Vikings were warriors, invaders, and explorers who lived from the 8th to 11th century in Scandinavia. Viking Warriors earned their living through agriculture, trading, and fishing. During the Viking Age, they raided and traded across the wide areas of Europe, Vinland, and Greenland.
The Viking warriors had strong navigational and sailing skills so they extended their explorations to North Africa, the Middle East, and other Mediterranean regions. They were known for their raiding, exploring, and trading expeditions with the people of new countries.
The Viking Age was the period when Vikings expanded throughout Europe. They explored Europe through seas for trade, raids, and conquest. Vikings were seen by many historians as brutal raiders. They became popular for their first raids in many parts of Europe, including Ireland, and especially England.
In the period from 793 Ad to the late 11th century, they started their raids from the Christian lands of England and expanded to the parts of present-day Russia.
Their raids were brutal, bloody, and quick. They looted churches and monasteries during their raids and took sacred saint relics. Along with looting treasures, Vikings also enslaved thousands of people in these raids.
Berserkers were a special group of Viking warriors who fought battles without any traditional armor. The Norse word was Berserkr which means someone who wears a coat made out of a bear’s skin. The Berserkers wore special clothing like the fur of a wolf or bear to distinguish them from other warriors.
Berserkers were devoted to the bear cult which is the religious practice of worshipping the bears found in many North Eurasian ethnic regions. They were fierce warriors and created havoc on the enemy.
They howled like wild beasts and were described as being invincible. They were often portrayed as bodyguards and elite soldiers. They are described as “mad like dogs” and “strong as a bear”.
There are various myths about the appearance of the Vikings. Vikings were very keen on their cleanliness. They had well-groomed hair and beards. Both men and women had neat hairstyles and clothing which showed their wealth and status.
Wealthy Vikings wear expensive clothes often silk with well-crafted jewelry like necklaces, arm rings, and belt buckles. Overall, they were well-groomed and hygienic.
However, Christian writers who wrote in the 9th and 10th centuries often portrayed them with horned helmets and other barbaric elements which instilled a fear of them in Europe.
The Viking raids started in the year 793 AD when Vikings targeted the monastery in Northern England. The monasteries were places with a rich amount of treasures and valuables so they were more vulnerable to attack.
Vikings were not Christians so they had no problem raiding the churches, looting them, and captives could be sold as slaves. However, such disregard for religious and holy sites earned them a reputation of being barbarians. This also played a role in trumping up a fear of the Vikings among the Europeans.