Or Norseman; The inhabitants of Scandinavia in the period 800–1100. They traded with, and raided, much of Europe, and often settled there. In their narrow, shallow-draft, highly maneuverable longships, the Vikings penetrated far inland along rivers. They plundered for gold and land, and were equally energetic as colonists—with colonies stretching from North America to central Russia—and as traders, with main trading posts at Birka (near Stockholm) and Hedeby (near Schleswig). The Vikings had a sophisticated literary culture, with sagas and runic inscriptions, and an organized system of government with an assembly (“thing”). Their kings and chieftains were buried with their ships, together with their possessions.
In France the Vikings were given Normandy. Under Sweyn I they conquered England (where they were known as “Danes”) 1013, and his son Canute was king of England as well as Denmark and Norway. In the east they established the first Russian state and founded Novgorod. They reached the Byzantine Empire in the south, and in the west sailed to Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, visited by Eric the Red, and North America, by his son Leif Ericsson who named it “Vinland”. As “Normans” they achieved a second conquest of England 1066.
The origin of the word “Viking” is disputed, as are the reasons for the sudden expansion of Scandinavian activities in this period, though overpopulation, the weakness of neighboring states, and favorable trading conditions were influential factors. Although many Scandinavian peoples were actively trading and raiding in this period, the Vikings were successful because of their superior ships and seamanship, whether in the military longship or in the colonists’ broad knarr. Viking ships are preserved in Oslo and in Denmark at Roskilde. Although the Vikings are commonly thought of as pirates, they were capable of organising politically-motivated missions. They had an established system of law and social organisation and a rich poetic culture. As they became more settled they took over many of the customs of the areas in which they lived, for example converting to Christianity and subsequently introducing it to Scandinavia.
The Vikings in the British Isles
A signal for the start of Viking raids on the British Isles was the sacking of the monastery of Lindisfarne in 793. Soon Viking rule was established in the Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides, and parts of north and western Scotland, in parts of Ireland, and increasingly in England, where the Vikings controlled most of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, an area known as Danelaw. The kingdom of Wessex under Alfred the Great resisted strongly, however, and was victorious in 899. The need for organized resistance accelerated the growth of the feudal system. In the 10th century the Scandinavian settlers in England lost their power, reflecting the civil war then raging in Scandinavia, but toward the end of the century raids from Denmark increased, culminating in the invasion and conquest of England under Sweyn I and Canute. They created permanent settlements, for example in York, and greatly influenced the development of the English language.
In Ireland the Vikings founded the cities of Dublin (840), Cork, and Limerick. They were halted, however, by their defeat at the battle of Clontarf, 1014.
The Vikings in France and Spain
Under Charlemagne and his successor, Louis the Pious, the Carolingian empire proved too strong for the Vikings, but after the latter’s death in 840 they raided the areas round the Seine and the Loire frequently, sacking Paris in 845. As in England, they were prepared to be bought off by “Danegeld”. In 912 the Viking Rollo was granted lands in France which were to form the nucleus of the duchy of Normandy. In Spain and the Mediterranean the Vikings met determined opposition from the Arabs and made only infrequent raids.
The Vikings in the Atlantic
The Vikings had colonised the Faeroes and Iceland by the end of the 9th century. Eric the Red began the settlement of Greenland in about 986, and his son Leif Ericsson discovered “Vinland” in North America (possibly Newfoundland) in 1000, though the Viking colonies that were established there do not seem to have survived long.
The Vikings in Eastern Europe
In the East, the Vikings (known as Rus) traded down the Dnieper and Volga rivers, establishing trading posts at Novgorod and Kiev, where they founded a dynasty. Vikings also served in the imperial guard in Constantinople, where they were known as Varangians. The Swedish Varangians were invited to settle differences among the Slav chieftains in Russia 862.
Any of the Scandinavian people who raided the coasts of Europe from the 8th to the 11th centuries.
Staroskandinavski borac, ratnik, gusar (od 8. do 11. veka); vrlo vešt pomorac i hrabar borac; vikinzi su, skriveni u zalivima, vrebali na natovarene brodove i skidali s njih vredne stvari.
Skandinavski morski pirat.
Borac, ratnik, junak, naročito junak na moru, gusar; ime germanskih stanovnika Skandinavije koji su od VIII-XI veka bili na zlu glasu kao gusari.