‘The Vikings Were More than Just Raiders!’
Anika Aziz, 2013
Throughout history, the Vikings have been depicted as the savage and somewhat barbaric pirates from Scandinavia. Conducting frequent, vicious raids upon countries across Europe, their reputation has always been, more or less, ruthless. Though this may be partially true, historical evidence also suggests the Vikings as being more than what we generally presume…
—What were their motives?
—Wealth and power, or simply the search for a better land?
Starting off as honest traders, the Vikings were an advanced civilization, vastly skilled at extensive aspects of life and trade. Carrying out everyday occupations in farming, crafting, and building, before the Viking Era, they were merely traders with a sense of adventure! Being keen explorers, many Viking men were excellent sailors, navigating their way from one continent to another, travelling in their trusted long-ships! And it was with these highly practical and strongly built vessels, that they conquered the high seas and roamed faraway lands – trading, raiding, exploring, and discovering.
As pirates, the Vikings viciously attacked much of the United Kingdom, settling, conquering and even, co-existing over time! On the Vikings’ 1st official attack in 793, they raided a sacred monastery on the Isle of Lindisfarne, stealing church valuables and violently harassing the vulnerable monks. Furthermore, before departing with their prisoners and treasures, the Vikings demolished the holy Christian church, leaving it in ruins. Following accounts of monastery raids contributed to them being established as the Anti-Christians of the age. Nevertheless, the Vikings, like all cultures, had beliefs of their own! Their faith evolved around the gods and goddesses of Norse mythology – the ones who supposedly decided on their fate, life or death.
Viking society was...