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The Viking era, unions, wars and independence has shaped Norwegian society and people through thousands of years. Getting to know the complete history of Norway is an arduous task, so check out this Brief History of Norway.

When your every-day activities include pillaging villages and exploring the impressive fjords in Norway, you are going to need a lot of energy to sustain yourself.

This means eating some pretty astonishing meals in order to maintain proper health with such an active lifestyle. It goes without saying that eating filet mignon or waffles was obviously out of the question in the Viking Age.

So, what exactly did Vikings eat? Keep reading to learn more about the average Viking diet. Many tourists who travel to Norway are eager to learn more about the history of the Vikings.

The Vikings were fascinating, complex people. Although they are primarily known as fierce warriors, they also engaged in trade and transport across much of Europe and built incredibly advanced ships that fascinate historians to this day.

Here is some of what we know about how and where the Vikings traveled during the late 8th to the 11th century.

The Vikings lived a primarily nomadic lifestyle. However, when the Vikings did settle in towns and farms for either short or long periods of time, they built homes often referred to as longhouses.

No history of Norway is complete without mention of the Vikings. The Vikings were Scandinavian seafarers who raided and traded goods across a wide swath of Europe from the 8th to the 11th century.

Viking ships were used for transport, trade, and warfare. You have disabled JavaScript, some functionality on this website requires it enabled.

Viking helmet Go Viking Norway in winter is for vikings, of heritage or in heart. We refer to the season between Sep-April as Viking season.

It is an adventure both visual and visceral, and bound to leave you with lasting impressions of snow capped mountains and icy fjords.

Norway Winter Tours. Duration Customize - 1 day or more Sognefjord in a nutshell Winter tour. Duration Customize - 2 days or more Sognefjord in a nutshell Winter tour - Go Large!

Hardangerfjord in a nutshell Winter tour. Hardangerfjord in a nutshell Winter Tour - Go Active! Viking Activities.

Njardarheimr Viking Village in Gudvangen Join in on an exciting and incredible journey which will take you back over a thousand Duration 2h, 30min.

The Viking trail - Sverrestigen from Voss. Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids, colonization, and conquest.

In the Viking Age, the present day nations of Norway, Sweden and Denmark did not exist, but were largely homogeneous and similar in culture and language, although somewhat distinct geographically.

The names of Scandinavian kings are reliably known for only the later part of the Viking Age. After the end of the Viking Age the separate kingdoms gradually acquired distinct identities as nations, which went hand-in-hand with their Christianisation.

Thus the end of the Viking Age for the Scandinavians also marks the start of their relatively brief Middle Ages. Colonization of Iceland by Norwegian Vikings began in the ninth century.

The first source mentioning Iceland and Greenland is a papal letter of Twenty years later, they appear in the Gesta of Adam of Bremen. It was not until after , when the islands had become Christianized, that accounts of the history of the islands were written from the point of view of the inhabitants in sagas and chronicles.

They raided and pillaged, traded, acted as mercenaries and settled colonies over a wide area. Later in their history, they began to settle in other lands.

This expansion occurred during the Medieval Warm Period. 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 Vikings witnessed the violent subduing of the Saxons by Charlemagne , in the thirty-year Saxon Wars of — 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 south coast of the Baltic Sea was ruled by the Obotrites , a federation of Slavic tribes loyal to the Carolingians and later the Frankish empire.

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.

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.

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.

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 Kievan Rus 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.

While the Vikings were active beyond their Scandinavian homelands, Scandinavia was itself experiencing new influences and undergoing a variety of cultural changes.

By the late 11th century, royal dynasties were legitimised by the Catholic Church which had had little influence in Scandinavia years earlier which were asserting their power with increasing authority and ambition, with the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden taking 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.

Christianity had taken root in Denmark and Norway with the establishment of dioceses in the 11th century, and the new religion was beginning to organise and assert itself more effectively in Sweden.

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 from other European peoples. 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, that are contained in these literary writings.

Indirectly, the Vikings have also left a window open onto their language, culture and activities, through many Old Norse place names and words found in their former sphere of influence.

Some of these place names and words are still in direct use today, almost unchanged, and shed light on where they settled and what specific places meant to them.

Viking influence is also evident in concepts like the present-day parliamentary body of the Tynwald on the Isle of Man. 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 for this 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. 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 runestones are unevenly distributed in Scandinavia: Denmark has runestones, Norway has 50 while Iceland has none.

The Swedish district of Uppland has the highest concentration with as many as 1, inscriptions in stone, whereas Södermanland is second with The majority of runic inscriptions from the Viking period are found in Sweden.

