Viking Impact on Northern Europe

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Viking Impact on Northern Europe

When we hears the term Viking an immediate image of bloodthirsty men with long beards and horned helmets is conjured up in our minds. This is the image the historical sources have given us, and it is partly true. Vikings were merciless when raiding, but they were peaceful when they traded. Their navigational technology was exceptional, and the ones who settled in foreign lands contributed greatly to the lands’ culture.

The Vikings are famous for their violent ways when they pillaged and plundered villages of Northern Europe. Their dramatic exploits commenced during 800 – 1050 A.D, The first being the raid on Lindisfarne Monastery in 793, followed by a chain of attacks all over the coast of northern Europe during the next 200 years. As the years went on the frequency of Viking attacks increased as they became bolder. They were opportunists, raiding when the villages were off–guard or weak and trading when they were powerful. The speed and tactical advantage of the Viking longships allowed them to slip quietly ashore, pillage the village and make a fast getaway via water before the village can summon an army. By this time some Viking plunderers would stay over winter in a village. Soon their raiding camps became settlements and Viking control over Europe began to grow, it was not long before Vikings overran most of England.

The other skill that Vikings excelled at was the skill of navigation. Their longships were the cutting–edge technology at the time, and their ingenious sun-compass, which worked somewhat like a sundial, allowed them to sail to their destination with precision. The longships were usually made with oak boards stripped from trees with thin ropes soaked in pitch trapped between joints to act as a flexible, waterproof membrane. These ships, combined with their streamlines design, are very fast and seaworthy and would flex out of places when a sturdier ship would shatter. The sun compass is also very useful...
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