The latest episode of Vikings “Full Moon” we see Lagertha form an alliance with King Svase and the Sami people. Which lead to me being asked question about who the Sami where? Now before I begin I will stress that I am not an expert and only know about them because I ended up reading an article about the Epicanthic fold and fell down a internet blackhole.
Here are a few basic facts:
Sami which is pronounced: SAH-mee, also know as Lapps; Samer (Though they do not like the term Lapps as it seems to have derogatory connotations)
They are a distinct ethnic group from the Far North of Europe. With Populations in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and apparently a small group in the Ukraine.
They do not have their own country but they have a distinct culture which has survived years of domination by other nations.
Earliest known recordings of them was in they 98AD by the Roman author Tacitus.
One things they are famous for is their Reindeer herding
Unlike many European groups they have proudly and impressively kept many of their traditions
From what I have gathered their society evolved separately from Viking Culture, where one was dedicated to a life at sea, using their vessels for fishing, trading and of course raiding, the other focused on hearding their Reindeer, though of course the Sami where also know to trade in whale bones. (To this day many Sami still heard the Reindeer)
So why would Lagertha seek an alliance with this people group?
I am guessing her list of possible allies grows thin and this was a desperate last chance bid at survival. Though the Sami bring a new aspect to this war, one that the Vikings may suffer against. The Viking forces probably fared better against the English and Irish because of two reasons:
- They took their enemies by surprise and even when they didn’t the fear that the initials attacks caused was enough to unnerve their enemies
- They came from Harsher living conditions, lets face it The Scandinavian countries are beautiful places to live but they can be very brutal at the same time, harsher weather would mean that only the strongest would thrive, maybe this was their edge of the English and Irish.
The Sami negate both of these because they know the Vikings and came from even harsher lands, not only that but they are a land power, not a sea power, so if used correctly their troops could easily turn the tide against Ivar’s forces.