Who were the Vikings?

From the Jorvik Viking Center. A collection of quick, historical articles detailing the lives of the Norsemen. Subjects cover:

  • Who were the Vikings?
  • Where did they come from?
  • What did they look like?
  • How did they live?
  • What happened to them?
  • Place names
  • Timeline

Excerpt from “Who were the Vikings?”

Often the name Viking conjures images of brutes and barbarians, but the truth is a little different.

Vikings were warriors. More precisely ‘Viking’ is the name by which the Scandinavian sea-borne raiders of the early medieval period are now commonly known.

Even before the earliest Viking raids on the monasteries, the Anglo-Saxons used an Old English word ‘wicing‘. But this was not a word that they used often or exclusively for the Scandinavian raiders; instead it was used for all-comers and meant ‘pirate’ or ‘piracy’.

Discover more about the Vikings at the Jorvik Viking Center site.

Vikings traded first, plundered later

From Live Science:

The Viking Age may not have started with the plundering of England, but with the peaceful trading of handcrafted combs made out of reindeer antlers, a new study suggests.

Until now, researchers thought the Viking Age began in June 793, when Norwegian Vikings raided Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England. But new research suggests Vikings were traveling from Norway to Ribe, one of Scandinavia’s earliest towns and a lively trading center on the west coast of Denmark, as early as 725, the researchers said.

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