ENG102 Viking FD.docx - Reddy 1 Kayla Reddy Professor...

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Reddy 1Kayla ReddyProfessor SchubertENG-102-00927 March, 2018The Age of VikingsThroughout history there have been endless accounts of mighty warriors; myths and legends of both praise and of fear. Every era, every place has its own set of infamous warriors. Many of these tales are still known to this day, and none quite as infamously as the Vikings. From the period of AD 800-1000, mass numbers of Scandinavians left their homelands in pursuitof a different life. They quickly became known as fearsome pirates and raiders. In hushed tones people warned of the Northmen, or more commonly, the Vikings. They raided coastal sites, particularly undefended monasteries, and left their marks on most of the European world. This also included Iceland, Greenland, and parts of Russia. The Vikings gained a reputation during their reign as unstoppable warriors with a lust for wealth and the strength, numbers, and will to achieve it. Although this reputation is arguably an admirable one, not much of it is based in truth.The tales of the bloodthirsty Northmen were created by their victims and spread from person to person. With each passing the tales became more outlandish, more diluted and separated from thetruth even to this day. The Vikings were an extraordinary group, and by taking a closer look at parts of their domestic life, such as their society and day-to-day routines, we can begin to separate fact from fiction.First, to dismantle some of the more common stereotypes and myths surrounding the Vikings. The Vikings weren’t a single race formed by a common ancestry. They all originated from parts of Scandinavia, but came from a diverse set of peoples. Because of this, Danish,
Reddy 2Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, and other races could all be found in a single Viking community. The Vikings were grouped together collectively by Europeans because of their foreign origins, lack of “civilized” nature and because of their customs and religions that differed from European Christianity. The name Viking was actually created by the Scandinavians themselves, using “vik”meaning bay or creak to create the word “vikingr” meaning pirate. Like the stories suggest, they were great warriors, but not in the way most would think. Viking warriors were masters of hit-and-run raids, rarely attempting to use siege warfare or rely on strength and brutality to overpower the enemy. They greatly preferred ambushes to full-scale confrontations. The Vikings were not big and brawny, and certainly not the massive and hulking giants we often picture them to be. Most were fairly short, thin, and lithe, and although they did have muscular frames, their methods of life and warfare required them to be small and fast. To put it simply, most Vikings looked more like Hiccup than they did Stoick. They were also masters at using Europe’s internal conflicts to their advantage, relying on the hatred of one nation to sponsor attacks on another.

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