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All you need to know about Vikings.

This post really doesnt relate to Civilization if you are talking geographically, but I personally consider Vikings as one of the most influential people that have helped shape the world as any other known civilization did. We can start by saying they are the most active/Creative/Adventurous ancient people.

The Vikings were adventurous seafarers, explorers and raiders from Scandinavia who spread through Europe and the North Atlantic in the period of vigorous Scandinavian expansion (800-1100 CE) known as the Viking Age. From Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, they appeared as traders, conquerors, Hunters, Sailors, Farmers, Shipbuilders, Artists, Metal-smiths, Leaders and settlers in Finland, Russia, Byzantium, France, England, Iceland, Greenland and.... the Netherlands. A Norsemans life was not always about gutting an enemy or sacking a monastery.

For many centuries before the year 800, such tribes as the Cimbrians, Goths, Vandals, Burgundians, and Angles had been wandering out of Scandinavia. The Vikings were different because they were sea warriors and they carried with them a civilization that was in some ways more developed than those of the lands they visited. The ability of Scandinavians to adapt and integrate with different cultures is both their greatest strength and a potential downfall as a people. Scandinavia was rich in iron, which seems to have stimulated Viking cultural development. Iron tools cleared the forests and plowed the lands, leading to a great increase in population. Trading cities such as Birka and Hedeby appeared and became the centers of strong local kingdoms.

The Viking ship, with its flexible hull and its keel and sail, was far superior to the overgrown rowboats still used by other peoples. Kings and chieftains were buried in ships, and the rich grave goods of these and other burial sites testify to the technical expertise of the Vikings in working with textiles, stone, gold and silver, and especially iron and wood. The graves also contain Arab silver, Byzantine silks, Frankish weapons, Rhenish glass, and other products of an extensive trade. In particular, the silver kufic (or cufic) coins that flowed into the Viking lands from the caliphate further stimulated economic growth. Viking civilization flourished with its skaldic literature and eddic poetry, its runic inscriptions, its towns and markets, and, most of all, its ability to organize people under law to achieve a common task- such as an invasion.

Expansion was apparently propelled by the search for new trading opportunities and new areas in which to settle the growing population, arriving first as rapacious raiders (looting monasteries and capturing slaves to sell in the Middle East) but soon establishing themselves on a more permanent basis. By the end of the 8th century, Swedish Vikings were already in the lands around the Gulf of Finland, Danish Vikings had settled along the Dutch coast, and Norwegian Vikings had colonized the Orkney and Shetland islands. Swedes called Rus or Varangians established fortified cities at Novgorod and then at Kiev, creating the first Russian state, and traded down the great rivers of Russia to Byzantium and Persia. Norwegian Vikings established kingdoms in Ireland, where they founded Dublin about 840, and in northwestern England.

They settled Iceland and colonized Greenland in the 10th century and founded the short-lived North American colony called Vinland in the early 11th century. Great armies of Danes and Norwegians conquered the area called the Danelaw in England, overthrowing all the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms except King Alfred's Wessex. They attacked cities in France, Germany, the Low Countries, and Spain and, in 911, seized control of Normandy in France, where their descendants became known as the Normans.

After conquering and settling in foreign lands, the Vikings came under the cultural influence of the conquered peoples. Originally pagan worshipers of Thor and Odin, many became Christians, and during the 10th century they brought Christianity to Scandinavia. The process of conquest slackened during the 10th century as civil wars raged in Scandinavia. Out of these wars powerful new kingdoms emerged with great new fortresses, including Trelleborg in Denmark. Soon armies of a renewed Viking age were on the move. In 1013, Sweyn of Denmark conquered all of England. His son, Canute, built an empire that included England, Denmark, and Norway. By the second half of the 11th century, however, the coming of stronger political systems and stronger armies in Europe, the development of new types of ships, and the redirection of military endeavor by the Crusades brought the Viking Age to an end.

