Homespun cloth used for money in Viking Age Iceland.

Viking woman standing near Drakkar on seashore. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.  Illustration is highly consistent with other things I’ve read describing women’s clothing during the Viking Age. Notice the brooch securing the outer wrap, hair ornament, inner and outer garment.

Money is usually defined as something that is a medium of exchange, a measure of value, and a store of value.

For example, I sell you something in return for “money” which I can then immediately buy something from someone else. Or, we can use “money” to set a value for something you have. Or, I can sell something now, store the value in “money” and then buy something of equal value later.

In Iceland during the Viking Age there was not enough silver to use it as “money.” So, other things, especially homewoven cloth was used as substitute.

In Viking Age Iceland, Jesse Byock gives a good explanation of how cloth was used as a measure of value and medium of exchange.

Posts in this series:

Homespun cloth used as “money”

Continue reading “Homespun cloth used for money in Viking Age Iceland.”

Background on Viking Age Iceland

Traditional Viking houses in Iceland. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Detailed description of settlement of Iceland can be found in Viking Age Iceland by Jesse Byock.

Lots of great stuff in the book, of which I’ll highlight a few items that caught my eye. Posts in this series:

Self governance

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When will this mess from the pandemic be over? Focus on the idea that it will end, not what that date will be.

We will prevail. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

When will we be done with this stay-at-home restriction?

When will the economy recover?

When will we be back to “normal?”


I don’t know the dates for any of those transitions.

I have a suggestion for you.


Don’t set a specific date in your mind. Instead firmly set in your mind that this mess will end, we will get through it, we will survive, and we will thrive at the end.

What is the danger of setting a date in your mind and having faith it will be over on that date?

Let me introduce you to the Stockdale paradox.

Admiral James Stockdale was an American pilot shot down during the Vietnam war. He was a prisoner in North Vietnam for 7 1/2 years, routinely subject to brutal torture, legs broken twice during interrogation, and held in solitary confinement during four of those years with his legs locked in a metal stock each night. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor a few years after his release.

I think we should listen to him. His physical courage and moral courage are a role model for all of us.

For one explanation of the phenomenon he described check out article titled The Stockdale Paradox.


Who did not come home from captivity?

Continue reading “When will this mess from the pandemic be over? Focus on the idea that it will end, not what that date will be.”

Raising watermelons as cash crop.

Watermelon by Karen and Brad Emerson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

One source of cash on my grandparent’s farm was raising watermelons, going to town, then selling them for cash. That provided a bit of money for groceries.

Many years ago my dad and his siblings wrote down many of their recollections of growing up on the farm. Hopefully very soon I will republish their remembrances.

Following comments are used with permission.

My Aunt Louise recalled:

Continue reading “Raising watermelons as cash crop.”

Prices of slaves on the eastern shore of Maryland before the Civil War.

Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue in Harlem, New York. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Watched the uplifting and depressing movie Harriet last night. Second time I’ve seen it. Fabulous tale about the efforts of Harriet Tubman in liberating herself from slavery, then liberating most of her family, eventually freeing about 70 people from slavery.

After watching the movie again, wanted to pull together a recap of the posts on this site which discuss slavery. Most of this discussion is based on Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson, which is the first adult biography of Harriet Tubman published since 1943.

A thin sliver of highlights from the book, primarily about the pricing of slaves:

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the eastern shore of Maryland before the Civil War.”

Tidbits on money and fighting in the Viking Age

Viking coin replica based on archaeological findings. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Fun article on Viking coinage and more tidbits on fighting techniques.

Coins in the Viking Era

Some background on striking coins during the Viking era can be found at The Viking Network. Article dated 6/21/15 explained Vikings in Norway make their own Coins.

First silver coins flowing into Scandinavia were Arabic dirhems. Later pennies from England and the continent were a bigger portion of the coins. Even later, various kings in Scandinavia minted their own coins.

A large horde dated to 1010 A.D. or earlier contains three coins with an inscription of “ONLAF REX NOR”, which the article translates as “Olav King of the Norwegians.” Article points out it is unknown whether this is Olav Tryggvason or Olav Haraldsson.

Continue reading “Tidbits on money and fighting in the Viking Age”

Norwegian Forest Cat – cute, handy pet of the Vikings

Isn’t that Norwegian Forest Cat a cutie? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.


Yes, there is such a breed.  The Norwegian Forest Cat runs on the large size, with males ranging from 13 to 22 pounds.

No visible date – i iz cat (yes, that’s the website’s name) – Some facts about the Norwegian forest cat, the pet of Vikings.

Tradition holds that Vikings carried them along on raids to hold down the number of mice on board and thus minimize the lost grain.

Legend hold that Freya, the Norse goddess, used six large cats to pull her chariot.

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More thoughts about life on a farm in 1946

1916: Ranghild Gunderson, Randi Gunderson Venn, Lydia Venn Ulvog, Gilbert Ulvog. Copyright has long since expired. Photo courtesy of Sonia Strand Pooch.

Been thinking more on what life was like on the farm after my grandfather passed away.

Consider the cash expenses again – notice there are no bills for electricity, telephone, water, or sewer. Such things weren’t in place.

I’ll guess seed and other critical farm supplies were purchased on credit from Yankton Production Credit. The payment of $2,104 on 9/1/45 would have cleared the loan balance for the year, and perhaps any carryover balance from prior years.

Speculation on non-cash transactions

A few thoughts come to mind on non-cash transactions outside the probate document.

Continue reading “More thoughts about life on a farm in 1946”

A wild guess on the parts of King Solomon’s wealth that can be quantified – part 4

What would that stack of gold have been worth 1,000 or 3,000 years ago? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Let’s try bringing together the previous guesses (can’t even call them estimates) of the value of those portions of King Solomon’s wealth that are mentioned in scriptures which we can make a feeble attempt to quantify.

An estimate of the value of chariots, horses, 200 large gold shields, 300 small gold shields, and place settings made of gold:

Continue reading “A wild guess on the parts of King Solomon’s wealth that can be quantified – part 4”