However much we tend to idealize Iron Age Norse society, or pre-modern society as a whole, we shouldn't forget the downsides of living during the pre-modern era; we have the luxuary of being able to idealize it since we don't need to experience it in full. Likewise, we should be more mindful of the things in our time that we should be thankful for, but tend to take for granted.
For its time, ancient Norse society was probably relatively gender equal. As its pre-Christian view of the Cosmos didn't include many obvious hierarchies, it may also have been somewhat egalitarian even outside of gender roles. If you belonged to the group of people that counted, that is.
As with nearly all pre-modern agricultural societies, ancient Norse society was built on slavery. On the idea that a life could be owned. And that some lives were free to take, with divine mandate, should they displease the people in control. For example, archaeological finds at the Viking era trading town of Birka in Sweden, has in many ways changed the view of the well-ordered, prosperous-seeming trading community to that of a hierarchical, divided and shabby necropolis, with an economy built on forced labour. Likewise, archaeology (and other scientific fields) paint a pretty bleak picture when it comes to the usage of violence in ages past. Whether one considers our hunter-gatherer ancestors or people during much later ages of Man, such as the Iron Age, the abundant use of brute force is evident; a great many remains show lethal wounds inflicted by fellow human beings. To find even one such mortal wound in contemporary graves, one would have to dig up hundreds or thousands of them.
This highlights one of the universal trends in history: we are getting ever more civilized and our usage of violence is steadily decreasing. Two world wars may have put their dents in this global trend, and the war in Syria has had an impact, but however horrid these conflicts, our statistical march towards a peaceful society goes on. Contrary to common belief, statistics seldom lie ... but too often they are conveniently ignored, or misused, by people, networks and organisations with prejudices or an agenda to sow fear.
Macro adapters & extension tubes great, but nothing beats a proper MACRO lens and one of my favourites is the Vivitar 55mm F2.8, made by Komine and sold under a few other names too. They all look very similar from the side though (swipe for 2nd shot), so it's easy to tell when you've come across this gem! I've featured this lens many times before, but I keep coming back to it because I use it all the time, including yesterday's macro converter shots! I have 4-5 macro lenses, but this lens is the one use the most! Its 1:1 magnification ability, great optical performance, combined with a beautiful character and quite a natural focal length, makes it a perfect choice for me! It's really compact too (half the size when focused to infinity). One of my top 5 lenses this year! 👍 Highly recommend checking it out! My in-depth can be found on vintagelensesforvideo.com or see direct link in my bio 🙌
Last week I've talked about tele-converters, but did you know about MACRO converters. They have optical elements inside, same as tele-converters, but designed to turn your lens into a true macro. I only have this Paragon in my collection, but it does a good job at turning a normal 50mm prime into 1:1 macro lens. You do loose light and sharpness is in progress, but it gets you very close. It even has its own focusing ring which helps you fine-tune your critical focus. Swipe to see the difference it makes. First test shot is Olympus 50mm F1.4 at closest focusing distance (0.45m), second shot is combination of Olympus and Paragon, both at their closest focusing distance! 😳It's quite safe to say, the difference is obvious! 😄👍
_"This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter."_
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's entry for the year 793 - the year that marks the dawn of the Viking Era.