There are some interesting facts in the Vikings language and history which makes it interesting for researches but also for general public. In the period from the 8th to 11th centuries, the Vikings dominated vast territories in Europe and they spread from distant parts of Russia to the east coast of North America. Their attacks were mostly conquest and religious orientated. Vikings were generally brutal, but there have been cases where they settled in a peaceful manner, creating their mark and civilization in that region.
The Vikings language and history
Advances in Shipbuilding and Navigation
To be able to afford long trips, Vikings had a need to develop shipbuilding. This is one reason why the most striking landmark achievement is their “state of the art” technology. They were wooden objects as shallow shells, with fine wooden oars along that made the boat faster and more flexible as compared with the other ships of that time. But in the big conquest, it was not only a technological advantage that the Vikings had, but also their skill to navigate. It was exercised through the sophisticated tool, like the sun compass, which uses calcite crystals known as “sunstones”. Through it, they identified the position of the sun, even on cloudy days or at night. This was a great advantage when traveling long distances and their activity as global citizens in that time is nonrandom, even at 4 continents simultaneously.
The Vikings Language
It is considered that the Old Norse was the Vikings language. In the 8th century, when the Vikings conquered parts of the British Isles and settled there, their influence was not just territorial but it had a big impact on the British language and culture too. Through the merger of local people and immigrant Vikings, eg. through mixed marriages, there has been a merging of some cultural values. Also, linguistic influences were observed, so old Norse is mixed with Old English.
In the year 841 on the river Liffey, the Vikings made the first settlement on its southern coast. They had named it Dubh Linn (“Black Pool”). The area is part of the heart of present-day Dublin, and was once the center of the market for slaves in Europe. Vikings took its grip on Dublin almost for 3 centuries. In 1014 they were defeated by the Irish King Brian Boru at the Battle of Clontarf. However, the Vikings left their mark in Ireland through several Norse places names in Ireland and some Norse words in the Irish language.
The first written references to skiing originated in China during the Han Dynasty. The oldest skis were discovered in Russia and date back to the 7th and 8th centuries BC. The word “ski” comes from the Old Norse “skío” and we definitely should be grateful that the Vikings introduced the Western tradition of skiing.
Vikings were regarded as barbarians. Part of the reason is that they used various props made from animal parts and had a brutal look. They used a comb made of deer antlers that they killed. This innovation was for respect because it was not observed in other cultures around the world in that period.
Despite the large number of artifacts that provide information about the life of Vikings, there are a number of Icelandic sagas, written by unknown authors that chronicle the Viking era in the 11th century. Information shows that in this period, the old Norsemen left their pagan gods and converted to Christianity. In Victorian era sagas were accepted as historical facts about the affairs of ordinary people and the powerful rulers. Although today’s perspective on these sources are considered historically unreliable, they represent a valuable source of information for the Vikings, decorated with mythological effects and a little imagination.