Run Time: [01:41:52]
This riveting two-hour special investigates a new image of the Vikings that goes far deeper than their savage
stereotype as raiding marauders. Faithful replicas of their magnificent ships, life-like computer
animation and fascinating recreations reveal the Vikings as canny merchants, expert shipbuilders,
superb artisans, and bold colonizers of lands that lay beyond the edge of the known world.
Chapter 20
The Vikings
Words, Terms and People to Know
the Red
Chapter 20
The Vikings 800A.D.—1035 A.D.
Good Bye Charlemagne
Between 800-1000 invasions completely destroyed
the Carolingian Empire
Muslim invaders from the south seized Sicily and
raided Italy
Purple Viking Invasion Routes
Green and
Magyar Invasion
In the east the Magyars invade
Brown Islamic Invasion Routes
Germany and Italy
In the north, the most dreaded of all, the Vikings
strike fear into the hearts of all God fearing
Christians. (and everyone else too!)
The raids of the Vikings can be considered the
last phase of the Germanic invasions begun in
the 4th century
► Reasons
It has been estimated that about 17% of the population died in
infancy, before reaching five years of age. About 16% did not
survive to around 20 years of age. In all, more than 33% of the
population did not reach adulthood.
for the Viking Invasions
 Climate would not support a large and growing
Viking population
 Constant
As this chart shows,
50% of adult men
died betweena
21 defeated
and 30 years of age and
this may would
because of warfare and the generally turbulent times. For women, the risks were in
go elsewhere than accept vassalage. Life
pregnancy and childbirth and 35% of them did not survive beyond 30 years.
to olds
The 31 to 40 year
the 'middle-aged'
of the Viking(chart)
Age and 50 years of age
would be thought of as 'old'.
Women seem to have had an especially high death rate in the age group 41 to 50 when
compared with the men, but this is because about eight out of ten of the adult men had
already died at an earlier age.
It was exceptional for anyone to reach what we would today call 'old age'.
 Skilled and versatile seamen whose ships
allowed them to go any where including areas
with a very shallow draught.
Most accounts of Vikings are based upon
recollections of victims and therefore biased
In 794 came another flock of these vultures of the sea, who robbed a church and a monastery, plundering and killing,
and being killed in their turn when a storm wrecked their ships and threw them on shore. As a good monk writes of
"The heathen
Viking came from the northern countries
the like
fury of
the Northmen,
Lord deliver
not only
the priests,
and the people
in the
 Raidwolves,
sheep, and cattle, but also priests, acolytes,
 Settlement
monks, and nuns."
► Join
the Vikings! Meet strange peoples…and kill
Attack cities along coastal areas
Penetrate deep into the Mediterranean
Invade the Rhone Valley
Sailed, rowed and carried boats over the Russian river
 Raid Constantinople
What were their goals?
• Raids and loot were not the whole story of the Vikings.
Land to farm was also a commodity. There were limited
sources of food.
• They received influences from Europe that they saw as
technologically and politically superior to their culture.
Unlike many other invaders in history, the vikings
weren’t trying to spread their religion that was
paganism, rather gain new resources and new
connections. They wanted political and economical
• They had to find food, live off the land, and set up
shop. They drove people out and took their money and
other valuables they had. Vikings targeted the church
and monasteries, which were the major sources of
wealth at the time.
An accurate depiction of
what a Viking looked like.
Gone in a
► The
most amazing thing about Norse
emigrations was the ephemeral nature of
their settlements and kingdoms.
► The Norse quickly incorporated
themselves into the existing populations and
institutions and discard most distinctly
“Viking” characteristics.
► We know most about their world view from
Icelandic literature—especially the edda of
Snorri Sturlusonan Icelandic historian, poet and politician.
How do we know about the Vikings?
Sources and Contemporary Accounts
•Vikings left many traces of their settlements
that are still visible today. Archaeology provides
physical evidence of their conquests,
settlements, and daily life.
•Not a lot of evidence survives, and much of
what we have is either uninformative or
unreliable. Many popular ideas of Vikings are
19th century inventions, such as horns on
helmets. Few historical records and
contemporary written sources exist anymore.
•Surviving accounts of Viking activity was
almost exclusively written by churchmen. These
included monastic chronicles such as the Anglo
Saxon chronicle, Frankish, and Irish Annals.
