14 October: I spent the day in the National Museum, a place too abundant for me to cover adequately in a day. My back grows painful after standing for too long. But in addition to the astonishment of seeing so much gathered in a single place, I learned two interesting facts: The Vikings were far more numerous and ambitious than I had known, moving over much of Europe and the Mediterranean in addition to the northern territory (across the Nordic countries all the way west to N. America) that I knew about. They even conquered a large part of England and established a colony with over 20,000 Danes living in it. And secondly, Denmark was a far more industrious colonial power than I’d known. I thought they’d been restricted to fighting with other Scandinavians and trading dominance periods with them while colonizing Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroes. Turns out they also had colonies in the West Indies, western Africa, and India. They were also a major player in the slave trade for a couple centuries. The European mindset and attitude to the rest of the world apparently affected practically the entire continent. What instigated that? Christianity no doubt played a part. Yesterday I also spent an hour or so in the Natural History Museum, which had an exhibition about Neanderthals and very little else since it’s soon to be moving into a new building. The two museums I visited don’t report things exactly the same about early hominin behavior and time periods but they leave me with the question of why, out of a couple dozen Homo species only Homo sapiens is still with us. Evolution eradicated some of them but how much did violence against Neanderthals play a part? Knowing what we know of our species today (not to mention during the colonizing centuries), it’s not hard to imagine its perpetrating a violent end to their fellow humans of a different species, even though they happily interbred with them for millennia. Pure speculation; I don’t know the answer and a brief Google foray didn’t turn up support for my notion. I’ll look farther.


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