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. Among them include the England runestones Swedish : Englandsstenarna which is a group of about 30 runestones in Sweden which refer to Viking Age voyages to England.

They were engraved in Old Norse with the Younger Futhark. 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 how the Vikings referred to the Byzantium territories generally , [] Khwaresm , [] Jerusalem , [] Italy as Langobardland , [] Serkland i.

Viking Age inscriptions have also been discovered on the Manx runestones on the Isle of Man. The last known people to use the Runic alphabet were an isolated group of people known as the Elfdalians , that lived in the locality of Älvdalen in the Swedish province of Dalarna.

They spoke the language of Elfdalian , the language unique to Älvdalen. The Elfdalian language differentiates itself from the other Scandinavian languages as it evolved much closer to Old Norse.

The people of Älvdalen stopped using runes as late as the s. Usage of runes therefore survived longer in Älvdalen than anywhere else in the world.

Traditionally regarded as a Swedish dialect, [] but by several criteria closer related to West Scandinavian dialects, [] Elfdalian is a separate language by the standard of mutual intelligibility.

Residents in the area who speak only Swedish as their sole native language, neither speaking nor understanding Elfdalian, are also common.

Älvdalen can be said to have had its own alphabet during the 17th and 18th century. Today there are about 2, native speakers of Elfdalian.

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. 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.

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 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. 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 went 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.

After the age of 20, an unmarried woman, referred to as maer and mey , reached legal majority and had the right to decide her place of residence and was regarded as her own person before the law.

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.

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 manufacturing of such antler combs was common, as at the Viking settlement at Dublin hundreds of examples of combs from the tenth-century have survived, suggesting that grooming was a common practice.

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.

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. 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 dunk 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 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 for example was 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 indicated 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.

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, that is, the weight of precious metals.

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 a 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'.

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. Vikings have served as an inspiration for numerous video games , such as The Lost Vikings , Age of Mythology , and For Honor Modern reconstructions of Viking mythology have shown a persistent influence in late 20th- and early 21st-century popular culture in some countries, inspiring comics, movies, television series, role-playing games, computer games, and music, including Viking metal , a subgenre of heavy metal music.

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. 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 general misconception that Viking warriors wore horned helmets was partly promulgated by the 19th-century enthusiasts of Götiska Förbundet , founded in in Stockholm.

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.

Horned helmets from the Bronze Age were shown in petroglyphs and appeared in archaeological finds see Bohuslän and Vikso helmets.

They were probably used for ceremonial purposes. Cartoons like Hägar the Horrible and Vicky the Viking , and sports kits such as those of the Minnesota Vikings and Canberra Raiders have perpetuated the myth of the horned helmet.

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. Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates. Contemporary countries. Denmark Finland Iceland Norway Sweden.

Other topics. Main article: Viking Age. Main article: Viking expansion. Main article: Runestone. The Lingsberg Runestone in Sweden.

Runic inscriptions of the larger of the Jelling Stones in Denmark. Two types of Norse runestones from the Viking Age.

See also: Norse funeral and Ship burial. Burial mounds Gamla Uppsala. Examples of Viking burial mounds and stone set graves, collectively known as tumuli.

Main article: Viking ships. Prow of the Oseberg ship , at Oslo Museum. A reconstructed longship. Two typical viking ships.

Main article: Viking Age arms and armour. Viking swords. This section appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated references to popular culture.

Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture, providing citations to reliable, secondary sources , rather than simply listing appearances.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. December Play media. Main article: Horned helmet.

Constructs such as ibid. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references quick guide , or an abbreviated title. August Learn how and when to remove this template message.

The Vikings. Cambridge University Press. The term 'Viking' This is the narrow, and technically the only correct use of the term 'Viking,' but in such expressions as 'Viking civilisation,' 'the Viking age,' 'the Viking movement,' 'Viking influence,' the word has come to have a wider significance and is used as a concise and convenient term for describing the whole of the civilisation, activity and influence of the Scandinavian peoples, at a particular period in their history, and to apply the term 'Viking' in its narrower sense to these movements would be as misleading as to write an account of the age of Elizabeth and label it 'The Buccaneers.

Historical Dictionary of the Vikings. Scarecrow Press. Viking is not merely another way of referring to a medieval Scandinavian. Technically, the word has a more specific meaning, and it was used only infrequently by contemporaries of the Vikings to refer to those Scandinavians, usually men, who attacked their contemporaries Simpson, Jacqueline The Viking World.

Strictly speaking, therefore, the term Viking should only be applied to men actually engaged in these violent pursuits, and not to every contemporary Scandinavian

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