Ancient Vikings

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posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 06:35 PM
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The Vikings were a flimsy coalition between the Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes during 793-1066 BC. They were a group that was widely feared and vilified. Like any other vilified group in history, historians have gotten a few things wrong. In the case of the Vikings, they won the wars and the battles, but they lost in the religious struggle which has lead to a lot of trashing.

Viking horned helmets



During the Viking age, helmets were typically fairly simple: a bowl with a prominent nose guard, as shown in the photo of a reproduction helmet to the right. One thing to note: Viking helmets had no horns. There is no evidence that Viking era helmets ever had horns.

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Cut and dry truth of the matter. They didn’t have horns on their helmets.

The end of the article admits that iron helmets from the era are rare. Any wooden horned helmets may not have survived. That’s a pretty big leap though, considering how many other wooden artifacts have survived.



However, there is a more likely explanation. Good evidence exists for horned helmets in Scandinavia during the Bronze and early Iron Ages, well before the start of the Viking era. Stone carvings and sculpture (right) survive, showing these helmets, and bronze helmets found at Viksø in Denmark date from around the year 900 BCE (left), about 1500 years before the Viking age.
These ancient bronze helmets are thin and far too fragile for battle. Almost certainly, they were used only for ceremonial purposes. In contrast, surviving Viking-age iron helmets and helmet fragments are robust, and show clear signs of damage from weapons.
Perhaps during the Romantic 19th century Viking revival, this early evidence was misinterpreted, and the notion that Vikings all wore horned helmets became established.

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Horned helmets were used in the bronze and early iron age, but were not a part of the Viking-era. At least not with any sort of widespread presence. Although the original debunk is true, the explanation of where the helmet idea came from is worth noting, even though the Viking-era horned battle helmet never existed.

The mighty double bladed Viking axe and claymore



Laws of the late Viking period show that all free men were expected to own weapons, and magnates were expected to provide them for their men. The main offensive weapons were the spear, sword and battle-axe, although bows and arrows and other missiles were also used. Weapons were carried not just for battle, but also as symbols of their owners' status and wealth. They were therefore often finely decorated with inlays, twisted wire and other adornments in silver, copper and bronze

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A weapon was a very important and sometimes fancy possession for a Viking. The crude and ugly weapons probably existed, but they were not what a Viking really wanted to use.



The spear was the commonest weapon with an iron blade on a wooden shaft, often of ash and 2 to 3m in length. It was used for both thrusting and throwing. The blades varied in shape from broad leaf shapes to long spikes. Skilled spearsmen are said to have been able to throw two spears at once using both hands, or even to catch a spear in flight and hurl it back with deadly effect.

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These were the bread and butter weapons the majority of Viking history. You do have to ask yourself, is the thought of a warrior that’s quick enough to catch a spear, and throw it back at you, any less scary than the so called “berserkers” of Hollywood?
It sounds like an outlandish claim, but it’s actually pretty doable if the throwing of said spear is feeble and lack of skill.



Long-handled battle-axes might be used instead of swords, particularly in open combat. The famed, double-handed broad axe is a late development, typical of the late 10th and 11th centuries. But as the owner could not hold a shield at the same time, he would take cover behind the front line of warriors, rushing out at the right moment to hew down the enemy.

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There is our famed berserker’s real identity and purpose! I can see why they have evolved to the legendary Viking warrior figure that they are in our culture. They did not use double bladed axes though. Single blade only.

Vikings did nothing except fighting and pillaging.

This is probably the worst myth of the lot. It seeks to define Vikings, and comes from the recounts of surviving cowards. The Vikings made meaningful contributions when they weren’t beating people up.



Another ship found during the excavations in Norway 100 years ago was the Viking knarr or heavy cargo ship. This ship was 54 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 6 feet, 3 inches high from keel to gunwale. Eric the Red most likely used a ship of this construction to survive the beating waves of the long Atlantic journeys. The merchant knarr would haul cargo long distances during voyages for the purposes of trade. The bigger the cargo, the less room for passengers and crew. Animals, people, food, and cargo shared space in the middle of the ship under tarpaulins. The knarr had triangular spaces fore and aft of the deck. These spaces would be wet and dark, but passengers probably preferred them as sleeping areas rather than sharing space with the animals. The crew baled water from the center area. There was no means of cooking on the ship, so food brought aboard spoiled quickly or was dried. The ship was of similar construction to the warrior longship, but was shorter and of deeper draft. It was also constructed in the clinker planking method and had one mast and sail.

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When people think of Viking ships, they generally invision a ship of warriors with a large dirty burly man standing over them cracking the whip as they bend at the oars. Completely false. Vikings only used oars when necessary, and not every ship was a war ship. They had many types of ships.



Viking crews were often prepared for violence and gained their wealth through theft, trickery, or murder. These fierce warriors would undertake voyages without provisions and go ashore to steal food and animals. The Viking Jarl or earl was master of his district and had to feed men and have the largest ship, or be at the mercy of his neighbors. Crews consisted of freeborn men rather than slaves, because slave crews might rebel against the Jarl. Free men lived with the Jarl and protected him when he was attacked. Vikings were very proud of their freeborn status and would not bow to any man.

