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Vikings - Norsemen Raiders

Scandinavian Vikings conducted both violent raids and peaceful commerce across much of Europe for around 3 centuries.

Introduction

Vikings or the Norsemen were the members of the Scandinavian seafarers who were famous warriors, traders, and pirates. They raided and colonized the bigger parts of Europe starting from the eighth century and on to the eleventh century. They used their longships to travel far and wide reaching as far as Constantinople and Russia to the east and as far as Newfoundland to the west.The period of Viking expansion is commonly known as the Viking age. The region they controlled was through the levying of taxes and represented an early form of imperialism which was reminiscent of the Roman Empire. The Vikings were known for their fierceness and pillaging raids. They started their attacks along the coastal monasteries that were undefended within the British Isles, and over the next 300 years, they left a significant mark as the most notorious raiders, pirates, and the most accomplished traders of the medieval period.

Early Raids

In the year 793AD, marked the beginning of the Viking age when a monastery in northern England, off the coast of Northumberland, was attacked.Unlike other invaders, the Vikings never had any respect for religious institutions like the monasteries. Two years later the Vikings again struck the monasteries of Iona and the Skye among others in parts of the present-day coast of Ireland. Initially, the Vikings were engaging on a hit and run raids on most of their targets in several regions across Europe. Eventually, they became daring because of the conflicts in Europe and extended their attacks further inland. When Emperor Louis of Frankia, the modern day France and Germany died in 840AD, the son made friendship with the Vikings to support him in a power struggle against his brothers.Soon, other Vikings noticed that Frankish leaders were willing to pay them money not to attack their subjects.

Chief Rollo the Viking

Chief Rollo, the Viking adventurer, was exiled from Norway as a result of lawlessness around 900AD. He was a successful raider and went to Scotland where he married a Christian woman. Later he went to Ireland and France where raiding was rife and looting presented opportunities for riches. In 911AD the king of West Frankish gave Rouen and the nearby area through a treaty to the Viking chief Rollo in exchange for securing the Seine from other raiders. The region is in North France now known as Normandy. Rollo converted to Christianity and was baptized by the archbishop of Rouen.

Religion of the Viking

The religion of the Norsemen or the Vikings was known as Paigants or the Norse paganism. They practiced polytheistic religion, where they had several deities. Presently this type of worship is called Asatru.The gods and goddesses of the Vikings were fashioned around their way of life. Some of the deities include Odin, Freya, Loki, Thor and many others. For instance, Aesir was the god responsible for law, while Vanir were the gods of the earth, magic, fertilization, and women.

Myths about the Vikings

There is always the misconception that the Vikings wore helmets with horns, but there is no evidence to support the myth.Although the Vikings had helmets, they were not with horns as presented in stories and movies.There is also the belief that the Vikings pillaged as the only means of living, which is not true. Most Vikings were craftsmen, farmers, and traders. The Vikings who took to the sea used pillaging as one among the many ways of their expeditions. The majority of Vikings were peaceful, and they settled in different parts of Europe like Greenland and Iceland.

Vikings - Norsemen Raiders

VikingsFacts
LanguageOld Norse
Viking Era8th-11th Centuries AD
HomelandScandinavia
Best Known ForSailing, Raids, and Conquests
ReligionNorse Mythology (initially) and Christianity (later)

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