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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
Scandinavia may only be a relatively small set of countries, but it was home to some of the most fearsome and powerful warriors ever to live, the Vikings. Known often for their brutality and fearlessness in battle, the Vikings were far more than just raiders and pirates preying on coastal towns and seizing their treasures. This particularly savage image of the Vikings comes from the writings of those who were witness to Viking attacks, so in other words, their victims. Whilst I’m not contesting that the Vikings did indeed carry out vicious raids, written accounts of history are always subjective and it’s likely these victims may have over exaggerated the brutality and strength of the Vikings to account for the fact that they had been defeated by them.
One such example of this is the infamous Viking image of a horned helmet. Beastly fighters wearing horns on their armour and helmets creates an image of hellish fighters, an enemy that any army might be forgiven for being defeated by. In reality all archaeological evidence to date shows no such truth; the Vikings wore simple armours made predominantly of iron and leather. The truth is that the horned image of the Vikings has been elaborated in tales and paintings of their conquests to create a more fearsome and barbaric image of them. All in all the Vikings don’t get enough credit, so allow me to tell you a little more about the Norsemen and their culture….
The Vikings originated in modern day Denmark, Norway and Sweden (before they were unified countries like they are today), very harsh and rural lands. The Vikings didn’t have large cities like Ancient empires such as Egypt, Greece or Rome, rather the Vikings were small collections of villages with most making a meagre living off of the land/animals through farming and/or by fishing as Scandinavia is surrounded by so much water. Therefore, given that they were hardy people and expert sailors but with little to live off of in their homelands it made sense that the Vikings sail to new lands which they had heard tale of from travelling merchants, lands like Angleland (modern day England) with fertile soils and trading capitals. And so it was that the first Viking raid was recorded in 793 landing at Lindisfarne on the East coast of England, plundering a monastery there for its riches. Within a few years they had raided parts of Scotland, Ireland and even France, plundering the walled city of Paris.
Though the first few Viking raids were a few boatloads of men plundering, killing and sailing away they soon evolved into whole villages and communities settling in these new more hospitable and fertile lands, at least over the harsh winters. In Ireland the Vikings built fortified port towns including Dublin, creating the base for it to become the future capital of the country. In France the Vikings besieged Paris, in Scotland they created their own earldom, overthrowing the local system and in England they had greatest success defeating the English kings in their kingdoms one by one till only Wessex remained.
IMAGE SOURCE: http://vikings.wikia.com/wiki/File:Vikings_S02P12,_cast.png