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The Viking Longships
The Scandinavian ship builders of the Eighth Century gave the Viking raiders the perfect vessel to navigate the treacherous and volatile German Sea. Their advancements in boat building was able to open up the European continent to greater trade,conflict,settlement and adventure. Using intelligent design and master craftsmanship, the Vikings were able to spread their influence further away from their native homelands.
The Long ships were crafted using the basic tools of the Dark Age and they lacked the precision equipment of our modern times. The Scandinavian workers used their own estimates and an experienced eye for detail to gauge the measurements required for construction. The Ship builders had to get the construction right, or the consequences for the Viking crew would be catastrophic.
Before the start of the Viking Age, the vessels of the north Europeans were not very strong and were often sunk in bad weather. The shipbuilders introduced an Oak Keel to give the Long ship added strength and flexibility. The Keel is a solid piece of wood which ran from stem(front) to the stern. The hull was made from overlapping planks, or strakes, which were nailed together with reinforced iron. The deck was constructed with the same lighter wooden planks and pitch was used to waterproof the vessel.
The wooden planks would have been quite cheap to use as the wood was fairly common in most of Scandinavia. The use of Oak would have made the boat a bit more expensive to build as it has always been seen as a more exclusive hard wood. To craft a fairly large sized Long ship, could have taken several months to construct. A lot of the technical information of their skills were never written down and the Viking Shipwright's passed on much of their knowledge in the oral tradition.
Viking Long ships visited...
The British Isles.
Western Europe (France/Spain)
Eastern Europe (Greece/Turkey)
Not bad for a group of people often called barbarians!!!
The most famous type of Longship is often known as the Dragon ship, this was due to the carved image of a Dragon's head on the Stem of the Keel. To witness these highly decorated and large Dragon head's emerging from the eerie mist's of the isolated water ways, must have scared the inhabitants to death.In good conditions the Dragon ship's could travel over 13 km an hour, if the wind dropped they could drop the sails and row the Longship.
The Dragon Ship's were used to attack the religious settlements in Northern England and Scotland. The Viking's of Denmark could sail to attack the Eastern coastal towns of Britain in as little as Two days. The Viking Dragon ships had a shallow depth to them, this meant the boats were light and very flexible, these Longships could navigate most River's and had little difficulty in making landfall on most locations.
When the wind level dropped the vessel could be powered by up to 36 Viking raiders with oar's in hand. The Viking's would have sat on seat's on the chest's that held their personal possessions. To keep the Longship moving in harsh conditions the Viking's on board had to row constantly and bail out Sea water that accumulates in the shallow hull. If the Sea water was left in the hull, it could cause the Longship to sink.
- Weapons of the Viking Age.
The Vikings used their weapons to defeat their enemies, and increase their wealth. This hub looks at Viking armour, transportation and weaponry. The weaponry the Viking's used added to their legend.
- The Weapon's of our past.
The earliest humans would have fashioned spear's, bows and sling's to augment their arsenal of projectile weapons such as rocks. The ancient weapons are effective even in today's world.