many accounts of Geates and Swedes fighting many battles over the power to control the land. This is also shown on the Sparlösa Runestone.

There was a major Battle on the Ice of Lake Vänern that is said to have taken place around 530 AD. This is well before the Viking age. Later there was also the Battle of Bråvalla at around 750. Both of these were between Swedes and Geats (Goths). These battles are almost 200 years apart, even the latter one in Bråvalla is 40 – 50 years before the first recognized Viking attack on Lindisfarne in England, in 793.

This shows that there were two major power centers in what today is Sweden. One was the Götar in Götaland and the other was Svear in Sweden (Svitjod).

In the documentary we can see that Neil travels basically in a triangle from Oslo (and Bergen) in Norway, to Copenhagen in Denmark and finally to Stockholm in Sweden, basically avoiding the very heart of Scandinavia: Götaland. Not to be confused here with the island Gotland (land of the Gutar), to the East of Götaland.

Despite that we know quite a bit about the Geats (the Goths) from the epic poem ofBeowulf ( a Geat himself), this is not mentioned as one of the predecessors to the Vikings. Why?

It’s from Götaland that emigration took place hundreds of years before the Vikings went on their raids and trade missions. The Goths migrated south and later split forming the West Goths (Visigoths) and East Goths (Ostrogoths). As we know the Visigoths played a major part in sacking Rome, a fact that any descendant today should be very proud off.

This blatant omission is something that we see mimicked in many Swedish produced documentaries about the history of Sweden as well. They focus all on the Swedes (the Suiones) but never (I mean ever) make mention of Götar/gautar (the Goths).

In fact, even up to the prior King of Sweden Gustaf VI Adolfs death in 1973 during the innaguration speech, the incoming King had to declare that he not only became the king of Sweden, but also of the Goths and the Wends.

The full titles was: “Sveriges, Götes och Vendes konung.” When Carl XVI Gustaf (the current “king” of Sweden) was appointed, the two latter titles was dropped.

It shows that there is a deep rooted rivalry that runs back into our history.

The Swedes were called Sueones (or Svitjod) and they are mentioned by Tacitus, in his Germania from 98 CE, with the spelling Suiones.

Then there are the others, written about by Jordanes in his “De origine actibusque Getarum” (The Origin and Deeds of the Getae/Goths), or the “Getica”, that goes discussed to great extent the Goths, who they were, where they came and what they accomplished.

This also bears major similarities with the story of the Gutasaga, which tells of an emigration, that is associated with the historical migration of the Goths from Scandinavia during the Migration period.

The point here is that there was once a powerful seat of kings in Götaland. There are many historical clues that points towards this as well. For example, Sweden’s oldest law document is the Västgötalagen (Westrogothic law).

A contemporarily current list of Christian Swedish kings, added as an appendix to the oldest manuscript of “Äldre Västgötalagen”, (Older Westrogothic law) was written by a priest called Laurentius in Vedum (Västra Götaland County) around 1325.

The king listed in this document begins with Olof Skötkonung (c. 980–1022). He was the first ruler documented to have been accepted both by the Svear around Lake Mälaren and by the Götar around Lake Vättern. However Olof was baptised in Husaby (Västra Götaland County), probably by the missionary Sigfrid, c.1008 at the Husaby church.


Husaby Closterkyrka

The King is buried in an above-ground sarcophagus at Husaby

More photos and stories from Husaby and King Olof here.

Worth noting is also that this church is very close to the ancient and important ridgeKinnekulle that is on the eastern shore of lake Vänern. This ridge is an immensely important site that has not been investigate properly. There might literally be hundreds of finds from the stoneage and onwards, in this area. If the will, monetary means and permission (the biggest hurdle) existed to truly investigate this area, there is no telling what could be found.

Not far from Varnhem is the strange and powerful Passage grave Ekornavallen. It might be over 5000 years old.

We visited there a year ago:

There are a number of other people that have been associated with the formulation of Sweden that have been born and buried in Götaland. Another later example is Birger Jarl born in Bjälbo, Östergötland, who played a pivotal role in the consolidation of Sweden. he is buried in Varnhem Abbey in Jälbolung in Västergötland. This is a stone church dating to 800 AD. Several Kings other kings have been buried here such as Knut Eriksson, Erik Knutsson och Erik Eriksson. An archaeological dig in 2007 has identified what most likely are remains of them.