The chronicles reflect the fact that Vikings
attacked these monasteries for their wealth and
the accounts had a hostile tone to give a
popular image of Viking atrocities. The Vikings
were considered heathens for their invasions in
monasteries and as a result were portrayed in
the worst possible way.
One of the earliest Icelandic Manuscripts
in Old Norse, the Viking language.
Samples of Viking language
8 year old Gisli from Reykjavik, Iceland
talks to you in his native language,
the genuine language
Listen to what he says:
of the Vikings.
I'm a Viking from Iceland
Ég er víkingur frá Íslandi.
Iceland is an island
Ísland er eyja.
The vikings travelled a lot
Víkingar ferðuðust mikið.
Greetings from Iceland
Kveða frá Íslandi.
One, two, three, four
Einn, tveir, Þrír, fjórir.
Good night
Góða nótt.
Run Time: [13:56]
The authority of chieftains was dependent upon their ability to provide for their followers. In
the early years of the Viking Age, the population of Scandinavia was on the rise, and so was
the number of chieftains.
Chapter 20
The Vikings 800A.D.—1035 A.D.
Did Vikings really wear horns on their helmets?
Section One: discusses the
effects of geography on the
development of the Vikings
as seafaring people
Extra Credit: view this 1958 spectacular and write a
250 word synopsis of the movie and earn points.
I. The Land
ast Greenland coast
A. forests,Therugged
coastline of eastern
with its many fjords. At the bottom is
natural harbors
the longest called
fjord in the world,
southern part called Jutland, or
Denmark, was well suited for
► B. Most of Scandinavia not
suited to farming with rocky
soil and a short growing
The Hardangerfjord in Hordaland, Norway.
► C. Ships and Trade
Viking long ships (see handout)
►2. tall bows carved with shapes meant
to frighten enemies and evil spirits of
the ocean.
►3. awning to protect from weather
►4. slept in sleeping bags and carried
bronze pots
►5. plotted course from positions of sun
and stars
►6. traded furs, hides, fish and slaves for
silk, wine, wheat and silver
Ships and Navigation
• We know what their ships looked like because many vikings
were buried with their goods that sometimes included their
• They had swift wooden long ships, equipped with sails and
• Shallow drought of these ships meant they were able to reach
far inland by river or stream to strike and move before local
forces could assemble.
• Ships had overlapping planks, and measured between 17.5m
and 36m in length. They were steered by a single oar mounted
on the starboard side.
Figureheads would be
raised at stem and stern
as a sign of war.
• Reached an average speed of 10 to 11 knots
•Crews of 25 to 60 men would be common, but larger ships
could carry over a hundred people.
• Sea battles were rare. They fought close to shore. Ships were
roped together in lines to face an enemy fleet.
Viking Jutland (shown
in orange) was used
mostly for farming
Viking Voyages and Territories
I. cont.
Viking women wore a long linen dress. It could be
Viking men first put on a long woolen shirt and
plain or
Over the dress they wore
of were
long cloth trousers
held up by
a sashhad decorative wall
long woolen
a little The
an apron.
hangings, oracarvings,
or possibly
tell of It was
 D. Towns,
or a drawstring.
top of this
was worn
a and
held up by
a pair
of on
elaborately decorated
the and tapestries
sleeved jerkin or a
or string
of beads. Over the tunic she
► 1. decorate
On his feet he would wear socks and soft leather
a shawl.
Her legs and feet were
 (a.)boots.
two might
with booths
shoes or long leather
In battle
he would
covered with thick woolly socks and soft leather
 (b.)
by mounds of earth, wooden
wear an iron helmet
a mail-chain
to protect
walls and towers; houses had steep roofs and
Both men and women wore fur or woolen hats
and cloaks in cold weather. The cloaks were
 (c.) mostfastened
in scattered
the shoulder
with villages
a brooch or a pin.
(d.) no central govt., people divided into groups
ruled by military chiefs called jarls.
(e.) Some jarls become strong enough to be
declared kings
(f.) Warriors preferred to die by their own hand
rather than give their enemies the satisfaction of
capturing or killing them
(g.) Women given great respect
(h.) Men took great pride in their mustaches and
beards p.303
What people ate and drank
What did the population of a Viking town eat and drink? The evidence is that the people in
one town, Jorvik, (present day York England) ate well and were not, in normal times, likely
to have experienced much of a 'hungry gap' towards the end of winter. The main meat in
the diet came from the domesticated animals - beef, pork, mutton and lamb, chicken and
goose. Sometimes the meat of hunted animals and birds (especially deer, hares, moorland
birds, woodland birds and waterfowl) was eaten. Fish also featured in the diet of the
townspeople of Jorvik, both from the rivers and from the sea, though sea fish became
more important in the eleventh century. Shellfish were eaten.
