Saturday, October 10, 2009

Vikings- Ruthless Barbarians... Or Were They?


The Vikings have a reputation as being bloody, cold, vicious killers who slaughtered and pillaged villages along the coasts of continental Europe . However, they may be undeserving of this bad rap, mainly because their history is written by the people they pillaged and killed. Recent archeological evidence has proved that in fact the Vikings were not just simple barbarians, but they were also farmers, artists, shipbuilders, explorers, and traders. Viking art is very developed and intricate, pulling influence from African, Western, and Eastern sources. The cause for this blend is the expansive trade and exploration the Vikings did. They traded throughout the Mediterranean and with Constantinople via the Russian rivers, showing a drive for pursuits other than plunder. Also, they settled as far away as Greenland and North America , showing their prowess for exploring. The final point against their bad reputation is the fact that they lived in a bloody time, where the people of the countries they were raiding were also very ruthless, and it is believed that the churchmen that reported the Vikings raids probably exaggerated them, in order to condemn them on religious grounds. So, upon examination of the Vikings, it is evident that they were not just ruthless barbarians, but a complex society that simply was living in a violent era.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/02/0217_040217_vikings.html

Ryan M.
Period 5

7 comments:

Alisha M. said...

Wow, that's really interesting. Whenever I think of Vikings, I immediately recall their ruthless ways. This new information makes sense due to the era they were living in, and sheds a positive light on my previously negative assumptions of these ancient people.

Alex said...

I never knew that the vikings had a social or economic side to them, but now that I have read this I know that the vikings just had a bad rep. In reality, they were just like any other civilization.

TJ Jones said...

It's nice to have a different point of view of the hated Vikings. Since the people that wrote the Viking history were victims of the Vikings, all the world has really known is the biased view that they were terrible people. The vikings have showed they were talented shipbuilders and farmers and were in fact pillaging just like many other groups at that time. Maybe the Vikings weren't such bad people.

Ravi Sharma said...

If this is true, then the Vikings may have had a lot more in common with the Mongols than we have originally thought. Think about it: Both the Vikings and Mongols had expansive trade, and conquered for reasons other than plunder. Also, people living during the time periods of these civilations often viewed them as solely brutal and ruthless, while historians have recently "dug deeper", and discovered facets of each civilization that defy these age-old steryotypes, along with aknowledging the fact that they both lived during violent times. It's quite interesting how two civilizations, who appear totally unrelated at first glance, actually have many major similarities!

KoriB said...

I found it interesting to see groups considered barbaric, like the Vikings, in a different light. It was cool hearing about them from a different, less-biased perspective, where the Vikings' good qualitites were shown, rather than just the bad.

Ryan Jones said...

That is very true for many civilizations. They are labeled as barbaric or gruesome but weren't actually that dissimilar from other civilizations of that time period. Some would include the Asyrians, the Mongols, and the Persians, I would say.

P.S. Nice picture.

Marissa said...

I never thought about it in that way. You always hear about who they conquered and killed but not about their accomplishments. Its good to have a different perspective on them and learn more about their culture. Based on this article, they seem like a well organized civilization that lived in a ruthless time period.