The Viking Age


The word Viking is immensely frustrating our grasp on the original etymology is tenuous at best and Viking was barely even used to label the people who went out to see the Europeans on the receiving end of these spontaneous blade-wielding visitors called them north men Danes roofs or simply those jerks who trashed our monastery and the Scandinavians behind this violent tourism didn’t really tell us what they call themselves because our first good records from them don’t show up until centuries later but history is 20 percent if you know men clincher by mass and her name has since stock still though even our modern usage is problematic because the term often gets applied as a catch-all for medieval Scandinavia when its meaning is rather narrow.

Viking is the act and associated profession of rating just being a pirate Vikings themselves were a small subset of Scandinavians but their historical impact and overwhelming cool factor earn them top billing in medieval history so although Scandinavian does not by default equal Viking we can describe their collective ventures under the banner of the Viking age to find out how it all went down and to see just how ludicrous the far these. Norse boys got let’s do some history in addition to a Webley moniker the Vikings are also a little fuzzy in the timeline department prepared of convenience historians often date the age from 793 to 1066 opening with a sack of Lindisfarne monastery and closing with the Norman conquest of England but if the Vikings are pirates than their age should be thorough in its coverage of involuntary treasury allocation. (HISTORY SUMMARIZED THE VIKING AGE)

So really we need to bump those numbers out by at least a few decades Scandinavians were trading seafaring and occasionally plundering long before Lindisfarne it’s always tempting to imagine a culture just kind of appearing on to history is a fully formed entity but Scandinavia had several Viking treats from early on and the society gradually evolved through the first millennium AD trade networks in the Iron Age reached into the Celtic and Roman worlds and the maritime culture was already fairly robust Scandinavia was a tough place to traverse as inland areas were either full of trees or covered in mountains so people and supplies had to travel by water if they wanted to get anywhere.


Luckily these guys had trees for days so they became wizards at woodworking and shipbuilding with the convenient training zone of the enclosed Baltic Sea Scandinavians developed a truly brilliant ship design using an overlapping planks construction along narrow and shallow hole this meant that ships could sail the open sea and row along rivers switch to the delight of Scandinavians and the abject terror of Europeans will make the Vikings quite versatile travelers well Scandinavia was outclassing the rest of the world in the seafaring skill tree their land situation differed from Europe’s post-Roman migratory reshuffle instead of kingdoms full of cities and shiny monasteries Scandinavians lived on small farmsteads and had no overarching government but who needs government when you have a boat full of warriors in the favor of four so by the 700 Scandinavians are becoming familiar with the wider European world sailing east region. (HISTORY SUMMARIZED THE VIKING AGE)

the Baltic and hopping westwards to the Frisian coast this trading was sometimes a little aggressive on the order of by these furs or so help me tear I will act you but that’s just piracy Fauria and worked out decently well however the Vikings set themselves apart by just going for it northern Europe in the British Isles happen to have some shiny monastery stacked with treasure and utterly lacking any defenses because he would be so Craven is to plunder a monastery.

Well that Pollyanna illusion shattered like a stained glass window when the Vikings rolled up to the British island of Lindisfarne in 793 and trampled the place stealing the artifacts and selling the monks they didn’t kill into slavery because as they soon found out the Muslim world was incalculable the rich and had a substantial market for slave imports questions weren’t supposed to be in the slaving business but the markets and Frazier Rome Venice in Constantinople clearly weren’t losing any sleep about it. Cleo emailing about. I know slavery is bad. Could kick. It was a little food people you for so the Vikings of the early hundreds enjoyed a stunningly efficient business model sale sack still sell celebrate and the Europeans were horrified this dear viewer is why some of our sources for the Vikings are so uniquely screwy Scandinavians left some inscriptions on runestones but otherwise didn’t write anything about themselves during the Viking age or documentation comes from the people.


