felis_ultharus (felis_ultharus) wrote in little_details,

Dublin in the Early 990s (Viking-era)

So I've returned to my main writing project, and I have everything (I think) except one little detail - a small, almost throwaway scene that I'd still like to get right.

Setting: Dublin/Dyflin in the early 990s common era - probably during the reign of Ivar of Waterford, but I have not ruled out Sigtrygg Silkbeard's first reign.

Searched: "Viking Dublin," "Kingdom of Dublin," "Dyflin," "Sigtrygg," "10th-century Dublin," "castles Dublin," "Temple of the Black Thor" (and constituent parts of that phrase), among many other things. I've read Wikipedia's articles on Dublin's history and the rulers and conflicts of the era.

What I want: To give a traveller's impression of a brief visit to to the settlement of Dublin/Dyflin. Also useful (though less important) would be for me to know the degree of Christianization in the area.

There is a lot of good articles online about the architecture of ordinary buildings excavated around this time. I know as much about Dublin's Viking-era daub-and-wattle structures as I'll ever need to know, as well as common service buildings.

All of these many accounts, however, are oddly lacking in the big monuments:

  • What would the King of Dublin live in? I've read up on king's halls elsewhere in the Viking world, and on early castles, but there's no hint anywhere in the material I've read if the king lived in one of these or some other structure. Edit: It looks like it's a bit early for stone, tracing the leads offered here. So a wooden hall it is.

  • I've found references to a structure called "The Temple of the Black Thor," destroyed in 994, but I've been unable to find out anything about this temple besides two relics held there. For that matter, I haven't been able to find anything on Norse sacred architecture, aside from weird reconstructions of the Temple at Uppsala based on vague medieval conjecture. Edit: Following the lead on stave churches led me eventually to where Wikipedia hides its discussion of Norse sacred architecture. The article is called "Heathen Hofs," for anyone else looking this up.

  • I've heard that the earthen wall around Dublin had been replaced by a stone wall "by the end of the Viking era," but not when exactly. Edit: And Margaret got me the date, so earthwork wall it is.

  • Any other monuments I should watch out for?

And the religion question, because it is slightly relevant to what I'm writing:

  • How Christianized was Dublin and its rulers in the 990s? Sigtrygg was apparently plundering churches in 1002 and establishing a bishopric in 1028. Did he convert somewhere in there? And what about Ivar? Edit: Sitric was apparently Christian, though surprisingly tolerant of a temple of Thor in his midst. I still wonder about Ivar.

Thanks in advance. You guys are all wonderful.
Tags: ireland: history, ~middle ages

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