Bread was made from wheat, barley and rye. Oats were grown and made into bread or
cakes. Oatcakes were still made and called 'havercakes' or 'haverbread' in Yorkshire right
up to the early twentieth century, from the Old Norse word for oats, 'hafre'. Sometimes the
cereal grains would be steeped (or 'creed') in milk, or milk and water, to soften them; the
mixture would then be cooked as porridge. Nuts such as hazelnuts and walnuts were
Viking House
Some of the vegetables we are familiar with today would have been available, including
leeks, carrots, peas, field beans, parsnips, beet and the cabbage family. A variety of fruits
and berries were eaten, amongst them plums, cherries, sloes, apples, blackberries,
Reconstruction of housing
raspberries, dewberries, elderberries, hawthorn berries and rowanberries. Honey was used
for sweetening
and was
to make
mead. Hop
remains have been found in
in medieval
the Jorvik excavations, showing that beer brewing went on.
on the island of Björkö (literally: "Birch Island") in Sweden,
As with any town, most of the food would have come from the surrounding countryside.
Though the townspeople may have kept a few poultry - and sometimes perhaps a pig they were generally too busy and had too little room to produce much of their own food.
They would have relied mainly on produce from the rich farmlands of the Vale of York. The
town would have provided a steady, rich market for the people round about who worked
the land and could produce more than they needed for themselves.
Average Heights in Northern Europe Estimated
from Adult Male Skeletons
Section Two: describes the culture
of the Viking people
II. Daily Life
A. The People
B. Viking Warriors were called berserkers
Terms to Learn: Eddas
C. Religion
Death of Balder
 1. Viking gods variations of Germanic gods
 2. Viking practices sacrifices to bargain with their gods
The Tollund Man is the naturally mummified corpse of a man who lived during
the 4th century BC, during the time period characterzsed in Scandinavia as the
Pre-Roman Iron Age.[1] He was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog on the Jutland
Peninsula in Denmark, which preserved his body. This is a historically
important area inhabited by the Germanic peoples. His corpse is one of
several down
well preserved
bog 1100
bodies from the Pre-Roman Iron Age.
 3. stories of the gods great deeds called “eddas”
 4. sagas kept Viking traditions in the oral tradition
► (a.)
 5. Vikings spoke one of for languages: Danish, Swedish,
Norwegian, or Icelandic—all closely related to Germanic
► (a.)
languages written in runes
Offensive Weapons
• The main offensive weapons were
the spear, sword, and battle-axe.
• They carried weapons not just for
battle but also as a symbol of their
owners’ class and wealth. Weapons
were decorated with inlays, twisted
wire and other accessories in silver,
copper, and bronze.
• The spear was the common
weapon with an iron blade 2m to
3m in length.
•Swords were a sign of high status
because they were costly to make.
The blades were usually double
edged and up to 90cm. Many
swords were given names.
Defensive Weapons
• There were circular shields up to one meter
across that were carried. The shield may
have been leather covered. Around 1000, the
kite shaped shield was introduced to the
Vikings to provide more protection for the
• It was essential to wear thick padding
underneath to absorb the force of blows or
arrow strikes. Reindeer hide was used as
•They used long tunics of mail armor
reaching below the waist. They were not very
protective. It took many hours to produce a
shirt, making it very expensive. It’s likely
they were worn more by leaders.
•Helmets were probably worn by leaders as
well. Horned helmets also took great skill to
An accurate viking helmet left. The mail armor shown right.
A modern myth!!!
The Sword and Ideology
By Karl N E
► As
early as the Bronze Age, was the sword the
most important hand-weapon for the free
Germanic warrior. They had an onion shape, and
polished to shine like gold. In early times the
swords was short, as the Roman ”gladius”, blade
and handle was made from one cast. During the
pre-Roman Iron Age, the handles were given the
Gaulish ”ardennes”. Later, during the Migrationperiod the swords grew larger and were made an
artwork in itself. Animals appeared on the grip
which in many times were made from gold,
magical figures, signs and runes began to spring
swords of Viking Age were more
efficient, but also longer and heavier,
the longest being around forty inches,
but more normal at a length of two and
one-half feet. The blade was called
”brand” and the grip ”hjalt”,
connecting the grip was the upper and
lower hjalt, protecting the hand from
enemy cuts.
