Vikings are known by numerous reputations in our modern culture. Some stories insist that they are similar to characters in comic books, others show them as drunk and horned cap wearing thugs. An entire genre of music even exists to honor these people, yet though we are all familiar with the word itself and at least one popular culture image, very few of us know much about who these people were, in reality and in history.
A Misunderstood Grouping of People:
It's true that Vikings raided and were violent plunderers, taking communities along the coast for money, however, with the exception of the few who went on to gain royalty, most of these people spent their time engaging in farming activities to support their kin. It may be more realistic to envision them as people who were seen as outcasts by their society who were driven to take extreme measures to provide for their families. In some cases, it was even a matter of religious discrimination that painted them in such negative lights. So, if some historical accounts and rumors are not to be believed about them, who were the Vikings, really?
Intelligent and Adept Explorers:
In addition, Vikings were highly skilled in fighting techniques and general combat, but in actuality were not the rough barbarians typically portrayed in entertainment or stories. In fact, their expert, advanced technology with building ships and exploring the sea gave them the advantage of adventuring around the oceans of the world. Some of them were even famous and prized for their sharp wit and great mental abilities which allowed them to prevail beyond others.
They were the first to discover huge portions of our planet before anyone else, including Greenland, North America, and parts of East Europe. So while we may be tempted to believe the stereotypes we've seen of these characters, they were, in actuality, much more than that, which you will discover in the following pages of this book.
The Vikings in this book are famous for their often violent exploits and plundering, but that is not the entire story. They are also famous for the way they shaped East Europe, North America, and Britain. Without the influence of the Vikings in ancient times, these places would not be what they are today. In fact, we have the Vikings to thank for a lot of what we enjoy in our modern world. You will learn all about that, and more, in this book.
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