The Vikings

Here is a totally different subject shown here in interesting terminology. I like to write and learn about a multiplicity of topics. Obviously, I don’t share a resemblance to the Vikings in more ways than one if you know what I mean. LOL. I will show real jewels not cubic zironicas. A human being should be well versed in many facets of the world. The Vikings had a long and interesting history. They are full of controversial and cultural dynamics. I learned a lot of their history when I took a college course on Middle Age history more than seven years ago. They are famous for their long explorations among continents. They explored and settled in Europe, inside of northern Africa, parts of Asia, and the North Atlantic islands from the 700's to the 1000's A.D. They were diverse. The Vikings existed as explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates. They go by many names. They are called Norsemen since most of them came from Scandinavia. This region has a strong cultural Germanic heritage. Today, Scandinavia is composed of human beings of all sorts of backgrounds not just Germanic speaking human beings. The name of Scandinavia comes from Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History.” Pliny the Elder was an ancient Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher. He was a personal friend of the Emperor Vespasian. He lived from 23 to 79 A.D. In the Upper Paleolithic age, the ice receded from the Ice Age. Reindeer grazed later in the flat lands of Denmark and southernmost Sweden. Tribes hunted over large territories in the Ahrensburg cultures. In the Neolithic Age or the New Stone Age, the Ertebølle

people learnt pottery from neighboring tribes in the south, who had begun to cultivate the land and keep animals. They too started to cultivate the land, and by 3000 BC they became part of the megalithic Funnelbeaker culture. The Funnelbeaker tribes by the 3,000’s B.C. traveled into Sweden up to Uppland.
During the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, Scandinavia had limited tools created form stone, bronze, and iron. There are some jewelry, ornaments, and stone burial cairns in the region. Researchers have found stone drawings called petroglyphs in the region thousands of years ago too. The Germanic tribes took possible influence from the Mycenaeans and other Mediterranean peoples. Germanic tribes grew and this growth influenced the development of the Viking movement.

The ancient Scandinavians organized large communities with chieftains and maritime warriors (as also traders and plunderers). Tim Osterholm wrote an interesting article entitled, "A History of the Swedish people: Where did the Swedes come from?" It shows DNA evidence, historical information, and other interesting information on ancient Scandinavian history (especially as it pertains to the nation of Sweden). He makes the cases that the Swedes heavily came from the migratory Thracians. Thracians existed from Bulgaria during the days of the ancient Greek golden age of Pericles. Pericles was a famous political leader in ancient Greece that made government reform and he allowed the development of the Athenian Empire in the midst of competing Greek city states in that region. He organized Athenian democracy in ancient Greece too, which he is famous for.

The ancient Latin writers and the Greeks called the land of Scandinavia Scandia. They or the Vikings were a critical part of the European medieval historical experience. Their voyages heavily consisted of long ships. Their destinations included places like Constantinople, Russia (along the Volga River), Iceland, Greenland, Al-Andaulus (in Spain), and as far west as Newfoundland. There is much debate on why the Vikings expanded their influence throughout the old world. Professor Rudolf Simek said

