Who were the Vikings: origin, society and history –

They impress with their attire, their looks, and their stories. But do you really know who the Vikings were? In this post we explain Who were the Vikings: origin, society and history That surrounds them.

Origin of the Vikings

Vikings or norse pirates. They were Scandinavian men who had a great passion for wealth and navigation skills, two characteristics that led them to travel throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, invading places and carrying out raids. In Europe they became popular precisely for this between the 8th and 11th centuries. However, not everything is bad when we talk about Vikings and they also contributed their grain of sand to society and history, because they were great merchants and even on occasion they became protectors of the emperor due to their guerrilla personality because they were not afraid of death.

Regarding its etymology, there is no unanimity. Perhaps it only refers to the name of the Norwegian district of Viken where they come from. Although on the other hand, the term vinkgr was used to name pirates in the Old Norse language. While if we go to the runic alphabet, vikingr and viking means the man who leaves his homeland to travel in search of adventure and fortune. In addition, the Germans referred to the Vikings as the “ash men”, because they used the wood of this tree to build their ships.

Territory inhabited by the Vikings

Viking navigation routes begin around the year 790, taking the Norwegian Sea and the Baltic Sea as a starting point and reaching to south. The Vikings came to have a presence not only in the Scandinavian territories such as Norway, Sweden or Denmark, but also in many others and, especially, in Britain. Apart from this, in the political sphere they came to have power in places like Iceland, Greenland, Orkney and Faroes, and the Shetland Islands.

They also reached France, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. And they even made it to North Africa, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and the Middle East.

In continental Europe, however, the invasion was less because the existing kingdoms, among which we can mention the Saxons in Germany, were strong and did not allow the Vikings to impose their law.

The Viking Society

They weren’t just cruel and ruthless crooks. The Vikings were men of great intelligence and, despite their brutish appearance, they were pioneers in many historical milestones, although it is also true that luck smiled on them. They did not use compasses, maps, nor did they conscientiously plan their trips.

But this did not stop them sail the seas of half the world and discover points of geography almost unknown in his time. They were only guided by the stars and by some stones that were capable of capturing sunlight even on cloudy days. They sailed facing the sun to determine their course.

They traveled in large boats made of solid wood and with a dragon as a symboland from which they traded, fought and defended territories while frightening the population to attack and rob them, distinguishing up to three varieties of ships according to their use and purpose.

Very loyal to the laws, customs, religion, beliefs and traditions of their land, they were only moved by lust for wealth. If they could attack, they attacked, if they could profit, they did business by trading or becoming protective servants of some personality. And if they saw that they did not exactly have the upper hand, they mixed with the natives, adapting to the place. That is, they were guerrillas, yes, but very intelligent and pragmatic.

Especially curious is the role of the woman, which due to their husbands’ trips, had to spend long periods alone and taking care of the farms. Therefore, they were prepared, active, intelligent women who allowed themselves the luxury of have some other lover in the absence of their husbands. And there was even divorce.

Despite the bad reputation since they were quite drunk, the Vikings were very clean. They bathed once a week, but washed and combed daily. His vices were beer and hallucinogens.

Learn more about the Viking woman:

viking culture

It is true that they were not very educated, as we have seen. But despite their lack of training, the Vikings were travelers, discoverers, conquerors and also poets and even they invented an alphabetthe of runes.

So whether it was by chance, intuition or luck, but the Vikings were great men and women who made their mark on humanity.

Viking religion

Regarding the religious field, the Vikings did not have a religion as we know it, but they moved by pure interest, giving hoping to receive in return. In this sense, they practiced human sacrifices even. Although this was in the oldest time. They did not practice public worship but private, each one to his favorite deity and in exchange for obtaining a favor.

The wars of the vikings

There were many wars where Vikings participated. But if there is one to cite, it is certainly the Battle of Stamford. It marked the end of the Viking Age after the defeat of the last Viking leader at the hands of the Duke of Normandy. The battle of largs We also have to name it, as it marked the end of the Viking hegemony in Scotland by the monarch’s troops.

fall of the vikings

The Battle of Hastings it marked the end of Viking hegemony in the year 1066. It was a defeat at the hands of William I the Conqueror. And it is believed that the Vikings became extinct, in the first place because the majority were converting to Christianity. And, furthermore, the battle of stamford bridge it meant the death of one of its last most guerrilla representatives, King Harald III the Merciless.

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