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This took much of the economic incentive out of raiding, though sporadic slaving activity continued into the 11th century. Scandinavian predation in Christian lands around the North and Irish Seas diminished markedly.
The kings of Norway continued to assert power in parts of northern Britain and Ireland, and raids continued into the 12th century, but the military ambitions of Scandinavian rulers were now directed toward new paths.
In , Sigurd I of Norway sailed for the eastern Mediterranean with Norwegian crusaders to fight for the newly established Kingdom of Jerusalem , and Danes and Swedes participated energetically in the Baltic Crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries.
A variety of sources illuminate the culture, activities, and beliefs of the Vikings. Although they were generally a non-literate culture that produced no literary legacy, they had an alphabet and described themselves and their world on runestones.
Most contemporary literary and written sources on the Vikings come from other cultures that were in contact with them. The most important primary sources on the Vikings are contemporary texts from Scandinavia and regions where the Vikings were active.
Most contemporary documentary sources consist of texts written in Christian and Islamic communities outside Scandinavia, often by authors who had been negatively affected by Viking activity.
Later writings on the Vikings and the Viking Age can also be important for understanding them and their culture, although they need to be treated cautiously.
After the consolidation of the church and the assimilation of Scandinavia and its colonies into the mainstream of medieval Christian culture in the 11th and 12th centuries, native written sources begin to appear, in Latin and Old Norse.
In the Viking colony of Iceland, an extraordinary vernacular literature blossomed in the 12th through 14th centuries, and many traditions connected with the Viking Age were written down for the first time in the Icelandic sagas.
A literal interpretation of these medieval prose narratives about the Vikings and the Scandinavian past is doubtful, but many specific elements remain worthy of consideration, such as the great quantity of skaldic poetry attributed to court poets of the 10th and 11th centuries, the exposed family trees, the self images, the ethical values, all included in these literary writings.
Indirectly, the Vikings have also left a window open to their language, culture and activities, through many Old Norse place names and words, found in their former sphere of influence.
Viking influence is also evident in concepts like the present-day parliamentary body of the Tynwald on the Isle of Man.
Linguistic and etymological studies continue to provide a vital source of information on the Viking culture, their social structure and history and how they interacted with the people and cultures they met, traded, attacked or lived with in overseas settlements.
The Norse named some of the rapids on the Dnieper , but this can hardly be seen from the modern names. One reason is that the cultures of north-eastern Europe at the time were non-literate, and did not produce a legacy of literature.
Another is that the vast majority of written sources on Scandinavia in the Viking Age come from Iceland, a nation originally settled by Norwegian colonists.
As a result, there is much more material from the Viking Age about Norway than Sweden, which apart from many runic inscriptions, has almost no written sources from the early Middle Ages.
The Norse of the Viking Age could read and write and used a non-standardised alphabet, called runor , built upon sound values.
While there are few remains of runic writing on paper from the Viking era, thousands of stones with runic inscriptions have been found where Vikings lived.
They are usually in memory of the dead, though not necessarily placed at graves. The use of runor survived into the 15th century, used in parallel with the Latin alphabet.
The majority of runic inscriptions from the Viking period are found in Sweden and date from the 11th century. The oldest stone with runic inscriptions was found in Norway and dates to the 4th century, suggesting that runic inscriptions pre-date the Viking period.
Many runestones in Scandinavia record the names of participants in Viking expeditions, such as the Kjula runestone that tells of extensive warfare in Western Europe and the Turinge Runestone , which tells of a war band in Eastern Europe.
Other runestones mention men who died on Viking expeditions. Runestones are important sources in the study of Norse society and early medieval Scandinavia, not only of the Viking segment of the population.
The Jelling stones date from between and The older, smaller stone was raised by King Gorm the Old , the last pagan king of Denmark, as a memorial honouring Queen Thyre.
It has three sides: Runestones attest to voyages to locations such as Bath ,  Greece,  Khwaresm ,  Jerusalem ,  Italy as Langobardland ,  Serkland i.
Viking Age inscriptions have also been discovered on the Manx runestones on the Isle of Man. The burial practices of the Vikings were quite varied, from dug graves in the ground, to tumuli , sometimes including so-called ship burials.
According to written sources, most of the funerals took place at sea. The funerals involved either burial or cremation , depending on local customs.
In the area that is now Sweden, cremations were predominant; in Denmark burial was more common; and in Norway both were common. There have been several archaeological finds of Viking ships of all sizes, providing knowledge of the craftsmanship that went into building them.
There were many types of Viking ships, built for various uses; the best-known type is probably the longship. The longship had a long, narrow hull and shallow draught to facilitate landings and troop deployments in shallow water.
Longships were used extensively by the Leidang , the Scandinavian defence fleets. The longship allowed the Norse to go Viking , which might explain why this type of ship has become almost synonymous with the concept of Vikings.
