Manual The Vikings

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Viking expansion into continental Europe was limited. Their realm was bordered by powerful tribes to the south. The Saxons were a fierce and powerful people and were often in conflict with the Vikings. To counter the Saxon aggression and solidify their own presence, the Danes constructed the huge defence fortification of Danevirke in and around Hedeby. The Saxon defeat resulted in their forced christening and the absorption of Old Saxony into the Carolingian Empire. Fear of the Franks led the Vikings to further expand Danevirke, and the defence constructions remained in use throughout the Viking Age and even up until The motives driving the Viking expansion are a topic of much debate in Nordic history.

One common theory posits that Charlemagne "used force and terror to Christianise all pagans", leading to baptism, conversion or execution, and as a result, Vikings and other pagans resisted and wanted revenge. Researchers have suggested that Vikings may have originally started sailing and raiding due to a need to seek out women from foreign lands. Due to this, the average Viking man could have been forced to perform riskier actions to gain wealth and power to be able to find suitable women.

Another explanation is that the Vikings exploited a moment of weakness in the surrounding regions. England suffered from internal divisions and was relatively easy prey given the proximity of many towns to the sea or to navigable rivers. Lack of organised naval opposition throughout Western Europe allowed Viking ships to travel freely, raiding or trading as opportunity permitted. The decline in the profitability of old trade routes could also have played a role. Trade between western Europe and the rest of Eurasia suffered a severe blow when the Western Roman Empire fell in the 5th century.

Raids in Europe, including raids and settlements from Scandinavia, were not unprecedented and had occurred long before the Vikings arrived.

6 players the Vikings should consider trading before the deadline

The Jutes invaded the British Isles three centuries earlier, pouring out from Jutland during the Age of Migrations , before the Danes settled there. The Saxons and the Angles did the same, embarking from mainland Europe. The Viking raids were, however, the first to be documented in writing by eyewitnesses, and they were much larger in scale and frequency than in previous times. Vikings themselves were expanding; although their motives are unclear, historians believe that scarce resources or a lack of mating opportunities were a factor.

The "Highway of Slaves" was a term for a route that the Vikings found to have a direct pathway from Scandinavia to Constantinople and Baghdad while traveling on the Baltic Sea. With the advancements of their ships during the ninth century, the Vikings were able to sail to Russia and some northern parts of Europe. Jomsborg was a semi-legendary Viking stronghold at the southern coast of the Baltic Sea medieval Wendland , modern Pomerania , that existed between the s and Its inhabitants were known as Jomsvikings. Jomsborg's exact location, or its existence, has not yet been established, though it is often maintained that Jomsborg was somewhere on the islands of the Oder estuary.

During the Viking Age, Scandinavian men and women travelled to many parts of Europe and beyond, in a cultural diaspora that left its traces from Newfoundland to Byzantium. This period of energetic activity also had a pronounced effect in the Scandinavian homelands, which were subject to a variety of new influences. By the late 11th century, royal dynasties legitimised by the Catholic Church which had had little influence in Scandinavia years earlier were asserting their power with increasing authority and ambition, and the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden had taken shape.

Towns appeared that functioned as secular and ecclesiastical administrative centres and market sites, and monetary economies began to emerge based on English and German models. Foreign churchmen and native elites were energetic in furthering the interests of Christianity, which was now no longer operating only on a missionary footing, and old ideologies and lifestyles were transforming.

By , the first archbishopric was founded in Scandinavia, at Lund , Scania, then part of Denmark. The assimilation of the nascent Scandinavian kingdoms into the cultural mainstream of European Christendom altered the aspirations of Scandinavian rulers and of Scandinavians able to travel overseas, and changed their relations with their neighbours. One of the primary sources of profit for the Vikings had been slave-taking. The medieval Church held that Christians should not own fellow Christians as slaves, so chattel slavery diminished as a practice throughout northern Europe.

