How did the Vikings survive?
The Viking era started around the 8th century AC. This Scandinavian race lived in the cold northern parts of Europe, noted for their war ships and aggressive warfare. Not a lot was heard about their rural life the equal status of their women in their society, or how they lived. Apparently the Vikings were the first European society to form a law system. Their lifestyles simple, relying on what was available were they lived. Family, workers, slaves and animals all living in close proximity. Warmth and food the main considerations.
Viking homes (see appendix one) depended on the natural recourses available. Generally the walls were wooden logs laid on top of a row of stone to help prevent the wood rotting. Sometimes on this stone they laid floor planks to help insulate. The rooves were usually made of turf or thatch. In most parts of Scandinavia there was plenty of timber. Though up the northern parts of Norway and Atlantic areas this was scarce so stone and turf were mainly used.
The homes were one oblong room known as “longhouses”. In the centre of these basic buildings an open fire pit/hearth was laid, giving heat and light were the family and some of the farm stock slept.
This room was snug, dark, smelly and smoky, for chimneys were not known of so fumes escaped through a hole in the roof or gaps in the roof.
Basically Vikings were farming people. The home life based around the farmstead with a cluster of houses, stables, barns, boathouses and smithy. A wood lined well usually can be located and sometimes tracks made of tightly packed logs ran between the buildings to help avoid the mud. The homes provided warmth, shelter and protection for them to survive the extreme winter and storms.
... stone, walrus ivory, bone, and amber that were used in games have been found in the graves and home sites of the Vikings. ... obtained scientific information about Mars." (1) The Vikings lived about one thousand years ago in the ... availability of building materials depended on which part of the country they were in. Few ... blankets of reeds and thatch that were laid down over planking of birch bark, this ...
Their food source depended on what they could find and what season they were in. Spring and Autumn were important seasons for them because it was easier to find meat, fish, berries, nuts and spices.
Vikings ate twice a day. At the break of dawn and just before dusk. Being farmers they often grew barley and rye which was ground on their circular grindstones or querns which were made of two stones one on top of the other. A large wooden trough near the hearth is where housewives kneaded the dough making a basic bread, cooked on flat stone slabs or iron griddles. This bread along with porridge, oatcakes, milk, cold meat and fruit would be the types of food offered at breakfast.
Meat of any available origin was eaten like farming animals- cattle, pig, sheep, goats, chicken and even the old horse, birds, hunted animals like –elk, deer and wild boar, sea food- any shell fish, fish, eel, whale, seal and they even ate polar bear. An iron cauldron over the hearth often cooked any of the available meats. They also used the spit roasting technique though they stewed mainly (tenderised the meat better).
Vikings normally ate with fingers, spoon and knives from wooden bowels.
Autumn and spring were busy times. Fish and other meats were salted or smoked. Often they made sausages which helped make the meat last longer as well.
From the milk, cream is obtained, cheeses, butter (with butter milk left over), were made.
Vegetables were grown- carrots, onion, cabbages, celery and peas, made up the basic types. Apple and hazel trees were also grown. Wild blackberries, raspberries, bilberries, plums, sloes and cherries were also collected. Fruits and nuts were stored in pottery jars ready for winter. Other food stored in wooden barrels and boxes.
Ale was brewed from hops and malted barley drunk from wooden cups or cow horns. Vikings were noted for their heavy drinking.
To hide the bad taste of the food they used strong seasoning. Garlic, mustard, dill, coriander and horseradish were favourites, and rarer spices were brought by traders from the East. If they wanted to make a dish sweeten they use honey because back then they didn’t know what sugar was. The Vikings society survived by working together people were good different things so they traded e.g. Meat for vegetables, fruit etc.
Vegetarianism is the practice of not eating meat. Vegetarians regard the flesh of all animals, including that of fish and poultry, as meat. Most vegetarians avoid eating meat because of moral or religious beliefs. They believe it is wrong to kill animals for food. Many vegetarians also think that eating meat is unhealthy. Some vegetarians exclude milk and eggs, as well as meat, from their diet ...
From an early age Viking women were encouraged to be resourceful and self-reliant. They were held in equal status as men in almost in every aspect. The wives bring dowries to the wedding and if they divorce are entitled to take their dowry and portion of the house hold goods. They can also sue their husband if they have been unfaithful or mistreated their wife. The women had more control over the men because there was a law system one of the reasons how they survived.
Vikings were mainly noted for using their axes in war though it has been shown that the one edged sword was the weapon of choice. Their sword reflected the status of the owner with craftsmanship and ornamentation of the blade. The Vikings never had a standard uniform and equipment. Weapon like axe, saw, hammer and wears a sword or dagger are worn, with a throwing spear slung across the back.
Shields made of wood were used in shield walls during their wars or hung around the Viking war ships to help intimidate their opposition (see appendix two).
Their shields expanded from their chin to their knees and often painted in brilliant colours.
Weaponry the Vikings used depended on their wealth, axes being the cheaper alternative. Where’s combination of sword and spear profanely the rich. Spears blades were up to half a meter long. The weapons is how the Vikings survived by attacking and defending.
The Viking era started around the 8th century AC. This Scandinavian race lived in the cold northern parts of Europe. The homes were simple and made from natural reassures they were to protect them from the weather especially the cold winter days and nights. The Vikings were very self-reliant, they had to hunt for their food and were happy what ever they could find, not like us we just go to a shop and by what ever we want and all we have to do is cook it or open a packet.
What can we do about weapons control? In times like the present, the U.S. and the United Nations are dealing with a huge international problem known as weapons control and an example of the weapons control problem, is the constant battle with Saddam Hussein and Iraq, involving weapon inspections by the UN. The UN has the right to inspect weapon facilities and the manufacturing of weapons of any ...
1) http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings /weapons_04.shtml
3) http://www.vikingsonline.org.uk/resources/articles/ housing.`c html
1) The world book Encyclopaedia 1991
2) King of the see (the world of the Vikings) 1976 O.Madsen
3) The Vikings 1987 by Else Roesdahl
4) The Vikings voyagers of discovery and plunder 2006 by R.Chartrand,K.Durham, M.Harrison, I.Heath
5) Life in the Viking Age 1996