Vikings 4 Essay Research Paper Throughout history

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Vikings 4 Essay, Research Paper Throughout history, Vikings have been portrayed as graceless and boorish pirates. Their tale is notorious. They were well known, and feared, by those they conquered. They seemed intent on wreaking havoc on all civilizations, and blithe of the well being of their own. These accusations have originated, though, mainly from the victims of Viking conquests, and have, in most cases, been exagerated. Although Vikings have the stereotype of being cruel barbarians, they actually lived complex, emotional, and civilized lives. The word Viking has many different interpretations. Most scholars belive it originated from Viking victims from such words as vikingr (Old Norse for pirate ), wic , and wicingas (Old English for pirate / sailor ; encampment )(p.13,

Magnusson). The word Viking , however, is used as a broad term for any Scandinavian (Norseman) during the Middle Ages. According to popular beliefs, Vikings were pirates, and the results of their piracy were devastating to those they conquered. Many of these views are correct. Vikings raided other countries. They looted treasure, destroyed towns and villages, and killed many people. Records of these terrible raids exist in the literature, and by word of mouth of the people in the countries they invaded. This may seem appalling to the modern ear, but invasions were executed by many cultures in the Middle Ages, not just by the Vikings. In a turbulent period, when piracy and casual raiding were a commonplace of everyday life all over Europe, the Vikings happened to be more

successful at it than most other people; and they paid for it by getting an extremely bad reputation. (p.10, Golding). Vikings had little other to be identified with. They had very few written records, or literature, or works of art as many other cultures were developing at the time. Naturally, they became known for what they did best. There are many Viking stereotypes that are hardly true. These exaggerations range from their lifestyle to their physical appearance (they did not wear horns on their helmets, for example; this stereotype was due to their anti-Christ reputation). Tacitus said that the barbaric Vikings were actually a free and noble people. Men were excellent fighters. Women were moral and obedient (p.14, Golding). Vikings were not extremely barbaric. They had a

class system and religion. They had other practices besides merely sailing and raiding. They were also capable of showing an extent of different emotions. savage Vikings were not devoid of the noble emotions. If a Viking s anger could be terrible, his love could be strong and tender. The Viking class system was much like other class systems during the Middle Ages. The supreme ruler of the land was the king. Below the king were the Viking men, the Viking women, and at the bottom of the list: the slaves. Slaves usually were captured enemies of the Vikings. They tended to farm-work and housework. Vikings slaves were not considered human by their masters. In fact, it was common to kill a slave of another Viking as an act of revenge (this was similar to killing a goat or calf).

Killing a slave, at times, was even considered a noble way for a man to stand up for his rights (p.20, Magnusson). Viking men were trained to fight bravely and fiercely for their possessions at a very young age. They were usually taken away from their mothers to be raised by men. Boys were raised this way to become warriors (the noblest of professions). In the midst of all the warlike training, Viking boys grew into a special relationship with their fathers. The greatest single bond was between a father and son. A man s legacy need not die with him if he had a son. A son was expected to avenge his father s death. This vengeance often resulted in family feuds that could last many generations. It was a great tragedy for a father to lose his son. A big difference between the Viking