► Some
of the best blades were imported from the
Frankish region. These swords were often
damascened, a technique where iron and steel
layers are repeatedly folded and hammered
together, producing a hard but flexible blade. The
grips were provided by Nordic craftsmen. The best
swords were said to have been made by dwarves.
These special swords had names, like Sigurd
Fafnisbane had a sword named Gram, the
Gothic royal sword´s name was Tyrfing. Fafnirs
and later Olav Haraldssons swords were both
named Hrotte. The sword of Odin was named
swords were often given names of
the smith, owner or its self-name in
runes. This could also hold some sort
of magical curse or ”mal”. Along the
swordblade there was a shallow
channel or a bloodgroove, in which
the sword could hold a serpent image
that was visible when blood covered
the blade. At the sheath end there was
often placed metal holding runes and
there was also often a container
holding magical items, often stones,
that protected the blade.
► From
early times, the swords were often
destroyed, bent or broken in an attempt to
”kill” the sword, or sacrifice it to the gods as
a spoil of war. At burials, swords were often
destroyed this way. They were laid down in
the urne after it had been burnt on the
funeral pyre with its owner. But swords could
be powerful even after its owners death.
From Snorri´s Heimskringla, there is
witness of the importance of the sword, and
how grave-mounds of former kings are
opened by their successors.
► This
is the case with Olav Haraldsson, the
The Royal
mounds ofof
Uppsal in
Christian martyr and
Sweden from the 5th and the 6th centuries.
who takes up the sword from the pagan Olav
Digerbein´s grave-mound. Olav also bears
his name, and both the power of the sword
and of the name is passed down. There was
in the Viking Age and in the early Middle Age,
a fear of the living dead within the mounds.
Sometimes these mounds were opened and
the inside of the tomb were desecrated, and
the bones scattered. The sword would
disappear in this sort of ”grave-robbery”.
► Swords
were sometimes made of different
magical materials. When being made, the
smith, could pour bonepowder from a
dead person or from a powerful animal,
making the sword invincible and connected
to the persons’ strength or the character of
the animal. The maker was considered a
magician in his craft. It was him who
controlled the fire and the secrets of iron
and steel. It is easy to understand what
power he held, as he was the creator of
powerful weapons leading to the death of
many great men.
► In
ways, the sword in Viking Age could be
looked upon as an ideology, similar to the
emerging warrior codex, which had a long
past in Scandinavian pre-history. In the
location of the former city of Birka near Stockholm
Viking Age a class of warriors distant to civil
society becomes clearly visible. This is for
example the case in Swedish Birka, where
there was a garrison containing the warriors
of the town. This part of the town was
dedicated to the arts of war. In the Middle
Ages, this warrior-class grew to be the
future aristocracy of knighthood, and the
sword remained their closest companion
The Eddas
•There are also Norse oral
religious traditions written as
poems that are collectively named
as Eddas.
•They are folktales.
•Eddas and Sagas weren’t written
on paper. Instead on vellumsheepskin or calf skin. Vellum is
more resistant to rot and
preserves much better than paper
does. Thank god they used
The Sagas
•“Saga” is a Norse word meaning tales. These writings
provide almost all of the knowledge we have of the Vikings.
•There are about forty sagas that include descriptions of
historical events in Iceland and voyages across the North
Atlantic from Norway, Greenland and Vinland
(Newfoundland). The sagas also have records of family
history such as Erik the Red who founded Greenland, and
his son Leif Erickson who discovered North America.
•The Sagas were compiled in the 13th and 14th century,
and later based on stories that originated as early as 400
and 500 years before that.
•Archaeology is providing that a lot of these stories have a
good basis of fact; in fact the Icelandic sagas were used to
help find what might be the site of Vinland.
Write your name in Runes!
Runes Through Time
by Nicole Sanderson
The Vikings are often portrayed as illiterate, uncultured barbarians who
evinced more interest in plunder than in poetry. In fact, the Vikings left
behind a great number of documents in stone, wood and metal, all written
in the enigmatic symbols known as runes. They relied on these symbols not
only for writing but also to tell fortunes, cast spells, and provide protection.
