What About the Vikings? Essay

Submitted By DreamPhoenix
Words: 931
Pages: 4

Let us start with who the Vikings were. The Vikings (from Old Norse víkingr) were a Germanic people who raided, traded, explored, and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia, and the North Atlantic islands through sea fare, from the late 8th to mid-11th centuries. They employed wooden long ships with wide, shallow-draft hulls, allowing navigation through the rough waters of the ocean or in shallow riverwaters. Now, how about cultures and migration, such as where certain lines of heritage came from? Have you ever asked yourself about the famous Vikings, where they came from, or where they might have gone? While there’s a lot of debate between historians about the Viking expansions, they have a few ideas about the Vikings and their travels. One idea about the reason behind the Viking’s beginning is that they had exceeded the agricultural potential of their homeland, therefore were unable to grow and harvest food any longer. Realizing they needed resources to survive they resorted to desperate measures, such as building ships and taking to the sea. They eventually found land, and proceeded to pillage said found land, taking the food and supplies that they’d need to survive, along with raping the people of that land, and moving on to do so again in another place. Alternatively, some people propose that the Viking expansion was driven by a youth bulge effect. Since traditions said the eldest son of the family inherited the estates, the younger sons were forced to look toward immigrating or engaging in raids for something to do with their life. But there’s a problem with these ideas; there was no rise in population, youth bulge, or decrease in agricultural production during this period have been definitively demonstrated, meaning that their raping and pillaging seems to have become more of something that they just did. Also, it is not clear why such pressures would have driven them to other lands instead of the vast Scandinavian Peninsula on the land which they already lived, although perhaps immigration or sea raids turned out to be easier or more profitable than clearing large forested areas for farming or ranches in a land where growing season was limited, and ranching was hard. Maybe the Scandinavians practiced selective procreation, leading to a shortage of women. This may have been the main reason for their immigrations, in hope that they would find wives to bear their children. The problem is this would not explain why they decided to settle in separate countries, as they could have brought their wives back to Scandinavia with them. The word Viking was introduced into Modern English during the 18th century as a romanticized term for “barbarian warrior” or “noble savage.” During the 20th century, the meaning of the term was expanded to refer not only to seaborne raiders from Scandinavia, but secondarily to any Scandinavian who lived during the period from the late 8th to the mid-11th centuries. The word (as an adjective) is used to refer to ideas, phenomena or artefacts connected with Scandinavians and their cultural life in these centuries. During the Viking Age, Scandinavian men and women travelled to many parts of Europe and beyond, in a cultural diaspora that let its traces from Newfoundland to Byzantium. But this time of energetic activity also had a pronounced effect in the Scandinavian homelands that were subject to a variety of new influences. Royal dynasties legitimised by the Catholic Church in the 11th century began asserting their power with increasing authority and ambition. The three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden had taken shape and towns appeared, functioning as secular and ecclesiastical administrative centresand market sites. Monetary economies began to emerge based on English