Vikings Essay Research Paper Vikings The vikings

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Vikings Essay, Research Paper Vikings The vikings were a very influential force in ancient history. The vikings are seen as excellent navigators and warriors but despite this great accomplishment they were incapable of founding a strong state outside of their homeland, Scandinavia. Most would think that any culture that had such complementary strengths would be able to form a strong state but this was not the case for the vikings because of many different factors. Those factors being the centralized monarchies in Scandinavia, advancing civilization of Scandinavians, the adoption of christianity, loss of the viking culture and identity and finally the Scandinavians were too few for their conquests. Scandinavia is a vast area that is almost twelve hundred miles in length.

Scandinavia was comprised of three distinct areas: Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The fjords of Norway, Sweden’s network of streams and lakes and Denmark’s 500 islands had influenced the inhabitants of Scandinavia to take to the sea to find new land because the fertile land in Scandinavia was quickly being used up. The age of the vikings began at 800 A.D. and ended at 1050 A.D. The vikings found Western Europe by sailing across the North Sea in very unstable ships. Their ships were still very unstable because they were only designed to sail around the coast of Scandinavia. As Scandinavians moved farther away from the coast for new conquests their technology in seamanship increased greatly. As the ninth century dawned Swedes, Danes and Norwegians swept out of Scandinavia in

search of wealth and glory. Vikings were fierce warriors because of their sheer savagery and lust for wealth but they also were very accomplished traders. They traded furs and slaves for luxuries from the southern and eastern areas. In the west, Danes and Norwegians probed all islands and inlets and streams from the North Sea to Spain in search of wealth and trade goods. Viking fleets managed to harass London Bridge, Paris and burned mosques in Andalusia and took slaves in North Africa. Viking sailors always displayed a strong interest in exploring new territory but long voyages were very limited because their ships were fragile. As the vikings continued to pillage Europe their knowledge of the sea and seamanship increased greatly. The vikings pioneered the construction and

design of fast, strong ships. A strong affinity for ships marks every phase of viking history. The religion that vikings adopted had little theology and no promise of salvation. The only mortality offered was to those of a high position or for warriors. When a viking died fighting the belief was that magnificent warrior maids called Valkyries would escort the warrior to Valhalla. When the warrior arrived in Valhalla he would fight all day and banquet all night until the time when the God’s themselves would fall. Using their superior ships and their great lust for wealth and glory the Scandinavians struck out in force in the ninth century. Dane’s and Norwegian’s ventured to the ill-defended coasts of Britain, Ireland and continental Europe. The Swedes travelled across the

Baltic and burst into the vast birch forests and steppes of Russia. They travelled down rivers and streams and made portages across land when necessary and they continued to travel south. They headed toward the trading markets of Baghdad and Byzantium. At key points the Swedes built strongholds : Smolensk, Rostov, and Chernigov. These strongholds were trade centres that dealt cargoes of furs, honey, amber, wax and fair slaves which they traded for silks and silvers of the orient. The largest trading stronghold was located in Russia and was called Norvgod. The Swedish vikings entered Russia and took control of the native population. They maintained their supremacy of natives in Norvgod until 1020 and thereafter the Swedish vikings were quickly absorbed into the Slavic population