Learning Objective

Illustrate how Viking ships to be an integral component of Viking culture, affecting trade and warfare

Key Points

The late 8th to the mid-11th century is commonly known together the Viking age of Scandinavian history.Vikings were renowned for their ships, which were an integral part of your culture, facilitating, trade, exploration, and also warfare.Weapons shown the social standing of a Viking, and warfare and also violence were heavily influenced through pagan religious beliefs.The Vikings established and engaged in substantial trading networks throughout the recognized world and also had a profound influence on the economic advance of Europe and also Scandinavia.Vikings are often thought of as brutal warriors as result of the manner in i m sorry they worked out in the northeast of England, though in recent years they have actually been known for your technological skills and seamanship.Viking society and story were written about in the Sagas, story compiled nearly one to three hundred years after Viking raids had actually mostly ceased.When settling land in Greenland and Iceland, Vikings developed their kind of autonomous government which included discussion of rule of law and other concerns during Things, assemblies open up to all complimentary people.

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A ruler of the Carolingian empire renowned for his thirty-year military campaign to spread Christianity in Europe and for his understanding in education and religion.


A Viking ship intended because that warfare and exploration and designed for speed and agility. Longships to be equipped through a sail and also oars, making navigation independent the the wind possible.


A confederation of middle ages West Slavic people within the region of modern northern Germany.


A historical and also cultural-linguistic an ar in northern Europe identified by a usual Germanic heritage and related languages. It includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.


The capital city that the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and also Ottoman empires. During the 12th century, it was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe.

Vikings were Norse seafarers that originated in Scandinavia and also raided, traded, explored, and settled in broad areas the Europe, Asia, and also the north Atlantic islands. The duration from the earliest taped raids in the 790s until the Norman occupation of England in 1066 is generally known together the Viking period of Scandinavian history. Vikings supplied the Norwegian Sea and Baltic Sea because that sea routes to the south.

Viking Ships

There have actually been several historical finds that Viking pearl of all sizes, offering knowledge that the craftsmanship that went into building them. There to be many species of Viking ships, constructed according to their intended uses, though the most iconic form is more than likely the longship. Longships to be intended because that warfare and also exploration, designed because that speed and also agility, and also equipped with oars to enhance the sail, making navigation independent of the wind possible. It was the longship that permitted the Norse come “go Viking” (on an expedition), which could explain why this type of ship has become almost synonymous with the ide of Vikings. Longships to be the summary of Scandinavian naval power at the time, and were highly valued possessions.


Model that a Viking longship design of the Gokstad ship. The Gokstad delivery is a Viking ship found in a burial mound at Gokstad farm in Sandar, Sandefjord, Vestfold, Norway. Dendrochronological dating argues that the ship to be built around 890 AD.

Ships to be an integral part of Viking culture. Lock facilitated everyday transportation throughout seas and waterways, expedition of new lands, raids, conquests, and trade with neighboring cultures. They also held a significant religious importance; magnates and people with a high condition were sometimes hidden in a ship along with animal sacrifices, weapons, provisions, and also other items.

Weapons and also Warfare

Our knowledge around the arms and also armor of the Viking age is based on archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some level on the accounts in the norseman sagas and Norse regulations recorded in the 13th century. Follow to custom, all totally free Norse males were required to own weapons and also were permitted to lug them every the time. Tools were indicative the a Viking’s society status; a wealthy Viking would have a complete ensemble the a helmet, shield, letter shirt, and sword. A usual bóndi (freeman) was an ext likely come fight v a spear and shield, and also most likewise carried a knife and side-arm. Bows were provided in the opening stages of floor battles and also at sea, but they had tendency to be taken into consideration less “honorable” than a weapon that might be offered in near combat. Vikings were fairly unusual for the moment in their usage of axes as a main battle weapon.

