As long as you’re alive, there will always be some facts that are still uncovered. The only way to know them is by exploring history. One such curious and explorable subject is the Vikings. The Vikings were much more than a bunch of warriors. They were the people who had the potential to transform into an age. The history of the Vikings can be traced back to 793 A.D. Vikings are generally referred to as seafaring people, also known as Norsemen. The people in the Viking society were great warriors, explorers, traders and settlers
It all started with an attack on the holy, rich, and unprotected monastery of Lindisfarne and then to other undefended monasteries. However, the actual reason behind such invading and attacking is still questionable. There could be many reasons for invading rich and unprotected areas, viz. lack of marriageable women, a desire for slave labor, or to expand trade networks.
The article is designed to cover the facts, myths, background of the Vikings to know their roots in the history of the Vikings.
Vikings and their Era
Since the attack on the monastery off the coast popular as North East England in 793 AD, Vikings started to expand their territory. To know about Vikings, it is essential to understand where are Vikings from. They belong to Scandinavia, well known as Norway, Denmark and Sweden today. In the 8th century, they ventured out and invaded many parts of Europe and Russia. The ships of Vikings were important to them as they used them as a symbol of their power. They used ships as their mode of transport, trading, and war.
The weapons were made of iron and were enough to know the societal status of the Viking men as only the rich Viking can afford the expensive iron weapons. The complete set of weaponry involves a sword, sax (a short sword), ax, spear, bow and arrows, shield, helmet, and chainmail. However, the poorer Viking could only have access to an ax or a spear and a shield.
Etymology: The term “Viking” was derived from the old Norse language. There is a word called “víkingr,” which means pirate or raider. Being the seafaring Scandinavian, it is the most suitable term for Vikings.
What was it like to live as a Viking?
All the information about the traditional Viking background is mentioned in this section. The Viking society was patriarchal, having importance and power to the women too. The daily tasks of the Viking men involved fishing, raiding, exploring, and invading. However, the women were generally involved in their domestic tasks, including taking care of the family and fulfilling all their needs. Viking women used to take all their men’s charges when they were away from home.
The Viking kids didn’t use to go to the schools; their learning was different by then. The boys used to get all learning and training from their fathers, brothers, or male members of their family. Similarly, the girls were busy helping their mothers and aunts to do all the domestic chores. Reaching the age from 12 to 15, Vikings boys and girls were usually married.
The societal hierarchy among the Vikings
The Vikings society was divided into three classes:
- Kings: There was a lack of government during the Viking era, but there was the rule of kings or chiefs over the towns.
- Aristocrats: The highest class of their society was known as the Jarls. They were the wealthiest among the Vikings. These are next to kings who used to have the best houses. They used to be employers who let other Vikings do jobs under them.
- Lower class: Just below the status of the Jarls, the lower class is known as Karls, used to survive. This category includes farmers, craftsmen, sailors, and warriors.
- Slaves: The slaves were the bottom line dwellers of Vikings society. They were known as thralls.
Vikings and their work culture:
Vikings were basically warriors and the risk-takers that tended to conquer and expand their territories. However, at the same time, there were few Vikings who chose to live peacefully by spending their lives as traders or farmers. They used to trade amber, fur, wool, and leather. The Vikings who chose to spend their life being farmers used to support their families by working from home. They used to have lots of fun and joy. They used to consume mead, an alcoholic beer-like brew sweetened by honey.
Therefore, the Vikings’ working background is very important to figure out who the vikings and what their life holds for them.
The Vikings who chose to spend their life being a farmer used to support their families. They used to have lots of fun and joy. They used to consume mead, an alcoholic beer-like brew sweetened by honey.
See Also: Top 12 Most Famous Vikings From History
End of Viking era
The Viking era lasted for more than a couple of sanctuaries. The Viking age ended with the last two battles, i.e., in Ireland in 1014 and Yorkshire in 1066. The Viking age ended as the Northmen started living raid-free in the pre-occupied settlements in Iceland and Greenland. The reason behind the termination of raiding is that with time the raiding had become less profitable. By then, there were less rich men, and Europe had got advancement in the central authorities as they had built standing armies that were trained enough of handling the Vikings attack. Even the monasteries used to be an easy raid had built defendable towers, and most of them moved inland, which was not accessible by the Vikings ships.
There was another significant event that has brought a revolution or termination of Viking raids at the end of the 11 century, and that is the inclusion of Christianity and church.
The history of the Vikings could be considered a glorious journey from the 8th to 11th centuries. This article is prepared for the fans of Vikings to find out about the legendary Vikings.