This took much of the economic incentive out of raiding, though sporadic slaving activity continued into the 11th century. Scandinavian predation in Christian lands around the North and Irish Seas diminished markedly. The kings of Norway continued to assert power in parts of northern Britain and Ireland, and raids continued into the 12th century, but the military ambitions of Scandinavian rulers were now directed toward new paths. In , Sigurd I of Norway sailed for the eastern Mediterranean with Norwegian crusaders to fight for the newly established Kingdom of Jerusalem , and Danes and Swedes participated energetically in the Baltic Crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries.

A variety of sources illuminate the culture, activities, and beliefs of the Vikings. Although they were generally a non-literate culture that produced no literary legacy, they had an alphabet and described themselves and their world on runestones. Most contemporary literary and written sources on the Vikings come from other cultures that were in contact with them. The most important primary sources on the Vikings are contemporary texts from Scandinavia and regions where the Vikings were active.

Most contemporary documentary sources consist of texts written in Christian and Islamic communities outside Scandinavia, often by authors who had been negatively affected by Viking activity. Later writings on the Vikings and the Viking Age can also be important for understanding them and their culture, although they need to be treated cautiously. After the consolidation of the church and the assimilation of Scandinavia and its colonies into the mainstream of medieval Christian culture in the 11th and 12th centuries, native written sources begin to appear, in Latin and Old Norse.

In the Viking colony of Iceland, an extraordinary vernacular literature blossomed in the 12th through 14th centuries, and many traditions connected with the Viking Age were written down for the first time in the Icelandic sagas. A literal interpretation of these medieval prose narratives about the Vikings and the Scandinavian past is doubtful, but many specific elements remain worthy of consideration, such as the great quantity of skaldic poetry attributed to court poets of the 10th and 11th centuries, the exposed family trees, the self images, the ethical values, all included in these literary writings.

Indirectly, the Vikings have also left a window open to their language, culture and activities, through many Old Norse place names and words, found in their former sphere of influence. Viking influence is also evident in concepts like the present-day parliamentary body of the Tynwald on the Isle of Man.

Common words in everyday English language, like some of the weekdays Thursday means Thor's day , axle , crook , raft , knife , plough , leather , window , berserk , bylaw , thorp , skerry , husband , heathen , Hell , Norman and ransack stem from the Old Norse of the Vikings and give us an opportunity to understand their interactions with the people and cultures of the British Isles. Some modern words and names only emerge and contribute to our understanding after a more intense research of linguistic sources from medieval or later records, such as York Horse Bay , Swansea Sveinn 's Isle or some of the place names in Normandy like Tocqueville Toki's farm.

Linguistic and etymological studies continue to provide a vital source of information on the Viking culture, their social structure and history and how they interacted with the people and cultures they met, traded, attacked or lived with in overseas settlements. It has been speculated that the reason was the great differences between the two languages, combined with the Rus' Vikings more peaceful businesses in these areas and the fact that they were outnumbered. The Norse named some of the rapids on the Dnieper , but this can hardly be seen from the modern names.

A consequence of the available written sources, which may have coloured how the Viking age is perceived as a historical period, is that much more is known of the Vikings' activities in western Europe than in the East. One reason is that the cultures of north-eastern Europe at the time were non-literate, and did not produce a legacy of literature. Another is that the vast majority of written sources on Scandinavia in the Viking Age come from Iceland, a nation originally settled by Norwegian colonists. As a result, there is much more material from the Viking Age about Norway than Sweden, which apart from many runic inscriptions, has almost no written sources from the early Middle Ages.

The Norse of the Viking Age could read and write and used a non-standardised alphabet, called runor , built upon sound values. While there are few remains of runic writing on paper from the Viking era, thousands of stones with runic inscriptions have been found where Vikings lived. They are usually in memory of the dead, though not necessarily placed at graves. The use of runor survived into the 15th century, used in parallel with the Latin alphabet. The majority of runic inscriptions from the Viking period are found in Sweden and date from the 11th century. The oldest stone with runic inscriptions was found in Norway and dates to the 4th century, suggesting that runic inscriptions pre-date the Viking period.