The Vikings built many unique types of watercraft, often used for more peaceful tasks. The knarr was a dedicated merchant vessel designed to carry cargo in bulk.
It had a broader hull, deeper draught, and a small number of oars used primarily to manoeuvre in harbours and similar situations.
Ships were an integral part of the Viking culture. They facilitated everyday transportation across seas and waterways, exploration of new lands, raids, conquests, and trade with neighbouring cultures.
They also held a major religious importance. People with high status were sometimes buried in a ship along with animal sacrifices, weapons, provisions and other items, as evidenced by the buried vessels at Gokstad and Oseberg in Norway  and the excavated ship burial at Ladby in Denmark.
Ship burials were also practised by Vikings abroad, as evidenced by the excavations of the Salme ships on the Estonian island of Saaremaa.
Well-preserved remains of five Viking ships were excavated from Roskilde Fjord in the late s, representing both the longship and the knarr.
The ships were scuttled there in the 11th century to block a navigation channel and thus protect Roskilde , then the Danish capital, from seaborne assault.
The remains of these ships are on display at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde. The Viking society was divided into the three socio-economic classes: Thralls, Karls and Jarls.
Archaeology has confirmed this social structure. Thralls were the lowest ranking class and were slaves. Slaves comprised as much as a quarter of the population.
Thralls were servants and workers in the farms and larger households of the Karls and Jarls, and they were used for constructing fortifications, ramps, canals, mounds, roads and similar hard work projects.
According to the Rigsthula, Thralls were despised and looked down upon. New thralls were supplied by either the sons and daughters of thralls or they were captured abroad.
The Vikings often deliberately captured many people on their raids in Europe, to enslave them as thralls. The thralls were then brought back home to Scandinavia by boat, used on location or in newer settlements to build needed structures, or sold, often to the Arabs in exchange for silver.
Karls were free peasants. They owned farms, land and cattle and engaged in daily chores like ploughing the fields, milking the cattle, building houses and wagons, but used thralls to make ends meet.
The Jarls were the aristocracy of the Viking society. They were wealthy and owned large estates with huge longhouses, horses and many thralls.
The thralls did most of the daily chores, while the Jarls did administration, politics, hunting, sports, visited other Jarls or were abroad on expeditions.
When a Jarl died and was buried, his household thralls were sometimes sacrificially killed and buried next to him, as many excavations have revealed.
In daily life, there were many intermediate positions in the overall social structure and it is believed that there must have been some social mobility.
These details are unclear, but titles and positions like hauldr , thegn , landmand , show mobility between the Karls and the Jarls.
Members of the latter were referred to as drenge , one of the words for warrior. There were also official communities within towns and villages, the overall defence, religion, the legal system and the Things.
Such a woman was referred to as Baugrygr , and she exercised all the rights afforded to the head of a family clan — such as the right to demand and receive fines for the slaughter of a family member — until she married, by which her rights were transferred to her new husband.
A married woman could divorce her husband and remarry. These liberties gradually disappeared after the introduction of Christianity, and from the late 13th-century, they are no longer mentioned.
The three classes were easily recognisable by their appearances. Men and women of the Jarls were well groomed with neat hairstyles and expressed their wealth and status by wearing expensive clothes often silk and well crafted jewellery like brooches , belt buckles, necklaces and arm rings.
Almost all of the jewellery was crafted in specific designs unique to the Norse see Viking art. Finger rings were seldom used and earrings were not used at all, as they were seen as a Slavic phenomenon.
Most Karls expressed similar tastes and hygiene, but in a more relaxed and inexpensive way. The sagas tell about the diet and cuisine of the Vikings,  but first hand evidence, like cesspits , kitchen middens and garbage dumps have proved to be of great value and importance.
Undigested remains of plants from cesspits at Coppergate in York have provided much information in this respect. Overall, archaeo-botanical investigations have been undertaken increasingly in recent decades, as a collaboration between archaeologists and palaeoethno-botanists.
This new approach sheds light on the agricultural and horticultural practices of the Vikings and their cuisine. The combined information from various sources suggests a diverse cuisine and ingredients.
Meat products of all kinds, such as cured , smoked and whey -preserved meat,  sausages, and boiled or fried fresh meat cuts, were prepared and consumed.
Certain livestock were typical and unique to the Vikings, including the Icelandic horse , Icelandic cattle , a plethora of sheep breeds,  the Danish hen and the Danish goose.
Most of the beef and horse leg bones were found split lengthways, to extract the marrow. The mutton and swine were cut into leg and shoulder joints and chops.
The frequent remains of pig skull and foot bones found on house floors indicate that brawn and trotters were also popular.
Hens were kept for both their meat and eggs, and the bones of game birds such as black grouse , golden plover , wild ducks, and geese have also been found.
Seafood was important, in some places even more so than meat. Whales and walrus were hunted for food in Norway and the north-western parts of the North Atlantic region, and seals were hunted nearly everywhere.
