Matthew Leigh Embleton

Musician, Composer, Producer, Language and History Enthusiast, and Author

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29/07/2021 - Old Norse Word List: A Brief Glossary of 10,000 Old Norse and Old Icelandic Words

Old Norse is a North Germanic language spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia from about the 7th to the 15th centuries. It has today evolved into the modern languages of Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. During the Viking Age it also had an impact and influence on the English language which resulted in the simplification of its grammar, and many loan words which are still in use today. The aim of this book is to be useful to anyone wishing to study, read, and understand the fascinating wealth of Old Norse and Old Icelandic literature available in its original form. In this book there are over 10,000 words included (in both Norse to English and English to Norse format), as well as notes on the main word form differences between Old Norse and Old Icelandic, and the use of numbers in Old Norse.

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22/07/2021 - The D: Programmed Podcast with Melissa Martell

Author and composer Matthew Leigh-Embleton is here to discuss is latest book, A Brief History of Opium. Matthew will go into the history of opium, including it's influence over artists, it's highly addictive quality, wars fought over it, and how the CIA was involved in the trade!

15/07/2021 - A Brief History of Opium: Mythology, Culture, Medicine, Trade, and Conflict

Ideas about the origin of humankind's relationship with the opium poppy are complex and varied, and the further back in time we look, the more hypotheses and speculation we find filling in the gaps. Perhaps this strangest and most mysterious of plants has the power to vividly inspire the imagination as much in the study of its history, as with the generation of Romantic Poets who believed that its extracts stimulated their imagination to write a new genre of poetry filled with visual imagery. From ancient civilisations of the Neolithic period to the present day, the opium poppy (Papaver Somniferum) has a fascinating history, from iconic associations with the dark symbolism of trance, sleep, dreams, and death in Greco-Roman mythology, to the search for ever stronger pain relief without the dangers of addiction in modern medicine. Since its discovery and identification as a powerful painkiller in ancient medical texts, to the battlefields of the American Civil War, 'God's Own Medicine' has been both a blessing and a curse for humankind. The growth and profitability of the opium trade has caused wars, and funded others. It has relieved pain for some, but been the cause of pain and suffering for others. Its illicit recreational use, subsequent addiction, and complex issues of war and politics have plagued humankind to this day.

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13/05/2021 - The Sagas of Ragnar Lothbrok: Text, Literal Translation, and Word List

From the second half of the 20th century until recent times, the legend of Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best known heroes of the Viking Age, has been told and re-told in an increasing variety of novels, films, comic books, TV dramas, and video games. His nickname 'Lothbrok' (Loðbrók) has been translated as 'shaggy breeches' or 'hairy breeches', on account of the strange protective clothing or 'weapon-clothes' that he had made out of thick long fur, which he then had dipped or boiled in tar. The story here begins with the origins of Ragnar's second wife Aslaug, daughter of Sigurd and Brynhild, who from the age of three is cared for and protected by Heimir, who is then murdered at the hands of the peasants Aki and Grima, who give Aslaug the name 'Kráka' (Crow) and keep her in servitude. Then follows the heroic deed of Ragnar taking up the challenge, laid down by King Herraud of Götaland, of killing a giant serpent belonging to his daughter Thora Fortress-Hart, and winning her hand in marriage. Ragnar's later marriage to Aslaug is followed by the arrival of several sons, who one by one grow strong and plan raiding expeditions of their own. Jealous of his sons' success, and not wanting to be outdone, Ragnar plans an attack on the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, despite the reservations of his wife Aslaug, and he is captured and killed at the hands of king Ælla of Northumbria. This book contains 'The Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok' (Ragnars Saga Loðbrókar), 'The Tale of Ragnar's Sons' (Ragnarssona Þáttr), and The Lay of Kraka (Krákumál). Also included is a Norse word list, with over 7,700 definitions. Literal translations show you how the language works, literally, word by word.

