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Old July 3rd, 2011, 12:17 AM   #1

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Question Image of Vikings: True ?


Is the image of a viking, that he is bloodthirsty, cruel barbaric etc... true ?

Were the Vikings a warrior people ? Were they always as portrayed ? Bad people who often caused misery to the people of Europe and elsewhere ?

Considering they've sailed everywhere, to Britain and Ireland, To the Slavic regions and France.

Basically, is the stereotype that Vikings have true ?
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 02:27 AM   #2
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It depend on what you're after. If you are clasifying viking as being Scandinavian people in general, then no, Scandinavian people in general were the same as most people. However the term viking is really a term for raider, someone who storms into a place to pillage. This is probably closer to the image. Btw the whole horns on the helmet thing wasn't normal, that's Hollywood.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 02:36 AM   #3

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A typical Viking maiden:
Click the image to open in full size.

On a serious note, like any stereotype, it has elements of truth but it is mostly fiction. Names like Eric Bloodaxe probably don't help your cause, and Viking raids were certainly feared in northern England and they had a well deserved reputation as fighters, but they also had, for example, a well developed system of laws, which they brought with them when Danish settlers arrived in Britain.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 02:46 AM   #4
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If I remember right, and someone else might verify, I think there's still an element of viking law used in the isle of man, as well as Shetland and Orkney.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 02:53 AM   #5

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Well put it this way: imagine if the Europeans came to the Americas, but the technology levels were a bit more equal and they were eventually warded off and/or assimilated where they did manage to colonize. How would the Europeans of the period be remembered in the Americas then? As explorers and settlers and traders? Probably not. They'd be remembered as smelly, violent ogre-like barbarians up to no good.

The Vikings were as apt to trade, or even settle, as they were to raid. They really weren't doing anything the Saxons or the Franks hadn't done or weren't doing. They just did it alot farther from home.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 03:18 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohammed the Persian View Post
Is the image of a viking, that he is bloodthirsty, cruel barbaric etc... true ?

Were the Vikings a warrior people ? Were they always as portrayed ? Bad people who often caused misery to the people of Europe and elsewhere ?

Considering they've sailed everywhere, to Britain and Ireland, To the Slavic regions and France.

Basically, is the stereotype that Vikings have true ?
Things you wrote, yes they are true. But that is just part of the picture. Vikings were also very successful traders, sailors and explorers. Master shipbuilders and they established few political entities which were important for European and world history:

They most probably united Slavic tribes and organized what became later Russian principalities. Eventually becoming Russia (and Ukraine and Bielorussia). However there is still some controversy about this.

They of course created Normandy ...and are thus one of the principal creators of English and French statehoods.

They have also created Kingdom of Two Sicilies, one of the most powerful mediaeval kingdom of the time and very important during crusades.

There is large legacy of their activities in Europe. So you must look at them not just as destroyers, but also creators.

But truth is, for Europe of the time, they were like plague. That is how they are described in contemporary chronicles.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 07:25 AM   #7

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My soul was killed when I found out Vikings didn't have horns on their helmets.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 07:44 AM   #8

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it was probably a terrifying sight to see them sailing towards shore
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 08:02 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by unbroken_shieldwall View Post
it was probably a terrifying sight to see them sailing towards shore
More terrifying than seeing around 200 APCs entering your country, carrying 1400 Saudi soldiers?
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 08:38 AM   #10

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More terrifying than seeing around 200 APCs entering your country, carrying 1400 Saudi soldiers?
Unless Saudi soldiers are going to sell you at the slave marked in Baghdad or Constantinople, yes more terrifying
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