Gokstad Ship

 By James Grout “So great, also, was the ornamentation of the ships, that the eyes of the beholders were dazzled, and to those looking from afar they seemed of flame rather than of wood. For if at any time the sun cast the splendour of its rays among them, the flashing of arms shone in […]

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A Viking Battle at Sea: The Battle of Nisa

The Viking Naval Battle of Hafrsfjord 872 AD Map 2.5. The Battle of Nisa, 1062. (a) Phase I: From his 70-oar drekkar, King Harald III Hardrada leads a 300-ship Norwegian fleet to an appointed location to battle King Sveinn Estridson’s Danish fleet. (b) Phase II: The Danes fail to arrive at the rendezvous at the […]

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Sea Battles of the Vikings

The tale of the battle of Svöldr mentions one Einar Tambarskelve, who stood beside King Olaf Tryggvasson. After he had narrowly missed Eric Haakonsson, a leader of the enemy, his bow was broken by an arrow hit. Olaf asked him what had burst with such a noise: he replied, “It was Norway, Sire, that sprang […]

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THE VIKING SHIP

The Viking ship was perfectly adapted to the needs of these hardy adventurers. Swift, with a draught shallow enough to enter rivers and creeks, it gave the Vikings the same advantage of mobility over their opponents and victims as the camels of the Bedouin and the ponies of the Turks did over theirs. The name […]

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The Viking Menace

A squadron of Viking warships passes by a rugged coastline on its way to raid European settlements. A factor in the growing strength and versatility of Scandinavian civilization was the emergence of more martial, or aggressive and warlike, elements of society. In this the Scandinavians got their cue, in a sense, from what was happening […]

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Viking Navigation

The Norse Greenland colony was medieval Europe’s most remote outpost. To reach it from the European continent seafarers needed to cross almost 2,000 miles of open ocean. At the time, only the Malays in the Indian Ocean and the Polynesians in the Pacific undertook longer oceanic voyages, but they did so in warmer and more […]

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Viking Raids Up-River I

THE VIKING WORLD The brown areas on this map are Viking settlements. From late in the 8th century, Vikings raided, traded, and explored far and wide. They discovered Iceland in 870 and sailed farther west to Greenland in about 985. Leif the Lucky was probably the first European to set foot in North America. He […]

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Viking Raids Up-River II

RAIDING FRANCE This picture of a Viking ship is in a French manuscript from around 1100. Viking ships attacked French towns and monasteries all through the 9th century. One group of Vikings settled in the Seine region. Another band, under the chieftain Rollo, made their homes around Rouen. This area became known as Normandy, “Land […]

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Viking Warfare I

Scandinavian warfare conducted outside the homelands must have been influenced in terms of strategy and tactics by those of their opponents. There was no uniform, Viking method of warfare. Scandinavians and their Celtic, Germanic, and Slavic antagonists were possessed of a comparable range of offensive and defensive personal equipment and normally fought land battles on […]

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Viking Warfare II

PLAN OF THE DANISH WINTER CAMP AT REPTON, DERBYSHIRE, BUILT IN 873. Vikings are rarely recorded besieging mere forts: at the unidentified site of Wigingamere in south-eastern England a large Danish army attacked ‘long into the day’ in the critical year of 917, but gave up when it met with stiff resistance. Quite the opposite […]

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