Who Are They?
Vikings, meaning "People From The Bay", also have the meaning of plundering, killing and so on. Almost every Norse has some Viking blood flowing in its veins. Vikings were adventurers, merchants, warriors and pirates from the north.
They were active from the 8th to the 11th centuries. There are various legends about the Vikings, who are mainly described as ruthless slayers with stocky builds, pale skin, and red or blond hair in long braids.
Marks of History - Active Years
Historians and scholars of various schools have different views on exactly when the Viking Age began. But perhaps we can take the year 793 as the real beginning of this era of violence - the year in which the Vikings' burning and pillaging overseas was first documented in detail. More than two hundred years of trade, looting, construction and expansion followed. In 1066, King Harald Hadraada of Norway was defeated and killed in a raid in Yorkshire, England (historically known as the "Battle of Stamford Bridge"), which was an important symbol of the decline and demise of the Viking Age.
Range of Movement
If Genghis Khan was the most active on land, then the Vikings were on the water. They slaughtered and plundered from continental Europe, as far as Asia and North America. Between 800 and 1050 AD, they traveled eastward along the Baltic Sea into Kyiv, the capital of what is now Ukraine, as far north as the west coast of Greenland, and even reached the Americas 500 years before Columbus.
The most rapidly growing population in Nordic history was the Viking period. At that time the Vikings were actively looking for places to farm and do business. After the settlement, if it is confirmed that the local area has the potential for survival and development, it will be actively developed into towns, most of which are coastal cities or islands, such as Ribe and Aarhus in Denmark, Gotland in Sweden and the west coast of Norway. Dublin, the capital of Ireland, and Normandy, France were also built by Vikings.
Hierarchies and Institutions
Viking society has strict and well-established hierarchies, which are divided into three levels: Jarls, Karls and Thralls. Generally speaking, under the king at the top are the nobles (Jarls) such as dukes; then there are free people (Karls) who have their own land or craftsmen; the lowest is slaves (Thralls).
However, according to the records of the Rune stele, in reality, it is likely to be more complicated. Power and prestige are usually in the hands of powerful generals who have the ability to lead an army. And the freedmen were not all equal, and not all of them owned land. Family circumstances, wealth, fighting ability, ambition, and skills make some people more prominent. Participating in Viking raids or trade voyages is an important way to gain wealth, buy land, improve one's reputation, gain respect, and even be promoted to minor nobles.
Religion and Belief
In the eyes of Christians, the Vikings were pagans. The Vikings did not have an omniscient and almighty god, but polytheistic beliefs; Among them, the status of the three gods Odin, Thor, and Frey was the most important. In the late Viking period, King Harold Bluetooth of Denmark was baptized in 965 in order to stabilize his rule and prevent interference from the Holy Roman Empire and Germany, and worked hard and led the religious reform in the Nordic region, and polytheism was gradually replaced by Christianity.
According to Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg, Germany, the Vikings met every nine years in January at Lejre, Zealand, and offered sacrifices to their gods99 A living man and a multitude of horses, dogs, chickens and eagles.
The priestess (völva) and prophecy
In Viking times, priestesses were called "völva" and held a high status. They are so powerful that even the god Odin turns to them for advice and help.
Women's Past and Present
During the Viking period, the vast majority of women were housewives; but they were not weak, but powerfully in charge of their own land, property, and family affairs such as farming and textiles.
Compared with many other peoples, Viking women had many choices and rights; they could choose a future husband among several candidates, they could repent of their marriage, they could own land independently, and they could join their husbands in sea adventures and raids. Family wealth, you can unilaterally file for divorce - the reason can be that the husband has used violence against him 3 times, or the husband has neglected sex for 3 years.
However, in contemporary Northern Europe, gender equality is a prominent social phenomenon and feature. It is not uncommon for women to focus on careers, while men are "daddy" at home. In fact, if you walk on the streets of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway, the "baby dad" you can see everywhere is definitely a beautiful landscape.
Horned Helmet and Weapon
Many people think of the Vikings, and their first impression is the helmet with horns. Even local souvenir shops have many cute hats with horns, but in fact, except for the helmets used in two or three ceremonies (above Possibly a projection of a crow, a snake, or a bull's horn), and an inverted cone-shaped helmet, which Vikings did not live with. Swords, axes, bows, spears, and spears were all common offensive weapons in the Viking Age. In addition, defensive weapons include helmets, shields, and chain mail. Due to the high cost of production, long swords are usually reserved for nobles, while axes and spears are the usual choices for ordinary warriors. Over the millennia, the survival of these weapons has varied: longswords and axes are often preserved intact, while shields and chainmail are rarer.
Fashion and Trends
Due to the difficulty of preservation, the clothes of the Viking age have not survived well, and all we can see today are some scraps of fabrics. So our knowledge of Viking costumes comes primarily from text and images on tapestries. However, research in recent years has pointed out that Vikings were more of a fanatical suitor of color and fashion than the traditional image of brutality.
Like people today, Vikings dressed differently based on gender, age, and financial status. Men prefer trousers and tunics, and women usually wear a skirt over an inner lining. Clothing materials are generally locally produced, such as wool and linen, usually woven by homemakers. In addition, some imported costumes, such as silk and gold thread from the Byzantine Empire, have also been found from the tombs of those wealthy lords.
Time travels to today, the descendants of the Vikings are still the pursuit and leader of fashion and color. Either eye-catching or warm, the simple Nordic design without the complicated decoration has become an important weather vane of the world fashion trend.
In many Viking sites, many silver ornaments or coins have been excavated. They are usually found in a small storage state known as the "Viking Hoard". Some of these treasures weigh dozens of kilograms. In addition to silver jewelry, silver coins, and sometimes more valuable gold jewelry. Among them, viking silver jewelry is mostly necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and other accessories. In wealthier regions such as Gotland, there are even jewelry boxes made of silver, and the remains of women in many tombs have been found wearing jewelry. Some of these coins are treasures plundered by the occupation of various places at that time, some are obtained from business with neighboring countries, and some are used for weighing units. Of course, silver was also the main currency of exchange during the Viking period.
To this day, there is still a saying in Denmark, "If silver can speak, it must speak Danish." It can be seen that the Danes are proud of their silver jewelry making tradition and craftsmanship. And this tradition and skill can be traced back to the Viking period when the silverware culture flourished, which is now highly sought after by young women from all over the world.