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Lecture 4

The Vikings in History (Lecture 4)

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Andrew Mc Donald

Thursday, September 29th 2011 Lecture 4: The Vikings in History Important Essay Information Beginning of Next Lecture - Part I: Narrative Overview - Who were the vikings? - The Viking age in Europe Whatʼs in a name? Viking comes from old norse language - Vikingr (n) = pirate, raider, sea-rover - Viking (v) = to raid (as in, ʻg a-Vikingʼ) - not applicable to all Scandinavians form so-called “Viking age” - Generally not used by the people the Vikings came into contact with (Nortmen, Pagans, etc: Anglo-Saxons: wicings) Viking diaspora 793- c.1100 “Viking Age” or “Viking Ages”? - The Viking Age as an artificial construct - the vastness of the Viking world - How monolithic was the Viking Age? How similar were Viking experiences in different parts of the Viking world? - ʻFirst Viking Ageʼ 790- to mid-800s - ʻSecond Viking Ageʼ mid-800s to mid 900s - Conversion and political consolidation mid-900s-1100 - Viking “Empires” 11th-13th centuries Fitting the Vikings into our picture so far... Thursday, September 29th 2011 - Vikings = Germanic Peoples - The last in a series of “barbarian” invasions/migrations stretching back to 4th century - Impact on Carolingian Empire? - Viking “Empires”? Scandinavia Before the Viking Age - continuity and change from late Iron age to Viking age in Scandinavia - The Viking age as an “historical” horizon - Social hierarchy - Kings, chieftains, landowners, merchants, slaves - Pre-Christian Scandinavian religion Viking Ships Catalysts of the Viking Age - the long development of Viking ship technology - Characteristics: shell (or clinker) built; side rudders; oars and sails; shallow draft; high stem and stern posts - useful for carrying warriors and cargo Oseberg and Gokstand Ships - 3 Viking ship burials discovered in oslofjord region of Norway 1880s=1904: Oseberg, Gokstad, Tune - 9th century ships Causes of Viking Expansion - complex interplay of internal and external dynamics - Internal factors: population pressure and limited resources; demographics; heroic society and the quest for fame; “lust for silverʼ - External factors: pressure from Carolingian empire; “pagan reactionʼ; pre-existing trade contacts; “lust for silver” Viking Raids: The ʻFirst Viking Ageʼ c. 793-840s - 793 first (recorded) raid on Lindisfarne, England - 795 Ireland a
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