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Hannibal Barca – The Scourge of Rome

Hannibal Barca is a historical figure who has fascinated me for years not just for who he was as a man in ancient times but is unbelievable accomplishments during the Second Punic War against the Roman Empire. Hannibal is by far one of the greatest military leaders in all of military history and was taking vengeance in thew most astounding ways not just in the name of his father but for Carthage, one of the most advanced civilizations in history as well. So this Blog post I decided to feature him and deserving so because in my humble opinion I will say the following. If Hannibal had listened to his counsel after the Battle of Cannae, also known as thew Battle of Annihilation, where it was strongly suggested he advanced upon Rome and lay siege, I believe if he had done so the course of history across Europe and North Africa would be far different.

The Carthaginian general Hannibal (247-182 BCE) was one of the greatest military leaders in history. His most famous campaign took place during the Second Punic War (218-202), when he caught the Romans off guard by crossing the Alps.

Youth (247-219)

When Hannibal (in his own, Punic language: Hanba’al, “mercy of Ba’al”) was born in 247 BCE, his birthplace Carthage was about to lose a long and important war. The city had been the Mediterranean’s most prosperous seaport and possessed wealthy provinces, but it had suffered severe losses from the Romans in the First Punic War (264-241). After Rome’s victory, it stripped Carthage of its most important province, Sicily; and when civil war had broken out in Cartage, Rome seized Sardinia and Corsica as well. These events must have made a great impression on the young Hannibal.

He was the oldest son of the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who took the ten-year old boy to Iberia in 237. There were several Carthaginian cities in Andalusia: Gadir (“castle”, modern Cádiz), Malkah (“royal town”, Málaga) and New Carthage (Cartagena). The ancient name of Córdoba is unknown, although the Punic element Kart, “town”, is still recognizable in its name.

Hamilcar added new territories to this informal empire. In this way, Carthage was compensated for its loss of overseas territories. The Roman historian Livy mentions that Hannibal’s father forced his son to promise eternal hatred against the Romans. This may be an invention, but there may be some truth in the story: the Carthaginians had excellent reasons to hate their enemies.When Hamilcar died (229), Hamilcar’s son-in-law, the politician Hasdrubal the Fair, took over command. The new governor further improved the Carthaginian position by diplomatic means, among which was intermarriage between Carthaginians and Iberians. Hannibal married a native princess. It is likely that the young man visited Carthage in these years.

In 221, Hasdrubal was murdered and the Carthaginian soldiers in Iberia elected Hannibal as their commander, a decision that was confirmed by the government.The twenty-six-year old general returned to his father’s aggressive military politics and attacked the natives, capturing Salamanca in 220. The next year, he besieged Saguntum, a Roman ally. Since Rome was occupied with the Second Illyrian War and unable to support the town, Saguntum fell after a blockade of eight months. Already in Antiquity, the question whether the capture of Saguntum was a violation of a treaty between Hasdrubal and the Roman Republic was discussed. It is impossible to solve this problem. The fact is, however, that the Romans felt offended, and demanded Hannibal to be extradited by the Carthaginian government. Continue reading HERE.

Trade played a significant role in Carthage’s legacy. The Carthaginians dominated the ancient Mediterranean trade. At a time when the Greeks and many others were going through a dark age, they sailed the western Mediterranean. Carthage’s empire grew as a result of trade profits, and it eventually rivaled the Roman military in size and power.

Five Amazing Facts About Hannibal Barca: Rome’s Most Dangerous Enemy

The Life of Hannibal Barca

Hannibal of Carthage: Military Commander and Greatest Enemy of Rome

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Bindrunes and the Ægishgjálmr

A practical bindrune may combine two or more runes to form a single design representing the runic powers of the included runes. The purpose of the bindrune is to enable a controlled release of those runic energies for the benefit of the user, or someone he or she wants to help or influence.

Bindrunes can only be used to help people, not to harm them. Any attempt to place a curse, prevent a person doing something, or to make something nasty happen to them will inevitably backfire on the user. However there are some Galdrastafurs that exist with the sole purpose of causing damage to others or things but unless you are a skilled practitioner of Norse magick I highly suggest you do not attempt to use them.

