Attended a lecture on the Vikings by Lisa Didier on Celebrity Silohouette. My notes on her speech:
Vikings began in Petty Kingdoms in Norways in 800s. King at top, the “Thing” was high society, craftsmen were the “high flyers” and bottom ley were the slaves. Farming based society, but they grew hemp for linen and livestock, also did iron mongering for other areas. Lived in long house (including cattle, for heat and saftey). They were personal hygiene freaks, pressed their clothes, carried sword and pouch of silver and wore jewelry, woold capes and hats. Females ruled the household.
Vikings began with Harald, king of a petty kingdom, who proposed to the princess Gyda. She said only if he became king of all Norway. He vowed not to cut his hair until he did this. He increased his slab from western Norway to king of all of Norway in 10 years in 9th Century. They have 10 sons, and Harald breakes up the kingdoms between each, so they fall into 100 years of civil war, so the remaining kings in southwest kingdoms sent their armies out to “get stuff.”
THey had been sailing merchants along the coasts, modernized their ships to become Viking long ship (speed and flexibility) made from Oak. Flexibility came wool tucked between long slats, from 13-34 rowing positions. Open boat, could go 18 knots, shallow allowed to get close to shore. Rowed from Norway to CHicago in 44 days in 19th century to prove it could be done. Navigated using a “magic stone” that turned yellow in sun and pointed to East (cordierite).
Viking was a job, not a title. They were Pagans with 118 pagan gods, they beleived if die in battle go up to Valhala. THe one big sin was stealing, but it was okay to take booty from someone killed in battle. King built the ship and providing helmets and swords. In winter, stayed home, late Spring “they went Viking.” Hunted for silver and slaves, with a share given to the king and Thing. Initially leather helmets, but switched to metal over time. A viking with a wolf hat was a Berserker (word comes from SHape SHifter). INgested a mushroom drug, jumped off the ship first, attacked any and all like madmen – may have created the legend of the werewolf.
First Viking raid recorded by ENglish Monks. 793 Lindisfarn Abbey, slaughtered the monks. They took slaves and silver, but missed gospels hidden in dung pile. 795 began attacking Ireland, so monks built ring towers for protection. VIkings took to rivers, and peasnts developed crannogs in bogs, and island bunker. 823 Beflast. 900s changed tactics organized fleets to 3-5 ships, all first viking to touch shore became Captain for the summer. Ulster cut off his hand and threw it to shore to be Captain, called off Red Hand of Ulster. Esat Russia, South to into Byzantine, Novgood in RUssia (Rurik).
Last Viking Raid was 1000.