From the Psalters

The Carolingian Utrecht psalter has three surviving copies. These span almost 400 years and can show us how the same scenes can be reinterpreted.

  • 820-835AD Utrecht Psalter
  • 1025-1050AD & 1125-1150AD London, British Library, MS Harley, 603, Harley Psalter
  • 1150AD Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.17.1, Edwine Psalter
  • 1180-1200AD Paris, BNF MS lat. 8846, Anglo-Catalan Psalter

Screenshot_2019-11-12 Tent_Utrecht_Psalthttp://www.vikingage.org/wiki/images/4/45/Tent_Utrecht_Psalter_fol_15rb.jpghttp://www.vikingage.org/wiki/images/8/86/Tent_Utrecht_Psalter_fol_25r.jpghttp://www.vikingage.org/wiki/images/e/e5/Tent_Utrecht_Psalter_fol_71v.jpg
820-835AD Carolingian
Utrecht Psalter f.15r
820-835AD Carolingian
Utrecht Psalter f.15r
820-835AD Carolingian
Utrecht Psalter f.25r
820-835AD Carolingian
Utrecht Psalter f.71v
http://www.vikingage.org/wiki/images/1/1d/Tent_Utrecht_Psalter_fol_85v.jpg
820-835AD Carolingian
Utrecht Psalter f.85v

1000-1025AD English
Harley Psalter f.15r
1000-1025AD English
Harley Psalter f.15r
1000-1025AD English
Harley Psalter f.25r
1125-1150AD English
Harley Psalter f.33r
1150AD English
Edwine Psalter f.44v
1150AD English
Edwine Psalter f.44v
1150AD English
Edwine Psalter f.75r
1150AD English
Edwine Psalter f.227r
1150AD English
Edwine Psalter f.268r
1180-1200AD English
Anglo-Catalan Psalter f.44
1180-1200AD English
Anglo-Catalan Psalter f.44
1180-1200AD English
Anglo-Catalan Psalter

From the Psychomachia

Their are 18 surviving illustrated copies of Prudentius's Psychomachia. Four of which hae been classified as Anglo-Saxon.

  • Late C10th T48 Cambridge Corp. Chri. MS23
  • Late C10th T49 London B.L. Cotton Cleo. C, VIII

Although sharing a common source the Psychomachia from Bern is from a differnt drawing group than the Anglo-Saxon examples.

  • 875 – 950AD Bern, Stadtbibliothek, Ms. 264

From the Hexateuch

  • London, B.L. Cotton Claudius B IV

From other Manuscripts

  • 850-900AD Leiden, I Maccabees
  • C10th Fulda Sacramentary
  • 1025-1050AD T84 Vatican Biblioteca Apostolica, reg. lat. 12
  • 1109-1111AD Dijon Bible of Stephen Harding
  • 1155-1160AD New York, Pierpont Morgan, M 724, Edwine Psalter prefatory cycle

Bell Tents

This is a cone shaped tent supported by a single central pole. It is interesting to note that all of the depictions from the Utrecht Psalter depict them with a cross at their apex. Possibly meaning that they were used for Ecclesiastical purposes.

From the Psalters

  • 820-835AD Utrecht Psalter
  • 1025-1050AD & 1125-1150AD London, British Library, MS Harley, 603, Harley Psalter
  • 1150AD Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.17.1, Edwine Psalter
  • 1180-1200AD Paris, BNF MS lat. 8846, Anglo-Catalan Psalter

From the Psychomachia

The English copies of the Psychomachia do not depict bell tents.

Late Roman army tents

These consist of two uprights and a simple cross beam. A simple sheet is suspended over this and the ends left open. Examples can be seen in these C6th manuscripts.

  • 493-508AD Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Cod. F. 205 Inf., Ambrosian Iliad
  • 500-550AD Vienna cod. theol. gr. 31, Vienna Genesis

From the Psychomachia

In the Viking Age this style of tent can be seen depicted in the Psychomachia but not in the English versions.

  • C9th Leiden, BUR Q3
  • 850-900AD Brussels Lat. 9987
  • Paris lat 8085
  • Valenciennes MS 412

Viking Tent

Oseberg, Norway

Two tents were found in the Oseberg ship burial. Apparently the original woodwork for the tents other than the carved dragon heads no longer survives. Although it is now impossible to say with any certainty which poles belonged to which tent I have attempted to make a preliminary guess in the image below.

Gokstad, Norway

The parts of the tent are described by Nicolaysen [NICOLAYSEN 1882] thus:
p.33 “When the ship lay in harbour, it was, at night time covered with a tilt (tjald) to which the recently names pillars and a ridge-pole belonged (tjaldass, tjaldstong). Over this latter the cloth was stretched from both sides of the ship. Sometimes for ornament's sake the cloth was striped in various colours. When it is recorded in Egil's saga, concerning Kveldulf, that he bade his people go along the ship's sides and cut the tilt from it's fastenings (klofi) or when in another passage, the ripping up (spretta) of the tent is spoken of, to me it would seem more probable that the lowest edges of the cloth (tjaldskor) were fastened to the gunwale with ropes than, ……
:p.37-38 c “a bundle of woolen cloth of yellowish colour, though doubtless originally white, with stripes of red cloth sewn thereon (cfr. P. 33) the whole of which, presumably had been intended for the tent, an opinion corroborated by the fact that within the bundle there were found pieces of thin hemp-rope, in all probability, the fastenings of the tilt;”
p.41 q “four long oaken boards of similar size and formed in the same manner, having art the one end animal heads carved and nearly alike one another, and intended to be viewed from both sides, of whose purpose I was for a long time in doubt, until at last it became obvious to me that theu had been placed at each end og the tilt, a conclusion to which I was led by observing the barge boards with horse heads which according to Otte, are found in houses of peasents in Lower Saxony and whose heads in some districts are turned outwards to prevent misfortune, while in others they are directed inwards to bring good luck to the house. It is sufficiently clear that each of the boards must have crossed the other, as represented, and that the ridgepole of the tilt with its ends was pivoted through the holes highest up. To me it also seems most likely …..”

Work Shelters

From the Psalters

  • Utrecht Psalter fol.5r, 84r
  • Lothair Crystal (British Museum)

Late Roman Work Shelters

  • c.427AD Paris BNF Ms. Nouv. acq. lat. 2334

Tent Pegs

Oseberg

The Viking Ship Museum has some 'tent pegs' on display. Dougleen.com however puts forth an alternative theory in that they are rope tension devices.

Roman tent pegs

The following evidence from the Roman period has been included here for comparative evidence.

Wooden tent pegs

Iron tent pegs

We've included these as comparisons. Found in Castle Künzing Quintanis (Germany) they are dated to the 2nd/3rd century AD. The original photo can be found here. A possible argument for the continuation of this style of tent peg as suggested by Europa Reenactment can be put forward by the pegs illustrated in BL Cotton Claudius B IV fol 21v.