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02/03/2021 - Magical Symbolism: Runes, Bindrunes, Galdrastafir, and Astrological Symbols for Magic

Magical symbols are a fascinating example of the ingenuity of language, communication, and symbolic meaning. They show us human nature's attempt to use them as tools of expression, a divinatory means to understand the forces that exist all around us that shape our lives, and our attempts to influence these forces by signifying our intentions to the divine and the universe. They are an expression of the human spirit. They are part of us. Magic works because we believe that it works. We believe in the process of signalling and communicating our intentions and desirable outcomes to the forces around us, releasing them into the universe, and having the confidence and belief to make it happen. The aim of this book is to explore the traditions of magical symbols both from the Norse world, and the Greco-Roman world of antiquity, and its later revival in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. From the linguistic origins of runes found in the Ancient Italic alphabets in the 1st century B.C.E, to the manuscripts preserved in the Byzantine Empire in the Middle Ages, to the revival and flourishing of both traditions in manuscripts, books, and notebooks during and after the Renaissance, two different cultures from the north and south of the continent give us a glimpse of our collective psyche, the characteristics of the deities that each culture recognised as reflections of our nature, and our belief in the power of symbols and magic.

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02/03/2021 - Magisk Symbolik: Runor, Bindrunorna, Galdrastafir, och Astrologiska Symboler för Magi

Magiska symboler är ett fascinerande exempel på uppfinningsrikedom i språk, kommunikation och symbolisk betydelse. De visar oss den mänskliga naturens försök att använda dem som uttrycksverktyg, ett divinerande sätt att förstå de krafter som finns runt omkring oss som formar våra liv, och våra försök att påverka dessa krafter genom att beteckna våra avsikter för det gudomliga och universum. De är ett uttryck för den mänskliga anden. De är en del av oss. Magi fungerar för att vi tror att det fungerar. Vi tror på processen att signalera och kommunicera våra avsikter och önskvärda resultat till krafterna omkring oss, släppa dem i universum och ha förtroende och tro på att få det att hända. Syftet med denna bok är att utforska traditionerna för magiska symboler både från den nordiska världen och den grekisk-romerska antikens värld och dess senare återupplivning under Medeltiden och Renässansen. Från det språkliga ursprunget till runor som hittades i de forntida Italisk alfabeten under 1000-talet f.Kr., till manuskript som bevarats i det Bysantinska Riket under Medeltiden, till återupplivande och blomning av båda traditionerna i manuskript, böcker och anteckningsböcker under och efter Renässansen, två olika kulturer från norra och södra delen av kontinenten, ger oss en glimt av vår kollektiva psyk, egenskaperna hos de gudar som varje kultur erkände som reflektioner av vår natur och vår tro på kraften i symboler och magi.

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05/02/2021 - The D:Programmed Podcast with Melissa Martell - Episode 40 Pagan Symbols As Political Propaganda with Matthew Leigh Embleton

I was grateful to have been invited to discuss norse culture, runes, and magic with podcaster Melissa Martell in May 2020. This discussion has now been released from the archives. You can watch or listen here. Check out the D:Programmed Podcast for more about The Age Of Cults, Psychology, Human Consciousness & A Touch Of The Occult: "This week on D:Programmed I have dug into the archives on Patreon and found an interview I did back in May of 2020 with author and musician Matthew Leigh Embleton. It was a second part about Norse culture, the first part we talked about Vinland Sagas. In this interview we talk about how devious and evil political agendas have destroyed ancient pagan cultures by using their symbols for evil".

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02/12/2020 - The Tale of Ale-Hood (Ölkofra þáttr): Text, Literal Translation, and Word List: Text, Literal Translation, and Word List

The sense of humour found in the Icelandic Sagas reveals a distinct style of 'dark comedy' or 'gallows humour' that must have grown out of the necessity to find humour in such a tough, bleak and unforgiving way of life which could be short and end suddenly and without warning. In a society where strength and strength of character were seen as very important, this could be demonstrated with such humour, as if laughing in the face of death. This tale satirises the nature of the legal and judicial system of the Icelandic Commonwealth, by pointing to its apparent domination and manipulation by a few powerful individuals for the furthering of their own aims, often trampling over the rights of the people who they are supposed to be protecting along with the integrity of the law. This third edition includes an expanded word list with over 7,700 definitions. Literal translations show you how the language works, literally, word by word.