Many runestones in Scandinavia record the names of participants in Viking expeditions, such as the Kjula runestone that tells of extensive warfare in Western Europe and the Turinge Runestone , which tells of a war band in Eastern Europe. Other runestones mention men who died on Viking expeditions. Runestones are important sources in the study of Norse society and early medieval Scandinavia, not only of the Viking segment of the population. The Jelling stones date from between and The older, smaller stone was raised by King Gorm the Old , the last pagan king of Denmark, as a memorial honouring Queen Thyre.

It has three sides: one with an animal image, one with an image of the crucified Jesus Christ, and a third bearing the following inscription:. Runestones attest to voyages to locations such as Bath , [] Greece, [] Khwaresm , [] Jerusalem , [] Italy as Langobardland , [] Serkland i. Viking Age inscriptions have also been discovered on the Manx runestones on the Isle of Man. The burial practices of the Vikings were quite varied, from dug graves in the ground, to tumuli , sometimes including so-called ship burials.

According to written sources, most of the funerals took place at sea. The funerals involved either burial or cremation , depending on local customs. In the area that is now Sweden, cremations were predominant; in Denmark burial was more common; and in Norway both were common.

There have been several archaeological finds of Viking ships of all sizes, providing knowledge of the craftsmanship that went into building them. There were many types of Viking ships, built for various uses; the best-known type is probably the longship. The longship had a long, narrow hull and shallow draught to facilitate landings and troop deployments in shallow water. Longships were used extensively by the Leidang , the Scandinavian defence fleets. The longship allowed the Norse to go Viking , which might explain why this type of ship has become almost synonymous with the concept of Vikings.

The Vikings built many unique types of watercraft, often used for more peaceful tasks. The knarr was a dedicated merchant vessel designed to carry cargo in bulk. It had a broader hull, deeper draught, and a small number of oars used primarily to manoeuvre in harbours and similar situations. One Viking innovation was the ' beitass ', a spar mounted to the sail that allowed their ships to sail effectively against the wind.

Ships were an integral part of the Viking culture. They facilitated everyday transportation across seas and waterways, exploration of new lands, raids, conquests, and trade with neighbouring cultures. They also held a major religious importance. People with high status were sometimes buried in a ship along with animal sacrifices, weapons, provisions and other items, as evidenced by the buried vessels at Gokstad and Oseberg in Norway [] and the excavated ship burial at Ladby in Denmark.

Ship burials were also practised by Vikings abroad, as evidenced by the excavations of the Salme ships on the Estonian island of Saaremaa. Well-preserved remains of five Viking ships were excavated from Roskilde Fjord in the late s, representing both the longship and the knarr. The ships were scuttled there in the 11th century to block a navigation channel and thus protect Roskilde , then the Danish capital, from seaborne assault.

The remains of these ships are on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. Viking society was divided into the three socio-economic classes: Thralls, Karls and Jarls. Archaeology has confirmed this social structure. Thralls were the lowest ranking class and were slaves. Slaves comprised as much as a quarter of the population. Thralls were servants and workers in the farms and larger households of the Karls and Jarls, and they were used for constructing fortifications, ramps, canals, mounds, roads and similar hard work projects.

According to the Rigsthula, Thralls were despised and looked down upon. New thralls were supplied by either the sons and daughters of thralls or they were captured abroad. The Vikings often deliberately captured many people on their raids in Europe, to enslave them as thralls. The thralls were then brought back home to Scandinavia by boat, used on location or in newer settlements to build needed structures, or sold, often to the Arabs in exchange for silver. Karls were free peasants. They owned farms, land and cattle and engaged in daily chores like ploughing the fields, milking the cattle, building houses and wagons, but used thralls to make ends meet.

Other names for Karls were 'bonde' or simply free men.


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The Jarls were the aristocracy of the Viking society. They were wealthy and owned large estates with huge longhouses, horses and many thralls. The thralls did most of the daily chores, while the Jarls did administration, politics, hunting, sports, visited other Jarls or were abroad on expeditions. When a Jarl died and was buried, his household thralls were sometimes sacrificially killed and buried next to him, as many excavations have revealed.

