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Questions tagged [vikings]

For questions about the Scandinavian seafaring raiders and traders of the 8th--11th centuries AD, as well as about their home culture.

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Why didn't the Norsemen colonize North America?

Why is there evidence of (pre-Columbus) Norse presence in North America, but no record of any attempt of permanent settlement?
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4answers
236 views

Why didn't continental eurotpeans aid the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms (Mercia, Northumbria, Wessex and East Anglia) against the invading Danes and Norse? [closed]

At some point during the Viking invasions of England, the Holy Roman Empire or France or even the Emirate of Cordova could've easily held the Vikings back in British soil if they would've decided to ...
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0answers
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What made it possible for the Normans to conquer large areas in Ireland? [closed]

What made it possible for the Normans to conquer/dominate large areas in Ireland in a relative short amount of time when there were relatively few of them? The vikings were to my knowledge quite ...
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0answers
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Did the Danes sack Hamburg after the conquest of Hedeby in 983?

In 983, the Danes reconquered the southern Schleswig area from the Germans. Some sites claim that the Danes conquered Holstein as well during this invasion and even sacked Hamburg in cooperation with ...
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1answer
243 views

How did Irish defeat Norse at Battle of Tara in 980 CE.?

At the Battle of Tara in 980 C.E. the Norse were (apparently) heavily defeated by the Irish. There is not much material or sources on this battle. Does anyone have ideas on how the Irish were able to ...
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1answer
176 views

Giving a child to Thor

In Chapter 7 of Eyrbyggja saga we are told how Thorolf, the first gođi of Thorsness pledged his chield to Thor: Thorolf Most-beard married in his old age, and had to wife her who is called Unn; ...
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1answer
182 views

In Scandinavia, was there a cultural continuity from Goths to Vikings or were they two different groups of people?

The earliest origin of the Gothic people/culture is commonly placed on the Scandinavian peninsula, in the region of Götaland (in southern Sweden) and/or the island of Gotland (off the eastern coast of ...
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0answers
82 views

Primary sources on Medieval Christian depictions of non-Christians (in English)

I'm a history student and I'm looking for primary sources in English (not Latin) that could help me with my research. I'm trying to find primary sources preferably written by Christian monks about the ...
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1answer
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Kissing in early Icelandic law

I'm reading the Grágás laws of early Iceland and have come across a passage I don't understand: K155, Ib p.47 "If a man kisses a woman in private, with no one else present and with her consent, then ...
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3answers
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How did people put down a drinking horn?

It's easy to put down a glass. You just put it on the table. It won't spill unless somebody tips it over. How did people put a full drinking horn on the table? Did they have some sort of thingy to ...
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4answers
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Were there natives In Iceland prior to the Irish monk's landings?

The Vikings discovered Iceland quite early on, in the late 800s, although 'Gaelic monks from Ireland had settled Iceland before that date'. Unfortunately the date was never recorded. The Viking ...
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0answers
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Are there any references to the number of men the vikings could muster? [duplicate]

I am just interested in any respectable source that has an estimate of the size of armies that Scandinavian Kings and/or Jarls could muster based on their power and/or location. I have read answers ...
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3answers
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Circa 1000, what name would locals in England use for invaders?

If I am living in England around 1000 and some Scandinavian raiders show up at my village to pillage our farms, which phrase would I be most likely to be saying: "Oh no, here come the Vikings!" "Oh ...
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3answers
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Is there a genetic link between North America and Vikings?

Is there any evidence of Viking genetics in the North East American Indian population? There is a blue eye trait in some East Coast tribes, especially the Iroquoian tribe of the Cherokee.
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3answers
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Why did Danish people not “connect” with neighbor nations until Viking Age?

I was watching the excellent documentary Historien om Danmark and they basically said Denmark (and Scandinavia as a whole) was pretty much isolated until Viking Age starting in late 8th century (...
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0answers
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Do we know how much alcohol Vikings drank?

