Topics of Interest
"Herr Mannelig"

Garmarna - Herr Mannelig

Herr Mannelig (also known as "Herr Mannerlig" and "Bergatrollets frieri [The Courting of the Mountain Troll]") is a medieval style Swedish ballad that tells the story of a female mountain troll who proposes marriage to a knight. The troll is trying to convince Sir Mannelig (Swedish: Herr Mannelig) to marry her. She offers him many great gifts but he refuses her, because she is not a Christian woman but a troll (a dysphemism for a Pagan woman). She is desperate about her failure, because winning Sir Mannelig would have "freed her of her torment" (presumably of a curse).Early one morning before the sun rose up.

 LYRICS (in English)  LYRICS (in Swedish)
Before the birds began to sing
The mountain troll proposed to the handsome young man
She had a false tongue
Herr Mannelig, herr Mannelig, will you be betrothed to me?
For that, I offer you gifts very gladly
Surely you can answer but yes or no
If you wish to or not
To you I wish to give the twelve steeds
That go in the grove of roses
Never has there been any saddles upon them
Nor bridles in their mouths
To you I wish to give the twelve mills
That stand between Tillö and Ternö
The stones are made of the reddest gold
And the wheels are silver-laden
To you I wish to give a gilded sword
With a blade of fifteen gold rings
And battle how you will [well or badly]
The battle you would surely win
To you I wish to give a shirt so new
The best you will want to wear
It [literally: she] was not sewn by needle or thread
But crocheted of white silk
Such gifts I would surely accept
If thou wert a Christian [or: pious] woman
However, thou art the worst mountain troll
The spawn of a Neck (water spirit) and the Devil
The mountain troll ran out the door
She shakes and wails hard
Had I got the handsome young man
I would have got rid of my plight
Herr Mannelig, herr Mannelig, will you be betrothed to me?
For that, I offer you gifts very gladly
Surely you can answer but yes or no
If you wish to or not
Bittida en morgon innan solen upprann
Innan foglarna började sjunga
Bergatrollet friade till fager ungersven
Hon hade en falskeliger tunga
Herr Mannelig herr Mannelig trolofven i mig
För det jag bjuder så gärna
I kunnen väl svara endast ja eller nej
Om I viljen eller ej:
Eder vill jag gifva de gångare tolf
Som gå uti rosendelunde
Aldrig har det varit någon sadel uppå dem
Ej heller betsel uti munnen
Eder vill jag gifva de qvarnarna tolf
Som stå mellan Tillö och Ternö
Stenarna de äro af rödaste gull
Och hjulen silfverbeslagna
Eder vill jag gifva ett förgyllande svärd
Som klingar utaf femton guldringar
Och strida huru I strida vill
Stridsplatsen skolen I väl vinna
Eder vill jag gifva en skjorta så ny
Den bästa I lysten att slita
Inte är hon sömnad av nål eller trå
Men virkat av silket det hvita
Sådana gåfvor jag toge väl emot
Om du vore en kristelig qvinna
Men nu så är du det värsta bergatroll
Af Neckens och djävulens stämma
Bergatrollet ut på dörren sprang
Hon rister och jämrar sig svåra
Hade jag fått den fager ungersven
Så hade jag mistat min plåga
Herr Mannelig herr Mannelig trolofven i mig
För det jag bjuder så gärna
I kunnen väl svara endast ja eller nej
Om I viljen eller ej:

Islamic Ring found in Viking grave
sheds a new light on ancient ties …

The Viking Age ring with the Arabic inscription.
Credit: Christer Åhlin/Swedish History Museum.

May 17, 2016
Vintage News

The finger ring discovered in a 9th-century Swedish grave, inscribed with Arabic Kufic writing, interpreted as reading “il-la-lah”, i.e. “For/to Allah,” sheds a new light on the ties between the Vikings and the Islamic world. The finger ring was originally found  during a late 19th-century grave excavation in the town of Birka, about 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Stockholm. on Björkö island.

In a paper published in the journal Scanning,  the experts say  this  the only ring with an Arabic inscription found at a Scandinavian archeological site,  and it is a unique object among Swedish Viking Age material. . Birka was a key trading center during the Viking age and made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
The Islamic ring is now a part is of the Swedish History Museum’s collection, originally catalogued as being made of gilded silver and violet amethyst, bearing the inscription “Allah.”

Stockholm University biophysicist Sebastian Wärmländer and a team of researchers  say they used”scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) to analyze the ring’s composition and discovered that it was in fact made of silver alloy and the “amethyst” was colored glass.

“For the stone, we must remember that even though colored glass might today be perceived as a ‘fake’ material of lower value, this was not necessarily so in the past,” the team cautioned. “Even though glass production began around 5,000 years ago in the Levant it was still an exotic material in Viking Age Scandinavia.”

More importantly, the  team of researchers found no trace of the gold that had been assumed to coat the ring and noted the presence of filing marks.

“Together with the absence of gold on the metal surface … the file marks clearly show that the previous description of the ring as gilded was mistaken: if the surface had been gilt and the gold layer had worn away, also the file markings would be gone. But the metal surface displays no wear, and as the original file marks are still in place, this ring has never been much used.”

Therefore, the team believes that the ring was passed from an Arabic silversmith to the woman. The ring may therefore, constitute material evidence for direct interactions between Viking Age Scandinavia and the Islamic world.

“It is not impossible that the woman herself, or someone close to her, might have visited — or even originate from — the Caliphate (which then stretched from Tunisia to the borders of India) or its surrounding regions,” they said.

“The importance of the studied Birka ring is that it most eloquently corroborates ancient tales about direct contacts between Viking Age Scandinavia and the Islamic world. Such contacts must have facilitated exchange of goods, culture, ideas, and news much more efficiently than indirect trade involving several merchants in-between,” they concluded.

SOURCE: Vintage News

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