In daily life, there were many intermediate positions in the overall social structure and it is believed that there must have been some social mobility. These details are unclear, but titles and positions like hauldr , thegn , landmand , show mobility between the Karls and the Jarls. Members of the latter were referred to as drenge , one of the words for warrior. There were also official communities within towns and villages, the overall defence, religion, the legal system and the Things. Such a woman was referred to as Baugrygr , and she exercised all the rights afforded to the head of a family clan—such as the right to demand and receive fines for the slaughter of a family member—until she married, by which her rights were transferred to her new husband.

Female graves from before the Viking Age in Scandinavia holds a proportional large number of remains from women aged 20 to 35, presumably due to complications of childbirth. Widows enjoyed the same independent status as unmarried women. A married woman could divorce her husband and remarry. There was no distinction made between children born inside or outside marriage: both had the right to inherit property after their parents, and there were no "legitimate" or "illegitimate" children. These liberties gradually disappeared after the introduction of Christianity, and from the late 13th-century, they are no longer mentioned.

The three classes were easily recognisable by their appearances. Men and women of the Jarls were well groomed with neat hairstyles and expressed their wealth and status by wearing expensive clothes often silk and well crafted jewellery like brooches , belt buckles, necklaces and arm rings.

Almost all of the jewellery was crafted in specific designs unique to the Norse see Viking art. Finger rings were seldom used and earrings were not used at all, as they were seen as a Slavic phenomenon. Most Karls expressed similar tastes and hygiene, but in a more relaxed and inexpensive way. Archaeological findings throughout Scandinavia and Viking settlements in the British Isles support the idea of the well groomed and hygienic Viking. Burial with grave goods was a common practice in the Scandinavian world, through the Viking Age and well past the Christianization of the Norse peoples.

The Vikings

The sagas tell about the diet and cuisine of the Vikings, [] but first hand evidence, like cesspits , kitchen middens and garbage dumps have proved to be of great value and importance. Undigested remains of plants from cesspits at Coppergate in York have provided much information in this respect.

Overall, archaeo-botanical investigations have been undertaken increasingly in recent decades, as a collaboration between archaeologists and palaeoethno-botanists. This new approach sheds light on the agricultural and horticultural practices of the Vikings and their cuisine.

The combined information from various sources suggests a diverse cuisine and ingredients. Meat products of all kinds, such as cured , smoked and whey -preserved meat, [] sausages, and boiled or fried fresh meat cuts, were prepared and consumed. Certain livestock were typical and unique to the Vikings, including the Icelandic horse , Icelandic cattle , a plethora of sheep breeds, [] the Danish hen and the Danish goose.

Most of the beef and horse leg bones were found split lengthways, to extract the marrow. The mutton and swine were cut into leg and shoulder joints and chops. The frequent remains of pig skull and foot bones found on house floors indicate that brawn and trotters were also popular. Hens were kept for both their meat and eggs, and the bones of game birds such as black grouse , golden plover , wild ducks, and geese have also been found. Seafood was important, in some places even more so than meat.

Whales and walrus were hunted for food in Norway and the north-western parts of the North Atlantic region, and seals were hunted nearly everywhere. Oysters , mussels and shrimps were eaten in large quantities and cod and salmon were popular fish. In the southern regions, herring was also important. Milk and buttermilk were popular, both as cooking ingredients and drinks, but were not always available, even at farms. Food was often salted and enhanced with spices, some of which were imported like black pepper , while others were cultivated in herb gardens or harvested in the wild.

Home grown spices included caraway , mustard and horseradish as evidenced from the Oseberg ship burial [] or dill , coriander , and wild celery , as found in cesspits at Coppergate in York. Thyme , juniper berry , sweet gale , yarrow , rue and peppercress were also used and cultivated in herb gardens. Vikings collected and ate fruits, berries and nuts. Apple wild crab apples , plums and cherries were part of the diet, [] as were rose hips and raspberry , wild strawberry , blackberry , elderberry , rowan , hawthorn and various wild berries, specific to the locations.