Vikings of all areas spoke Old Norse; a Germanic language which has evolved into modern day Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic; and which has also had influences on many other European languages. Icelandic is the closest to Old Norse. Vikings used a form of written communication called runes, a word which is taken to mean "secret, hidden." Perhaps the "secret" aspect applies to the magical quality of the runes. Runes were often used as enchantments for protection or prowess. It is also common to hear of people "casting the runes" to foretell the future. No known sources that tell of Vikings doing this, we do know

that they did believe in divination and given the runes' links with Odin it seems likely that they were used in this way.

According to Viking legend, Odin learned the secret of the runes by making a sacrifice of himself unto himself. Pierced by a spear, he hung from the World tree for nine whole days and nights without food or drink. On the tenth day, he looked into the deep and drew out the runes before falling back to Midgard. Historically speaking, Vikings used a runic alphabet known as the Younger Futhark, which evolved from the Elder Futhark (although somewhat strangely contained eight fewer symbols despite an increase in the usage of different sounds in the language), an early Germanic rune alphabet. Runes were easy to carve into wood, bone or stone (the Vikings had no paper) due to their straight lines or staves.

Use of skulls as drinking vessels The use of human skulls as drinking vesselsanother common motif in popular pictorial representations of the Vikingsis also ahistorical. The rise of this legend can be traced to Ole Worm's Runer seu Danica literatura antiquissima (1636), in which Danish warriors drinking r bjgvium hausa [from the curved branches of skulls, i.e., from horns] were rendered as drinking ex craniis eorum quos ceciderunt [from the skulls of those whom they had slain]. The skull-cup allegation may also have some history in relation with other Germanic tribes and Eurasian nomads, such as the Scythians and Pechenegs, and the vivid example of the Lombard Alboin, made notorious by Paul the Deacon's History. There may also be some confusion between "skull" and the Norse/Icelandic word for a drinking cup, skl. This is a common toast in Scandinavian countries.

An introduction to the main gods and places in Norse mythologyWhich is their heaven. It is believed that a warrior who dies without his sword with him is not allowed into odins hall.

Odin Odin is the chief of the gods and the ruler of the universe. He was the son of the frost giant Bor and the giantess Bestla. Early in his career, together with his brothers Vili and Ve, Odin overthrew the primeval giant Ymir and fashioned the world from his remains. Odin, his wife Freya (or Frigg), and the other major Norse divinities - Thor and Tyr -live in Asgard, near which is located Valhalla, where Odin was believed to

feast with the spirits of slain warriors. At Ragnarok, the "twilight of the gods", Odin will lead his army against the giants led by Loki. Odin will be devoured by the wolf Fenrir but then be avenged by his son Vidar. Odin's sacred bird is the raven, and his principal weapon - in addition to his powerful runes and magical spells - is the spear. He is depicted as tall, bearded, and one-eyed, having exchanged his other eye for wisdom. In pre-Christian Scandinavia the Odin cult was apparently characterized by human sacrifice, which was usually accomplished by hanging the victim from a tree. The German form of his name is Woden, or Wotan; the name Wednesday is derived from Woden's day, woensdag in Dutch.

Thor Thor was the personification of thunder and the principal war god. Son of the chief god, Odin, and second only to him in importance, Thor was particularly popular among the lower classes of society. He was armed with a hammer (Mjolnir) that returned to his hand after he hurled it at enemies, a belt that doubled his strength when he wore it, and iron gloves that helped him use the Mjolnir effectively. Most of his battles were fought against giants, and he was benevolent to humankind. Thor was noted for his ability to drink vast amounts; he is generally portrayed as a crude, red-bearded, middle-aged warrior who relied on his immense strength rather than on his wits. According to one popular legend, the giant who constructed the residence of the gods was rewarded with the Mjolnir. When it fell into the giant Thrym's possession, Thor retrieved it by pretending to be the goddess Freya, whom Thrym demanded as his wife in exchange for the hammer. Thor, also known as Atli, is identified with Donar, the thunder god of Teutonic mythology. His name survives in the English weekday name Thursday, its German counterpart, Donnerstag and in the Dutch donderdag.