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Well, after telling us about how evil the big bad Vikings are, they admitt Viking ships had nothing to do with slaves. It sounds pretty civil to me. People do fight you know. I guess it was because Vikings always made sneak attacks right?
edit on 28-7-2012 by AnarchysAngel because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 06:35 PM
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Viking Battle tactics (all Vikings were sneaky attackers)

Although Vikings made many contributions and had lives outside of battle, battle was their true calling. Not unlike the united states.



The Vikings or Norsemen consisted of Danes, Swedes or Norwegians that lived along the coasts of Scandinavia. They mainly survived by farming, fishing and piracy. The reasons why the Vikings began to expand are unclear, since they left no record of their intentions. There is, however, broad agreement among historians, from the artifacts left by the raided peoples, that looting was the primary motive behind their raids.

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Notice that although the article admits there is no proof of motivation, the attacks must have been motivated by looting. Most war zones are looted, by someone. How can they use that to prove intentions? Blasphemy!



Fearsome figureheads would be raised at stem and stern as a sign of warlike intent, underlined by rows of shields mounted along the sides for defence or show. These could be removed while at sea. Raids in single ships were quite frequent and, before around 850, fleets rarely comprised more than 100 ships. Much larger fleets of 200 and upwards were recorded later, but it is difficult to know how accurate the reports were.

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This doesn’t sound too sneaky to me. It’s not like you can hide a ship on the water. I guess the shields mounted all over the ship just weren’t clear enough? Vikings were honorable fighters. They wanted a good fight.



The most notable attack was on the monastery at Noirmountier. This island monastery was attacked every summer. The monks tried many defenses, but they eventually left the island for safer lands. The trading centers in Frisia, particularly Dorestad, were a favorite targets of the Vikings in 834-839.

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This doesn’t sound sneaky to me. Every summer? Failed defenses? Sounds like a clear winner and a clear loser. The article goes on to mention that Vikings encountered little resistance. They mean to say, little successful resistance as the article clearly states the attempt sat resistance at Noirmountier.

Their land based battles were equally as forward in thinking.



In preparation for battle the younger warriors would draw up in line, with their shields overlapping in a 'shield-wall' for better protection; their chiefs were well defended by a close bodyguard. The older veterans formed up in support behind them. Battle then began by throwing a spear over the enemy line to dedicate them to Odin, it is said, and this was followed by a shower of spears, arrows and other missiles.

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Nothing sneaky here. Just a group of soldiers saying, “IT’S ON”!
It also shows the organized nature of Viking warfare, another myth is that Vikings were disorganized fighters. They had no official large scale organization but were organized within their own groups.

Vikings are all uncouth pagans



Part of the popular image of the Vikings is that they were all pagans, with a hatred of the Christian Church, but this view is very misleading. It is true that almost the entire population of Scandinavia was pagan at the beginning of the Viking Age, but the Vikings had many gods, and it was no problem for them to accept the Christian god alongside their own.

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Seems like they accepted Christianity, but didn’t want to remove their Gods completely. I can respect that. I’m sure the Christians of the time would have a problem with it though. Perhaps a reason for the Viking age? God, and money are usually the reasons behind wars. Was the Viking age a war? Who knows….

Ragnarok

I’ve heard the term “end of times” applied to this. Ragnarok in no way claims that Ragnarok is the end of time.



It was believed that the world would end with the final battle of Ragnarok, between the gods and the giants. Loki and his children would take the side of the giants. Thor and Jormunagund, who maintained a long-running feud with each other, would kill each other, and Odin would be killed by the Fenris wolf, who would then be killed in turn. A fire would sweep across the whole world, destroying both the gods and mankind. However, just enough members of both races would survive to start a new world.

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It has no real basis in fact, it’s just another fun story.

There are many misleading thoughts even within the history today. Look at the evidence, not the opinions of the authors. Vikings were a pretty neat group of people. There are more myths that I may add later depending on interest. They’re mostly false and misrepresented in Hollywood or even mainstream history books.

If you read the source articles, their opinion often contradicts the facts they present.
edit on 28-7-2012 by AnarchysAngel because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 06:41 PM
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reply to post by AnarchysAngel
 


I don't know about all of that but I do know they are no match for the Green Bay Packers.

Oh wait. You mean THOSE Vikings. Meh.



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 06:47 PM
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On History Channel (that infallible source of all information) a show described the Viking raiders/warriors as merely a section of the Viking society as a whole. This seem obvious at least on the surface. You cannot generate ships, food, more Vikings, etc with out the societal infrastructure.

Good stuff. Thanks.



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 06:52 PM
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I am descended from a Viking clan who settled in Normandy. That's the extent of my Viking knowledge.



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 06:53 PM
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reply to post by ABNARTY
 


I could go on for pages and explain the Viking society in detail. It really is misrepresented and underestimated. I just thought I would get to the more known things and try to keep it small. So much for small!



