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The Vikings

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  1. The Vikings

  2. Who were the Vikings? • The word Viking means one who lurks in a “Vik” or bay, in effect, a pirate. • the Viking age lasted for more than 300 years, from the late 8th century to the late 11th century. • The Vikings, or Norse, were a phenomenal race of Scandinavian warriors (from Norway, Denmark & Sweden) who raided Northern Europe, Eastern Asia, and Eastern North America.

  3. Who Were the Vikings? • By the end of the first millennium the Vikings reached North America five hundred years before Columbus • Viking raids eventually led to trade and colonization . • The Viking period describes a whole new age in Europe between about the mid 700 to 1150 AD.

  4. How do we know about the Vikings? • Archaeology provides physical evidence of their conquests, settlements, and daily life. • Many popular ideas of Vikings are 19th century misconceptions - such as having horns on helmets. • Few historical records and contemporary written sources exist anymore. • Most information about the Viking period is recorded by monks in monasteries giving an account of attacks. • The Vikings were considered heathens for their attacks on monasteries and as a result were portrayed in the worst possible way. An early Icelandic Manuscripts in Old Norse- the Viking language.

  5. The Sagas • “Saga” is a Norse word meaning tales. • Originally oral storytelling, when recorded they provide all the historical knowledge of the Vikings. • There are about forty sagas that include descriptions of historical events and voyages across the North Atlantic from Norway, Greenland and Vinland (Newfoundland). • The sagas also have records of family history such as Erik the Red who founded Greenland, and his son Leif Erickson who discovered North America. • The Sagas were compiled in the 13th and 14th century andbased on stories that originated as early as 400 and 500 years before that. • Archaeology has proven the facts of many sagas

  6. The Eddas • Norse oral religious traditions written as poems were collectively named Eddas. • Considered folktales of the Vikings. • Eddas and Sagas were written on vellum-sheepskin or calf skin. • Called vellum it is more resistant to rot and preserves much better than paper – this allowed historians to refer to these primary sources.

  7. Viking Runes • Vikings used symbols called 'runes' instead of an alphabet. • Runes are made by mostly straight lines • They carved the runes into wood or stone. It is much easier to carve straight lines than curves!

  8. Viking Runes Can you spell out your name using runes?

  9. Why did they invade Europe? • Raids and loot were not the whole story of the Vikings. • Coming from mountainous Scandinavia - land to farm was also a commodity, they wanted more agricultural land • They were interested in Europe because they saw it as technologically and politically superior to their culture.

  10. What were their goals? • Unlike many other invaders in history, the vikings weren’t trying to spread their religion –they were pagans. • They had to find food, live off the land, and set up shop. • They drove people out and took any valuables they had. • Vikings targeted the church and monasteries because they were the major sources of wealth at the time. A depiction of what a Viking looked like.

  11. Viking Longships • We know about how their ships were built because Viking burials often included their valuables – some were buried with their boats • They had swift wooden long ships, powered by sails and oars. • The shallow drought of these ships meant they were able to travel inland by river or stream to attack before local forces could respond. Figureheads on ships were raised at stem and stern as a sign of war.

  12. Viking Longships • Ships had overlapping planks, and measured between 17.5m and 36m in length. • They were steered by a single oar mounted on the starboard side. • Went as fast as 10 to 11 knots • Crews of 25 to 60 were common, but larger ships could carry over a hundred people. • Sea battles were rare. They fought close to shore. • Ships were roped together in lines to face an enemy fleet.

  13. For fishing - Boats were small shallow vessels used to catch fish in rivers, lakes and fjords For trading - Heavy ships or knorrs were trading vessels used for carrying cargo to trade with other countries Domestic Boats

  14. Viking Homes • The Vikings used local materials to build their houses • They used stone, timber, wattle and daub for walls • They used thatch and turf for roofs

  15. Battles and Tactics • Vikings did not have an official army or navy • Weapons training began at youth in hunting, sports, and raiding. • The fought mostly on foot • A line of young warriors would create a shield wall for better protection. • They would either capture or kill their enemies Those captured would become slaves.