Freya Freya, or Freyja, was the goddess of beauty and love. A beautiful, blonde, blueeyed young woman, she was the sister of Frey and in later traditions the wife of Odin. Freya claimed half of the heroes slain in battle, carrying them to her realm of Folkvang in Asgard. Most of her myths concern attempts by the giants to abduct her. In Teutonic mythology, she was named Frigg. Friday is named after her, Freitag in German and vrijdag in Dutch.


The god of fertility, peace, and prosperity. He was one of the Vanir gods, who were responsible for wealth, and the brother of Freya. Among his magical possessions was a sword that he gave to Skirnir, who in return obtained him Gerda, the most beautiful woman in the world, as his wife.

Yggdrasil Yggdrasil (also Mimameid and Lerad) was the "World tree", a gigantic tree, thought to hold all of the different worlds, such as Asgard, Midgard, Utgard and Hel. Another possibility is that the tree was formerly conceived of as a yew, consistent with its Eddic attribute of being evergreen.

Valhalla The most beautiful mansion in Asgard, where the heroes slain in battle feasted each night with Odin on the boar Schrimnir and mead from the goat Heldrun. The heroes rode out each morning and fought one another until they were cut to pieces; they recovered from their wounds each evening.

Asgard The home and citadel of the gods, corresponding to Mount Olympus in Greek mythology. It was located in the heavens and was accessible only over the rainbow bridge, Bifrost. Asgard had many gold and silver halls or palaces, the most splendid of which was Valhalla, the residence of Odin. The Norse myths held that Asgard would be destroyed at Ragnarok ("Twilight of the Gods"), the final battle in which the giants and demons would overcome the gods. Midgard The defensive fortress which the gods build about the middle portion of the earth allotted to men in order to protect mankind from the giants. Midgard ("middle world") is on the same level as Nidavellir (land of the dwarfs), Svartalfheim (land of the dark elves/dwarfs) and Jotunheim (the land of the giants).

Use if giving or making Timeline . also remove d above highlighted text if using the timeline.:
8000-4000 B.C. -- Retreat of Glaciers from Greater Scandinavia, making way for Pre-Neolithic ancestors of the Scandinavian people to begin utilizing the area 4000-2300 B.C. -- Neolithic Age: The beginnings of Scandinavian agriculture and stock raising. Very early coastal boat development 2300-1950 B.C -- Chalcolithic Age: Arrival of Indo-European speakers into Southern Scandinavia. Evolution of the Sami (Lapps) and Soumi (Finns). 2300-450 B.C. -- Bronze Age 1550-1100 B.C. -- Apex of the Northern Bronze Age in Scandinavia. Expansion of Scandinavian settlements in Central Sweden and Western Norway. Amber Route established between the Mediterranean and Baltic regions. 1100 B.C. -- The making of the Solar Chariot at Trundholm 800-500 B.C. -- Emergence of Halstatt Celtic civilization in Central Europe 500-100 B.C. -- La Tene Celtic civilization - rise of Towns and Iron implement improvements 450 -50 B.C. -- Rise of trade relations between Scandinavia and Celtic Europe. Formation of the Germanic languages (450 B.C.) 325-310 B.C. -- Visit to Thule (Norway) by Pytheas of Massilia (First written account of the daily life of the Norse Peoples) 300-200 B.C. -- Earliest Viking ship excavated, known as the Hjortspring ship, unearthed on Als, an island of Denmark. The craft is 40 foot long, and paddle powered, with no indication of sail or rigging [see Fig. 2]