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03/11/2020 - Hávamál: Sayings of the High One: Text, Literal Translation, and Word List

The Hávamál ('sayings of the high one' i.e. 'Odin') is a collection of poetry from the Viking age. It can be described as 'gnomic poetry' in that it contains a series of insightful verses which offer advice in the form of maxims and aphorisms (short statements, observations, and opinions) about how to live one's life, how to conduct oneself in a proper manner, and how to gain and use wisdom in order to survive and prosper in a dangerous world. It can be seen as an important source of Old Norse philosophy, an insight into the minds of the people of the Norse world, revealing the values which were perceived as important and worthy of preserving in such poetry. It is also important as a source of mythology concerning the origin of the runes, and their importance and significance in Norse culture which continues to this day. It is preserved in the 'Codex Regius' ('Royal Book', 'King's Book', 'Konungsbók' (GKS 2365 4to) which has been dated to around c1260-1280, but the poetry itself has been variously dated back as far as the 10th or even 9th century. This third edition includes an expanded word list with over 7,700 definitions. Literal translations show you how the language works, literally, word by word.

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22/10/2020 - The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue (Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu): Text, Literal Translation, and Word List

The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-Tongue (Gunnlaugs saga ormstungu) is a story of love, rivalry, betrayal, and tragedy set against a backdrop of the changing times of the late Viking age, when poets from Iceland were renowned for their poetic skills and enjoyed special status among the courts of kings and earls throughout the Norse world. Poems praising these kings and earls in verse were received as gifts, in a culture where gift giving was a well established and important means of settling disputes, showing respect, and gaining favour and honour. This book contains the original texts both Old Norse and Icelandic versions with parallel literal word-for-word translations. This third edition includes an expanded word list with over 7,700 definitions. Literal translations show you how the language works, literally, word by word.

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25/08/2020 - Pirates and Their Flags, The Jolly Roger and The Golden Age of Piracy

From the portrayal of piracy in popular culture, whether based on fact, fiction, romanticised legend, (from evil antagonist to anti-hero to loveable rogue) or a combination of all of these, we have inherited a set of images conjured up in the mind's eye when we think of pirates, the wooden leg, the parrot perched on the shoulder, the stylised accent from the south west of England, and also the Jolly Roger or the Skull & Crossbones, a powerful image of mortality whose origins can be traced as far back as the late middle ages. The use of these symbols by pirates on their flags was designed to strike fear into their prey and encourage them to surrender without a fight. They were also a form of brand identity that would carry with them the power of the reputation that preceded them. The fact that the Jolly Roger or Skull & Crossbones has been adopted by various military and sports teams around the world, and also as an internationally recognised symbol of danger or poison is testament to the effectiveness of this image. This book examines the origin and evolution of these flags and their common themes and variations, with 67 flags in full colour over 160 pages.

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30/06/2020 - Galdrastafir: En Samling av Isländska Magiska Rungalder

Galdrastafir som överlever i olika manuskript från sen medeltid fram till 1900-talet ger oss en glimt av en rik tradition av magi i den norra världen. Från formuleringen av runor till bindrunorna och allt mer komplexa magiska symboler, till införlivandet av referenser till bibliska sälar och delar av den kristna tron, förhållandet mellan traditionell magi och religiös symbolik är komplex och varierad. Från de positiva åkallelserna av lycka till, framgång, rikedom osv. För att skydda en person eller egendom från stöld eller magi, till mörkare och mer moraliskt komplicerade avsikter, dessa symboler visas här för att ge en bred bild av människors oro och hur utövare av magi försökte ta itu med dessa problem på Island under sent på medeltiden och tidigt modern tid. Det som våra förfäder önskade, de bekymmer de sökte lösningen på, magin de trodde på för att få det att hända, och hur symbolerna och trollformlerna formulerades och övades, berätta om vem vi är och var vi har kommit ifrån.

