среда, 1 декабря 2021 г.


The Vikings were not only aggressive campaigns. Being professional warriors, they became mercenaries in Byzantium, in Russia and even in Western Europe, where they fought against detachments of their own tribesmen.

In addition to seizing foreign lands by force, the Vikings also conducted peaceful colonization. In 874 the Norwegians settled Iceland. In the 80s. 10th century Jarl Eric the Red discovered Greenland, which was soon also settled by the Scandinavians. And in 986, the son of Eric the Red, Leif the Happy, discovered America 500 years earlier than Columbus, which he then called "Vinland". The Vikings were engaged in trade. It was they who opened the famous route "from the Varangians to the Greeks" along the rivers of Ancient Russia.

Longer than other peoples of Europe, the Scandinavians remained pagans (i.e. did not recognize the Christian religion). According to their belief, three sons descended from the god Heimdal: Trell - a slave who gave rise to a kind of slaves, Karl - the progenitor of the tillers and Jarl - the progenitor of the warriors. The Vikings, of course, believed that they were descended from Jarl and his son Kon (King) and therefore should only be engaged in noble military deeds.

According to the Scandinavians, they lived in Mitgard - the middle estate, which was surrounded by a hostile world - Utgard. Therefore, in the era of Viking campaigns, the warrior gods become the most revered - Odin and Thor, armed with a terrible hammer, who fought the monsters and giants that inhabited Utgard. Apparently, this is why Odin and Thor become the most revered deities during the Viking campaigns. Valkyries, militant maidens, obedient to Odin, rewarded warriors with victory or death by the decision of the gods. The deeds of gods and heroes were sung by Scandinavian singers (skalds) in heroic songs - sagas.

The inevitable hostility of the surrounding world forced the Vikings to oppose the great deeds of their gods. That is why the largest number of sagas appear during the Viking campaigns, and the time of the Viking campaigns can rightfully be called a pagan renaissance.

The Scandinavians believed in the inevitability of the end of the world, when the forces of evil, embodied in the Great Wolf Fenrir and the World Serpent Jormungand, break free and in the last battle, at the hour of Ragnarok, all the gods, heroes and bravest warriors called to help by Odin will perish. Along with them, the evil forces must also disappear. After that, a new land and new gods will be reborn, and everything will start all over again.

The Viking must accept death on the battlefield with weapons in his hands, only then will he fall into the gilded chambers of Odin - Valhalla, where there is a place only for valiant warriors who will participate in the last battle of the gods. Such a religion brought inflexibility and fearlessness in the Scandinavians even in the face of defeat and death.

The Vikings greatly appreciated the lucky Jarls. Warriors went to their squad willingly. The Vikings considered good luck one of the main signs of the favor of the gods. It was believed that wealth also brings good luck, and if it passes into other hands, then good luck will leave this family. Therefore, wealth was either buried and hidden (so that it would never be dug up later), or given away to the squad. The song of praise, which was dedicated to the kings and jarls, was also supposed to bring good luck. Therefore, skalds were sometimes even forced, threatening with death, to compose such songs so that luck would accompany the leader.

The morals of the Vikings were cruel, however, in this they differed little from the customs of other peoples of Europe at that time. There was a tribal vengeance when the entire male population of a hostile clan was slaughtered. All captured captives, if they could not pay the ransom, the Vikings turned into slaves. It was impossible to pity the cruel warriors: beauty and youth attracted them only as a commodity, and old age caused not respect, but irritation, like an unnecessary burden.

The Viking's armament consisted of light armor, a helmet, often horned (to make it harder for the enemy to strike), sometimes a spear, a dagger, and always a sword. The ship's oar was also an important military accessory. This does not mean that he was constantly carried with him or went into battle with him. The fact is that Viking warriors always rowed themselves. Sitting at the oar is the work of a free man. If an oar was given to a slave, he ceased to be a slave and became equal.

The ship played an important role for the Vikings. They treated it like their home. And indeed, often he replaced their home for the rest of their lives. Success in a military battle, and often the life of soldiers, also depended on the speed and other qualities of the ship. The keel of the ship was made from one whole tree, the length of the ship reached 20-50 m, i.e. up to 160 people could fit on one ship. The ship was decorated with a wooden head of a snake or dragon, so the Vikings called their ship "dragon" or "big serpent" - a drakkar. The ship was very stable and had a small draft, which allowed her to easily enter the mouths of the rivers. In addition to the oars, the drakkar had a quadrangular sail and was extremely easy to manage. Even in a storm, one person could handle it.

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