who lived in constant fear of being waylaid by a surprise fleet of warships now is a human with functional empathy it’s obvious why these accounts are so biased but as a historian who wishes we understood the Vikings a little bit better it does me a bit sad we do eventually get Scandinavian sources on their history and culture but they’re about 3 centuries later and were all written post Christianization so we’re for 21 original Norris works and this is where archaeology especially has come in clutch for us because settlement remains and burial patterns across Europe have been doing the heavy lifting in recent scholarship as it happens our newest discoveries are coming from Eastern Europe which had long been sidelined in the Viking narrative and wasn’t accessible to research because of that pesky Iron Curtain. (HISTORY SUMMARIZED THE VIKING AGE)

yeah I know there were bigger problems in the twentieth century but Viking stuff man come on anyway the earliest evidence we have for the old rate in trade routine comes from the system of waterways running from the Baltic down the Volga ants to the Caspian Sea the swindle here wasn’t in sacking monasteries because there weren’t any but in trading furs lumber amber and we’ll plus capturing local Slavic people and selling them into slavery the morality of that last operation was rather bankrupt but the economics were quite the opposite the only problem is Vikings had to work with middlemen in the book are and because are cognates so in the mid 800 they balked westwards away from the boulder river and on to the network this route fed into the Black Sea and landed them right on the doorstep of the biggest and shiniest city in the Christian world.

Constantinople this being the Vikings they tried to sack it but the Byzantines had the benefit of actual defenses and were able. The hold out just fine they did, however, become fascinated by the Vikings whom they called her engines and hired some for the emperor’s personal guard Scandinavians were thrilled to deal directly with Constantinople and build up trading towns along the upper river such as Kyiv the demographics that work here are a little murky because it seems like the Scandinavians of the so-called Bruce became a minority population among the native slugs and fans but research is ongoing to the collective thrill of the Byzantine empire the recent opted Orthodox Christianity and 989 and this becomes a running plotline elsewhere in Europe. (HISTORY SUMMARIZED THE VIKING AGE)

So let’s jump west and look at the Carolingian empire after some reading in the early 800 the Vikings figure out that they can make significantly more cash from gently sacking a place and then ransoming the loot and captives back to the locals they also start exploiting entire cities for payment of Dane geld in exchange for not attacking this process was made significantly easier by the near-constant civil war in between the three Frankish kingdoms after its partition in 840 so there was 0 coordinated resistance to the rates by age 65 the Vikings had cleared out central Europe a little too well so many hops the channel to go bother the aisles instead we’ll go ravaging wind in the second don’t you worry but at the turn of the tenth century our beloved north been doubled back over to France and the Frankish king was flat broke so he paid them off with the land.

Vikings game the county of route one which was later promoted to the duchy of Normandy this was great for everyone because the Viking stop sailing down the sentiment the mess in Paris and the newly settled Norman’s got comfy in their new digs speaking French adopting Christianity and cooperating with the church administration to more effectively govern the Normans quickly stop acting like your typical Vikings and go off on their own historical trajectory but it’s safe to say they become a big deal okay so now let’s destroy the British Isles in the early 18 hundreds they were prime targets kingdoms were small and weak and Irish monks prepared a buffet of beautifully cycle monasteries we have the standard Viking playbook until age 65 when the great army arrive from the front should Denmark and Norway to absolutely wreck shop in the span of a few.

