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Raids, Pillage and Exaggeration

Updated on July 19, 2011

The Vikings

Our History

The history books have probably not been too kind to the Vikings.

Through history they have been known as Norsemen, Vikings or Danes but to their neighbors, the Finnish, they were known as the Rus.

Although the history books are full of stories of how they would rape, pillage and destroy. It must be remembered that, at that time, the only Europeans that could write, were the Priests. The Vikings, being Pagans, thought that the Christian Monasteries and Churches were easy pickings. Gold and other treasures were stored in them and the only security was that of the Monks. No wonder the Monks painted such a black picture.

The accounts are probably true, in so far as the rape and pillaging was concerned but where history tells of the Vikings leaving towns in ruins, they may not be so accurate. Some Vikings would often stay behind to trade in the towns, once the raiding parties had left.

The Vikings own tales cannot be told, as at that time they were illiterate but there are other written accounts of that period, those of the Arabs.


Their History

The Vikings had, in fact been traders since the Roman times. Their raiding started about 790AD with raids on, first England then Ireland. Their raids then continued down France and into the Mediterranean. They also raided down northern seaways, reaching Kiev and the Black Sea.

In the 900s they pretty much stopped their raiding and turned to colonizing, moving their families to more fertile lands. Their expeditions to the west did continue, resulting in Erik the Red, in 982 discovering Greenland. It is claimed that his son, later discovered Newfoundland.

Their colonizing resulted in them being given an area in France in 911. This area was after known as Normandy. It was the Duke of Normandy who, in 1066 successfully invaded England.

To the east, at that time, the Byzantine Empire was the biggest on Earth with Byzantium {Istanbul} its Capital. In 907, on hearing of the approaching Vikings from Kiev, the Byzantines sued for peace.

Soon after this, the Slavs, whose country was rich but in disorder, invited a Viking hero Rurik and his brothers to rule over them and bring order. Rurik accepted and he, his brothers and his descendents ruled and expanded this land.

Kiev became the capital of this land called Rus, later being referred to by its English name Russia.

Perhaps then, our history books should not exaggerate the Vikings willful destruction but should concern themselves more with their ability to colonize.


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      Kaylee 3 years ago

      A million thanks for posting this inntfmaoior.

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      mib56789 6 years ago

      I always suspected the Vikings were getting bad publicity. I'm glad you finally exposed it, rafken. I've waited a long time for this day to arrive! (Just kidding.) Great HUB! As you can guess by some of my HUBs, I love history re-collected and possibly corrected. (Smile!)