Essay on The Age of the Vikings

1639 Words Sep 27th, 2008 7 Pages
When someone mentions the word ‘Viking’, the image that comes to mind is usually not pleasant. Often pictured as bloodthirsty barbarians in horned helmets, the Vikings are one of the most unfairly stereotyped ethnic groups. Although a large part of the Viking lifestyle involved invading and pillaging, they also had a rich culture that included unique gods and goddesses and fascinating traditions. Although often overlooked, the Vikings were some of the most amazing and accomplished people ever to walk the earth.
The origins of the Vikings lie in the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Most Vikings were craftsmen and farmers who occasionally raided and pillaged in order to get rich. However, the majority of their time
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Several graves containing female Vikings have been found that show that they were often buried in their best clothes and with some of their most prized possessions. For example, most women were buried with jewelry such as brooches used to hold up their dresses, and the spindles they used for spinning. This practice was also carried to the New World, where spindles found in graves at L’Anse aux Meadows show that women also made it across the Atlantic.
Viking graves also give an insight into the religions observed at any given time. A female grave located on the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom contained the “Pagan Lady of Peel’ who was buried with a mix of Christian and Celtic runes, which illustrates the confused period at the beginning of the Vikings’ conversion to Christianity. The Vikings’ conversion did not begin until the 12th century; before that, the Vikings worshipped a plethora of other interesting deities (Williams). The Vikings’ main god was named Odin, the god of wisdom, war, and death, and also from whom we get the word for ‘Wednesday’. Odin had a son, the god Thor, from which ‘Thursday’ is derived. Thor is most famous for his hammer, Mjolnir, which he used to battle giants. The Vikings believed that Thor rode through thunderclouds in a chariot pulled by goats and created lightning with his hammer, hence his name which means ‘thunder’ in Old Norse. The Vikings’ equivalent of the Christian Heaven was Valhalla, or the ‘hall of the slain’. Here, the

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