Vikings Essay

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The Vikings – The Most Brutal of all Barbarians The Dark Ages were a period of great upheaval, battles, plague and very little cultural growth. This period began with the fall of Rome around 410 and lasted about 650 years. Rome was often referred to as the “mother land” and her fall created a loss of trade and commerce sending Western Europe into chaos. Lords from all over Europe were fighting to take control. These struggles from within Europe made it easy for outside forces to invade and take wealth and resources (Corbishly 14). The term “barbarian” was used by the Romans to refer to any “non-Roman”. Among some of these barbaric invaders were the Mongols, the Visigoths and the Vikings. All were fearless warriors and brutal plunderers. Some would argue that the Mongols were most barbaric as they were known to fight day and night to allow no rest for their enemy (Mongols). However, the strength and brutality of the Viking warriors allowed their era to last over 300 years, expanding throughout most of the known world. The Vikings were the most brutal due to their unjust plundering of monasteries and other religious provinces, their Berserker warrior subgroup and their pagan practices. The Vikings had homelands in three countries that together make up modern day Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Much of what we know about the Viking people comes from those that they terrorized. The Vikings also enjoyed sharing tales of their exploits. These tales known as “sagas” were passed down from generation to generation by mouth until they were written by Christian scholars in the 13th century (Wingate & Millard 3). The origin of the title “Viking” continues to be debated. Some believe it is from the Old Norse noun “... ... middle of paper ... ...s that they had no regard for human life. Though some historians believe such accounts may be exaggerations on the part of Christian scholars, archaeological finds do confirm that human sacrifice was a reality. Human remains of young children were recovered from wells at the Viking fortress of Trelleborg (Human Sacrifices). One can conclude that only the most savage of barbarians would sacrifice their own children. In conclusion, the behavior and practices of the Vikings show that they were the most unconscionable and barbaric of all warriors. The fact that they were able to torture and conquer innocent communities for hundreds of years illustrates their sheer strength in warfare. Their repeated attacks on sacred places, the beast-like Berserkers and their pagan beliefs all contributed to the well justified reputation as most fearsome and murderous savages.

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