Why would they be buried in an insignificant little church in the middle of nowhere if they were the Kings of Sweden? Why not in Gamla Uppsala around Mälaredalen?

The perception, to a certain degree, in the episodes of BBC’s Vikings is that there was only three Viking centers, those being the “exploring” Vikings from Norway who went to Iceland, Greenland and later Vinland (North America), then there was the “marauding” vikings from Denmark who “raped and plundered” in Britain and finally there was the “trading” Swedish Vikings that settled in Russia (the Rus), they opened up the Volga trade route, all the way down to Constantinople and possibly as far as northern Iran, who later became known as Varangians during their employ as guards.

This is of course not true at all. There is so much more too it. The main artery connecting boat traffic from Norway (Skagerrak), Denmark (Kattegat) and internally in Sweden was the river Göta älv, one of the highways at that time.

Göta älv was an important trade rout and many finds are made to this day in and around this river. On this stretch the Ale Viking village have been set up, where you can experience the everyday life during Viking times.

Along the river you have the old town Lödöse, a rich archaeological area where many finds have been made over the years. Old Lödöse, was basically the Gothenburg (port town) of the Viking age. Only about an hour away there is the town Skepplanda, which literally means “ship landing”, because here is where the ships “landed”. It is not surprising then that it’s right in this area, close to the town of Alafors where the Viking merchant ship Äskekärrskeppet was found in 1933 and a later second find in 1993. A replica of the ship, named Vidfamne was completed in 1994. It’s the only Viking ship so far discovered in Sweden.

In Alafors, it’s believe there was a Viking shipyard. I’m sure there would be many more finds, if the will and desire to look was there.

So, is any of this not worth mentioning in the documentary? Nope, let’s go to Stockholm instead.

Here she is, Äskekärrskeppet

An interesting detail is that on the stretch between Alafors, Skepplanda and
Lödöse along the Göta River, you have a (today) small village called Alvhem this village etymologically connects perfectly with the mythical location of the home of the Alvs (Elfs) Álfheimr (region).

This area is just a small portion of the entire “triangle of omission” that BBC’s Vikings documentary avoids.

Please see and read more about Äskekärrskeppet on this page (Note translation is from Google).

We could go on and on with inconsistencies, omissions, etymological problems with the official story of the location of the formulation of the seat of power in Sweden (Uppsala / Ubsola), but we’ll leave that for now. This is an ongoing historical unraveling that will continue.

For Swedish speaking audience, please take the time to see the excellent documentary Svearikets vagga by the late Dag Stålsjö.

 

Swedish woman literally stumbles over 2,000-year-old gold ring found in the Cradle of Sweden

The cradle of the kingdom, that gradually formed into what today is known as Sweden, lies in Western Gotaland (Västergötland).

File:Västergötland vapen.svg

Dag Stalsjo and Vastgotaskolan have shown this to be true. Despite that almost all sources (just like wikipedia) are trying to immediately discredit the theory by pinning it on Nazi nonsense.

