Norway was the early cradle of the Vikings, the last barbarians. How did they dominate the seas and waterways of Europe? These warriors traveled around the globe. They created trade networks and built kingdoms. However, their origins are mysterious. Modern archeologists are determined to find the origins. So what made them feared warriors? What made them skilled storytellers? What made the Vikings kingdom builders? Who were the Vikings?
The Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians spoke the same language and worshiped the same gods. What made these groups of Vikings different from each other? The early Vikings buried their dead in rock formations created to look like ships. In Salme, Estonia there were dozens of Viking warriors excavated. They were buried in the ship formations. What was stunning about the burials was that this group of warriors predated the Vikings.
The grave indicated they were in a fierce battle. The skeletons indicated some vicious wounds. They were buried with full military honors after the battle and were carefully buried. Modern historians believe that the warriors were buried with a high degree of respect. The teeth indicated that the warriors came from Sweden. They came from the Lake Malaren region in Sweden. It was the heart of a rich Viking community and was the gateway to the Baltic Sea. The graves contained glass from France, swords, jewelry, and other expensive items.
The finest grave that was found from the Viking age belonged to a woman. It was found south of Oslo. The ship contained two women. Men and women alike would take the ships to the grave. The woman had a sled buried with her. The other woman came from the Caspian Sea region. The ship sailed for decades before it was used as a grave.
The Vikings told about their exploits through the sagas and ruin stones. There was a story of a local chieftain traveling to the Mongolian Kingdom. To secure the whale trade he married a Mongolian princess and brought her back to Norway. The sagas give tantalizing hints to the widespread trade networks of the Vikings. Such trade networks even expanded deep into Asia when a bronze Buddha was discovered among grave goods.
The Vikings' chieftains created wealth. They courted followers with whom they could share their wealth. There were trading towns that grew and faded away. Trade was a peaceful activity of the Vikings. Traders needed protection and so a warrior group emerged. The Vikings started plundering on these trading voyages. The Danish Vikings may have inspired the English poem, Beowulf, tying the two lands together. Romans left England and so the Germanic people started immigrating and settling in England.
The Kings of Denmark claimed to be sons of Odin. They could claim that they were the son of the gods. The relations with the gods were the way the chieftains could claim to be the rightful king. Discoveries are hinting at early Viking culture. The sagas recorded the exploits of the Vikings and were written at the end of the Viking age. The Vikings had a strong oral tradition and these stories were passed from generation to generation before they were written down. The Runic language that was left behind was contemporary to the Viking age. The Runic Stone commemorated the dead and was oftentimes short. To continue to learn more about the Vikings watch the rest of this documentary.
This documentary gives the feeling that it is targeted at students in the classroom. The narration is slower passed. The participants in the documentary share their knowledge about the Vikings. This would be an excellent documentary for the middle school classroom as well as a high school classroom.
This documentary is found on the Absolute History channel and mobile devices was divided into chapters for easy viewing.
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