200-100 B.C. -- Creation (or some say - the rediscovery) of The Runes (Elder FUTHARK) [see Fig. 3] 125-120 B.C. -- Migration of the Cimbri and Teutones from Jutland into Central Europe Decline of Celtic townships in Southern Germany (125 - 75 B.C.) 58-49 B.C. -- Julius Caesar conquers Gaul 50 - 01 B.C. -- Germanic Tribes settle Central Europe between the Rhine and the Vistula 27 B.C - -- Expansion of Trade between Scandinavia and Western Europe begins A.D. 5 -- Tiberiouss naval expedition to Jutland A.D. 9 -- Arminius destroy the Roman Legions in Teutoberg Forest - Romans withdraw to the Rhine and Danube frontiers 50 - 200 -- Revival of the Amber route A.D. 98 -- Cornelius Tacitus pens the Germania 100-150 -- Larger, better Longship construction begins to give Vikings some legs 150-200 -- Goths cross from Sweden to the Southern Baltic shores 245-280 -- Goths and East Germatic tribes raid the lower Danube frontier 260-285 -- Frankish and Saxon pirates raid the shores of Briton and Gaul 306-337 -- Reign of Constantine: Creation of the Christian monarchy 378 -- Battle of Adrianople: Goths defeat and slay Emperor Valens 378-476 -- Renewed Germanic migrations into the Roman Empire 395 -- Division of Eastern (Byzantine) and Western Roman Empires 395-476 -- Collapse of the Western Roman Empire 433-452 -- Reign of Attila the Hun

450-650 -- Migration/Invasion of Jutes, Angles, Saxons, and Frisians from Jutland and northwestern Germany to England 523-528 -- Raid of Hygeia (ON: Hugelik), king of Gotar, on Frisia 530-550 -- Reign of Beowulf over Gotar 550 -575 -- Reign of Hrolf Kraki. Skjoldung king of Hleidr - Reign of Adils, Yngling king of Uppsala 600-800 -- Vendel period in Scandinavia - Helgo, leading port of Lake Malaren 625 -- Conversion of King Edwin of Bernicia (r. 616-633) 634-642 -- King Oswald unites Bercicia and Deria into the kingdom of Northumbria 650-800 -- Cultural flowering of Northern England 675 -- Foundation of Dorestad 675-700 -- Composition of Beowulf, and the rise of a Christian literature in Old English 675-840 -- Rise of Frisian trade 737-740 -- First phase of construction of the Danevirke (a fortification the stretched from the Eider River to the town of Hedeby at the base of the Danish peninsula, basically sealing-off Jutlandand from Central Europe [see Fig. 4]) and the Haeveg (Army Route or Army Way) corduroy road begins. (The Haeveg was the only overland access to lower Scandinavia from Central Europe) 750-775 -- Battle of Bravellir; Harold the Wartooth, last of the Skjoldung kings was defeated by Sigurd Hring , ruler of the Gautar. 750-790 -- Breakthroughs in Scandinavian shipbuilding; Full Keels, Sails, and Complicated Rigging

all brought together in the form of a 120 to 160 foot long craft. 750-800 -- Swedish Vikings open Eastern routes along Volga River to Atil on the Caspian Sea 750-975 -- Oseberg/Borre decorative styles in Scandinavia. 751 -- Pepin the Short seizes the Frankish throne and founds the Carolingian dynasty. 757 -- Accession of King Offa of Mercia. (r. 757 - 796) 768 -- Accession of Charlemagne as king of the Franks. (r. 768 - 814) 772 -- Destruction of the Sacred Tree (Irmiusul) at Easeburg. Charlemagne begins conquest of Saxony. (772 - 804) 778 - 785 -- Rebellion of Saxons under Wunderkind. 789 -- Danish Vikings raid Portland, Wessex. 793 -- A squadron of three Norwegian Dragonships raid and sack the monastery at Lindisfarne, North Umbria Most historians point to this event as the beginning of The Viking Age. 794 -- Norwegian Vikings sack the monastery of Jarro, Northumbria 795 -- Norwegian Vikings sack the monastery of Iona, Scottland Norwegian Vikings sack the monastery of Rechru on the isle of Lambay Viking bases at Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, and Limerick established and fortified 795-840 -- Viking raids on the shores of Ireland and the Shannon Valley start 800 -- King Guthfrith (AKA Godfred; ON: Guthfrid) secures Jutland and Hedeby. Second phase of construction of Danevirke begins 800 - 825 -- The Norse settle on the Shetlands, Orkney, and Hebrides 809 - 855 -- Vikings raids on the Eastern and Southern shores of England 810 -- Danish Vikings raid Frisia and attack Dorestad. Charlemagne launches an abortive attack into Jutland