Continue reading

A Short History of Sweden’s Entitlement Society

During his long reign, Tage Erlander, Swedish prime minister between 1946 and 1969, spoke grudgingly of the impending “discontent of growing expectations.” He was referring to how the Swedish labor movement, after decades of expansive welfare reforms, rather than being gratified, seemed incessantly focused on what it had not yet received from the perennial Social Democratic government.
Erlander’s misgivings turned out to be accurate. The entitlement society is indeed a beast that feeds on itself. From 1959 to 1977 the total tax burden in Sweden grew from a moderate 25.2 percent to a staggering 47.5 percent, topping out in 1990 at 52.3 percent. During the same time, the public sector share of GDP doubled, while private payrolls fell, predictably causing a decline in economic growth. In 1970 Sweden’s growth was second in the world only to Japan’s; in 1990 it was second-lowest in the OECD, even as entitlements and the public sector kept growing. Hence, a familiar choice: Either stop spending, or keep borrowing on the backs of future generations.
But making such a choice is no simple thing. A universal welfare state has consequences that run deeper than the economy, and are more difficult to reverse even than a two-decade-long economic disaster. Fundamental structures of civil society wilt when human responsibilities—including those towards future generations—are subsumed under government entitlements (in Sweden, giving to charity, absurdly, came to be considered a lack of solidarity, since it undermined the need for the welfare state); a sense of passivity spreads when people feel that personal happiness or despondency is independent of their own actions. The bureaucratic framework of the welfare state also locks in electoral support as a growing share of the voters move from private to public payrolls—why vote yourself out of a job? All of these factors made the prospects for Sweden to break the vicious spiral bleak indeed.
Sweden is a country that only 30 years ago was on the brink of socializing corporate profits so as to continue down the road to ruin.
Against all odds, voters defied political expectations. In 1991 they removed the Social Democratic government, and put in place a center-right government that promised to attack the fundamental problems of the welfare state. When the Social Democratic party was voted back in three years later—as a consequence not of the reforms, but because the economic recovery was not coming soon enough—it continued on the road to reform, keeping in place the essential transformations.
Sweden is a country that only 30 years ago was on the brink of socializing corporate profits so as to continue down the road to ruin.
Excerpts from: weeklystandard.com
Ed comment: The article gives the illusion that it’s “better” in Sweden now. Sweden is still very much an entitlement society. There has been a very clever program of privatizations that gives outsiders the illusion that Sweden is much more “liberal” economically speaking. In other words less “left” and more “free market.” This is indeed only an illusion. Government regulates like a monolithic monster it has become and there are not many alternate paths for those who want to go above and beyond the playpen that the government has drawn for the tightly regulated business world. Government, together with the few mega monopoly companies regulate to a point where the smaller companies can’t keep up and fulfill the ridiculous jumping of hoop to attain licenses, inspections, approvals, paper work and not to mention the sky high taxes. The “competition” is effectively eroded away pretty early in the game. There is also, more worryingly, no incentive to work hard in Sweden. To “over-achieve” is furthermore a cultural taboo. From the article: “Folkhemmet” – Sweden’s Fascism in slow motion we can read:

After their big economic meltdown in the early 90′s (huge unemployment and welfare benefits that could no longer be paid for) they undertook an exemplary program of privatizations and made big cuts to both taxes and welfare benefits but there are still huge disincentives to work in Sweden. Incomes are kept pretty uniform regardless of what you do — meaning that there is little incentive either to improve one’s skills or to work hard — and the sickness benefit side of the welfare system is still a huge racket. People on sickness benefits no longer get a higher income than they would by working but the benefits are still close to wages and access to the system is very easy. So huge numbers of Swedes have declared themselves too ill to work.

As a consequence, average Swedish incomes have fallen well behind American standards — as indexed by the most objective criterion we have: GDP per capita. When purchasing power is taken into account, the picture is even worse. A cup of coffee, for instance, is likely to cost you three times as much in Sweden as in the USA.
There is much more behind the “transition” from the seemingly endless reign of Tage Erlander, Olof Palme and the social democrats, then the article suggests. When the question was raised to potentially socialize corporate profits, at some point around 1985, it must have been “decided” at a higher level to simply remove Palme from his position of power. Palme was assassinated in February 1986.
But the tyranny remains and slowly.. SLOWLY Sweden is moving in a direction of centralization, control and totalitarian social planning.

“Folkhemmet” – Sweden’s Fascism in slow motion

Excerpts from John J. Ray

The dominant political party in Sweden since 1932 on has been the Social Democratic Party. The program and policy of the Social Democrats centred around transforming Sweden into a folkhemmet (A home for the people). This became the dominant Swedish concept of Sweden in 1932 with the accession to power of the Social Democrats but was well in evidence before that. The concept is usually traced to a book, The State as a Live Form ( Staten som livsform ), written by Rudolf Kjellen in 1910.

Folkhemmet is probably best translated as “a home for the Swedish people”. And this idea of what Sweden should be was what the Swedish Social Democratic Party preached. The concept is the core of the “Swedish model” and what it brought about was essentially just another version of the characteristic Fascist “corporate” or “collectivist” State. So, like Fascism generally, the Swedish model was seen as a Third Way between Communism and Capitalism.

The Swedish corporate State really got going only in 1938, however, with the Saltsjobaden Agreement between the unions and the employers. This agreement outlawed strikes and created a central wage-fixing system for the whole country.

