The Vikings reportedly did have better hygiene and grooming than other Europeans, though.
I think it was here on Metafilter that someone recently linked some horrified descriptions by early travelers (from the middle east I think, given that they could write and had high standards for cleanliness) of the Vikings' extraordinarily disgusting habits, such as taking turns to blow their noses into a bowl of water and then washing their faces in it, and some of their funeral activities which combined both poor hygiene and rapeyness.
(That said, in other parts of Europe people were probably skipping the face washing altogether, so even using gross water represented an improvement.)
Eyebrows McGee: Yeah ... they carried their coins by attaching the coins to their armpit hair with wax. Armpit coins negates all other attempts at hygiene. So no.
Several important differences between the European and US trajectories stand out. First, it appears that inequality of wealth in the United States around 1800 was not much higher than in Sweden in 1970-1980... In 1910, capital inequality there was very high, though still markedly lower than in Europe...
...we have been accustomed for several decades now to the fact that the United States is more inegalitarian than Europe and even that many Americans are proud of the fact (often arguing that inequality is a prerequisite of entrepreneurial dynamism and decrying Europe as a sanctuary of Soviet-style egalitarianism). A century ago, however, both the perception and the reality were strictly the opposite: it was obvious to everyone that the New World was by nature less inegalitarian than old Europe, and this difference was also a subject of pride. In the late nineteenth century, in the period known as the Gilded Age, when some US industrialists and financiers (for example John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and J. P. Morgan) accumulated unprecedented wealth, many US observers were alarmed by the thought that the country was losing its pioneering egalitarian spirit. To be sure, that spirit was partly a myth, but it was also partly justified by comparison with the concentration of wealth in Europe. In Part Four we will see that this fear of growing to resemble Europe was part of the reason why the United States in 1910-1920 pioneered a very progressive estate tax on large fortunes, which were deemed to be incompatible with US values, as well as a progressive income tax on incomes thought to be excessive. Perceptions of inequality, redistribution, and national identity changed a great deal over the course of the twentieth century, to put it mildly.
Eyebrows McGee: "You're either going to have to cough up some citations for that ridiculous claim"
Dunmore Cave in Ireland (site of an apparent massacre by Vikings in 928) features this factoid prominently in all its associated museum exhibits. I learned about it at the Reginalds Tower Viking museum in Waterford and saw it repeated in several Viking-related exhibits, especially with coins.
Hopefully someone with JSTOR access can find an actual paper (Dunmore Cave is what you want, post 1973) ... I have an appointment in 20 minutes but will see this afternoon if I can find it with my lame non-academic access.
What does she get in return? Free health care and higher education, a pension that sustains her pre-retirement life style, a living wage if she loses her job—that sort of thing.
tractorfeed: OK, I do have institutional access and looked up the article advil referenced. Here's a quote: "In those pocketless days, it seems to have been normal for coins to be carried in the armpit, attached to the body hair by a smear of beeswax for greater security (Dolley 1975)..."
Michael Dolley seems to have been a legitimate academic, to the extent that his papers are held by the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University.
a lungful of dragon: I agree that cites are useful, but marketing? He isn't selling ass pennies.
When his ideas were challenged, Dolley had an unhappy tendency to react polemically, both in conversation and in subsequent writings, particularly if in his opinion the challenger, however distinguished, had insufficient knowledge of the series in question or its historical setting. This inhibited rational discussion and, in later years, when his general health was declining and the problem was becoming increasingly serious, it tended also to deter the promulgation of dissenting opinions, so giving the impression that on some topics his views were more widely accepted than was in fact the case. Frustration over some perceived action (or inaction) of a friend or colleague could also exacerbate him beyond reason. Thus his years in the rather introspective environment of the Coin Room cannot have been comfortable for his professional colleagues. At all events, after he left the Museum in 1963 to take up a lecturership in medieval history at the Queen's University of Belfast, he did not obtain during vacations the help and co-operation from the Coin Room that his scholarship taken on its own would have justified. This caused him much mortification. More importantly, it also put back until after his death any prospect of a sylloge fascicule covering the late Anglo-Saxon coins in the National Collection.
strangely stunted trees: Jesus, dude, I don't understand why you even care about this enough to keep moving the goalposts on it.
happyroach: OK, so where's your countering evidence? Waving your arms, shouting "DO NOT BELIEVE" and muttering about Victorians doesn't count for shit. Either put up or shut up- show me evidence.
sour cream: "From the article: The Danish word for fair and moderate has origins in the Vikings’ term for passing mead around a fire.
Can someone please elaborate? What is that word and what's the ethymology?"
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