Parting advice from historian Eric Goldberg to the students in his Vikings class

Based on the advice from Odin in the Old Norse poem Hávamál

From MIT historian Eric Goldberg to the students in 21H.238, The Vikings
16 May 2020



Parting Advice, Viking Style

Covid-19 is a quiet killer,
It stalks silently
When the careless congregate.
The young and youthful
Are restless and resilient.
But they can bring the invisible bane
To the weak and time-worn.
Dear students, stay safe this summer!
Avoid socializing with strangers
And frolicking with friends.
Like Leif in his longhouse
While he waits out the winter,
You should hang at home
Until the pandemic has passed.
The wise One-Eyed knows
How to be happy at home:
Tell sagas to siblings,
Help cook by the hearth,
Read a book of runes,
And play Hnefatafl with your parents.
But venture forth with your facemask,
And get your daily dose of vitamin D.
Exercise and air are essential for energy
And to sharpen your senses like Ulfbehrt’s sword.
Too many video games make Vikings vulnerable.
Dear students, keep up your courage!
And maintain this mantra in your minds:
You are young,
Life is long,
And this sad situation shall pass.



Suggested Links

Eric Goldberg
Associate Professor of History at MIT

New Book
In the Manner of the Franks:
Hunting, Kingship, and Masculinity in Early Medieval Europe

(UPenn Press, June 2020

MIT History

21H.238 / The Vikings
This MIT History class explores the complex relationship of the Vikings with the medieval world.
About the class

Hávamál  (Old Norse: “Sayings of the High One [Odin]”)
The Hávamál is a collection of 164 stanzas of aphorisms, homely wisdom, counsels, and magic charms that are ascribed to the Norse god Odin. Most of the poems are believed to have been composed in Norway in the 9th and 10th centuries.