We know the drink of choice, at least for early Vikings, was mead. But do we know exactly how much alcohol the Vikings drank? Was there a significant supply of alcohol so that each man could drink as ...
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2answers
695 views

Why are Vikings singled out for raids in Britain and Ireland when records may indicate most raids were by local rulers?

The main (original) sources for the evidence cited here were written by monks and priests who have usually been cited by modern historians as being biased against Vikings. However, recent research ...
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3answers
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What were medieval, Viking-Era, Scandinavian laws regarding rape?

Since the vikings have a reputation for their "rape and pillage" tactics, I thought it interesting to look in depth at their legal system and learn a bit more for myself. However, viking-era legal ...
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2answers
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How were foreign names written in runes?

Are there any example of runic writing of a foreign name? Maybe journals or histories from famous warriors, travelers or foes? If so, how they do it with the runes? Basically I'm trying to find ...
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1answer
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How does a runic alphabet work?

For instance, let's take the Younger Futhark alphabet. How do you build a word? By just getting the first letter or phoneme of the name of each rune? Or do they have a contextual meaning?
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2answers
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What happened during a Viking Feast?

I am looking for information about Viking feasts. The only information I found, was about their food, what they ate and so on. But are there any sources of information about the typical schedule of a ...
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2answers
251 views

Vikings: The sagas of Ragnar Lothbrock and his sons

In the TV-show Vikings the sagas revolve around Ragnar and his sons. I was wondering whether there existed other Vikings who were more famous or conquered more than Ragnar or his sons did. This is ...
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2answers
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Had there been a significant physiological difference between the Vikings and the Europeans (around the 11th century)? [closed]

Everyone who has seen the show The Vikings surely noticed that the Nordic men are far more muscular and much bigger. Is there a genetic difference that was making them better fighters or had they ...
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1answer
364 views

Which material did the Vikings drink Mead from?

I believe Vikings drank Mead as their common alcoholic drink. If that is not right it doesn't really matter. Just replace Mead with whatever is right (beer, wine ...). The question is what material ...
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1answer
257 views

What was the Romans or Roman Empires opinion on the Vikings? [closed]

How were they depicted by the Romans in Ancient History?
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Prevalence of smallpox among the Norse in Northern Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland

The Norse are the only people that - we can verify today - had pre-columbian contact with the New World. While it's clear that their settlements didn't last, it does appear that they interacted with ...
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3answers
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Did medieval Icelanders write with runes?

The land-taking of Iceland took place while Norse culture wrote short texts such as inscriptions using runes (during the transition from the Elder to the Younger Futhark). Runes are closely identified ...
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2answers
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Did barbarians capture monks or priest of civilized kingdoms to teach them?

I'm watching the loosely accurate TV show Vikings. When Vikings pillage the Briton monastery of Lindisfarne, they also capture some monks as slaves. Later, one of the monks assimilates pretty well to ...
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1answer
366 views

Question closed [closed]

Question was closed & so i decided to delete it:)
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1answer
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What evidence is there that Alfred paid the Danes to leave Wessex in 876?

The Danes struck at Wareham in 876. Alfred made peace there with Guthrum, and there was an exchange of hostages. However, the Danes broke the peace and during the night they killed the hostages and ...
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1answer
314 views

How accurate is the respresentation of York/Jórvík in the manga Vinland Saga?

In the manga Vinland Saga, the heroes arrive at "York". Clearly, it should have been called Jórvík but let's forgive them that for now. Below is how the manga shows the city from the sky. Comparing ...
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2answers
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What did Vikings wear in cold wet conditions at sea?

As you can see from this BBC documentary, the crew of this 2009 summertime journey from Denmark to Ireland in a Viking longship suffered from hypothermia (approx 00:20:00 into the video), even though ...
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1answer
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Is there evidence that Harald Bluetooth died from an arrow to the rear?

There's a popular opinion, that a famous Danish king Harald Bluetooth died as a result of taking an arrow, well... straight to his rectum. Not only have I encountered said story over the Internet on ...
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Did the Romans ever encounter the Vikings?

