Draugar Vinlands is a group of Viking History enthusiasts who are dedicated to the study and implementation of the sword and shield fighting techniques of the Viking age.
Our method is to perform training exercises while wearing period correct clothing , and when we spar we wear the full ensemble of equipment that would have been worn by a well-equipped Viking fighter.
We of Draugar Vinlands feel that in order to truly understand what it must have been like to slug it out on a medieval battlefield, one must be saddled with the same physical limitations as the historical figures we portray.
I believe that encumbrance by full-weighted weapons, armor, clothing, and period shoes, and the effects of daily temperature and weather conditions all serve to create an atmosphere of realism. We are not simply re-enactors of history; we describe ourselves as “living history combatants”- the only discernable difference between us and those who we strive to emulate is that our weapons are not sharp.
*We make every attempt to analyze Viking material culture in the form of archaeological finds, and also written accounts that include combat, in order to learn about the Vikings and how they fought. At the same time, we must acknowledge that the anthropology of the Viking Age is so limited that much of what anyone claims to know about combat styles and techniques can't be much more than a collection of educated guesses and theories based on the physical attributes of weapons and materials found.
~Jarl Ingvar Schildknacker
Jarl Ingvar Schildknacker
"Leader of Draugarvinlands"
The Leader of Draugar Vinlands is Ingvar Schildknacker. He was given the name "Schildknacker" by the Saxons who he fought against in battle.
"Schildknacker" literally means The cracker of shields or the smasher of shields in German.
The sword he holds is the sword called “Draugr” which was taken from the burial mound of a Saxon king long ago. Its true name long lost it was re-named after the beasts that haunt graves and guard its goods against thieves and those who would desecrate it as an act of revenge.
It is said that Draugr moans as it sails through the air, and when it bites through mail it cuts deeply.
There are many stories that have been told about Draugr; but one thing is known for certain. The Jarl has great affection for the blade. and it has served him well.
Aelfgifu of Saxony
"Stallari of Draugar Vinlands".
Aelfgifu. Or as we like to call her "Aelfi" has a strong shield arm, and her sword cuts bite deeply. She has picked up where Sigur left off. In just a few short weeks She has managed to add a great deal of structure, skill, and patience to our lessons. She learned a great deal from Sigur, as she was his star pupil. But the title of Stallari is hers now along with its duties and responsibilities. Aelfi is Truly commited, dependable, and trustworthy. I am confident that she was the right choice.
Rauður Bjørn"Red Bjørn"was recruited by our own Aelfi during the festivals around last October’s Blot. This has proven to be a very wise decision on the part of Aelfi. Bjørn is a good student, he is very thoughtful, and he learns quickly. Bjørn comes to us from Trøndelag. His father’s Knar was wrecked on the shores of the isle of Frøya and with it went down the family’s good fortune. Forced by fate to find his fortune alone or among comrades made climbing aboard with us an easy decision.
Bjørn brings more to us than just his sword arm. He knows the runes and he is skilled at leather craft. He dons his father’s helm, and Carries the sword of his grandfather. The Jarl is certain that he made the right choice when he promoted Bjørn to the rank of Merkismathr and that he will bring honor to us all.
"Rørik of Birka."
Rørik is our axe wielding warrior from the east. It is said that his father was a great warrior from the steppes of the eastern territories and that his mother was the Daughter of a Wealthy Merchant in Birka.
Rørik spent many years among the Danes along the Baltic coast as a child. He was trained in the use of the axe there over the sword as the Danes have a great affinity for the weapon. When Rørik swings his axe shields spit and splinter before him and helms are cleaved.
It is no wonder that the Jarl has Welcomed Rørik to join with us as the Jarl has an affinity for smashing shields himself.
Ragnar Spjóti Kastar
Ragnar "Spear Thrower" was brought to us by Aelfgifu. She met him at last year’s Blót festivities.
He got Aelfe’s Attention by winning a beautifully decorated throwing spear for his Poetry. When she asked him if he knew how to use a spear he told her that he’d demonstrate his prowess with one to her after a few more horns of Ale.
Ragnar must have impressed her with his skill as a spearman because she stood for him at the Odin stone as he swore his Oath to Odin, to the Jarl, and to Draugar-Vinlands.
Ragnar can throw a spear at a distant target and hit the mark every time. He also has the uncanny ability to skip a spear like a stone across a stream. He hurls the spear is sails for a few meters and then slapps the turf and then bounds back up again under a shield and into the warrior wielding it.
As is his custom with new members the Jarl gave Ragnar one of our battle tested spears as a gift. Ragnar received it well and quickly named it Gungnir after the All-Fathers own weapon.
Ísgerðr "The Maker" is a master at weaving, tailoring, and cobbling. Isgerdur grew up on the isle of Ömstr. Her father Thórir was a Norse-raider and her mother a native Scott. She learned much of her craftiness and handwork from her mother while her father taught her how to work with, use, and throw a hand axe.
On her 18th year a plague struck the island in the form of a new religion. This new religion was soon the cause of great upheaval, and rivalry between the islanders. Ísgerðr’s father wanted no part in this. He worshipped the old gods and had no intention of abandoning them. He soon decided to pull up their stakes, load his ship, and try their luck in Iceland.
The sea has returned Sigur to us. The Jarl has appointed Sigur as Berserker The only thirst greater than Mead within Sigur is his thirst for blood. The Jarl will put that thirst to good use in the future.
Sigur Skeglangr was the Jarl's appointed Master of Arms. With tenacity, devotion and great violence he trained new members and brought them up to speed very quickly. He is an energetic fighter who deals lightning fast blows with the sword called Tyrfing that still hangs at his side. That Role has since passed to Aelfgifu and will leave Sigur time for much darker deeds.
Siggur is a proven sailor and navigator. It will be he who will take the Helm on the Jarl's ship when it is ready. When Sigur vanished he was sorely missed on the field, and in the mead hall. The rusty Helm that he holds was found on the beach after he disappeared and it was the only token that we held until he returned.
A soldier for many years Thorolf brings more than a sword arm to the group. He is an accomplished blacksmith and it is said that his skill with a sword is matched by his skill with hammer and anvil.
Olav renounced his claim to his ancestral lands in order to enlist in the Guard in Miklagarðr.
Fighting for the Emperor as a member of the Varangian Guard for so many years has taken its toll on Olav. Suffering from joint pain, and other maladies, Olav is seldom seen. But we are always glad to see our old friend who usually appears out of the mist when the work is done and the Ale is flowing.
Jarl Shamus Halfdan and Bjorn Curlybeard
Here are two good, stalwart, comrades and allies of Draugarvinlands from the west. Jarl Shamus crossed swords with Aelfgifu this past summer and he was impressed by her speed and skill with a sword. Jarl Shamus is also a brewer and he presented us with a flask of his famous Honey mead as a parting gift. The mead was dry and of very high quality.
Ivar is an old comrade of the jarl. He is an accomplished carpenter, and handy at all kinds of useful crafts. It was Ivar who framed and built the door for Ravnerhjem which was a steep upgrade that we are all proud of. There are many other projects in the works and Ivar will play a big part in completing them. Ivar has not taken the oath yet but, that day will be coming soon.
His given name unknown Thrall is the only member of our group who is not a freeman. He was captured by Sigur during a raid on the coast of Mercia. Thrall has proven himself to be very useful and trustworthy. Sigur treats him more like an apprentice than property. He expects hard work from thrall but he doesn’t beat or mistreat him. Perhaps one day Sigur will grant him his freedom.
"Not all journeys taken; end well. With this in mind we will place our faith in the hands of the Allfather."
Jarl Ingvar Schildknacker