The warfare and also violence of the Vikings were frequently motivated and fueled through their belief in norse religion, concentrating on Thor and Odin, the god of war and death. Personally from 2 or three depictions of (ritual) helmets with protrusions that may be either stylized ravens, snakes, or horns, no relenten of the helmets of Viking warriors, and also no kept helmet, has actually horns. The stereotypical Viking helmet was thus mainly a fiction the a later on romanticized picture of the Viking. The formal, close-quarters style of Viking combat (either in shield walls or board “ship islands”) would have made horned helmets cumbersome and also hazardous come the warrior’s own side.

The Vikings are thought to have engaged in a disordered style of frenetic, furious fighting, return the brutal perception of the Vikings is mostly a misconception, likely attributed to Christian misunderstandings regarding paganism at the time.

Viking Expansion

Facilitated by progressed seafaring skills, Viking tasks at times additionally extended right into the Mediterranean littoral, north Africa, the middle East, and main Asia. Following prolonged phases of expedition on seas and rivers, expansion, and also settlement, Viking communities and also polities were established in diverse areas of northwestern Europe, european Russia, and the north Atlantic islands, and as much as the northeastern shore of phibìc America. During their explorations, Vikings raided and pillaged, but likewise engaged in trade, settled wide-ranging colonies, and acted together mercenaries. This period of growth witnessed the broader dissemination that Norse culture while concurrently introducing solid foreign cultural influences into Scandinavia itself, with extensive developmental effects in both directions.

Vikings under Leif Ericsson, the heir come Erik the Red, reached North America and collection up a short-lived settlement in present-day L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Longer and also more-established settlements were formed in Greenland, Iceland, great Britain, and also Normandy.

Viking growth into continent Europe to be limited. Their kingdom was bordered by powerful cultures to the south. Early on it was the Saxons, who lived in Old Saxony, located in what is now northern Germany. The saxons were a fierce and an effective people and were often in problem with the Vikings. To counter the Saxon aggression and also solidify their very own presence, the Danes built the large defense fortification the Danevirke in and around Hedeby. The Vikings shortly witnessed the violent subduing that the saxons by Charlemagne in the thirty-year Saxon wars from 772–804. The Saxon defeat led to their forced christening and also the absorption of Old Saxony right into the Carolingian Empire.

Fear of the Franks led the Vikings come further broaden Danevirke, and the defense constructions continued to be in usage throughout the Viking Age and even up until 1864. The south coastline of the Baltic Sea to be ruled by the Obotrites, a federation the Slavic tribes loyal come the Carolingians and later the Frankish empire. The Vikings, led through King Gudfred, ruined the Obotrite city the Reric on the southern Baltic coastline in 808 and also transferred the merchants and traders come Hedeby. This secured their prominence in the Baltic Sea, which withstood throughout the Viking Age.

Viking expeditions (blue line) light blue: Itineraries that the Vikings, portraying the tremendous breadth that their trips through many of Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, north Africa, Asia Minor, the Arctic, and North America. Irradiate green: main settlement areas, in the very first millennium


The 200-year Viking influence on European background is filled through tales that plunder and also colonization, and the bulk of this chronicles came from west witnesses and their descendants. Medieval Christians in Europe were completely unprepared because that the Viking incursions and could discover no explanation for your arrival and the accompanying experiencing they experienced at their hands, conserve the “Wrath that God.” an ext than any type of other single event, the strike on Lindisfarne demonized perception of the Vikings for the following twelve centuries. Not till the 1890s did scholars outside Scandinavia begin to seriously reassess the accomplishments of the Vikings, recognizing their artistry, technical skills, and also seamanship.

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Studies of genetic diversity have noted scientific confirmation to accompany historical evidence the Viking expansion. They in addition indicate patterns of ancestry, imply brand-new migrations, and show the actual flow of individuals in between disparate regions. Genetic evidence contradicts the common perception the Vikings were generally pillagers and raiders. An short article by i get it Highfield summarizes recent research and concludes that, as both male and also female hereditary markers space present, the proof is indicative of colonization instead the raiding and occupying. However, this is likewise disputed by uneven ratios the male and female haplotypes, which indicate that an ext men worked out than women, an element of a raiding or occupying population.