The contents of this case study serve to explain the Viking’s history and how conceptions on these Norsemen whose history makes up a little chapter of North American has changed through the centuries. Specifically, the seafaring people called the Vikings, often narrated as brutal and merciless warriors had always been depicted negatively by their reputation as pillagers and marauders. Were they really barbaric? Regarding the Viking popular reputation as violent raiders, an understanding on the exact cause for these actions and their accomplishments deserve to be more widely known.
The root factors that are leading to misinterpretation on these seafaring warriors relates to a lack of authentic writings of their life. Specifically, nearly all the common knowledge we have about them is from accounts of their enemies and were written long after the Viking Age (Exhibit 1) was over.It is recommended that the current case study pursue an approach to break the conceptions and stereotypes on them and to review their stories in a way that will put forward their achievements rather than focusing solely on the negative portrayal of the Vikings. An analysis on the Vikings that will help to identify information to resolve the stated issue will be presented.
According to popular belief, Vikings people were all pagans and they hated the Christian Church; however, this is a false judgement. Nearly the whole population of Scandinavia was pagan at the beginning of the Viking Age, though the Vikings had several gods, and for them to accept the Christian god aboard their own had never been a downside. Nowadays, majority of intellectuals believe that the invasion of Christian churches by the Vikings was not associated with religion, but ”more to do with the fact that monasteries were generally wealthy and poorly defended, making them an easy target for plunder”.
Power was one of the motivating factors that prompted the venture of Vikings into series of raids from the Middle East to Africa to North America. More wealth means more power. Hence, in seeking for power, they accumulated wealth through plundering, looting, etc. In the field of International Relations (IR), the form of power indicated by these actions is hard power:
We already know that hard power is commonly associated in IR with realism: it is about power politics, force, and violence. Hard power is, to a certain extent, the oldest form of power; it is connected to the idea of an anarchic, untamed international system, where countries do not recognize any superior authority. Order is the result of competition for power and wars. The possession and acquisition of resources is the key to success.
Overall, this case study has addressed the misleading view of religion of the Vikings, relationship between violence with their desire for power and also achievements left by them. As mentioned previously, there are various ways of understanding and theories about the existence of Viking and its history. Also, they tend to be focused only on their piracy and aggression, but at that time such as the economic power to be able to trade with European countries as merchants and the outstanding navigation technology that allows them to navigate the Atlantic
Ocean and canals in European continent freely. It can be said that they lived in that era with a specific nationality that other ethnicities did not have. And, aside from whether it was out of good will or not, there is no doubt that they had a great influence on medieval Europe. Without their presence, we cannot unravel the history of medieval ages.
Viking mainly means Northern Germanic people who had expanded their invasion and activities from Scandinavia and Baltic coastal areas to Western Europe between around A.D. 800 and the 11th century. Also, “most of the Vikings whose activities are best known come from the areas now known as Denmark, Norway and Sweden, though there are mentions in historical records of Finnish, Estonian and Saami Vikings as well” (Vikings, 2019). As everybody knows, there is no denying the fact that a large number of people, particularly the people who lived in West Europe were killed by the war and attacks caused by the Vikings from the beginning of the middle ages.
On the other hand, in the academic world, “Viking” indicates people of Scandinavian origin or with Scandinavian connections who were dynamic in trading and settlement as well as piracy and raiding, both within and outside Scandinavia in the period 750-1100. The Viking Age was a great and complex phenomenon which went far beyond the simply military, and also absorbed people who were not originally of Scandinavian ethnicity (Jesch, 2017).