Although a bindrune is a blending of runic characters, each rune included in the design has to retain its own individuality, it has to be visible as an entity within the whole. I find it is best to limit the design to no more than four, or maybe five characters at the most, so that it can still be symmetrical, balanced and pleasing to the eye.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. Some very ancient and highly effective bindrunes incorporate 6, 7 or even 8 different runes. But generally speaking, the simpler the design, then the more effective the bindrune will be.

Bindrunes are devised for specific purposes. They can generate mental activity such as memory, logic, emotion, enlightenment, strength of will, courage, fairness, clarity of thought. They can aid physical actions too, such as health, strength, speed, endurance, and all the 5 senses.

Bindrunes can produce a runic field of energy to protect your person, your home or possessions, your job or your business good-will, and they can enhance relationships by encouraging harmony, partnership, love or sexual attraction.

You could easily draw a bindrune on a piece of paper, wood, stone or anything and carry it with you hoping that it will have some effect. But the un-empowered bindrune will be so weak that you would probably not notice any difference. For a bindrune to work effectively it must be empowered in the correct way which for me really involves your intentions because intentions and even your mood and emotions have energy which can unintentionally be woven into the bindrune and that potentially will cause it to have the wrong effect.

The purpose of this Icelandic magic stave (galdrastafur) is “að fá bón sína”, meaning “to get your wish”. This scan is from an original early 19th century manuscript, copied most probably from mid to late 1600s

The Helm of Awe

Norse Bindrunes

Galdrastafir: Icelandic Magical Staves

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The Eddas as Music: A Unique Experience

On occasion I like to share great websites that in my opinion do not get enough credit for what they provide. One such website which I have enjoyed for years is Eddan: The Invincible Sword of the Elf Smith by Mats Wendt. Trust me the title does not go nearly into the greatness that is what you will see below. Mats Wendt (born in 1965) is a Swedish classical composer and artist who has shown his talent in an amazing way and I am going to post part of the introduction that is on the website.

Introduction

Eddan is based on a merge of all the Edda poems.

The work spans the complete pre-christian scandinavian mythology from the beginning to the end of the world (Ragnarök) and beyond.

And most important it answers the question why the world must perish.

The red line thru the piece is the invincible sword, forged by the master smith Völund in part 65.

The sword was forged as revenge upon the whole creation when Völund lost the competition instigated by Loki in part 28.

The competition stood between the elves (Ivaldis son’s) and the dwarfs (Mimir’s son’s) in which the most beneficial treasures for Asgard were made. The gods were tricked by evil to be the judges in this fatal competition.

Völund proved whom was the better smith with this marvelous sword. The sword was crafted with all his knowledge, carved with forbidden runes of absolute victory. The sword fights by itself, shines of its inner power and is indestructible.

A weapon was brought into the world that nothing could stop.

The nature of the sword was that it granted unconditional victory to Völund and his relatives, but eternal ruin to everybody else.

Slowly the plot unfolds and the sword draws the world relentlessly towards Ragnarök.

After the marriage between Svipdag an Freyja in part 104 the blue skies seem to return and in part 106, Frigg is filled with hope that Svipdag can resurrect Baldur and the fate of the world will be reversed.

But this fails and the faint hope of avoiding the apocalypse is lost.

In part 117, the sons of Mimir, the original nature smith’s, resigns after their fathers death. Now convinced that nothing can purify the world except the coming Ragnarök, they all went to sleep.

The seven sleepers will slumber throughout all ages of the world until the final battle.

Now I invite you to have a look at the website and listen to the amazing music provided on https://www.eddan.net/

Here are some of my favorite resources regarding the Eddas.

Völuspá.org Poetic Edda and Prose Edda

The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturlson: Translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur [1916]

This is an amazing resource I highly recommend. Germanic Mythology

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The Northern Feminine Podcast

Recently I appeared for the first time on a Podcast where we discussed much but the focus of the topics were the feminine side of Norse Paganism as well as the importance of the Lesser Known Goddesses of the Þursar tribe of the Norse Pantheon. It was a great show indeed and I already told the ladies who run the Podcast I am happy to be a guest again in the future. So please do have a listen to it and the other episodes they have already.

The Northern Feminine

Follow them on Instagram HERE

They have a Twitter as well.