Oysters , mussels and shrimps were eaten in large quantities and cod and salmon were popular fish. In the southern regions, herring was also important.
Milk and buttermilk were popular, both as cooking ingredients and drinks, but were not always available, even at farms.
Food was often salted and enhanced with spices, some of which were imported like black pepper , while others were cultivated in herb gardens or harvested in the wild.
Home grown spices included caraway , mustard and horseradish as evidenced from the Oseberg ship burial  or dill , coriander , and wild celery , as found in cesspits at Coppergate in York.
Thyme , juniper berry , sweet gale , yarrow , rue and peppercress were also used and cultivated in herb gardens. Vikings collected and ate fruits, berries and nuts.
Apple wild crab apples , plums and cherries were part of the diet,  as were rose hips and raspberry , wild strawberry , blackberry , elderberry , rowan , hawthorn and various wild berries, specific to the locations.
The shells were used for dyeing, and it is assumed that the nuts were consumed. The invention and introduction of the mouldboard plough revolutionised agriculture in Scandinavia in the early Viking Age and made it possible to farm even poor soils.
In Ribe , grains of rye , barley , oat and wheat dated to the 8th century have been found and examined, and are believed to have been cultivated locally.
Remains of bread from primarily Birka in Sweden were made of barley and wheat. It is unclear if the Norse leavened their breads, but their ovens and baking utensils suggest that they did.
This suggests a much higher actual percentage, as linen is poorly preserved compared to wool for example. The culprits—probably Norwegians who sailed directly across the North Sea—did not destroy the monastery completely, but the attack shook the European religious world to its core.
Unlike other groups, these strange new invaders had no respect for religious institutions such as the monasteries, which were often left unguarded and vulnerable near the shore.
Two years later, Viking raids struck the undefended island monasteries of Skye and Iona in the Hebrides as well as Rathlin off the northeast coast of Ireland.
For several decades, the Vikings confined themselves to hit-and-run raids against coastal targets in the British Isles particularly Ireland and Europe the trading center of Dorestad, 80 kilometers from the North Sea, became a frequent target after They then took advantage of internal conflicts in Europe to extend their activity further inland: Before long other Vikings realized that Frankish rulers were willing to pay them rich sums to prevent them from attacking their subjects, making Frankia an irresistible target for further Viking activity.
By the mid-ninth century, Ireland, Scotland and England had become major targets for Viking settlement as well as raids.
When King Charles the Bald began defending West Frankia more energetically in , fortifying towns, abbeys, rivers and coastal areas, Viking forces began to concentrate more on England than Frankia.
In the wave of Viking attacks in England after , only one kingdom—Wessex—was able to successfully resist. In the first half of the 10th century, English armies led by the descendants of Alfred of Wessex began reconquering Scandinavian areas of England; the last Scandinavian king, Erik Bloodaxe, was expelled and killed around , permanently uniting English into one kingdom.
Meanwhile, Viking armies remained active on the European continent throughout the ninth century, brutally sacking Nantes on the French coast in and attacking towns as far inland as Paris, Limoges, Orleans, Tours and Nimes.
In , Vikings stormed Seville then controlled by the Arabs ; in , they plundered Pisa, though an Arab fleet battered them on the way back north. In the ninth century, Scandinavians mainly Norwegians began to colonize Iceland, an island in the North Atlantic where no one had yet settled in large numbers.
By the late 10th century, some Vikings including the famous Erik the Red moved even further westward, to Greenland. According to later Icelandic histories, some of the early Viking settlers in Greenland supposedly led by the Norwegian Viking hero Leif Eriksson , son of Erik the Red may have become the first Europeans to discover and explore North America.
The midth-century reign of Harald Bluetooth as king of a newly unified, powerful and Christianized Denmark marked the beginning of a second Viking age.
Large-scale raids, often organized by royal leaders, hit the coasts of Europe and especially England, where the line of kings descended from Alfred the Great was faltering.
Crowned king of England on Christmas Day in , William managed to retain the crown against further Danish challenges. Click here for the Equipment Tables free scroll Lite.
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Photos and videos are a great way to add visuals to your wiki. The quality of food for common people was not always particularly high.
The research at Coppergate shows that the Vikings in York made bread from whole meal flour — probably both wheat and rye — but with the seeds of cornfield weeds included.
Corncockle Agrostemma , would have made the bread dark-coloured, but the seeds are poisonous, and people who ate the bread might have become ill.
Seeds of carrots, parsnip , and brassicas were also discovered, but they were poor specimens and tend to come from white carrots and bitter tasting cabbages.
The effects of this can be seen on skeletal remains of that period. Sports were widely practised and encouraged by the Vikings. Fugaso software provider manages to secure remote gaming license from Malta Gaming Authority with 39 games currently being license for this market.
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