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New Perspectives On The Viking Age

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posted on Aug, 16 2015 @ 10:12 PM
The Viking hit-and-run raids on monastic communities such as Lindisfarne and Iona were the most infamous result of burgeoning Scandinavian maritime prowess in the closing years of the Eighth Century. These skirmishes led to more expansive military campaigns, settlement, and ultimately conquest of large swathes of the British Isles. But Dr Steve Ashby, of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, wanted to explore the social justifications for this spike in aggressive activity.

Dr Ashby (of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York) says: "The lure of the exotic, of the world beyond the horizon, was an important factor. Classic anthropology has shown that the mystique of the exotic is a powerful force, and something that leaders and people of influence often use to prop up their power base. It is not difficult to see how this would have worked in the Viking Age."

I wonder if religion and clash of civilizations didn't have something to do with it as well. This is how monk Simon detailed the famous Viking attack on Lindisfarne in 793 AD, as recorded in “History of the Church of Durham”:

On the seventh of the ides of June, they reached the church of Lindisfarne, and there they miserably ravaged and pillaged everything; they trod the holy things under their polluted feet, they dug down the altars, and plundered all the treasures of the church. Some of the brethren they slew, some they carried off with them in chains, the greater number they stripped naked, insulted, and cast out of doors, and some they drowned in the sea.

We're looking at a very brutal attack which IMO goes beyond a raid for the 'lure of the exotic'. Not only did the Vikings raid and pillage Lindisfarne, they killed just about everyone, and those who lived were taken as slaves. They trampled 'the holy things', and they 'dug down the altars'. The slaves were stripped naked and insulted. The way I see it they're not raiding, they're settling a score with Christianity and sending a message.

What could have created this excessive rage in the attack on Lindisfarne? When we think of the Viking world we connect it with the Scandinavian countries, but Germany was also part of this culture in those times, and their beliefs and Gods were very similar to those in the Scandinavian peninsula. Christianity made its way into the Germanic lands in the 8th century, word probably reached the Scandinavians how their holy temples were abandoned or perhaps destroyed in favor of the new faith. When Lindisfarne was attacked in 793, England and the Frankish empire were long since Christianized. Could we consider Lindisfarne as an Asa faith counter attack?

posted on Aug, 16 2015 @ 10:22 PM
a reply to: Heliocentric

The whole viking history is made up of lies.

10 Things You May Not Know About the Vikings

1. Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets.
Forget almost every Viking warrior costume you’ve ever seen. Sure, the pugnacious Norsemen probably sported headgear, but that whole horn-festooned helmet look? Depictions dating from the Viking age don’t show it, and the only authentic Viking helmet ever discovered is decidedly horn-free. Painters seem to have fabricated the trend during the 19th century, perhaps inspired by descriptions of northern Europeans by ancient Greek and Roman chroniclers. Long before the Vikings’ time, Norse and Germanic priests did indeed wear horned helmets for ceremonial purposes.

2. Vikings were known for their excellent hygiene.
Between rowing boats and decapitating enemies, Viking men must have stunk to high Valhalla, right? Quite the opposite. Excavations of Viking sites have turned up tweezers, razors, combs and ear cleaners made from animal bones and antlers. Vikings also bathed at least once a week—much more frequently than other Europeans of their day—and enjoyed dips in natural hot springs.

3. Vikings used a unique liquid to start fires.
Clean freaks though they were, the Vikings had no qualms about harnessing the power of one human waste product. They would collect a fungus called touchwood from tree bark and boil it for several days in urine before pounding it into something akin to felt. The sodium nitrate found in urine would allow the material to smolder rather than burn, so Vikings could take fire with them on the go.

4. Vikings buried their dead in boats.
There’s no denying Vikings loved their boats—so much that it was a great honor to be interred in one. In the Norse religion, valiant warriors entered festive and glorious realms after death, and it was thought that the vessels that served them well in life would help them reach their final destinations. Distinguished raiders and prominent women were often laid to rest in ships, surrounded by weapons, valuable goods and sometimes even sacrificed slaves.

5. Vikings were active in the slave trade.
Many Vikings got rich off human trafficking. They would capture and enslave women and young men while pillaging Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Slavic settlements. These “thralls,” as they were known, were then sold in giant slave markets across Europe and the Middle East.

