Learning Objective

Illustrate exactly how Viking ships were an integral component of Viking culture, affecting trade and warfare

Key Points

The so late 8th come the mid-11th century is commonly known together the Viking period of Scandinavian history.Vikings to be renowned for your ships, which were an integral component of their culture, facilitating, trade, exploration, and also warfare.Weapons shown the social status of a Viking, and also warfare and also violence were greatly influenced by pagan religious beliefs.The Vikings established and engaged in comprehensive trading networks throughout the recognized world and also had a profound influence on the economic breakthrough of Europe and Scandinavia.Vikings are regularly thought of together brutal warriors because of the path in i beg your pardon they cleared up in the northeast that England, though in current years they have been recognized for your technological skills and seamanship.Viking society and stories were written about in the Sagas, stories compiled virtually one to three century after Viking raids had actually mostly ceased.When stable land in Greenland and also Iceland, Vikings developed their form of democratic government which had discussion of rules of law and also other concerns during Things, assemblies open up to all cost-free people.

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A ruler of the Carolingian dynasty renowned because that his thirty-year military project to spread Christianity in Europe and also for his interests in education and religion.


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


A confederation of middle ages West Slavic people within the are of contemporary northern Germany.


A historical and also cultural-linguistic region in north Europe characterized by a common Germanic heritage and also related languages. It contains the three kingdoms that Denmark, Norway, and also Sweden.


The capital city the the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman empires. Throughout the 12th century, it to be the largest and also wealthiest city in Europe.

Vikings to be Norse seafarers who originated in Scandinavia and raided, traded, explored, and settled in large areas that Europe, Asia, and also the north Atlantic islands. The duration from the earliest taped raids in the 790s until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 is typically known as the Viking period of Scandinavian history. Vikings offered the Norwegian Sea and Baltic Sea because that sea paths to the south.

Viking Ships

There have been several archaeological finds that Viking pearls of all sizes, giving knowledge that the craftsmanship that went into structure them. There to be many species of Viking ships, constructed according to your intended uses, despite the many iconic kind is probably the longship. Longships to be intended for warfare and also exploration, designed because that speed and also agility, and equipped through oars to match the sail, making navigating independent the the wind possible. It to be the longship that enabled the Norse come “go Viking” (on an expedition), which can explain why this kind of ship has become virtually synonymous through the principle of Vikings. Longships to be the epitome of Scandinavian naval power at the time, and were extremely valued possessions.


Model the a Viking longship version of the Gokstad ship. The Gokstad delivery is a Viking ship discovered in a funeral mound in ~ Gokstad farm in Sandar, Sandefjord, Vestfold, Norway. Dendrochronological dating suggests that the ship to be built around 890 AD.

Ships were an integral component of Viking culture. Lock facilitated daily transportation throughout seas and also waterways, expedition of new lands, raids, conquests, and also trade with bordering cultures. They also held a major religious importance; magnates and people with a high status 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 armor the the Viking period is based on historical finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the account in the norse sagas and Norse regulations recorded in the 13th century. According to custom, all totally free Norse men were required to very own weapons and also were allowed to lug them every the time. Tools were indicative the a Viking’s society status; a affluent Viking would have a complete ensemble of a helmet, shield, letter shirt, and sword. A common bóndi (freeman) was more likely to fight with a spear and also shield, and also most also carried a knife and also side-arm. Bows were offered in the opening stages of floor battles and also at sea, yet they had tendency to be thought about less “honorable” 보다 a weapon that might be used in nearby combat. Vikings were relatively unusual for the moment in their use of axes as a main battle weapon.

The warfare and violence that the Vikings were regularly motivated and fueled through their id in norse religion, concentrating on Thor and also Odin, the gods of war and death. Personally from two or three depictions of (ritual) helmets with protrusions that might be one of two people stylized ravens, snakes, or horns, no depiction of the helmets of Viking warriors, and also no preserved helmet, has horns. The stereotypical Viking helmet was therefore mainly a fiction that a later romanticized image of the Viking. The formal, close-quarters style of Viking combat (either in shield wall surfaces or plank “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 format of frenetic, furious fighting, return the brutal tardy of the Vikings is mainly a misconception, likely attributed come Christian misunderstandings regarding paganism at the time.

Viking Expansion

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

Vikings under Leif Ericsson, the heir to Erik the Red, got to North America and set up a short-lived negotiation in contemporary L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland and also Labrador, Canada. Longer and also more-established settlements were created in Greenland, Iceland, great Britain, and also Normandy.

Viking expansion into continental Europe was limited. Their realm was bordered by an effective cultures to the south. Beforehand it to be the Saxons, who populated Old Saxony, located in what is now north Germany. The saxons were a fierce and an effective people and also were frequently in problem with the Vikings. To respond to the Saxon aggression and solidify their very own presence, the Danes built the substantial defense fortification of Danevirke in and around Hedeby. The Vikings soon witnessed the violent subduing the the saxon guy by Charlemagne in the thirty-year Saxon battles from 772–804. The Saxon defeat brought about their forced christening and the absorb of Old Saxony into the Carolingian Empire.

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

Viking explorations (blue line) irradiate blue: Itineraries the the Vikings, depicting the immense breadth of their trips through many of Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, north Africa, Asia Minor, the Arctic, and North America. Light green: key settlement areas, in the an initial millennium


The 200-year Viking affect on European history is filled through tales of plunder and also colonization, and also the bulk of these chronicles come from west witnesses and their descendants. Middle ages Christians in Europe were totally unprepared because that the Viking incursions and could discover no explanation for their arrival and the accompanying experiencing they competent at their hands, save the “Wrath of God.” an ext than any type of other single event, the assault on Lindisfarne demonized late of the Vikings because that the next twelve centuries. Not until the 1890s did scholars external Scandinavia begin to seriously reassess the success of the Vikings, recognizing their artistry, technological skills, and also seamanship.

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Studies of hereditary diversity have detailed scientific confirmation to accompany archaeological evidence of Viking expansion. They in addition indicate trends of ancestry, imply brand-new migrations, and also show the actual circulation of individuals between disparate regions. Genetic proof contradicts the usual perception that Vikings were mainly pillagers and also raiders. An short article by i get it Highfield summarizes recent research and also concludes that, as both male and female hereditary markers are present, the proof is indicative of emigration instead of raiding and also occupying. However, this is additionally disputed by unlike ratios that male and female haplotypes, which indicate that more men resolved than women, an element of a raiding or occupying population.