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Lets talk Vikings!
LONDON (AP) — They had names like Thorfinn Skull-splitter, Erik Bloodaxe and Ragnar Hairy Pants. No wonder the Vikings have a rough and bloody reputation.
A new exhibition at the British Museum strives to make people think again about the Scandinavian pillagers whose name means "pirate" in Old Norse. Through their ships, weapons, crafts, words and even skeletons, "Vikings: Life and Legend" aims to show how Viking energy and ideas redrew the map of the world.
"They were a global phenomenon," exhibition curator Gareth Williams said of the bearded buccaneers who sailed forth in the 9th century to descend on terrified English monks, Irish villagers and Russian peasants. "They were raiders and they were traders and they were craftsmen and they were explorers."
The centerpiece of the show is the biggest Viking ship ever found. Dug up on the banks of a Danish fjord in 1997, it is 37 meters (120 feet) long and had 40 pairs of oars. Its scale is awe-inspiring even if only 20 percent of the ship's timbers remain.