The Code of Ethics of the Vikings

Good Essays
While researching the Vikings and what made them such fierce warriors, I learned that the cause of their behavior came from their code of ethics as well as their ideals and religion.

The Vikings had a code of ethics that dictated how any respectable warrior especially those who wanted to be heroes among their people. This is proven in the book Vikings: Raiders From The North which states "Self-respect, honor, and reputation were necessary above all, and these could not exist without a firm foundation of loyalty to family and comrades. Conventions ruled everything in life- conventions about hospitality and the giving of gifts, about keeping oaths and avenging wrongs, about doing good deeds for the neighborhood such as building bridges and churches. Leaders of men must demonstrate courage, fortitude, fellowship, truthfulness, eloquence, and zest for life coupled with the ability to face death with an untroubled mind. All of these requirements, and countless others, were incorporated in the Old Norse poem Havamal, literally, 'the speech of the high one,' which includes the entire Viking-age code of conduct from simple little homilies to statements on the true meaning of eternal honor." (34) Using this code of ethics to guide them and having this code so deeply ingrained into their way of life is also shown when then book states “He could never make it as a king if he did not have both income and honor. He required both to inspire his warriors. Honor decreed that he lead his own troops into battle, and ...

... middle of paper ...

... is when Donovan states, “ Yet the Viking movement did make noteworthy contributions to European civilization. Outstanding among them are the ideals of loyalty, courage, and individual freedom, which are shared by Viking descendants in many lands.” (25)

In conclusion it was ultimately the Vikings’ code of ethics, religion, and ideals were the reasons why they were such a fierce people.

Works Cited

Donovan, Frank R., and Thomas D. Kendrick The Vikings. London: Cassell, 1964. Print.

Haworth-Maden, Clare, Judith Millidge, and Wayne Humphries. Viking Gods. Edison, NJ: Chartwell, 1999. Print.

Kingsley, Rebecca. Myths and Legends of the Vikings. New Jersey: Chartwell, 1999. Print.

Odijk, Pamela. The Vikings. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Silver Burdett, 1990. Print.

Vikings: Raiders from the North. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, 1993. Print.
Get Access