Did the Romans ever scout Scandinavia for possible conquest? Or was trade ever done between them?
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2answers
510 views

Are there any written records of Norse mythology dated prior to Christianization?

As I understand it, most of what we know about Norse mythology is based on texts written in sagas by Christians in the late Middle Ages. Do we have any contemporary accounts of Norse mythology from ...
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1answer
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What is known about how many Ulfberht swords exist?

For those who don't know, the Ulfberht sword was a Viking weapon of the finest quality, made with exquisite skill from the best materials available. They were produced between 800 and 1000 CE in ...
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3answers
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Did Charlemagne's Christian conquest of Germany cause the Vikings to hit back at Britain?

A documentary on The Dark Ages says that Vikings invaded the British isles after Charlemagne of France conquered some of Germany and forced the Germans to convert or die in the years 783-804. The ...
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1answer
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How did this 900AD key work?

The Wikipedia Keys article shows this ancient Anglo-Viking voided key from circa 900AD: Unlike a tumbler lock which needs cuts at exact depths on the key to align its barrels, this key looks very ...
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2answers
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Are many Russians descended from Varangian Vikings? [closed]

Are many Russians descended from Varangian Vikings? Some historians say yes, but some do not. There had been archaeological diggings in Saint-Petersburg and the Novgorod region, as seen in one rare ...
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3answers
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Did the Vikings practice voluntary human sacrifice?

In the TV series Vikings there's a scene at the Norse temple Upsalla where a Viking warrior quite willingly agrees to be sacrificed in exchange for the goodwill & protection of the Norse gods for ...
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0answers
359 views

Vikings as Transmitters of Red Hair [closed]

I read that red hair originates in Scandanavia, and not in Britain. That before the Viking conquests of Britain and Ireland in the 8th-10th centuries those islands were populated mainly by dark-haired ...
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6answers
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Size of Viking armies and raiding parties in 9th-10th centuries?

I am watching the Vikings series, and although I don't consider it a historically accurate series, I noticed somethings that I am curious about. The series takes place in the late 8th century, ...
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2answers
1k views

Travelling by a Viking ship

What it was like to travel on a Viking ship back then? Please, focus on these points: How long it would take for a Viking raider group to get to their favourite destinations using a Viking warship? ...
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2answers
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Ratio of population to military size throughout European history? [closed]

I realise that this is a fairly broad question, but I am trying to get a sense of the ratio between the total population and the size of the military that societies could support at different times ...
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0answers
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What were the board dimensions of the Viking era bed finds?

While some boards were lost or too deteriorated to get exact dimensions, the reproduction of the Oseberg and Goteland beds had to be based on something. The most I've been able to find were the ...
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1answer
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In which places of the UK did the Vikings/Scandinavians have most frequent contact or colonies?

I was in York, England and there was a museum called Jorvik Viking Centre, which spoke about the Vikings who lived there. It said that the area back then was mostly populated by the Vikings. Since ...
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1answer
863 views

Why is Kubb - a skittles game - associated with the Viking Age?

Is there any evidence to suggest that kubb might have been played in the Viking Age, or was it just associated with Viking history to promote it? If so, who invented it, or when did it originate?
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1answer
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First Royalty in Scotland?

The standard answer is Kenneth Macalpine as far as I can see with lesser kings before him, I assume between Scotland and England this where out modern/current Royals come from, I was trying to ...
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1answer
354 views

In the History Channel series the Vikings, who is Ragnar? [closed]

I've been watching the Vikings series on Amazon and I am curious who Ragnar, the main protagonist is supposed to be based on? I think he is supposed to be the "first" viking leader to raid England. I ...
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1answer
333 views

How long was a journey “from the Varangians to the Greeks?”

Textbooks about Russian history often discuss the importance of trade routes "from the Varangians to the Greeks," which allowed ships to pass from the Baltic to the Black Sea using a network of ...