820 -- Danish Vikings raid Frisia, Northern France, and Aquitaine. 820 - 835 -- Norwegian Vikings raid the lower Loire, expelling the monks of Noirmountier 825 - 850 -- The Norse settle the Faeroes 830 -- Outbreak of civil war in the Carolingian Empire (830-843) 834 -- Ship burial of Queen Asa at Oseberg [see Fig. 6] 834 - 837 -- Four successive sacks by Danish Vikings ruin Dorestad 835 -- Viking base at Noirmountier fortified 835 - 855 -- Vikings attack the isle of Sheppey and disrupt trade on the Thames 838 - 839 -- Arival of Thorgils and Viking fleet from Norway, Thorgils organizes Viking Dublin 840 -- Thorgils captures Armagh and preforms the Rites of Thor. Thorgilss wife, Aud, acts as vlva (a seer ) at the Monastery of Clonmacnoise. Gaill Gaidaill, Irish Apostates, ally with the Vikings 841 -- Harald Klak receives the island of Walcheren Danish Vikings sack Rouen and raid along the lower Seine Valley 842 -- Vikings sack Hamwic (Southampton) and Quentovic (Boulogne) 843 -- Treaty of Verdun; Partitioning of the Carolingian Empire 844 -- Vikings ravage the Garonne Valley, the shores of Asturias, and sack Seville, Spain. 845 -- Mission of al-Grazal from Muslim Cordoba to the Vikings of Dublin Horic, King of Denmark, sacks Hamberg Vikings under Ragnar Lodbrok defeat Charles the Bald and sack Paris Charles the Bald pays Ragnar danegeld of 7000 Lbs. of silver to take his Vikings and leave Paris 846 or 847 -- Defeat and death of Thorgils in Meath

848 - 850 -- Danish Vikings (Black Foreigners) challenge Norwegian Vikings for Ireland 850 -- Death of Harald Klak, Viking Lord of Frisia Danish Vikings establish base on Sheppey, England c.850 -900 -- Emergence of Skaldic poetry in Scandinavia 851 -- Battle of Carlingford Lough; Danish Vikings and their Irish allies defeat the Norwegian Vikings Danes occupy Dublin 852 -- Olaf and the second great fleet arrive from Norway 852-871 -- Olaf struggles for control over Dublin with the Danish Vikings 855-857 -- Bjorn Ironside fortifies his Viking base on Oissel, at the mouth of the Seine 859 -- Danish sea-kings Hastin and Bjork Ironside raid Spain 860 -- Gardar Svavarrsson discovers Iceland Hastein and Bjork Ironside enter the Mediterranean, raid the shores of Southern France, and sack Luna. Rurik (ON: Erik) asked to rule the Slavs from Holmgard (Novgorod) Founding of Kiev as Rus market town First Rus attack on Constantinople 861 -- Weland and his Danish Vikings ravage the Somme and Seine Valleys 863 -- Dorestad is abandoned 865 -- Great Army arrives in East Anglia under Halfdane and Ivar the Boneless Voyage of Floki Vilgerdarson to Iceland 866 -- Great Army captures York 867 -- Battle of York: Vikings defeat and slay Northumbrian Kings Osbert and Aelli, also the Danes conquer Southern North Umbria (Deira) Collapse of First English Kingdom

