Dating akademiker Lejre

It is consequently only from this date onwards that Scandinavia has its own written history.This does not, however, mean that the people of Scandinavia were without history, or without any knowledge of ancient events.The interdisciplinary approach has been developed through the five-year research project Vägar till Midgård at the University of Lund (Jennbert et al. Although without a written history of its own, Scandinavia in the sixth and seventh centuries was nevertheless known to have held quite a special position in the minds of the migration-period Germanic peoples in Europe as the place from which many of them, or at least the royal families, claimed their origin (Hedeager 1997, 2000).This Scandinavian origin myth, repeated by several of the early medieval narrators and maintained by the Germanic peoples of early medieval Europe, was more than just a series of authors copying one another.This can of course be explained through the idea that the people – especially the elite – had acquired different tastes and therefore preferred a new style around 1200 under the influence of the Church.

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The much later Old English poem Beowulf may draw on traditions that have roots in the sixth and seventh centuries.

The reason is that structures of collective representations in any society are highly stable and change very slowly.

Using the terminology of Fernand Braudel and the Annales school this is ‘la longue durée’ – and following Pierre Bourdieu we are faced with the concept of ‘habitus’.

Myths played a vital role in the creation of a political mentality among the new Germanic warlords and kings in Europe (Hedeager 1997, 1998, 2000; Geary 2003; Hill 2003).

Naturally, the factual element within these early European migration myths is much disputed (see Hedeager 20 for references).

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