Early Germanic tribes of northern Europe were first to develop runes, but
the Scandinavians soon adopted the symbols for their own use. When the
seafaring Vikings traveled to faraway lands, they brought their system of
writing with them, leaving runic inscriptions in places as distant as
Early Germanic tribes of northern Europe were first
to develop runes, but the Scandinavians soon
adopted the symbols for their own use. When the
seafaring Vikings traveled to faraway lands, they
brought their system of writing with
Viking rune
were also
on thumb-sized
runic inscriptions in places as distant
They were placed in bags and
one runes
by one by Viking
Wherever they went, Vikings turned
fortunetellers and magicians to tell
express both the poetic ("Listen,the
future, heal the sick, banish
or bless people,
places, and things.
I speak/Of the glories in war of Harald,
wealthy") and the prosaic ("Rannvieg owns this
box"), inscribing them on everything from great
stone monuments to common household items.
 Runes used as magic charms
 When Vikings accepted Christianity began writing in
Roman letters
Section Three: discusses Viking influences in
England, France, Russia and the North Atlantic
III. Raiders and Adventurers
A. By 800, due to population increases,
Vikings began to seek their fortunes in other
B. From east Europe to North
1. establish trade routes from the Baltic to the Black
Sea and on to Byzantium. Water route known as
Varangian Route.
2. 862 Swedish chief Rurik founded settlement that
became Kievan Rus state in Russia
3. Norwegian Vikings set up trading towns in Ireland
4. Erik the Red founds a colony on Greenland in 986
5. Leif Eriksson lands on northeast coast of North
America 1000 A.D. and founds a colony they called
6. Europe feared the Vikings
C. The Danes
King Canute on the Seashore Book of Virtues
 1. Viking raiders of western and southern
Long ago, England was ruled by a king named Canute. Like many
leaders and menEurope
of power, Canute was surrounded by people who
were always praising
time he walked
a room, the
 2. set
in theinto
flattery began. regon—eventually become known as
"You are the greatest
man that ever lived," one would say.
"O king, there can
be another
as mighty
as you,"
3. never
954 heir
of Alfred
The mortuary chest of Canute the Great (?994would insist.
1035). Canute was King of England from 1016 to
to leave.
1035, King of Denmark from 1018 to 1035, and
Norway from 1028 to 1035. As a Danish prince,
Canute won the alliance of Danes who had settled
in England, and he conquered the island in 1018.
When his brother Harold died that year, Canute
added the crown of Denmark and repelled an
invasion fleet from Sweden and Norway. By 1026,
Canute had driven King Olaf the Stout from
Norway, and he ruled there as well as in England
and Denmark until his death in 1035. This chest
containing the bones of Canute and his wife
Emma is one of several mortuary receptacles that
are atop the choir screen of Winchester Cathedral
at London.
"Your highness, there is nothing you cannot do," someone would
► (a.) Ethelred,King of England
nicknamed the Unready, by his
"Great Canute, you weakness
are the monarch
of all," another
"Nothing in this world dares to disobey you."
 4. 1016 Danish king Canute conquered
The king was a man of sense, and he grew tired of hearing such
foolish speeches.England
► (a.) Canute converts to Christianity
One day he was walking by the seashore, and his officers and
► (b.) In 1035 after Canute dies the Danes lose
courtiers were with
him, praising him as usual. Canute decided to
control of England
teach them a lesson.
Lion of Rollo, Ruler of Normandy
(b.) In 1035 after Canute dies the Danes
lose control of England
5. Danes attack the French in 885
led by Rollo
Photo of Rollo statue depicted among the 6
 (a.)
dukes of Normandy
in the
town French
square of Falaise
signs treaty with
 (b.) Danes become Christian and
promised loyalty to French king
 (c.) Region
of Danish settlement under
Rollo's grave at the cathedral of Rouen
Norselaw becomes known as
was the
Normandy. The DanesRouen
on the
world's tallest building from
coast of France become
known as
1876 to 1880.*
Pick one of the following essay questions to
prepare for the chapter 20 test.
► 1.
How do you think life in the United States
might be different today if the Vikings had
established colonies where they landed in
North America before the year 1000?
► 2.
What effect did Vikings have on the
development of Europe during the Middle
► 3.
Write an essay explaining the effect
Christianity had on Viking Life?

Chapter 20 The Vikings 800A.D.—1035 A.D.