In old Scandinavia a mead hall or feasting hall was originally simply a big building through a solitary room. Native the fifth century to beforehand medieval times together a structure was the residence the a lord and his retainers. The mead room was usually the great hall the the king. As such, that was likely to it is in the safest place in the kingdom.

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Archaeology

The remains of a Viking hall complicated were uncovered southwest that Lejre, Denmark in 1986–88 by Tom Christensen of the Roskilde Museum.<1> timber from the structure was radiocarbon-dated to about AD 880. It was later found that this room was built over an older room which to be itself dated to 680. In 2004–05, Christensen excavated a third hall located simply north the the various other two. This hall was constructed in the mid-6th century, precisely the time period of Beowulf. All 3 halls were about 50 meter long.<2>

In Gudme, Denmark two similar halls to be excavated in 1993. Of the so dubbed "Gudme Kongehal" (Kings hall) just the write-up holes to be found. The larger of the two was 47 meter long and 8 meter wide. Gold items found near the site have been dated between 200 and also 550. The iron age graveyards the Møllegårdsmarken and also Brudager room close by. The halls may have been component of a regional religious and also political facility serving as imperial feasting places with Lundeborg serving as harbor.<3>

A similar huge hall has actually been discovered next come the church the Gamla Uppsala, Sweden top top a clay plateau dubbed Kungsgårdsplatån. This was the feasting hall of the sweden kings. Along with the spiritual center (Temple at Uppsala), surrounding royal estates (husaby/Uppsala öd), and also the royal grave mounds, the was component of the spiritual and political central region the the swedish people.

From around advertisement 500 up till the Christianization that Scandinavia (by the 13th century), these big halls were crucial parts of the politics center. They to be superseded by the medieval banquet halls of later times.

Other such halls may have been found at Högom (Medelpad) and also Borg, Norway ~ above the Lofotens. One excavated here from the Iron period measured 67 meter long and also an also later detect (from the Viking era) measure up 83 meter long.

Legends and history


Ingjald making use of his brand-new feasting hall as he intended.

There are number of accounts of large feasting halls built for important feasts when Scandinavian royalty was invited. According to a legend videotaped by Snorri Sturluson, in the Heimskringla, the late ninth century Värmlandish chieftain Áki invite both the Norwegian king Harald Fairhair and also the swedish king Eric Eymundsson, but had the Norwegian king continue to be in the freshly constructed and also sumptuous one, since he was the youngest among the kings and also the one who had the greatest prospects. The older sweden king, top top the various other hand, had actually to stay in the old feasting hall. The swedish king was so humiliated the he killed Áki.

The building of new feasting halls could additionally be the ready for treacherous killing of royalty. In the Ynglinga saga component of the Heimskringla, Snorri relates how, in the 8 hours century, the legend Swedish king Ingjald constructed a huge feasting hall solely for the function of burning all his subordinate petty majesties late in ~ night when they were asleep. According to Yngvars saga víðförla, the very same ruse to be done by the sweden king Eric the Victorious and the Norwegian leader Sigurd Jarl, as soon as they murdered Áki, a rebellious sweden subking, at Gamla Uppsala, in the late 10th century.

Mythology

From at the very least the tenth century onwards in norseman mythology, there are numerous examples that halls wherein the dead might arrive. The finest known example is Valhalla, the hall whereby Odin receives fifty percent of the dead lost in battle. Freyja, in turn, obtain the other half at Sessrúmnir.

The story that Beowulf includes a Mead-Hall referred to as Heorot the was so big and had actually so lot laughter in it that a Monster referred to as Grendel broke into it and killed world to protect against the laughter.

Etymology

The old surname of such halls may have actually been sal/salr and also thus be existing in old place names such as "Uppsala"<4>. The idea or principle may have been kept in the German native Festsaal or the dutch word feestzaal (feasting hall).

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Precursor

The mead hall developed from europe longhouses:

The perhaps related medieval longhouse types of Europe of i beg your pardon some instances have endured are among others:

The northwest England form in CumbriaThe French longère or maison longue (only considering the types similar to the ones explained in Dartmoor or Cumbria, maybe of Norman origin)

In fiction

In J. R. R. Tolkien"s fictional cosmos of Middle-earth, Meduseld to be the great gold Hall constructed in Rohan. Meduseld was a large hall through a straw roof, which do it show up as if it were made out of gold once seen from much off. Its walls were richly decorated with tapestries showing the background and legends that the Rohirrim, and also it offered as a house for the King and also his kin, a conference hall for the King and his advisors, and a gathering hall. Also, a mead hall is the central location that Beorn"s home grounds whereby he serves mead and food come Bilbo Baggins, the Dwarves and Gandalf in The Hobbit.