The shells were used for dyeing, and it is assumed that the nuts were consumed. The invention and introduction of the mouldboard plough revolutionised agriculture in Scandinavia in the early Viking Age and made it possible to farm even poor soils.

Bibliography

In Ribe , grains of rye , barley , oat and wheat dated to the 8th century have been found and examined, and are believed to have been cultivated locally. Remains of bread from primarily Birka in Sweden were made of barley and wheat. It is unclear if the Norse leavened their breads, but their ovens and baking utensils suggest that they did. This suggests a much higher actual percentage, as linen is poorly preserved compared to wool for example.

The quality of food for common people was not always particularly high. The research at Coppergate shows that the Vikings in York made bread from whole meal flour—probably both wheat and rye —but with the seeds of cornfield weeds included. Corncockle Agrostemma , would have made the bread dark-coloured, but the seeds are poisonous, and people who ate the bread might have become ill. Seeds of carrots, parsnip , and brassicas were also discovered, but they were poor specimens and tend to come from white carrots and bitter tasting cabbages.

The effects of this can be seen on skeletal remains of that period. In , archaeologists uncovered two Viking boat graves in Gamla Uppsala. They also discovered that one of the boats still holds the remains of a man, a dog, and a horse, along with other items.

Sports were widely practised and encouraged by the Vikings. This included spear and stone throwing, building and testing physical strength through wrestling see glima , fist fighting , and stone lifting. In areas with mountains, mountain climbing was practised as a sport. Agility and balance were built and tested by running and jumping for sport, and there is mention of a sport that involved jumping from oar to oar on the outside of a ship's railing as it was being rowed.

Swimming was a popular sport and Snorri Sturluson describes three types: diving, long-distance swimming, and a contest in which two swimmers try to duck one another. Children often participated in some of the sport disciplines and women have also been mentioned as swimmers, although it is unclear if they took part in competition.

King Olaf Tryggvason was hailed as a master of both mountain climbing and oar-jumping, and was said to have excelled in the art of knife juggling as well. Skiing and ice skating were the primary winter sports of the Vikings, although skiing was also used as everyday means of transport in winter and in the colder regions of the north. Horse fighting was practised for sport, although the rules are unclear.

It appears to have involved two stallions pitted against each other, within smell and sight of fenced-off mares. Whatever the rules were, the fights often resulted in the death of one of the stallions. Icelandic sources refer to the sport of knattleik. A ball game akin to hockey , knattleik involved a bat and a small hard ball and was usually played on a smooth field of ice. The rules are unclear, but it was popular with both adults and children, even though it often led to injuries.

Knattleik appears to have been played only in Iceland, where it attracted many spectators, as did horse fighting. Hunting, as a sport, was limited to Denmark, where it was not regarded as an important occupation. Birds, deer , hares and foxes were hunted with bow and spear, and later with crossbows. The techniques were stalking, snare and traps and par force hunting with dog packs. Both archaeological finds and written sources testify to the fact that the Vikings set aside time for social and festive gatherings. Board games and dice games were played as a popular pastime at all levels of society.

Preserved gaming pieces and boards show game boards made of easily available materials like wood, with game pieces manufactured from stone, wood or bone, while other finds include elaborately carved boards and game pieces of glass, amber , antler or walrus tusk, together with materials of foreign origin, such as ivory. The Vikings played several types of tafl games; hnefatafl , nitavl nine men's morris and the less common kvatrutafl. Chess also appeared at the end of the Viking Age. Hnefatafl is a war game, in which the object is to capture the king piece—a large hostile army threatens and the king's men have to protect the king.

It was played on a board with squares using black and white pieces, with moves made according to dice rolls. The Ockelbo Runestone shows two men engaged in Hnefatafl, and the sagas suggest that money or valuables could have been involved in some dice games. On festive occasions storytelling , skaldic poetry , music and alcoholic drinks, like beer and mead , contributed to the atmosphere. The Vikings are known to have played instruments including harps , fiddles , lyres and lutes.

