An Evidentiary Response to the Statement— ‘The Vikings Were More than Just Raiders! ’ Anika Aziz, 2013 Throughout history, the Vikings have been depicted as the savage and somewhat barbaric pirates from Scandinavia. Conducting frequent, vicious raids upon countries across Europe, their reputation has always been, more or less, ruthless. Though this may be partially true, historical evidence also suggests the Vikings as being more than what we generally presume… —What were their motives? —Wealth and power, or simply the search for a better land?
Starting off as honest traders, the Vikings were an advanced civilization, vastly skilled at extensive aspects of life and trade. Carrying out everyday occupations in farming, crafting, and building, before the Viking Era, they were merely traders with a sense of adventure! Being keen explorers, many Viking men were excellent sailors, navigating their way from one continent to another, travelling in their trusted long-ships! And it was with these highly practical and strongly built vessels, that they conquered the high seas and roamed faraway lands – trading, raiding, exploring, and discovering.
As pirates, the Vikings viciously attacked much of the United Kingdom, settling, conquering and even, co-existing over time! On the Vikings’ 1st official attack in 793, they raided a sacred monastery on the Isle of Lindisfarne, stealing church valuables and violently harassing the vulnerable monks. Furthermore, before departing with their prisoners and treasures, the Vikings demolished the holy Christian church, leaving it in ruins. Following accounts of monastery raids contributed to them being established as the Anti-Christians of the age. Nevertheless, the Vikings, like all cultures, had beliefs of their own!
Their faith evolved around the gods and goddesses of Norse mythology – the ones who supposedly decided on their fate, life or death. Viking society was organised and well-structured, with laws, politics, and leaders. Legal and Political affairs were formally dealt with, commonly at the annual meetings, known as ‘things’. Harsh punishments were inflicted, though not always just. To be a Viking, was to follow and live by the honourable ethics of the Viking life. Certain characteristics made a decent Viking; failing to uphold such characteristics meant utter disgrace.
Thus, in some sense, taking part in raids was an excellent opportunity for redemption – Previously dishonourable men could then return to their homes, as fierce warriors. Despite being portrayed nowadays as immoral and ruthless barbarians, their level of skill disagrees, almost outweighing the negative claims against them. Not quite, but almost! (400-word essay) History: Viking Unit Full Bibliography Arnold, M. 2006, The Vikings, Hambledon Continuum: London. Certified BBC author(s), 2013, BBC Primary History, 23/03/13, http://www. bbc. co. k/schools/primaryhistory/vikings/ Lindemans M. F. 2005, Encyclopaedia Mythica, 10/03/13, http://www. pantheon. org/articles/o/odin. html Regular Hub Author (“hassam”), 22 October 2011, HubPages®, 23/03/13, http://hassam. hubpages. com/hub/Who-Were-The-Vikings Saldais M. & Smith R. 2012, Oxford Big Ideas History 8, Oxford University Press, Victoria 3205, Australia. Smiley, J. 2000 The Sagas of the Icelanders, Viking Press. (Introduction) Unknown author(s), 9/03/13, Wikipedia. org, 10/03/13http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Odin Unknown author(s), 5/03/13, Wikipedia. rg, 9/03/13, http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Thor Unknown author(s), 3/3/13, Wikipedia. org, 16/03/13, http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Viking_age Unknown author(s), 16/03/13, Wikipedia. org, 19/03/13, http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Viking Valente, M. A. 2008, The Vikings in Ireland, Four Courts Press, Dublin. Images Sources ‘Source 1. 1’ 793 Monastery Raid, Lindisfarne: http://www. valhs. org/history/articles/society/text/norse_lands. htm Odin, Diagram: First published in 1864, directed from: http://commons. wikimedia. org/wiki/File:Odin_(Manual_of_Mythology). jpg