And Sweden has been essentially a socialist one-party State since 1932, with the socialists being out of power for brief interludes only. But what exactly the folkhemmet should consist of evolved and developed only very slowly and gradually. Change in Sweden is glacial even in the hands of Leftists so the fundamentally paternalist folkhemmet took many years to develop a sweeping dominance of Swedish life. Bit by bit taxes were raised, business was regulated and taken over and welfare programs were expanded. It was not in fact until the early 1990s that the whole edifice came crashing down. So the concept of a fatherly government was there from the beginning, the one-party State was there and a quiet conviction of Swedish superiority and unique wisdom was also there.

Like all Fascist ideologies, however, folkhemmet had its own unique national character. Sweden experienced nothing remotely like the huge interwar disruptions that took place in Germany and Italy — for the excellent reason that Sweden stayed out of WW1. So Swedish nationalism was much calmer and less excitable. Which led to it being neither strident nor expansionist. Swedes felt perfectly comfortable with the burgeoning wealth being produced by their own country and so felt no need for foreign adventures or huge and sudden changes.

The Swedish Social Democratic party was founded on its popularity and was achieved by constitutional rather than revolutionary means.

So the Swedish folkhemmet State was welfarist, nationalist, paternalist and essentially all-powerful. Because it used its power very sparingly and cautiously, however, and respected civil liberties, it was undoubtedly the mildest of the Fascist States. Fascism varied greatly from country to country (to take a rather striking example, Sir Oswald Mosley initially used to expel from the British Union of Fascists anyone who made antisemitic remarks!) and the distinguishing feature of the Swedish version was undoubtedly that it was the least authoritarian. And after the war the Swedish Social Democrats did as all Leftists did and abandoned overt nationalism.

After their big economic meltdown in the early 90′s (huge unemployment and welfare benefits that could no longer be paid for) they undertook an exemplary program of privatizations and made big cuts to both taxes and welfare benefits but there are still huge disincentives to work in Sweden. Incomes are kept pretty uniform regardless of what you do — meaning that there is little incentive either to improve one’s skills or to work hard — and the sickness benefit side of the welfare system is still a huge racket. People on sickness benefits no longer get a higher income than they would by working but the benefits are still close to wages and access to the system is very easy. So huge numbers of Swedes have declared themselves too ill to work.

As a consequence, average Swedish incomes have fallen well behind American standards — as indexed by the most objective criterion we have: GDP per capita. When purchasing power is taken into account, the picture is even worse. A cup of coffee, for instance, is likely to cost you three times as much in Sweden as in the USA.

Leftists who advocate high taxes and pervasive welfare need to be told that the country that went furthest in that direction hit a rock years ago and has been paddling in reverse ever since.

There is an assumption that the welfare states of Scandinavia were high-tax regimes which tried to redistribute wealth from rich businessmen to the average person. This is not the case at all. On the whole the Scandinavian systems are not meant to be redistributive states. Nor are businessmen the targets. Business is relatively lightly taxed compared to many developed nations. It is not the earnings of businesses that the bureaucrats want to control but people. (Comment: This point might be true for BIG corporations that are running the country together with the government (Revolving door business/politics – the same people on the board of a large company take turns to sit in government positions). Small individual business owners are taxed in to oblivion, unable to employ and survive for the most part. Privateers are unwanted in Sweden. They want you working for BIG companies. Entrepreneurship is pretty much non existent in Sweden. As long as you are dependent sucking of the corporate-fashist-government teet, it’s ok.)

The Swedish welfare state, in particular, was designed so that the average individual was highly taxed. There was even the well-known case of Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, of Pippi Longstocking fame, who discovered that her tax bill was 102% of her earnings. Consumers are highly taxed, while business itself is not so highly taxed.

The reason for this is simple. Taxation is a means of control. The object of control in the Swedish system is not business, they produce the golden eggs after all. The object of control is the individual. The Swedish system doesn’t so much redistribute your wealth but confiscate it and return it to you provided you spend it in ways approved of by the political elite.

Consider how this system works. Say you are taxed $100 on earnings of $150. The state may now say that can have $20 back in education vouchers for your children, $30 in health “benefits” and so on. If you choose to spend in other ways you will not receive the money back. In essence the Swedish system was created to take control of the individual Swedish consumer, not redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. While some redistribution is inevitable that is not the reason why the system was created.