that: " is not a coincidence if the early Viking activity occurred during the reign of Charlemagne..." In the period of the late 700's, Christianity finally penetrated Scandinavia. Christianity
was developed from its very beginning from controversy. It grew up from the influence of Judaism. Its early followers were peaceful and they opposed the dictates of the Roman Empire, especially its rules of viewing the Emperor as a god. Many Christians were feed to the lions in ancient Rome, because they refused to follow the blasphemous dictates of the Roman Empire. Christianity spread across the Earth very fast in less than 600 years after the birth of Jesus Christ. The issue of Christianity caused conflict and division in Norway for almost a century. The reason is that the Norse believed in polytheistic paganism for the most part centuries ago, which was religiously antithetical to the monotheistic religion of Christianity. Some feel that the growth of the Norse population outgrown the agricultural potential of their Scandinavian homeland. So, people spread in order to get more resources in other lands. Divisions in Charlemagne's empire and in England cased the Vikings to easily conquer some of the lands in France plus England. Western Europe didn't have a great naval opposition to repel Viking influence. Trade was really low during the late 700's among Europe and Eurasia. The Vikings can and did heavily profited from the Old Wrld international trade causing them to expand their traditional boundaries. There are tons of Viking figures in the world. Bagsecg was a Viking who invaded and pillaged in England during the year of 870. He was killed in 871 at the Battle of Ashdown. Cnut the Great was the Viking King of England, Denmark, and Norway (including some of Sweden). He is considered the greatest Viking king. Cnut the Great's father was Sweyn Forkbeard and Cnut was the grandson of Harold Bluetooth. Cnut the Great was a member of the dynasty that was key to the unification and Christianization of Denmark. He has been called the Emperor of the North, because he possessed huge political power in Medieval Europe (as compared the Holy Roman Empire in central & southern Europe). A lot of folks already know about William the Conqueror's story. He was a famous Viking. He ruled Normandy (in northwest France) and won the Battle of Hastings in 1066. He was a Norman French speaking fifth generation descendant of the Viking war leader named Rollo. Rollo was the first Scandinavian ruler of Normandy. Norman historians like Dudo of St. Quentin still celebrated the Old Norse heritage of the ducal dynasty. William's great great uncle was the great Danish king Cnut the Great. The Norman assertion of power in England came after the invasion of 1066. This saw the end of the Anglo-Saxon rule in England. Ironically, the Angles and the Saxons invaded Britain centuries (during the days of the Roman Empire when the UK was filled with Celts and Romans) before William the Conqueror. The Vikings have a long and interesting history even after ca. 1000 A.D. Their ancestors are of course the Indo-European peoples. The Indo-Europeans during the ancient times consisted of nomads, shepherds, worshippers of nature (they love the oak), and those that worshipped numerous pagan gods plus goddess. The Indo-Europeans' languages evolved into modern Italian, English, Spanish, French, and

other tongues on the European continent (including the tongue of Sanskrit of India). Now, The IndoEuropeans started to heavily migrate out of the regions of the Caspian Sea (or Southern Steppes of Russia) heavily from ca. 4,000 B.C. There was the Bronze Age in Scandinavia by 1500 B.C. The Bronze Age in human history was when most humans in a particular age heavily utilized bronze materials for farming, for defense, for construction, for art, and for other various purposes. The Iron Age grew in Scandinavia by 500 B.C. Many in Scandinavia didn't like the Romans at all. Some of them sacrificed people in bogs. Romans like Tacitus writes about the Germanic peoples in his account called "Germania." There were famous Kings of Denmark during the 9th century like King Harald and King Horik Godfredsson. Many of the Danes in the 9th century organized raids in Moorish Spain and the United Kingdom. They wanted resources and more power for their societal composition. They developed long, advanced ships to spread across vast oceans and to unique territories beyond their homeland of Scandinavia. In 1014 A.D., Ard-Righ Brian Boru defeated the Norse in Ireland at the battle of Clontarf. Both Brian and Jarl Singurdhr of Orkney are slain as well. After 1066, Viking culture continued to grow and increased. Vikings weren't all monolithic. Not all of them were a bunch of imperialists. In ca. 11171118 A.D., the first Icelandic law code was first written down called Gragas. In 1122 A.D., Ari Thorgilsson wrote Isleningabok. This book is a key part of early Icelandic literature. Islendingabok or Libellus Islandorum refers to the Book of the Icelanders. It describes the history of Iceland. Ari was an Icelandic priest. The book is divided into 10 chapters. It said that Iceland was settled in the days of Harald I of Norway by immigrants from Norway. The first settler named Ingolfur Arnarson arrived in Reykjavik. Some Irish monks came earlier who were called the Papar. They left, because they didn't want to live with the "pagan" Norsemen. The coast to the mountains of Iceland according to the book is heavily forested. The book said that a man named Ulfjotr gave people in Iceland laws from Norway. It described Iceland's religious conversion to Christianity, settlers like Erik the Red coming into Greenland, and many other aspects of Icelandic history. In the 1200's, Icelandic sages or various stories came about. One of the most interesting aspects of the history of the Vikings was their interactions with the Native Americans. This occurred long before the time of Christopher Columbus. The archaeologist Patricia Sutherland researched this issue for a long time. The Vikings were famous explorers. The Scandinavian Vikings wanted to find land, gold, treasure, and resources throughout the world. They traveled heavily in the eighth century in Scotland, England, and Ireland. The Viking colonists made farming settlements and filled storehouses with Arctic luxuries inside of Greenland. They traded in walrus ivory, and narwhal tusks in Europe. Between 989 and 1020 A.D., Viking seafarers in the numbers of 90 men and women in all landed on a Newfoundland shore and raised 3 sturdy halls and an assortment of sod huts for weaving, ironworking, and ship repair. In the 1960s a Norwegian adventurer, Helge Ingstad, and his archaeologist wife, Anne Stine Ingstad, discovered and excavated the overgrown ruins of this ancient base camp at a place called L’Anse aux Meadows. Later, Canadian archaeologists found iron ship rivets and other artifacts from what appeared to be a Viking shipwreck off the coast of Ellesmere Island. But in the years that followed, few other traces of the Vikings’ legendary exploration of the New World came to light—that is, until Patricia Sutherland came along. Sutherland and her field crew can into Tanfield Valley. She found areas of Viking settlement in North America. There were no permanent colonies in the North American continent by the Vikings. They wanted to exploit natural resources like furs and lumber since these resources were in short supply in Greenland. A lot of times, the Vikings had a hostile relationship with the Native Americans. The Norse called the Native Americans Skraelings. The Native Americans the Vikings probably encountered were the Eskimos. The Native Americans back then wore clothing which was made up of animal skin. The Inuit Native Americans made stories about the Norse Vikings. They called them Kavdlunait or foreigner or European. Their interactions mostly were about conflict and violence. This hindered peaceful cohabitation and successful colonization by the Norse explorers. Of course, European colonization is related to imperialism, so I want to make that clear. The Viking Age ended by many factors. Many Vikings wanted to stay in the placed in Europe that they resided in. They ended their long migratory exploratory travels in the Old World including the New World. Many converted to Christianity back in their original homelands. The Kings of Scandinavia made taxes and the economy developed into more trade with raiding territories. That is why you can witness better economic development by peaceful collaboration and legitimate trading among nation states without brutal wars or hardcore raids on various territories. Many European Kingdoms were more centralized and focused. This caused these European areas to be better able to defend themselves from Viking attacks.

