The Jomswikings were a legendary Viking band of mercenaries in the area of the southern (possibly the now part of Poland) Baltic coast. The Old Norse Jómsvíkinga saga tells of the rise and fall of the dreaded alliance of men with strict regulations.
"No man was to be admitted here older than fifty, and none younger than eighteen. In between should be all. Consanguinity was not to play a balancing role in admitting men who did not conform to the laws. No man was to flee from one equally belligerent and equally armed. Each was to avenge the other as his brother. No man should speak a word of fear or despair in any situation, however hopeless it seemed. They were to bring to the bar all that they had captured on their military journeys, inferior or greater goods that had monetary value. And if one of them did not do so, he would have to leave. No one was to bring a slander. But if any news were to become known, no one should be so bold as to tell it publicly; for Palnatoki was to announce all the news there. No one should have a wife in the castle, and no one should be out more than three nights. And if a man was taken in who had slain the father or brother of a man who had been there before, or any other related man, and this came out later after he was taken in, Palnatoki was to decide all this, and so also with any other disagreement that arose among them."
- Walter Baetke: Jómsvíkinga saga
Their seat is said to have been the Jomsborg, whose location is assumed to be either on the island of Wollin or at the mouth of the Peene River on the island of Usedom.
The harbor of that time was said to be able to accommodate 300 longships. The place is also considered the "Atlantis of the North", where the sunken city of Vineta was located.
According to the Old Norse sources, a large part of the Jomswikings followed the Swedish pretender to the throne, Styrbjörn, and fell together with Styrbjörn in the battle of Fýrisvellir against the Swedes in 983 or 986.
Against the Norwegians, the Jomswikings lost the battle of Hjørungavåg in 994, which is said to have sealed their downfall. Nevertheless, they are said to have participated in the naval battle of Svold as late as the year 1000.
It is believed that the Jomsvikinga saga is largely fiction. However, it can be assumed that the described mercenary league actually existed, as other sagas and documents of the time refer to it.
During the National Socialist era, the saga was widely received and translated because of its references to the Männerbund theory. Thus, between 1934 and 1939, no fewer than eight translations were produced from Old Icelandic into German.
In reference to the historical-legendary Viking Men's League, numerous Living History groups have named themselves after the Jomswikers. The tenth studio album of the Swedish music group Amon Amarth bears the name Jomsviking.
Jomsvikings in Literature
Roderich Schmidt: Jumne. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd edition. Vol. 16, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2000, p. 120 f. (Article retrieved via Germanic Archaeology Online at De Gruyter Online)
Sebastian Brather, Jürgen Udolph: Wollin. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd ed. Vol. 34, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2007, pp. 218-223. (Article retrieved via Germanic Archaeology Online at De Gruyter Online).
Julia Zernack: Jómsvíkinga saga. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde (RGA). 2nd ed. Vol. 16, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2000, pp. 69-71. (Article retrieved via Germanic Archaeology Online at De Gruyter Online).
Lutz Mohr: The Jomswikings - Myth or Truth. Edition Pommern, Elmenhorst 2009.
Felix Genzmer: Germanic seafaring and sea sailing. Second part: The Jomswikings. F. Bruckmann Verlag, Munich 1944, pp. 169-211; Part Three: King Olaf Tryggvason. S. 212-246.
Lutz Mohr: The saga of the Jomswikings. Edition Pommern, Martensdorf 2006.
Lutz Mohr, Harald Krause: The Jomsburg in Pomerania. History and Technology of a Lost Viking Sea Fortress. 2nd, enlarged edition. Wessels Puppet Media, Essen 2002.
Lutz Mohr: Dragon Ships in the Bay of Pomerania. The Jomswikings, their Jomsburg and the Gau Jom. (= edition rostock maritim). Ed. by Robert Rosentreter. Koch, Rostock 2013.
Georg Domizlaff: The Jomsburg. Studies on the sea castle of the Jomswikings. Curt Kabitzsch Verlag, Leipzig 1929.
Hans Jänichen: The Vikings in the Vistula and Oder region. Curt Kabitzsch publishing house, Leipzig 1938.
Otto Kunkel, Karl August Wilde: Jumne, Vineta, Jomsburg, Julin, Wollin. 5 years of excavations on the ground of the Viking Age large settlement at the Dievenowstrom 1934-1939. Szczecin 1941.
THULE. Old Norse poetry and prose. Volumes 14-16: Heimskringla = Snorri's King's Book I-III; Volume 19: Tales of the Orcads, Denmark and Jomsburg (Knytlingasaga and Jomsvikingasaga). Edited by Felix Niedner and Walter Baetke. Eugen Diederichs Verlag, Jena 1924.
Martin Wehrmann: History of Pomerania in two volumes. Friedrich Andreas Perthes, Gotha 1919/1921.
Manfred Schnell: Vikings by the wayside. Historical sites of the European Viking Age in Germany, Denmark and southern Sweden. II. chapter: Pomerania - index of places:, among others Hiddensee, Arkona, Menzlin, Jomsburg, Spandowerhagen, Peenemünde, Usedom. BoD-Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2018, pp. 44-59.
Dietrich Schumacher: Slavs and Vikings in Western Pomerania. Where the legendary Vineta, the sea fortress Jomsburg ... really lay! 1st edition. Nordwest Media Verlag, Grevesmühlen 2020.
Vedel Simonsen: Historical investigation about Jomsburg in Wendenlande. Translated from Danish by Ludwig Giesebrecht. Morin, Szczecin 1827.