Swedish business is more lightly taxed because the government wants business to provide jobs for workers. Once the workers are employed the state can tax them and control their spending. Approved spending is subsidized with the tax money that consumers pay in, unapproved spending is not subsidized or may be heavily taxed. This system of coercive incentives is meant to regulate how people act.

While many in the world think that the “third way” of Sweden was a “socialistic” policy of helping the needy, the reality is closer to a “fascistic” policy of manipulating the consumers into behaving in ways that politicians want.

Nils Dacke – The Swedish Tax Revolt Hero of the 16th Century

Nils Dacke was the leader of a 16th century peasant revolt in Småland, southern Sweden called the Dacke War (Swedish: Dackefejden), fought against the Swedish king Gustav I. It was the most widespread and serious civil war in Swedish history and almost toppled the king.

Gustav Vasa had come to power at the head of a peasant army in 1523. He had established Sweden’s independence from Denmark and made Protestantism the national religion. Småland found itself on the border between Sweden and Denmark and was hard hit by Vasa’s ban on cross border trade. In addition, the hard-handed way the church was reformed and the increasing tax burden led to much dissatisfaction among the poor peasants. Already in 1536, Nils Dacke was tried at a local court for killing a sheriff: according to court records he was fined 10 oxen.

The uprising started in June 1542 with the assassination of more sheriffs and tax collectors. Gustav Vasa underestimated the military prowess of the peasants and sent his German mercenaries to quell the revolt. The landsknechts were, however, unsuited for battle in the rugged forests and suffered heavy losses. Dacke had devised defensive tactics that allowed the peasants to use their steel crossbows with devastating effect. Dacke’s successes helped spread the revolt over all the southern provinces of Sweden. The situation was so serious that the king was forced to sue for peace, and a one-year ceasefire was signed on November 8. During the ceasefire, Dacke was the de facto ruler of southern Sweden and received (and declined) offers of foreign support. He reinstated the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church and reopened the cross border trade in the areas under his control.

The king broke the ceasefire in January 1543 and sent a new and larger army into the rebellious area. Royal propaganda had been spread to win over the population and turn them against Dacke. Dacke himself had become overconfident after earlier successes and met the Royal army in a pitched battle in March. The trained soldiers fighting on their own terms shattered the peasant army, and Dacke was severely injured. After this defeat, the rebellion was effectively over and Dacke became an outlaw.

Dacke was shot and killed in the high summer of 1543 in the forests which, at the time, surrounded the southeastern border between Sweden and Denmark (nowadays southern Swedish provinces Småland and Blekinge). According to contemporary sources, he had been injured in both legs by hits from the king’s crossbows during the decisive battle a few months earlier, his forces had been routed and he was likely trying to escape from the king’s mercenaries. There is no doubt that he was killed on the spot.

Dacke was executed posthumously, quartered, and his limbs were sent for public display in larger communities that had supported him during the rebellion. Gustav Vasa ordered the annihilation of Dacke’s entire family, but showed some leniency against those who had given themselves up. Thus, the unity of the realm was restored.

As a result of the war the king was henceforth more careful when dealing with his subjects. The reliance on foreign mercenaries in the army was reduced in favour of soldiers of Swedish extraction (many of which were recruited in Småland) and this laid the foundation for Sweden’s military successes in later wars.

Today Nils Dacke is perceived as a Småland freedom hero. His name is often linked to an independence streak in Småland. Statues in memory of him have been erected including one in Virserum, where the final battle allegedly took place during 1543. (Nils Dacke-partiet) is a local political party in Gnosjö County. M/S Nils Dacke is a vessel, owned by TT-Line serving the Trelleborg-Travemünde route. In 1961, a made for television movie titled Dacke, was released by Swedish director and screenwriter Bengt Lagerkvist.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nils_Dacke

Comment:
Why didn’t Dacke accept foreign help?
Why didn’t Dacke take out the king when he had the chance?
Why did Dacke agree to a one year cease fire, giving the king enough time to regroup, build up his defenses and hire more foreign mercenary soldiers?

Despite there being many questions marks around Dacke’s actions he still is one of the only dissenting voices in Swedish (written) history that has challanged the suffocating tax system that today MUCH MUCH MUCH higher then in the days of Dacke. Where is Dacke today?