So, both sides learned to trade and deal with each other without conflict. The Norsemen built graves in the shape of boats. They absorbed outside influences as well. The Vikings meet new peoples, traded in their cultural influences, and they allowed the world to be smaller. The Viking sword was a strong weapon. This allowed the Vikings to be fierce warriors. It is called the Ulfberht sword. It was a high tech tool of its time. The Germanic human beings worshipped a god called Tiwaz. Lief Eriksson called the land in North American Vinland. This name was given to the St. Lawrence River area where there were an abundance of wild grapes that the Norsemen found that would make a very great of wine. There is some substantial evidence that Inuit and other American Arctic human beings came into Europe before Columbus' voyage. There has been contact between the indigenous Americans and the Norse of Greenland as early as the 11th century. In 1099, Norse explorer Thorfinn Karlsefni captured two Native American boys from Markland or Labrador and took them to Greenland. They were taught to speak Norse and baptized. Genetics prove that the Scandinavia DNA has been found in places like Liverpool, Wirral, and West Lancashire. The Vikings had major trade routes through Russia leading to Baghdad. There were major Scandinavian settlements in Novgorod along the Dnieper River. That is why some Russians not all of them have Scandinavian like phenotypes. During this time period, the Roman Catholic Church dominated Europe religiously. The Holy Roman Empire was monarchical and was very theocratic. Back in those days in Europe, if you expressed controversial opinion on various issues, you could be imprisoned or killed. So, the Vikings lived in a controversial time period.

The Vikings influenced Russia too. Although, the history of Russia existed long before the Vikings came into the country of Russia too. So, I want to make that perfectly clear. The Vikings were called the "Varangians" in the East. The Vikings were involved in trade and piracy all over the world. In the mid 800's A.D., the Vikings traveled along waterways from the Eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas. One Varangian named Rurik was the elected ruler or knyaz of Novogorod in ca. 860 A.D. His successors moved south and extended their authority to Kiev. Kiev was already ruled by the Khazars before the Varangians came. The Vikings formed the Kievan Rus by Prince Oleg. The Kievan Rus traded in furs, wax, and slaves between Scandinavia and throughout the Byzantine Empire. In the 900's, the Norse minority merged with the majority Slavic population. Prince Vladimir I of 988 adopted the religion of Christianity. His father was of the Rurik dynasty (filled with Vikings). Vladimir was once polytheistic until he heard the message of the Greek Orthodox Church. In the 1200's, people realized that the Mongols (they were an Asian group of people who organized a vast Empire from Mongolia to Eastern Europe during the 1200's A.D.) took over Russia.

By Timothy

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