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29/06/2020 - Galdrastafir: A Collection of Icelandic Magical Staves

The Galdrastafir that survive in various manuscripts from the Late Middle Ages until the 20th Century give us a glimpse of a rich tradition of magic in the Norse world. From the formulation of runes into bindrunes and ever more complex magical symbols, to the incorporation of references to biblical seals and elements of the Christian faith, the relationship between traditional magic and religious symbolism is a complex and varied one. From the positive invocations of good luck, success, wealth, etc. to the protection of one's person or property from theft or magic, to darker and more morally complex intentions, these symbols are shown here to provide a broad view of the people's concerns and how the practitioners of magic attempted to address these concerns in Iceland in the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods. The things our ancestors wished for, the concerns they sought solution to, the magic they believed in to make it happen, and the way the symbols and spells were formulated and practised, tell us about who we are, and where we have come from.

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27/05/2020 - The Secret Door Podcast with Melissa Martell

Language enthusiast, composer, writer, and musician Matthew Leigh Embleton joins the podcast today to talk about his two latest books, Runes: Origins, Evolution, Mythology, Meanings, Divination, and Magic and The Vínland Sagas: Text, Literal Translation, and Word List. We discuss how Norse language was formed and how it evolved, and in several ways it was used within the norse culture. We also get into runes and their practical and magical purposes and much more.

15/05/2020 - Runor: Utspridning, Utveckling, Mytologi, Betydelser, Spådom och Magi

Runor är ett fascinerande exempel på uppfinningsrikedomen för språk, kommunikation och symbolisk betydelse. De visar oss den mänskliga naturens försök att använda dem som uttrycksverktyg, ett gudomligt sätt att förstå krafterna som finns runt omkring oss som formar våra liv och våra försök att påverka dessa krafter genom att beteckna våra avsikter till det gudomliga och universum. De är ett uttryck för den mänskliga ande. De är en del av oss.

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10/05/2020 - Runes: Origins, Evolution, Mythology, Meanings, Divination, and Magic

Runes are a fascinating example of the ingenuity of language, communication, and symbolic meaning. They show us human nature's attempt to use them as tools of expression, a divinatory means to understand the forces that exist all around us that shape our lives, and our attempts to influence these forces by signifying our intentions to the divine and the universe. Unfortunately like all writing systems and symbols at some time or another in history, they have been misused by a minority in a way that goes against their original meaning and creates misunderstanding in public consciousness about what these symbols really mean, who uses them, and why. It is the aim of this book to provide the bigger picture about where these symbols have come from, how they have developed, how they have been used, and how their use has evolved over two thousand years.

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20/04/2020 - The Vínland Sagas (Vínlandingasögur): Text, Literal Translation, and Word List

The Vínland Sagas (Vínlandingasögur) offer a fascinating glimpse into a period of exploration and discovery in the Norse world and beyond, the political and social circumstances that necessitated it, and the changes in society brought about by it. The Saga of the Greenlanders and The Saga of Erik the Red were written in a very concise and matter-of-fact style, in a language that could arguably be described as succinct. They survived for several hundred years through a culture of oral tradition before being written down in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Sagas are fascinating stories containing accounts of events, occasionally blended with fanciful and mythological creation. They are also important social documents containing information on the genealogies of the characters involved, tracing their lineage back to the original families who first settled in Iceland, and further in some cases. These stories entertained but also reminded the people of Iceland where they came from and who they were. They were not a nation of outlaws and outcasts. They were a nation of proud landowners, farmers, hunters, craftsmen, traders, and explorers, from good and noble families, and the stories that they kept alive proved it. This book contains the original texts of The Saga of the Greenlanders (Grœnlendinga Saga), and both versions of The Saga of Erik the Red (Eiríks Saga Rauða) with parallel literal word-for-word translations. This third edition includes an expanded word list with over 7,700 definitions. Literal translations show you how the language works, literally, word by word.

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27/03/2020 - Lyrics from the Nordic Patterns album.