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Iceland: “Hidden People”, Paranormal and Mystical Beings

Iceland is filled with wonders, folklore, mystical beings and amazing tales of spiritual encounters dating back since the Viking Age and continues to this day. Such mystical beings are the famous Huldufólk (hidden people), Nissi, Dagtröll, Skuggabaldur, Stökkull and many more. Today’s Blog post features a great documentary I always enjoy watching and highly recommend which dives into this very subject plus gets deeper into more. Be sure also to check out the links below the video for even more.

Folklore in Iceland

The Elves of Iceland

The elusive ‘hidden people’ of Iceland

Paranormal Encounters in Iceland 1150–1400

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Arminius (Hermann the German)

One of my favorite historical figures during the Roman empire age is Arminius (Hermann the German). Who lived a life that was filled with so much that I felt the need to feature him on my Blog with the best resources I believe exist.

Arminius (b. circa 18 BC, d. circa 21 AD, assumed to be the Latinized form of Hermann) was the chief of the Germanic Cherusci tribe during the later stages of Augustus’ reign. Prior to the great revolt which pushed Rome permanently out of the Germanic interior, and after the conquests of Drusus and Tiberius, Arminius served as a Roman auxiliary (c. 1 to 6 AD), apparently with much success. Some have painted a picture of a young Germanic warrior with the ultimate goal of freeing the tribes by learning Roman military ways, but his service and that of his fellow Cherusci warriors, actually exemplifies the completeness in which the Romans had spread their influence throughout Germania (as well as identifying the early stages of the barbarization of the Roman Legions). Though at this stage, Germania Magna was not an official province, and was still unsettled per Roman victory conditions, the slow process of Romanization had begun in earnest. Arminius, it seems, even earned Roman citizenship as well as equestrian status, perhaps in part, as a peace settlement.

During the revolt in Pannonia, which forced Tiberius’ withdrawal from Germania, and his replacement by Publius Quinctilius Varus, conditions seem to have deteriorated considerably. Varus, it seems, (one must consider the conflicting reports by Dio Cassius, Tacitus, Florus and Paterculus regarding the political climate and the battle itself) was probably given the task of completing the subjugation of Germania and implementing Roman provincial standards by Augustus. Regular taxation, undoubtedly a condition that the Germanics were unaccustomed to, as well as other ‘excesses’ seem to have turned the tribes against their Roman occupiers.

Arminius returned to the Cherusci as early as 7 AD, and likely began preparing for a massive revolt soon after his arrival. Inter-tribal warfare and lack of unity was something that would plague the Germanics for centuries, but in this one instance, the tribes were uniquely brought together in their zeal to throw off the Roman yolk. Everything was not completely in unison, however. Arminius’ rival, Segestes, actually his own father-in-law, reportedly betrayed the plans of revolt to Varus, but these reports were unheeded. Perhaps writing off the idea as political infighting for personal gain, or trusting Arminius due to his service as a Roman auxilia, and equestrian, Varus ignored the warnings, with predictable results. In 9 AD, the situation had come to a head and reports of a growing uprising in northern Germania (perhaps the Chauci) began to reach Varus. Encouraged by promises of allied assistance from tribal leaders like Arminius, Varus set out northward for the Chauci.

In late summer of 9 AD, Varus marched in loose formation with the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth legions, and did so through what they thought was friendly territory. According to Cassius Dio, ” They had with them many wagons and many beasts of burden as in time of peace; moreover, not a few women and children and a large retinue of servants were following them. one reason for their advancing in scattered groups.” As the Romans approached a particular hilly and forested area (and likely fortified in advance) known as the Kalkriese, Arminius and fellow allied chieftains ‘begged to be excused from further attendance, in order, as they claimed, to assemble their allied forces, after which they would quietly come to his aid.’ Unbeknownst to Varus, regional tribes had already put the ambush in motion by killing or capturing legionary detachments that had been working on various projects throughout the region.

