vike

Why did Vikings have 'Allah' embroidered into funeral clothes?

Researchers in Sweden have found Arabic characters woven into burial costumes from Viking boat graves. The discovery raises new questions about the influence of Islam in Scandinavia, writes journalist Tharik Hussain.

They were kept in storage for more than 100 years, dismissed as typical examples of Viking Age funeral clothes.

But a new investigation into the garments - found in 9th and 10th Century graves - has thrown up groundbreaking insights into contact between the Viking and Muslim worlds.

Patterns woven with silk and silver thread have been found to spell the words “Allah” and “Ali”.

The breakthrough was made by textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University while re-examining the remnants of burial costumes from male and female boat and chamber graves originally excavated in Birka and Gamla Uppsala in Sweden in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries. Read more.

So at first I was a little ??? about Hela being Thor’s sister in Ragnarok (squeezing her into the role Angela so recently acquired as their long-lost-big-sister in comics), but the more I think about it, the more I like what it does for Thor and Loki’s arc. 

Thor now has two siblings who became his antagonists because of his father keeping secrets – hiding Loki’s heritage, and then hiding Hela’s existence. Which re-enforces how damaging that habit of lying and secrecy is to Asgard’s growth, as represented by Thor. Having those secrets come out and be faced is necessary for Thor’s development and maturity – confronting the sins of his father.

And for Loki – when Loki tries and fails to be a hero, he becomes a villain. He always measures himself against Thor, and then casts himself as Thor’s opposite. But with Hela showing up, suddenly the role of bad guy has been usurped by another sibling; he’s no longer the baddest Asgardian, or even the baddest of Odin’s kids. His sins are now in a whole new context, where his misdeeds are frankly small potatoes. He’s not only been outstripped as a hero by his sibling – he’s been outstripped as a villain. And that forces him to find some other measure of identity; not wholly good, not wholly evil, but something in between – something new

Also, it re-enforces their brotherhood in an interesting way. Hela is Asgardian. Hela is Thor’s blood sibling (or at least half-sibling). And Hela is still awful. In that light, Loki can no longer ascribe his wickedness to his heritage – he isn’t evil because of some innate genetic factor, or because he isn’t Asgardian, since Hela is clearly capable of that evil despite being raised on Asgard and having Odin’s genes. And while Hela and Thor share blood, they have no kinship to speak of. Thor and Loki do, despite the lack of blood relation. They snipe and bicker like brothers throughout, and there are callbacks to their childhood and past together (the snake story, ‘get help’). 

Hela’s appearance as Thor’s sister lends new context to both Thor and Loki’s relationship with each other and their family, and I think it gives us, as fandom, a lot of fresh material to play with as far as our boys’ character growth moving forward.

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{ Lost my head }
Lockscreens
Edits made by me :)

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Why did Vikings have ‘Allah’ embroidered into funeral clothes?

A new investigation into the garments - found in 9th and 10th Century graves - has thrown up new insights into contact between the Viking and Muslim worlds.

The breakthrough was made by textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University. To unlock the puzzle, she enlarged the letters and examined them from all angles, including from behind. Read on