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 06:59 PM
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Excellent thread! 100 war-ready long boats would be an awesome sight to behold, and I bet most villages paid the Vikings to leave them alone. Thanks for dispelling a few myths, some info is new to me, like the horned helmet deal..
edit on 7/28/12 by VikingWarlord because: Because



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 07:03 PM
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sounds like a bunch of pissed off fisherman to me.
or rather they just took everybody else catch
tuff bastards though



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 07:05 PM
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Great thread(s&f).
Last year's updated info on Viking Women:
Invasion of the Viking women: Wives joined warriors when they came to Britain

Viking women accompanied their male partners to Britain in far greater numbers than had been previously thought, a study has shown.
- source in link below
more...
www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 11:52 AM
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Great thread, although I presume you mean AD and and not BC? "viking" means 'to go raiding, they were known as 'Norsemen' in the old English bible. the Norsemen settled in that part of France called Normandy, from the word Norsemen. They also invaded parts of the Mediterianen sea coast, and Islands. Their trading expeditions took them through whats now known as Poland and Ukraine down to the Black sea.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 12:23 PM
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My father says that part of our family descended from a viking clan that settled in Jorvik (modern day Yorkshire). I find that great as I've always loved the Vikings.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 02:40 PM
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I have always been fascinated/interested in such things and this thread was very interesting and informative.Thank you for your time and effort--S+F.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 04:08 PM
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Originally posted by pikestaff
Great thread, although I presume you mean AD and and not BC? "viking" means 'to go raiding, they were known as 'Norsemen' in the old English bible. the Norsemen settled in that part of France called Normandy, from the word Norsemen. They also invaded parts of the Mediterianen sea coast, and Islands. Their trading expeditions took them through whats now known as Poland and Ukraine down to the Black sea.



The Vikings that settled in Normandy were Danish Vikings.

Danish Vikings also settled in England before the Normans, at one point their terrority covered from London all the way to the Scottish-Engish border in 878AD, (mostly covering the eastern part of England). It was called the Danelaw. (Danelagh in Old English).

The Danish Viking Guthrum was one of the kings in England, but he was defeated by another king of the time Alfred the Great, king of Wessex.

What many people don't know. Is that of the North Sea Empire. Which consisted of a unified Empire of Norway, Denmark, and unified England! from 1016-1040. Ruled by the Dane, Cnut the Great (his two sons succeeded him also).

edit on 30-7-2012 by Debunkology because: (no reason given)
edit on 30-7-2012 by Debunkology because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 04:36 PM
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reply to post by AnarchysAngel
 


Surprisingly, the Vikings were not particularly good warriors.

Overall, they relied on surprise attacks against civilian targets. When brought to battle, they only had a 50/50 win/lose ratio, according to a book on Viking warfare I have read that relied entirely on original sources. Their reputation tends to arise from turning up unexpectedly in a long boat and attacking unprotected civilians.

Having said that, they did conquer Normandy (the ancestors of the Normans were Vikings), North Eastern England and the extreme North of Scotland. On the other hand, they were eventually kicked out of both England and Scotland.

At the end of the day, man for man, it is not unreasonable to deduce, bar the fact that their long boats allowed them to attack civilians unexpectedly, that the average viking was no more effective on a battlefield than their opponents.


edit on 30-7-2012 by ollncasino because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 06:09 PM
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reply to post by pikestaff
 


Yah I was going too fast when I made the thread. Sorry!



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 08:42 PM
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Great post!

I must add that they found Vikings settlements on NewFoundland, Canada. Also, they suspect more settlements on the lower shores of the St-Lawrence river, in Quebec.

That beats Jacques Cartier or Columbus by centuries!

On another note, I went in a dedicated expo on the Vikings, and the only thing I remember was that when they attacked, they were fearless, and able to fight awfully wounded, like they felt no pain...

There was a reason.

They were stoned on magic mushrooms (they had many different species) to "enhance" their deadly skills...



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 10:34 PM
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here's the best current research done on the vikings, including a huge dna study, that removes the myths and gives the facts.. bbc documentary:

www.youtube.com...



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 10:38 PM
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reply to post by Debunkology
 
If you haven't read Bernard Cornwell's Saxon books based on this time period, I would highly recommend Them. Granted, they are Historical Fiction, but entertaining none the less.



posted on Jul, 31 2012 @ 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by ollncasino
At the end of the day, man for man, it is not unreasonable to deduce, bar the fact that their long boats allowed them to attack civilians unexpectedly, that the average viking was no more effective on a battlefield than their opponents.

That really depend on how you look at it. Keep in mind that there where barely any standing armies at this time, it was just random gatherings. Most of the footfolk probably didnt even wear armour. The Vikings most likely came better equipped and better prepared to battle, thus was more effective. Especially the elite vikings clad in heavy armour and long axes.

Whether it mattered in the end when two equal armies engaged in a rabble of hand to hand combat... It was more up to the commander to actually use his men.
edit on 31-7-2012 by merka because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 7 2012 @ 08:31 AM
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reply to post by AnarchysAngel
 


My family is descended from the sons of Odin, Yngvi and Scyld, who becames the fist kings of Denmark and Sweden.





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