02 Kutkäldu

Vatn rennr eins ok lífið

Water flows like life

Frá fjöllum að lækjum

From mountain to stream

Frá lækjum til sjávar

From stream to sea

Frá sjó til lofts

From sea to air

Endalaust aftr

Eternally recurring

03 Gnisvärd

Gnisvärd, vér koma að

Gnisvard, we come to

Galdra ok seðir að

Galdra and Sethir to

Goð ok Guðinna

Gods and Goddesses

Tolum við þá

Talking to them

Á svörtum nótt eða

Whether black is the night

Bjartum degi

Or the day is bright

04 Klangstenen

Freyja vér heillar þu

Freyja, we congratulate you

Freyja vér heillar þér

Freyja, we congratulate you

Freyja vér heillar þig

Freyja, we congratulate you

Contributions to Omniglot.com

Omniglot.com is an amazing website which offers a wealth of information on languages and writing systems, both around the world and throughout history. Also included are sample texts, translations and audio examples contributed by a community of language enthusiasts around the world.

Old Norse

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Old Norse, Audio Clip

Appears on:

The Old Norse Language Page

The Germanic Languages Page

Allir menn eru bornir frjálsir ok jafnir at virðingu ok réttum. Þeir eru allir viti goeddir ok samvizku, ok skulu gøra hvárr til annars bróðurliga.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Thor

Old Norse, Audio Clip

Appears on:

The Old Norse Language Page

Þórr heitir áss, ok er sterkr mjök ok oft reiðr. Hann á hamar góðan. Þórr ferr oft til Jötunheima ok vegr Þar marga jötna með hamrinum. Þórr á ok vagn er flýgr. Hann ekr vagninum um himininn. Þar er Þórr ekr, er stormr.

A god is named Thor. He is very strong and often angry. He has a good hammer. Thor often goes to Gianthome and slays many giants there with the hammer. Thor also has a carriage that flies. He drives the carriage through the sky. Where Thor drives there is storm.

Latin

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Classical Latin, Audio Clip

Appears on:

The Latin Language Page

The Italic Languages Page

Omnes homines dignitate et iure liberi et pares nascuntur, rationis et conscientiae participes sunt, quibus inter se concordiae studio est agendum.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Vulgar Latin, Audio Clip

Appears on:

The Latin Language Page

The Italic Languages Page

Omne homnes nascuntu liberi e pares dignitat e jure, sunt da rationis e conscientiae, e agendu inter spiritu de fraternitat.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1-9)

Latin (Vulgate), Audio Clip:

Appears on:

The Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1-9) in Latin Page

Erat autem terra labii unius et sermonum eorundem

And the earth was of one tongue, and of the same speech.

Cumque proficiscerentur de oriente invenerunt campum in terra Sennaar et habitaverunt in eo

And when they removed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Sennaar, and dwelt in it.

Dixitque alter ad proximum suum venite faciamus lateres et coquamus eos igni habueruntque lateres pro saxis et bitumen pro cemento

And each one said to his neighbour: Come let us make brick, and bake them with fire. And they had brick instead of stones, and slime instead of mortar:

Et dixerunt venite faciamus nobis civitatem et turrem cuius culmen pertingat ad caelum et celebremus nomen nostrum antequam dividamur in universas terras

And they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands.

Descendit autem Dominus ut videret civitatem et turrem quam aedificabant filii Adam

And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of Adam were building.

Et dixit ecce unus est populus et unum labium omnibus coeperuntque hoc facere nec desistent a cogitationibus suis donec eas opere conpleant

And he said: Behold, it is one people, and all have one tongue: and they have begun to do this, neither will they leave off from their designs, till they accomplish them in deed.

Venite igitur descendamus et confundamus ibi linguam eorum ut non audiat unusquisque vocem proximi sui

Come ye, therefore, let us go down, and there confound their tongue, that they may not understand one another's speech.

Atque ita divisit eos Dominus ex illo loco in universas terras et cessaverunt aedificare civitatem

And so the Lord scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city.

Et idcirco vocatum est nomen eius Babel quia ibi confusum est labium universae terrae et inde dispersit eos Dominus super faciem cunctarum regionum

And therefore the name thereof was called Babel, because there the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries.

Anglo-Saxon

Useful Phrases in Old English / Anglo-Saxon

About Me (Simon Ager) in Old English / Anglo-Saxon

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