History

Category archives for History

Vår Gård in Saltsjöbaden is a conference venue and training centre whose history illustrates political trends in Sweden over the past century and more. 1892. The Thiel brothers, two of Sweden’s wealthiest art patrons, buy a property by the sea in the new fashionable resort of Saltsjöbaden and build two luxurious summer mansions. They name…

I was thinking about African American culture and how it still shows signs of these people descending from slaves, US slavery having been abolished less than 150 years ago. And I asked myself, what is that subculture going to be like a few hundred years in the future? Then it hit me. That’s where my…

Weekend Fun

Played Eclipse for the first time with my new Muscovite friends Anton & Maria and frequent guest Swedepat. This Finnish 2011 boardgame has become a runaway international hit and is currently ranked #7 on Boardgame Geek. It’s about interstellar colonialism: good fun, very neatly designed, and has a lot of inherent replayability. I look forward…

17th Century Pastoral Novel

As a schoolboy I read the first original play performed publically written in Swedish, Urban Hiärne‘s Rosimunda (1665). Me and my friend Tor loved the absurd spelling, the odd changes that had occurred in the sense of many words and some of the comical one-liners. Recently I learned that about the same time Hiärne also…

If we look only at contemporaneous written evidence and disregard kings, Iarlabanki Ingefastson is probably the most copiously documented Scandinavian of the Viking Period. But his name does not occur even once on vellum. His memory lives entirely in the many rune stones he commissioned. Iarlabanki (Jarlabanke in modern Swedish) was a major landowner in…

Herbert Jankuhn Reads Selections From Mao

German archaeologist Herbert Jankuhn (1905-90) is a contentious figure. A passionate Nazi soldier and SS archaeologist up until 1945, he became one of the country’s most influential post-war archaeologists from the late 50s onward. Fornvännen 2011:3 has just come out containing a contribution on the younger Jankuhn’s heartfelt Nazi enthusiasm, as documented by recent archive…

Jane Austen LARP

Though I played a lot of tabletop role playing games in the 80s and 90s, I’ve never been much of a live action role-player (LARPer). Just seems to be way too much preparation for such short events. So the only real LARP I ever took part in was in May of 1992 (it was called…

Kalv’s Runestone

Driving through Hagby parish in Uppland on a tiny road Friday, I was lucky enough to cross the bridge at Focksta right at the moment when the afternoon sun hit this lovely runestone straight on. I didn’t even have to get out of the car to take the photograph. Dating from the early 11th century,…

No Sign of Cleopatra

I suddenly have this unaccountable urge to comment on the current issue of National Geographic Magazine. Maybe that isn’t so strange. I mean, after all, I like reading the mag and I’m on record as saying, in the Swedish Skeptics quarterly no less, that my ideal museum exhibition would be a 3D version of a…

I’ve written before (1 – 2 – 3) about the Kenyan village with a poorly supported and recently concocted origin myth involving Medieval Chinese sailors. Now my buddy Axel Andersson has alerted me to a similar case. But here it’s sort of the other way around: a Chinese village with a poorly supported and recently…