Vikings – Raiders of a Nordic kind.

As the next issue of Irregular Magazine is based around the theme of Swashbuckling, I’ve decided to write an article about the raiders from Norway, the Vikings. So I decided that I’d add some of the research and web sites I’ve come across on here. I’ll also be adding a short WIP of the miniatures painted for the article as well at a later date. 

So what do we know about the Vikings, well the image of the horned helmet is a myth, its based on a bronze celtic helmet found in the Thames. There is no current archaeological evidence to support the image of a horned Viking helmet. Yes, they did raid the coast, but they were also proficient farmers, craftsmen and women as well a great explorers and sailors. 

Viking Shield

 

The vikings heyday was between the 8th and 11th century, during this period the colonised large areas of Europe, the UK, Iceland, Greenland and were the first European settlers in what is now known as North America, or as the vikings refered to it as Vinland. 

In Old Norse, the word is spelt víkingr. The word appears on several rune stones found in Scandinavia. In the Icelanders’ sagas, víking refers to an overseas expedition (Old Norse fara í víking “to go on an expedition”), and víkingr, to a seaman or warrior taking part in such an expedition. (Wikipedia) 

One of the first sites I came across of interest was The Viking Answer Lady, and the page in particular concerning NOrse name construction. Though this wouldn’t be terribly useful for a wargame purpose, it would be great for those who are planning to role play nordic characters. 

The vikings were renowned warriors and were considered quite fearsome in battle, so my next port of call was Regia Anglorum, a Dark Age re-enactment society in the UK. This site has a number of useful articles which include a detailed account of a Saxon/Viking Village called  Wichamstow

Weapons of the Dark Ages

 

Viking culture is rich in myths and tales of the gods, and a couple of  good sites which looks at this aspect of Norse life ad cultures are The Norse Gods and Hurstwic

The Vikings were considered great explorers crossing the oceans to become the first settlers in North America, and settling in Iceland and Greenland. The Norse who came to Newfoundland were not fierce raiders in search of pillage and plunder. The Norse appearance here was the last step in a relatively peaceful expansion of livestock farmers across the North Atlantic, taking in parts of the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland, and finally Vinland. For a more detailed account of Norse exploration visit these sites; 

Norse in the North Atlantic and Leif Ericson (Old Norse: Leifr Eiríksson), (c. 970 – c. 1020) was a Norse  explorer who’s regarded as the first European to land in North America (excluding Greenland), nearly five hundred years before Christopher Columbus.

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