Posted on May 21st, 2009 2 comments
Vikings were not always the Purple People on a football field. They began as sea explorers and pirates. The Icelandic language refers to the word Viking as a predatory voyage. It is thought that they escaped their homeland for religious and political freedoms, although their exact origins have never fully been traced. Through their voyages to different lands, they conquered and pillaged most settlements that got in their way.
Historians have identified these pirates as Vikings because they have no other name for them. They may have come from Denmark, Norway or any of the other Scandinavian countries. They are a group of people without a historical national identity.
The Vikings sailed the seas in their staple long ships. These ships often had iron-enforced bows for pirate battle. Men rowing gigantic oars were the engine of the ship. The sails helped in its maneuverability, but the rowing made these ships a stealthy fleet in the water.
The Viking helmet is cause for more confusion in their history. Most common depictions of a Viking have him wearing a helmet with pointed horns or wings on either side; however, in the time of the Viking warrior, these types of helmets were scarce. Most likely, Viking warriors wore domed helmets made of leather, or steel covered in leather.
The Vikings created their society in Iceland while still voyaging throughout the Atlantic. Ancient Icelandic literature tells of the Viking life and language. This literature contains some of the very few actual documents of the Viking way of life. For the most part, this group of warriors remains a mystery to historians.