The World Of The Vikings Essay Research — страница 2

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probably true, they had other traits as well. Some of their leaders were very skillful organizers, as evidenced by the fact that they were able to establish kingdoms in already-conquered territories. Some of these, such as the ones established in Dublin and York did not survive the Viking period; Iceland, however, is still a thriving nation. The Viking Kingdom in Kiev formed the basis of the Russian Empire. The remains of fortresses dated to the end of the Viking period, have been found in Denmark; the fortresses are circular and are divided into quadrants, with square buildings in each of the four sections. The precision with which these castles were placed indicates an advanced sense of order, and a knowledge of surveying techniques and geometry in the Danish Kingdom. The

farthest westward drive occurred around 1000 AD, when people from Iceland or Greenland attempted to plant roots in the North coast of Newfoundland in North America, however, conflicts arose between these colonists and the indigenous Indians or the Eskimos, and the colonists gave up. Eventually, the Vikings plundering raids were replaced by colonization; in the north of England, place names reveal a large Viking population, farther south in Britain, an area was called The Danelaw. The French king gave Normandy as payment to a Viking chieftain so that he would keep other Vikings away. At the end of the Viking age, Christianity was widely accepted in the Nordic countries. It replaced a heathen religion, in which gods and goddesses each had power over their domain; Odin was their

chieftain, Thor was the god of the warriors, the goddess Froy was responsible for the fertility of the soil and livestock; Loki was a trickster and a sorcerer and was always distrusted by the other gods. The gods had dangerous adversaries, the Jotuns, who represented the darker side of life. Burial techniques indicate a strong belief in the afterlife; even though the dead could be buried or cremated, burial gifts were always necessary. The amount of equipment the dead took with them reflected their status in life as well as different burial traditions. A clue to the violent nature of Viking society, is the fact that nearly all the graves of males included weapons. A warrior had to have a sword, a wooden shield with an iron boss at its center to protect the hand, a spear, an ax,

and a bow with 24 arrows. Helmets with horns, which are omnipresent in present day depiction’s of Vikings have never been found amongst relics from the Viking period. Even in the graves with the most impressive array of weapons, there are signs of more peaceful activities; sickles, scythes, and hoes lie alongside of weapons; the blacksmith was buried with his hammer, anvil, tongs, and file. The coastal farmer has kept his fishing equipment and is often buried in a boat. In women’s graves we often find jewelry kitchen articles, and artifacts used in textile production, they were also usually buried in boats. There are also instances of burials being conducted in enormous ships, three examples of this are: ship graves from Oseberg, Tune, and Gokstad, which can be seen at the

Viking ship museum at Bygdoy in Oslo. The Oseberg ship was built around 815-820 AD, was 22 meters (72 ft.) long and its burial was dated to 834 AD. The Gokstad and Tune ships were constructed in the 890’s, were 24 meters (79 ft.) and 20 meters (65 ft.) in length, respectively, and were buried right after 900 AD. In all 3 a burial chamber was constructed behind the mast, where the deceased was placed to rest in a bed, dressed in fine clothing, ample provisions were placed in the ship, dogs and horses were sacrificed, and a large burial mound was piled on top of the vessel; there are even instances in which servants, who may or may not have chosen to follow their masters in death, were sacrificed also. Some ship-graves in the Nordic countries and in Western European Viking sites

were cremated, while the large graves along the Oslofjord were not. There are remnants of similar graves in other locations and it seems to have been standard practice to include sacrificed dogs and horses, fine weapons, some nautical equipment such as oars and a gangplank, balers, cooking pots for crewmembers, a tent and often fine imported bronze vessels which probably held food and drink for the dead. Their sea-going vessels were very seaworthy, as has been demonstrated by replicas which have crossed the Atlantic in modern times. The hull design made the ships very fast, either under sail or when oars were used. Even with a full load, the Gokstad ship drew no more than 1 meter (3.3 ft) of water, which means it could have been easily used for shore assaults. The ships were made