Over a period of 4 storm filled and rain drenched days, the Germanics launched a series of blistering attacks on the disorganized and unprepared Roman columns. All three legions and accompanying cavalry were so scattered and beaten in the surprise attacks that communication and cooperation between the two were non-existent. The cavalry attempted a breakout and escape but was cut down before they could. The infantry continued to fight, with little success in hopes of reaching safety. By the 4th day, the cause was lost and Varus committed suicide rather than submit to capture (and the shame). All three legionary standards (eagles) were captured by the Germans and the survivors, of which there were very few, scattered in various directions to safety. Conflicting ancient source material tells differing tales, but some officers joined Varus in suicide while others surrendered. The battle itself was little more than an overwhelming massacre. Read the entire article HERE.

The Hermannsdenkmal (German for “Hermann’s Monument”) Located in
Teutoburger Wald, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The Varus Battle

Hermann the Cheruscan

The Battle of Teutoburg Forest

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Valkyries: Great, Powerful and Mysterious

A Valkyrie is a female helping spirit of the god Odin. The modern image of the Valkyries as elegant, noble maidens bearing dead heroes to Valhalla is largely accurate for what it is, but a highly selective portrayal that exaggerates their pleasant qualities. To some extent, this tendency toward sanitization is present even in the later Old Norse sources, which focus on their love affairs with human men and their assisting Odin in transporting his favorites among those slain in battle to Valhalla, where they will fight by his side during Ragnarok.

As much as we know of the Valkyries from ancient text there is still much about them that are a mystery and an alluring one at that. So I felt the need to make this Blog post regarding them and provide you the reader the best resources I know of.

Sometimes the blood-covered Valkyrie-prophetesses are seen themselves as weavers, as in the poem Darraðarljóð where the valkyries appear to prophesy the outcome of the next day’s battle (describing the fall of Brian Boru to Viking forces at the Battle of Clontarf, 1014):

Blood rains from the cloudy web

On the broad loom of slaughter.

The web of man grey as armor

Is now being woven; the Valkyries

Will cross it with a crimson weft.

The warp is made of human entrails;

Human heads are used as heddle-weights;

The heddle rods are blood-wet spears;

The shafts are iron-bound and arrows are the shuttles.

With swords we will weave this web of battle.

The Valkyries go weaving with drawn swords,

Hild and Hjorthrimul, Sanngrid and Svipul.

Spears will shatter shields will splinter,

Swords will gnaw like wolves through armor.

Let us now wind the web of war

Which the young king once waged.

Let us advance and wade through the ranks,

Where friends of ours are exchanging blows.

Let us now wind the web of war

And then follow the king to battle

Gunn and Gondul can see there

The blood-spattered shields that guarded the king.

Let us now wind the web of war

Where the warrior banners are forging forward

Let his life not be taken;

Only the Valkyries can choose the slain.

Lands will be ruled by new peoples

Who once inhabited outlying headlands.

We pronounce a great king destined to die;

Now an earl is felled by spears.

The men of Ireland will suffer a grief

That will never grow old in the minds of men.

The web is now woven and the battlefield reddened;

The news of disaster will spread through lands.

It is horrible now to look around

As a blood-red cloud darkens the sky.

The heavens are stained with the blood of men,

As the Valyries sing their song.

We sang well victory songs

For the young king; hail to our singing!

Let him who listens to our Valkyrie song

Learn it well and tell it to others.

Let us ride our horses hard on bare backs,

With swords unsheathed away from here!

And then they tore the woven cloth from the loom and ripped it to pieces, each keeping the shred she held in her hands… The women mounted their horses and rode away, six to the south and six to the north.

Valkyries, Wish-Maidens, and Swan-Maid

Bronze Brooch from Lousgaard, Bornholm, Denmark

The Powerful Valkyries as Icons of Female Force and Fear

Brunhilde

Grímnismál: The Speech of the Masked One

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Viking Age Iceland

Two subjects in my list of things I am fascinated with is the Viking Age and Iceland. So when you have both featured as a book I must tell you its an amazing thing to read. Viking Age Iceland by Jesse Byock goes into such amazing details of what life, society and more was like in Iceland during the Viking Age and the author has the credentials for writing on this topic as well. He is a Professor of Old Norse and Medieval Scandinavian Studies at the University of California(UCLA) and Professor at UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology as well as directs the Mosfell Archaeological Project in Iceland.

The Vikings in Iceland

A Viking Age Valley in Iceland