Viking-age reenactors have undertaken experimental activities such as iron smelting and forging using Norse techniques at Norstead in Newfoundland for example. The remains of that ship and four others were discovered during a excavation in the Roskilde Fjord. Tree-ring analysis has shown the ship was built of oak in the vicinity of Dublin in about Seventy multi-national crew members sailed the ship back to its home, and Sea Stallion arrived outside Dublin's Custom House on 14 August The purpose of the voyage was to test and document the seaworthiness, speed, and manoeuvrability of the ship on the rough open sea and in coastal waters with treacherous currents.

The crew tested how the long, narrow, flexible hull withstood the tough ocean waves. The expedition also provided valuable new information on Viking longships and society. The ship was built using Viking tools, materials, and much the same methods as the original ship.

Other vessels, often replicas of the Gokstad ship full- or half-scale or Skuldelev I have been built and tested as well. Elements of a Scandinavian identity and practices were maintained in settler societies, but they could be quite distinct as the groups assimilated into the neighboring societies. Assimilation to the Frankish culture in Normandy was for example rapid. Knowledge about the arms and armour of the Viking age is based on archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and Norse laws recorded in the 13th century.

According to custom, all free Norse men were required to own weapons and were permitted to carry them at all times. These arms were indicative of a Viking's social status: a wealthy Viking had a complete ensemble of a helmet , shield , mail shirt, and sword. However, swords were rarely used in battle, probably not sturdy enough for combat and most likely only used as symbolic or decorative items. Bows were used in the opening stages of land battles and at sea, but they tended to be considered less "honourable" than melee weapons.

Vikings were relatively unusual for the time in their use of axes as a main battle weapon. The warfare and violence of the Vikings were often motivated and fuelled by their beliefs in Norse religion , focusing on Thor and Odin , the gods of war and death. Such tactics may have been deployed intentionally by shock troops , and the berserk-state may have been induced through ingestion of materials with psychoactive properties, such as the hallucinogenic mushrooms, Amanita muscaria , [] or large amounts of alcohol.

The Vikings established and engaged in extensive trading networks throughout the known world and had a profound influence on the economic development of Europe and Scandinavia not the least. Except for the major trading centres of Ribe , Hedeby and the like, the Viking world was unfamiliar with the use of coinage and was based on so called bullion economy.

Silver was the most common metal in the economy, although gold was also used to some extent. Silver circulated in the form of bars, or ingots , as well as in the form of jewellery and ornaments. A large number of silver hoards from the Viking Age have been uncovered, both in Scandinavia and the lands they settled. Organized trade covered everything from ordinary items in bulk to exotic luxury products.

The Viking ship designs, like that of the knarr , were an important factor in their success as merchants. To counter these valuable imports, the Vikings exported a large variety of goods. These goods included: []. Other exports included weapons, walrus ivory , wax , salt and cod. As one of the more exotic exports, hunting birds were sometimes provided from Norway to the European aristocracy, from the 10th century. Many of these goods were also traded within the Viking world itself, as well as goods such as soapstone and whetstone.

Soapstone was traded with the Norse on Iceland and in Jutland , who used it for pottery. Whetstones were traded and used for sharpening weapons, tools and knives. This trade satisfied the Vikings' need for leather and meat to some extent, and perhaps hides for parchment production on the European mainland. Wool was also very important as a domestic product for the Vikings, to produce warm clothing for the cold Scandinavian and Nordic climate, and for sails. Sails for Viking ships required large amounts of wool, as evidenced by experimental archaeology. There are archaeological signs of organised textile productions in Scandinavia, reaching as far back as the early Iron Ages.

Artisans and craftsmen in the larger towns were supplied with antlers from organised hunting with large-scale reindeer traps in the far north. They were used as raw material for making everyday utensils like combs. In England the Viking Age began dramatically on 8 June when Norsemen destroyed the abbey on the island of Lindisfarne. The devastation of Northumbria 's Holy Island shocked and alerted the royal courts of Europe to the Viking presence.

