Vikings 2 Essay, Research Paper
One of the most interesting and misconceived groups of all time were the Vikings. The Vikings were the most feared of all the barbaric invaders. The people who originated from Scandinavia, which in today s world are the countries of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were called Norsemen. The Norsemen who took part in raids along the coast of Europe were called Vikings. These men were some of the great sea traders and warriors of all time.
The word Viking originated from the Norse language. Vik in Norse means harbor or bay . These Vikings became powerful at about 740 AD and lasted till about 1050 AD. One major reason they stayed in power was there ability to travel using the Seas and Oceans in Europe. The Vikings biggest reason for being skillful seamen was their Longships. Long, narrow ships packed with warriors helped a few ships conquer coastal cities. The Longship was made of wood and was approximately thirty meters long. The boats could hold at least 120 people because there were about 30 rowing benches on each side of the boat.
Early Viking voyages consisted of raiding Christian churches and monasteries and robing and burning harmless villages. The Vikings usually had superior weapons and were well trained. Hence, they usually got what they wanted from these powerless villages. After the raid they would return to their ships and sail home. As time went on, trading with other European countries grew. Scandinavian countries sent salt, herring, and slaves they acquire from Russia to Constantinople, modern day Istanbul. In return they received silk and spices. During their time old trade routes between east and west through the Mediterranean were closed or too dangerous to sail. The Vikings kept the trade route between Byzantium and the west open. They did this by using Kiev and Russia.
Home life in Viking culture was different than other barbaric groups at the time. Because of their trading, the Vikings incorporated different ideas from the countries they traded with. The native dress of the Vikings was similar for both sexes. Both men and women wore fur or woolen hats and cloaks. The Vikings had few meals that are still made today. Some of these Viking foods are shortbread, porridge, and meat soup.
Education was not a major emphasis on life. Since, there were no public schools, children were taught at home by their mother or nurse. Girls learned how to spin, weave, dye clothes, and to cook and clean just to name a few things. Boys played games such as wrestling and fencing. Once a boy turned 15 or 16 he was encouraged to join a ship and try their luck at battle. After two or three successful voyages most Viking males had enough money and a high enough noble rank to retire and give their sons the opportunity to go into battle.
The Vikings had a very advanced government for a barbaric group of people. They basically had a Medieval democracy, with an assembly that acted as court and legislative body. There was also a king of each tribal group, which was how the Vikings lived. In 930 the oldest recorded Assembly occurred in Iceland. This assembly was called the Althing.
Religion also had a great influence on the Viking culture. Vikings had a polytheist belief, which consisted of many warrior gods. One of the major gods in the Viking culture was Odin, the chief god, who proceeded over Valhalwhla, which is the warrior s heaven. Only through death in battle could a warrior enter Valhalla. Thus warriors fought unafraid and with pride. When a Viking died he was buried with many things that he might need in his journey to the Valhalla. Hence, Viking graves often contain Arab silver, Byzantine silks, Frankish weapons, Rhenish glass, and other products of an extensive trade. Just before 1000 AD King Olaf of Norway converted to Christianity and was baptized. He then made a public law that any Viking that did not convert to Christianity was put to death so most Vikings became Christians.
In conclusion, I have shown that the Vikings were a very interesting culture. They had an advanced way of attacking enemies and raiding communities using their incredible ships and warrior skills. They were a group of people who changed the way people did things for many generations after their reign.
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