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Old Norse Nicknames

by Ber Weyde

From Olafir Thick-Legged to Ragnar Fur-Pants, Viking nicknames were colourful, descriptive and fascinating.

An American scholar, Dr Paul Peterson, did both his master’s thesis and his doctoral dissertation on old Norse nicknames as recorded in medieval literature to reveal a world of people with monikers like Wise of Dreams, Harm-Fart, Autumn Darkness, Toil-Skull, Grimacer and The Ridiculer. A nickname in Scandinavia during Viking times could be insulting or laudatory, derived from body parts or mythology, from places or accomplishments or from a number of other inspirations.

Though some nicknames were insulting, there are many examples of poetic or laudatory nicknames in old Norse literature. There are The Fair or The Handsome, Snowdrift, The Wise of Dreams or Dream Interpreter, Little Bear and The Learned. Other poetic nicknames include Widow of the Heath, Traveler to Limerick, Sun of the Islands, The Quiet, The Amorous.

►View/download the entire document here http://bit.ly/1OY775U. The actual nickname listing commences at p.134.

(source: Full article http://bit.ly/1NszbfS; photograph is of André van Pinxteren http://bit.ly/1Lt3GBV)

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