Not until the s did scholars outside Scandinavia begin to seriously reassess the achievements of the Vikings, recognizing their artistry, technological skills, and seamanship. Norse Mythology , sagas, and literature tell of Scandinavian culture and religion through tales of heroic and mythological heroes.

Many of these sagas were written in Iceland, and most of them, even if they had no Icelandic provenance, were preserved there after the Middle Ages due to the continued interest of Icelanders in Norse literature and law codes. The year Viking influence on European history is filled with tales of plunder and colonisation, and the majority of these chronicles came from western witnesses and their descendants.

Less common, though equally relevant, are the Viking chronicles that originated in the east, including the Nestor chronicles, Novgorod chronicles, Ibn Fadlan chronicles, Ibn Rusta chronicles, and brief mentions by Photius , patriarch of Constantinople, regarding their first attack on the Byzantine Empire. Other chroniclers of Viking history include Adam of Bremen , who wrote, in the fourth volume of his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum , "[t]here is much gold here in Zealand , accumulated by piracy. These pirates, which are called wichingi by their own people, and Ascomanni by our own people, pay tribute to the Danish king.

Early modern publications, dealing with what is now called Viking culture, appeared in the 16th century, e. Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus History of the northern people of Olaus Magnus , and the first edition of the 13th-century Gesta Danorum Deeds of the Danes , by Saxo Grammaticus , in The pace of publication increased during the 17th century with Latin translations of the Edda notably Peder Resen's Edda Islandorum of An important early British contributor to the study of the Vikings was George Hickes , who published his Linguarum vett.

During the 18th century, British interest and enthusiasm for Iceland and early Scandinavian culture grew dramatically, expressed in English translations of Old Norse texts and in original poems that extolled the supposed Viking virtues. The word "viking" was first popularised at the beginning of the 19th century by Erik Gustaf Geijer in his poem, The Viking.

Geijer's poem did much to propagate the new romanticised ideal of the Viking, which had little basis in historical fact. The renewed interest of Romanticism in the Old North had contemporary political implications. The Geatish Society , of which Geijer was a member, popularised this myth to a great extent. Fascination with the Vikings reached a peak during the so-called Viking revival in the late 18th and 19th centuries as a branch of Romantic nationalism. In Britain this was called Septentrionalism, in Germany " Wagnerian " pathos, and in the Scandinavian countries Scandinavism.

Pioneering 19th-century scholarly editions of the Viking Age began to reach a small readership in Britain, archaeologists began to dig up Britain's Viking past, and linguistic enthusiasts started to identify the Viking-Age origins of rural idioms and proverbs.

The new dictionaries of the Old Norse language enabled the Victorians to grapple with the primary Icelandic sagas. Few scholars still accept these texts as reliable sources, as historians now rely more on archaeology and numismatics , disciplines that have made valuable contributions toward understanding the period. The romanticised idea of the Vikings constructed in scholarly and popular circles in northwestern Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries was a potent one, and the figure of the Viking became a familiar and malleable symbol in different contexts in the politics and political ideologies of 20th-century Europe.

In Germany, awareness of Viking history in the 19th century had been stimulated by the border dispute with Denmark over Schleswig-Holstein and the use of Scandinavian mythology by Richard Wagner. The idealised view of the Vikings appealed to Germanic supremacists who transformed the figure of the Viking in accordance with the ideology of the Germanic master race. The cultural phenomenon of Viking expansion was re-interpreted for use as propaganda to support the extreme militant nationalism of the Third Reich, and ideologically informed interpretations of Viking paganism and the Scandinavian use of runes were employed in the construction of Nazi mysticism.

Other political organisations of the same ilk, such as the former Norwegian fascist party Nasjonal Samling , similarly appropriated elements of the modern Viking cultural myth in their symbolism and propaganda. Soviet and earlier Slavophile historians emphasized a Slavic rooted foundation in contrast to the Normanist theory of the Vikings conquering the Slavs and founding the Kievan Rus'.