6. Viking women enjoyed some basic rights.
Viking girls got hitched as young as 12 and had to mind the household while their husbands sailed off on adventures. Still, they had more freedom than other women of their era. As long as they weren’t thralls, Viking women could inherit property, request a divorce and reclaim their dowries if their marriages ended.

7. Viking men spent most of their time farming.
This may come as a disappointment, but most Viking men brandished scythes, not swords. True, some were callous pirates who only stepped off their boats to burn villages, but the vast majority peacefully sowed barley, rye and oats—at least for part of the year. They also raised cattle, goats, pigs and sheep on their small farms, which typically yielded just enough food to support a family.

8. Vikings skied for fun.
Scandinavians developed primitive skis at least 6,000 years ago, though ancient Russians may have invented them even earlier. By the Viking Age, Norsemen regarded skiing as an efficient way to get around and a popular form of recreation. They even worshipped a god of skiing, Ullr.

9. Viking gentlemen preferred being blond.
To conform to their culture’s beauty ideals, brunette Vikings—usually men—would use a strong soap with a high lye content to bleach their hair. In some regions, beards were lightened as well. It’s likely these treatments also helped Vikings with a problem far more prickly and rampant than mousy manes: head lice.

10. Vikings were never part of a unified group.
Vikings didn’t recognize fellow Vikings. In fact, they probably didn’t even call themselves Vikings: The term simply referred to all Scandinavians who took part in overseas expeditions. During the Viking Age, the land that now makes up Denmark, Norway and Sweden was a patchwork of chieftain-led tribes that often fought against each other—when they weren’t busy wreaking havoc on foreign shores, that is.

posted on Aug, 16 2015 @ 11:41 PM
The level of violence in Dark Age Europe was similar to what we see from ISIS today.
a reply to: Heliocentric

posted on Aug, 16 2015 @ 11:51 PM
a reply to: Parthin96

Also before the Communists took over China, China was a land very similar to Medieval Europe, the Middle East and Africa where various warlords fought among themselves.

As bad as the Communists are, at least they brought stability in China.
edit on 16-8-2015 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2015 @ 12:35 AM
s&f thanks. There's been more in the last years of how Viking women played different roles then known before. Such as that they accompanied their husbands on invasions of England. Here's re recent source other than the 2011 info shared before.

posted on Aug, 17 2015 @ 12:44 AM
All lies, we are still the same as we were in 7th century, we just fake it now.

posted on Aug, 17 2015 @ 04:09 AM
a reply to: Heliocentric

My cousin had his dna done at some lab and showed me the results - 28% Viking. It blew the idea that people whose heritage contains Viking dna live in the north of the UK only.

posted on Aug, 17 2015 @ 04:12 AM
a reply to: soulpowertothendegree

Great to see the 'facts' although we shouldn't be surprised that girls as young as 12 were married. I suspect it happened as soon as they started menstruation as the life expectancy was not that long in those days.

They were certainly liberated about divorce and dowries etc.

posted on Aug, 17 2015 @ 08:29 PM
My wife liked this thread a lot. It is claimed that on her fathers side she is descended from a line of captains that were viking or they themselves descended from them.

posted on Aug, 17 2015 @ 11:18 PM
Before Europeans butted in, and the Japanese invaded, China had been very stable for centuries.
a reply to: starwarsisreal

posted on Aug, 18 2015 @ 04:25 AM
a reply to: Heliocentric

There is actually a very plausible main reason why many historians believe that the Vikings raided churches on purpose.

You have to remember that just prior to the Viking age Charlemagne was rampaging through much of Europe putting "pagans" to death if they did not convert to christianity. Many historians believe that the Vikings hit churches and monastaries because not only were they the main hubs for trade/finance/learning in many places, but the pagans saw it as doing unto the christians as they had done to them by way of ruthless extermination.

This is why I highly encourage people to use the local library to research topics like this in a historical context. The internet is littered with alot of opinions and garbage when you start researching history.

posted on Aug, 18 2015 @ 05:41 AM

originally posted by: Shiloh7
a reply to: Heliocentric

My cousin had his dna done at some lab and showed me the results - 28% Viking. It blew the idea that people whose heritage contains Viking dna live in the north of the UK only.

Well heck yea. They had port cites everywhere.

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