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Introduction To The Viking Age


The Viking Age spanned from the late 8th century to the late 11th century and was characterized by seafaring expeditions, warfare, plundering, and trade throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. The Vikings, primarily from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, used advanced shipbuilding technology and navigational skills to embark on voyages, influencing the regions they encountered by engaging in trade, colonization, and establishing settlements. They played a significant role in shaping political and cultural developments in Europe during this era, with complex societies that had legal systems, social hierarchies, and religious beliefs. While they were often portrayed as brutal raiders, the Vikings also had a significant cultural and artistic legacy.


8th Century

During the 8th century, Viking raids and expeditions became more prominent as Scandinavian warriors sought wealth and resources through plundering and trading. They expanded beyond their traditional territories and ventured into areas such as the British Isles, France, and the Mediterranean, utilizing their mastery of shipbuilding and navigation to conduct swift and surprise attacks on coastal towns and monasteries. These raids not only brought them material gain but also spread fear and devastation among local populations, shaping the course of European history for the next several centuries.


9th Century

In the 9th century, Viking raids continued to intensify as they extended their reach to new territories, amassing wealth and capturing slaves. These raids not only disrupted local economies but also sowed fear and instability. Viking expeditions ventured further east, expanding their trade networks and cultural interactions. In addition to their raiding activities, they also began to establish more permanent settlements in the lands they conquered, serving as centers for trade, exploration, and cultural exchange. Powerful Viking chieftains and leaders, such as Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons, emerged during this period, expanding Viking influence and power, leading large-scale military expeditions, and shaping the political landscape of the time.


10th and 11th Century

The 10th and 11th centuries marked the final phase of the Viking Age, characterized by significant changes and transitions. The Vikings began to shift from their traditional raiding and plundering activities to exploration, trade, and settlement. Many Vikings adopted a more peaceful approach and established permanent settlements in the lands they had previously raided. One of the notable events during this period was the gradual conversion of the Vikings to Christianity, which brought about changes in social structures, customs, and political systems. As Vikings settled in new lands, they assimilated into local societies and influenced the cultural and political landscapes. Viking leaders, such as Rollo, established dynasties and became the ancestors of powerful ruling houses. Trade remained an important aspect of Viking activities, with Vikings engaging in commercial ventures and establishing trade networks across Europe and even reaching as far as the Byzantine Empire. The Viking Age came to an end in the 11th century with the defeat of Viking armies and the consolidation of centralized states in Europe.


 

Bibliography

  1. The Viking Age: Overview." (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/event/Viking-Age

  2. "Viking Age." (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/viking-age

  3. "The Vikings." (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.nationalmuseum.se/en/English-startpage/Collections/Viking-Age/

  4. "The Vikings." (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.ancient.eu/viking/


Annotated Bibliography

  1. "The Viking Age: Overview." (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/event/Viking-Age

This source provides a concise overview of the Viking Age, including its time frame, key characteristics, and historical significance. It covers the Viking's seafaring expeditions, warfare, and trade, as well as their impact on the political and cultural developments of the time. The source is useful for gaining a general understanding of the Viking Age and its significance.

  1. "Viking Age." (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/viking-age

This source provides a comprehensive overview of the Viking Age, including its historical context, key events, and significant figures. It covers the Vikings' seafaring expeditions, their impact on Europe and other regions, and the cultural and political developments of the time. The source is useful for gaining a detailed understanding of the Viking Age and its significance.

  1. "The Vikings." (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.nationalmuseum.se/en/English-startpage/Collections/Viking-Age/

This source provides an overview of Viking culture, including their society, religion, and art. It covers the Vikings' way of life, social structures, and belief systems, as well as their artistic achievements. The source is useful for gaining insight into the cultural and social aspects of Viking life.

  1. "The Vikings." (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.ancient.eu/viking/

This source provides an overview of the Vikings, including their history, culture, and legacy. It covers the Vikings' seafaring expeditions, their impact on Europe and other regions, and their cultural and artistic achievements. The source is useful for gaining a broader understanding of the Vikings and their legacy.


Further Reading

  • The Viking World edited by Stefan Brink and Neil Price

  • The Viking Age: A Reader edited by Angus A. Somerville and R. Andrew McDonald

  • The Vikings: A History by Robert Ferguson

  • The Viking Age: A Very Short Introduction by Julian D. Richards

  • The Age of the Vikings by Anders Winroth

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