868 -- Great Army ravages Northern Mercia from their base at Nottingham King Burgred (r. 852-874) pays the Great Army danegeld to retire into East Anglia 869 -- Battle of Hoxne; Defeat and martyrdom of King Edmund (r. 855-869) Great Army overruns East Anglia: Collapse of Second English Kingdom 869-873 -- Ivar the Boneless goes to Ireland 870 -- Halfdane and the Great Army seize Wallingford, the ravaging of Mercia and Wessex continues Arrival of reinforcements from Scandinavia and Viking bases in the Carolingian Empire Great Army seizes and fortifies Reading 870-890 -- Emigration of Norwegian Vikings to Iceland 871 -- Battle of Ashtown: Halfdane defeats King Aethelred I (r. 865-871) Death of Aethelred I and the Accession of Alfred the Great (r. 871-899) Battle of Wilton: A defeated King Alfred pays the Great Army danegeld to withdraw and retire 871-873 -- Ingolf Arnarson settles Iceland 872 -- Rebellion in York, Halfdane and the Great Army move north to quell the revolt 873 -- Great Army seizes Repton: Burgred abdicates and flees to Rome Halfdane proclaims Ceowulf II (r. 874-879) king of Mercia Vikings consolidate power and fortify the Five Boroughs in north Mercia (Nottingham, Derby, Stamford, Lincoln, Leicester) 874 -- With reinforcement from Scandinavia, Guthrum pacifies East Anglia 874-975 -- Halfdane and Great Army secure Yorksire c. 875 -- Battle of Hafsfjord: Harald Finehair defeats the jarls and minor kings of Vestlandet Rise of the Jellinge decorative style (c. 875-975)

875 -- Halfdane partition the lands of Yorkshire amoung the veterans or the Great Army Creation of the Viking Kindom of York 875-877 -- Gunthrum and the Great Army invade and ravage Wessex; Alfred the Great assumes a defensive, positional war 876 -- Charles the Fat ascends to the throne of East Francia (Germany) 877 -- Death of Charles the Bald, king of West Francia (France); Accession of Louis II Civil war breaks-out in the Frankish world 877-879 -- Partition of lands in East Anglia to Great Army Veterans Second settlement of Dannish Vikings in England begins 878 -- Gunthrum and the Great Army capture Chippenham (Jan. 8) Alfred and his thegns are driven into exile; Alfred rallies his forces Battle of Eddinton: Alfred defeats Gunthrum Treaty of Wedmore: Gunthrum is given East Anglia (and rules as King Athelstan of East Anglia after he accepts Christianity and is baptized) and the Vikings withdraw north of the Thames 879 -- Danish Vikings sortie from England and capture the base at Ghent 879-881 -- Vikings raid and ravage the Lowlands, Rhineland and western Saxony 880 -- King Harald Fine hair (r. 880-930) unites Norway Prince Oleg (r. 879-913) relocates Rus capital fron Holmgard to Kiev 881 -- Election of Charles the Fat as Holy Roman Emperor (r. 881-887) King Louis III defeats Vikings at Sancourt 882 -- Vikings sack Trier and Cologne Charles the Fat fails to contain the Danes in the Lowlands 885-886 -- Siegfried (ON: Sigurd) and hid Danish Vikings besiege Paris 886 -- Charles the Fat pays Siegfried 7,000 lbs of silver to raise the siege of Paris Alfred takes and occupies London and Lower Thames, reforms his army,

constructs burghs and a naval fleet, begins minting improved coinage 887 -- Charles the Fat deposed by the Frankish nobility; King Arnulf the Bastard (r. 887-899) elected king of East Francia (Germany) 888 -- King Eudes (ON: Odo) (r. 888-897) elected king of West Francia (France) 890 -- Battle of the Dyle: King Arnulf storms the Viking base camp, but by the time his army breached the camps fortifications, the Vikings had retired to their Dragonships and were away. 890-1000 -- Trade and prosperity rise in the Danelaw c.891 -- Vikings strike first silver pennies in East Anglia and York 891-894 -- Hayston (ON: Hadding) and his Viking attacks Wessex , inconclusive fighting; Vikings retire to France or settle in England 895 -- Arrival of Hrolf (ON:Rollo), a Viking sea-king, to the lower Seine Valley 897 -- Accession of Charles the Simple (r. 897-922) as king of France 899 -- Accession of Edward the Elder (r. 899-924) as king of Wessex c.900 -- Gokstad ship burial, Norway