Vikings: History and Legacy

The Vikings’ history has, since the they burst on the scene in 793 by raiding the Lindisfarne monastery, been marked with the idea that they were bloodthirsty marauders, pillaging, raping and burning everything they saw,

Other aspects of their history got little attention until fairly recently. The excavation of York was the first major stepping stone in giving the Vikings a second change. The general view of their history began to change.

So who were the ancient Vikings, were they a barbaric race of pillaging rapists or were they simply a race of aggressive salesmen with a killer sales pitch. Being Vikings our self, we find it important to depict as true an image as possible of the race that’s been called the ancient Vikings.

The ancient Vikings

Usually when we talk about the ancient Vikings, the notorious raiders come to mind. But this is only a part of the picture, and a small part at that. We seldom see the huge culture that rests behind these coastal raiders, the families, arts and crafts of the Scandinavians in the early middle ages.

Most of the time these people are being called ancient Vikings or just simply Vikings. But this word is not the word used by these people themselves or by the monks writing about their first encounter. Northmenn or Normans is more correct way of calling them.

The word Viking comes from the old Nordic word vik or bay and was according to the Icelandic sagas, used in reference with the act of pirating. The phrase “fara í viking” in English meant sailing off to far away shores to pillage.

The word Viking or Vikings has become so well known, that it’s probably easier to change our ideas about these people than start using another name for them. For us, the descendants of these people, the word Viking also holds a deeper meaning. For us it’s not just a cult, it’s a culture. It’s who we are.

So through the Vikings-history website we will give you a glimpse of who we are and where we come from.

The way of the Viking

On this site we will be looking at all aspects of the Vikings. Who they were and where they came from.

We will show them as warriors and farmers, family man and merchants. We will be looking at their homes and working places, craft and culture, mothers and children. We hope that you’ll see that these were ordinary people in not so ordinary times.

For us this subject is part of our heritage. Being Icelandic, we can trace our roots to the Vikings of the 10th century and most of all, we could understand them if we met today. Our language is the old language of the Vikings and that is a privilege in itself.