Disadvantages Of Vikings

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The Vikings, a term used to describe the people from Scandinavia from the late eighth century until the invasion of England in 1066, were particularly influential during this period through their extensive journeys, as they reached areas as far as North America and the Middle East, linking together all the communities in between. They connected these people together in three ways: plundering and taking tribute from neighbouring communities; colonising; and trading. The Middle Ages is often regarded as the “Dark Ages” in Europe: supposedly a time of little learning and relative isolation, particularly when compared with the Roman civilisation preceding it and the Renaissance afterwards (and, indeed, when compared with the advances of Europeans’…show more content…
Though plundering may have been standard procedure for the Vikings, most of their business was conducted in an orderly fashion. Pillaging served mainly as a reminder to their subjects of what happened when tribute was not paid (Lund 56). The best example of tribute taking was the Danegeld, a tax levied in England to pay off the Danes in order to prevent them from plundering their shores. In 1041, King Harthacanute levied £32,147, which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle called a severe tax, and that it was raised with difficulty, though this was less than half of what King Cnut raised in 1018 (Lawson 722-3). From this we can infer that the Viking threat was serious enough to be able to impose such a harsh levy. Holt estimates that between 10 and 19% of total revenue going into the Exchequer was Danegeld (250). Though these numbers are taken from the 12th century, it is important to see how much the geld levied was worth at the time, and its lasting…show more content…
A good example of this is the settling of Normandy. The Viking warrior, Rollo, was given lands, in what we now know as Normandy, by the French King, Charles the Simple, in exchange for Rollo’s agreement to stop his incursions and to provide protection against other marauding Vikings (Douglas 426). Eventually, Rollo converted from Norse paganism to Christianity, though on his deathbed he is said to have ordered the sacrifice of one hundred Christians to satiate the bloodthirst of the Norse gods he had previously abandoned (Douglas 432, 434). By the time William the Bastard, Count of Normandy - the descendant of Rollo - conquered England in 1066, it was acheived was under a papal banner. Similar cases are apparent across Europe. R.H.C Davis believes that the peasants recorded in the North of England in the Domesday Book were of Viking descent, which suggests that the Vikings settled at all levels of society, not just the ruling nobility (23). Davis believes that the settlers were demobilised soldiers who gedœlan (divided in Old English) the land between themselves and settled (24-26). An interesting anecdote to consider when looking at the connections in this period is the crossing of the Atlantic to North America by Lief Eriksson. Though they did not settle for more than a few decades and the connection between the two
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