Here’s a Scandinavian army makes a base in East Anglia marches north to conquer York and the kingdom of Northumbria swoops down to take half of Mircea and looks back over East Anglia to make it over half of the Saxon kingdoms stopped the only full survivor being Wessex Normandy the Vikings weren’t able to establish a proper states but they did set the rule book for this big new landed so we call it the Dane law meanwhile back in Wessex king Alfred knew that it was not up or shut up so he reformed his state to meet the Scandinavian threat and his successors later conquered up to create the kingdom of England ends the Anglo Danish hybrid culture in the north seems pretty chill with the arrangements what with all the easily arable land and good royal administration then there is Ireland which didn’t end up being a place where Scandinavians came to live but it didn’t become the money part of the Viking world because after they cleaned out the countless monasteries they built up coastal margin towns of the bases of rivers to raid in land for slaves to sell at markets in Spain. (HISTORY SUMMARIZED THE VIKING AGE)

Of course they’ve raided some Iberian towns along the way but 40 expect nor settlers had more long term walk in the wider Celtic worlds like the Isle of man the Hebrides Orkney Shetland and lowland Scotland but if we want to talk about settlement colonization we’ve got to go off the edge of the known world for the 80 year Viking accomplishment by Slint situated smack in the middle of the north Atlantic Iceland is a little out of the way and seems to have been discovered by accident when some poor sailors overshot the Faroe Islands and presumably freaked the hell out when they discovered a giant uninhabited island about to post codes out from Nicole Heim setting aside the non chance of veering wildly off course while sailing over it’s easy to see why Iceland instantly became prime real estate tons of good plans no locals to fight and the bell creek put on a light show every winter dinner and a show what else do you need after Iceland’s discovery in the 817s is he fleets of Norwegian sailing to settle and create a quasi democratic island assembly as centuries go by remains a fairly insular corner of the Scandinavian world and the old oral storytelling tradition gets put to writing resulting in one of the.

Most stacked literary cultures anywhere the myths and historical sagas that we have aren’t perfect histories embellished and with allergies through a post Christian lands but they’re still V. source for understanding of Viking age culture so as we’ve seen the Scandinavian desperate covered pretty much everywhere but the Viking age itself eventually wrapped up this next part is insanely complicated by 570 my word friend of the channel yellow it came loose no history that’s me you my good Sir have to hold degrees in this field which means on average we each have 1 degree in this field that’s definitely not how math works hello I studied classics rebel with a math degree don’t you dare bring me into this hello what do you take it from here so Christianity was interesting and much more interesting ways in the affected part of the Viking age it’s not like most people had no clue what this Christianity was traders have been my first love across from early on full scale mission items that happen as early as the 18 twenties Avengers in Europe with them first sometimes.

it voluntarily but the big little convergence among the Scandinavian only happens in the least tenth century don’t you think this will stop rates but you’d be wrong can you tell the great was baptized into 14 distinction of the most successful project actually coming king of England in 1060 contest the peach tree in St of Norway was a Muslim leader in England in the 10 tends to so you can’t exactly call conversion and Christianity is going to be on the Viking age is even more tenuous in the Baltic Sweden and Denmark tough trading there well into the twelfth century though played a financially justified it doesn’t reset what Christianity the deal is but local leaders use Christian models and tools such as the kind of justify consolidate their power doing so allows for more centralization was possible before a models of Sakal kinship assisted in State Building Scandinavia and the formation of the countries into the heavy roughly the shape they have today this is a slow process though there wasn’t like 1066 head and they went where no well he’s Christian kingdoms in fact I’m running out of time. He nailed it. It seems that fully medieval warm which means that if we go any further. (HISTORY SUMMARIZED THE VIKING AGE)

I’m gonna start compulsively talking about Florence so let’s wrap it up here thanks so much for stopping by yellow so it’s clearly hard to put a firm end date on the Viking age because the methods motivations and goals all changed during that time but 1066 dogs have a nice irony to it, king, Harald of Norway tried to conquer England using some classic army tactics but was defeated in battle but then 1 month later Duke William of Normandy led an army of nights at Hastings and won himself a kingdom the Scandinavians who played by the old rules were left out in the cold and the Scandinavians who adapted to their new homes and a changing world did a lot better for themselves so all told the Viking age is a class above simple piracy because it effectively terraforms the landscape of European politics economics and culture ends though their legacy has been appropriated in ways ranging from dubious to flat out dangerous the Viking age proves that history.













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