The Viking Age

Theme

The age of town and empire

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The Viking Age, stretching from the 8th to the 11th centuries, was a period marked by great change. It was an era of pillage, conquest and colonisation, but it was also a time when towns were settled and new societal structures emerged. Christianity won out over pagan religions and the small Scandinavian kingdoms coalesced into Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The centralisation of power led to enormous societal change.

The first written record of the Vikings describes the brutal destruction of Lindisfarne Abbey on the east coast of northern England in 793. The final chapter in the history of the Vikings was written at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

During the Viking Age, Scandinavia underwent enormous political, technological, economic, religious and social changes. The Scandinavian countries rivalled the great powers of Europe. Vikings founded towns, and the centralisation of power that came with the consolidation of the Scandinavian kingdoms led to an entirely different societal structure.

Global Vikings

The most important vehicle of the day was the Viking ship. With it, Vikings not only plundered, they established colonies and traded as far west as Greenland and North America and as far east as Russia and the Byzantine Empire.

The first plundering raids took place along the English and Irish coasts. In the ninth century, Vikings exploited…

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