  16. Offensive Weapons • Primarily the spear, sword, and battle-axe. • Weapons were for battle and also as a symbol of the warrior’s wealth. • Weapons were decorated with inlays, twisted wire and other accessories in silver, copper, and bronze. • The spear was the common weapon with an iron blade 2m to 3m in length.

  17. Offensive Weapons • Swords were a sign of high status because they were costly to make. • The blades were usually double edged and up to 90cm. • Often warriors gave their swords names.

  18. Protective Armor Viking helmet • There were circular shields up to one meter across that were carried. • The shield may have been leather covered. • Around 1000, the kite shaped shield was introduced to the Vikings to provide more protection for the legs. • Helmets could be leather or metal- metal more likely for the leaders • Thick padding absorbed the force of blows or arrow strikes – they often used Reindeer hide Hollywood Helmet

  19. Protective Armor • Vikings wore tunics of chain-mail armor reaching below the waist. • Very heavy, and not really effective • They took a long time to make, so were probably expensive and work by chieftans.

  20. Conquests • The first Viking raids were hit- and -run affairs. They sailed into a settlement, attacked and took what they could carry. • The British Isles and the Western portions of Europe were the main targets • During later invasions, the Vikings developed settlements. • They conquered much of Northern England in the 9th century, and established a kingdom in Ireland. • In return for cash Vikings negotiated peaceful coexistence and conversion to whomever they attacked. Some leaders paid ransom to Viking armies. • In 911 AD Charles III of France gave Normandy (“French for territory of Norsemen”) to the Viking leader Rollos who became a Christian. • Vikings adopted the French language and organized a strong state in Normandy.

  21. Viking Exploration • The Vikings reached Iceland – it become a settlement for Norwegians and Danes. • 982 Erik the Red founded Greenland. • Leif Erikson later landed on North America. • Vinland (Newfoundland) reached about 1000 AD

  22. What happened to the Vikings? • Vikings became citizens of the places they settled. • As more became Christian, the Norse religion and culture diminished. • Kings instituted taxes and the economy changed – Vikings changed from raiders to traders. • European kingdoms improved defense and increased trade as a result of the Viking experience A Viking End

  23. The Vikings’ Legacy • Many styles of the Viking ships were adopted by other European powers. • Brave navigators sailed west to explore Iceland and Greenland.  • Historians have also proved that the Vikings were the first settlers on the American continent. • The jury of English common law was a an outgrowth of Viking ideas about community obligations and sworn investigations.

  24. The Vikings’ Legacy • Signs of Viking influence are found in languages, vocabulary, and place-names of the areas they settled. • They had an impact on medieval technology and trade, which was an important part of Europe’s development.

  25. Timeline 789 -Vikings begin their attacks on England.800 840 -Viking settlers found the city of Dublin in Ireland. 862 -Novgorod in Russia is founded by the Rus Viking, Ulrich. 866 -Danish Vikings establish a kingdom in York, England. 871 -Alfred the Great becomes king of Wessex; the Danish advance is halted in England. 872 -Harald I gains control of Norway. 886 -Alfred divides England with the Danes under the Danelaw pact. 900 -The Vikings raid along the Mediterranean coast. 911 -The Viking chief Rollo is granted land by the Franks and founds Normandy in France. 941 -Rus Vikings attack Constantinople (Istanbul). 981 -Viking leader Erik the Red discovers Greenland. 986 -Viking ships sail in Newfoundland waters. 995 -Olav I conquers Norway and proclaims it a Christian kingdom. 1000 -Christianity reaches Greenland and Iceland. 1000 -Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, explores the coast of North America. 1000 -Olav I dies; Norway is ruled by the Danes 1002 -Brian Boru defeats the Norse and becomes the king of Ireland. 1010 -Viking explorer Thorfinn Karlsefni attempts to found a settlement in North America. 1013 -The Danes conquer England; Æthelred flees to Normandy. 1015 -Vikings abandon the Vinland settlement on the coast of North America. 1016 -Olav II regains Norway from the Danes. 1016 -The Danes under Knut (Canute) rule England. 1028 -Knut (Canute), king of England and Denmark, conquers Norway. 1042- Edward the Confessor rules England with the support of the Danes. 1066 -Harold Godwinson king of England defeats Harald Hardrada king of Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066 -William duke of Normandy defeats the Saxon king Harold at the Battle of Hastings.