Meet the vikings - winter

They argued that Rus' composition was Slavic and that Rurik and Oleg' success was rooted in their support from within the local Slavic aristocracy. These have included novels directly based on historical events, such as Frans Gunnar Bengtsson 's The Long Ships which was also released as a film , and historical fantasies such as the film The Vikings , Michael Crichton 's Eaters of the Dead movie version called The 13th Warrior , and the comedy film Erik the Viking.

Vikings appear in several books by the Danish American writer Poul Anderson , while British explorer, historian, and writer Tim Severin authored a trilogy of novels in about a young Viking adventurer Thorgils Leifsson, who travels around the world. The character also appears in the film The Avengers and its associated animated series.

The appearance of Vikings within popular media and television has seen a resurgence in recent decades, especially with the History Channel's series Vikings , directed by Michael Hirst. However, the conclusions remain contentious. Since the s, there has been rising enthusiasm for historical reenactment. While the earliest groups had little claim for historical accuracy, the seriousness and accuracy of reenactors has increased. Many reenactor groups participate in live-steel combat, and a few have Viking-style ships or boats.

Modern reconstructions of Viking mythology have shown a persistent influence in late 20th- and early 21st-century popular culture in some countries, inspiring comics, role-playing games, computer games, and music, including Viking metal , a subgenre of heavy metal music. Apart from two or three representations of ritual helmets—with protrusions that may be either stylised ravens, snakes, or horns—no depiction of the helmets of Viking warriors, and no preserved helmet, has horns.

The formal, close-quarters style of Viking combat either in shield walls or aboard "ship islands" would have made horned helmets cumbersome and hazardous to the warrior's own side. Historians therefore believe that Viking warriors did not wear horned helmets; whether such helmets were used in Scandinavian culture for other, ritual purposes, remains unproven.

The Vikings were often depicted with winged helmets and in other clothing taken from Classical antiquity , especially in depictions of Norse gods. This was done to legitimise the Vikings and their mythology by associating it with the Classical world, which had long been idealised in European culture. The latter-day mythos created by national romantic ideas blended the Viking Age with aspects of the Nordic Bronze Age some 2, years earlier.

They were probably used for ceremonial purposes. Viking helmets were conical, made from hard leather with wood and metallic reinforcement for regular troops. The iron helmet with mask and mail was for the chieftains, based on the previous Vendel -age helmets from central Sweden. The only original Viking helmet discovered is the Gjermundbu helmet , found in Norway. This helmet is made of iron and has been dated to the 10th century. The image of wild-haired, dirty savages sometimes associated with the Vikings in popular culture is a distorted picture of reality.

There is no evidence that Vikings drank out of the skulls of vanquished enemies. This was a reference to drinking horns , but was mistranslated in the 17th century [] as referring to the skulls of the slain. Studies of genetic diversity provide indication of the origin and expansion of the Norse population. Female descent studies show evidence of Norse descent in areas closest to Scandinavia, such as the Shetland and Orkney islands.

Recent research suggests that the Celtic warrior Somerled , who drove the Vikings out of western Scotland and was the progenitor of Clan Donald , may have been of Viking descent , a member of haplogroup R-M From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Viking disambiguation. Main article: Viking Age.

Main article: Viking expansion.


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Lofoten & Lofotr Viking Museum

Previous Next. Meet the vikings - winter Experience how the Vikings lived at Lofotr in Borg, Lofoten, where the largest Viking building ever discovered has been replicated. See the reconstruction of the largest Viking building ever found. Join in on an authentic Viking ritual, sacrificing to the Norse Gods.

Be served a traditional Viking Age meal with mead. The stay at Lofotr is approx. Available excursions Cruises. Related excursions Related cruises. Related excursions. Related cruises.

"Vikings" Soundtrack (FULL) ENG/PL

Northern Lights. Voyage of the Vikings: Bergen - Kirkenes - Bergen Sail the classic Hurtigruten round voyage, and learn about the Vikings and together with an expert in medieval history. MS Kong Harald. Departure 13 Oct Duration 12 days. Top Seller. Search for destinations, attractions or information. Got a promotion code? Promotion code Done.