The Vikings were the people who came from Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) around 793AD-1066AD and who traveled great distances in their longships, as traders, settlers and warriors. Many of the Vikings were tall and had red or blonde hair and beards. Villages on or near any coast in early medieval Europe lived in great fear of Viking attacks. Some of the countries most affected by Viking piracy were England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and France.
Language[change | edit source]
Some words from the Scandinavian and Viking language (Norse) entered the English language. For example, the words skirt and shirt came from the word skyrta, meaning a tunic. As English changed, the semantics altered to give us the separate words 'skirt' and 'shirt' we know today. Skin came from the Norse word skinn (which meant to strip the meat off something). Some place-names in the areas the Vikings conquered are still in use. For example in Yorkshire places ending with -thwaite meant a clearing, and dale which meant a valley. The word thorpe meant new village, such as Scunthorpe. The girls' name Leah, came from the word leya and was used for Viking girls.[source?]
Exploration[change | edit source]
The Vikings traveled through Russia, the Mediterranean Sea, southern Europe, northern Africa and south-western Asia. Some Vikings sailed across the Atlantic Ocean via Iceland and Greenland and even lived in North America for a while, Native Americans, whom they called Skraelings. The ruins of a Viking settlement from 1100 AD have been found at L'Anse-aux-Meadows, Newfoundland.
Vikings in Europe[change | edit source]
Europeans were frightened of the Vikings because of their strong weapons, swift attacks, and cruel fighting tactics. They were known for their bad treatment of women, children and monks in the places where they fought. When the Vikings came to England, the English kings paid them to leave the country, but the Vikings took their money and sometimes fought them anyway. These payments were called Danegeld. From the 9th century to 1066, when the French Duke of Normandy, who became King William I of England conquered it, Danish and Norwegian Vikings ruled large parts of England.
Because of their longboats, which could float in 4 feet (1.3m) of water, the Vikings were able to make their way up rivers and land deep inside a country. For example they sailed up the River Shannon in Ireland and built a harbour 60 miles (100 km) from the coast.
Related pages[change | edit source]
References[change | edit source]
- "Place-names in The Danelaw". viking.no. 2004 [last update]. http://www.viking.no/e/england/danelaw/epl-danelaw.htm. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "Thwaite Meaning and Definition". thinkexist.com year=2011 [last update]. http://thinkexist.com/dictionary/meaning/thwaite/. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "BBC - History - Legacy of the Vikings". bbc.co.uk. 2011 [last update]. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/trail/conquest/after_viking/legacy_vikings_02.shtml. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
Other websites[change | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Vikings|
- BBC: History of Vikings
- Borg Viking museum, Norway
- The Viking Network
- Ibn Fadlan and the Rusiyyah, by James E. Montgomery, with full translation of Ibn Fadlan