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Vikings

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by

Tara Magri

on 25 February 2015

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Transcript of Vikings

The social hierarchy in the Viking Age was very strict.

As in every society there are high ranked members and low ranked members.
Social Hierarchy
Towns consistently appeared on the route that traders took early in the Norse era. The major towns were right in the centre of the trading areas to improve in the profits.

Some famous Viking towns were in Dublin, Hedeby and Birka.
Towns
Trade
Most Vikings lived on a farm. Viking towns wouldn’t stay in the same place, towns would shift 100 metres every generation to take advantage of fresh soil.
Farming
Vikings were a group of people from the late eighth to early 11th century who made a name for themselves as explorers, warriors and traders.

Vikings were originated from Scandinavia is a country that includes Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.


Viking Homeland
The Vikings
Government
Viking Men and Women
Shield Maidens
Norse Gods and Goddesses
The Arrival of Christianity
Viking Burial
Weapons and Armour
Viking Ships
Viking Exploration
& Explorers
Conquests
England Under the Vikings
Viking men and women had certain roles to play in Viking Society. Men were expected to protect the land of their Jarl chieftain.

Viking women were the caregivers of children and the elderly. They had the jobs of farming and weaving/spinning cloth. Unfortunately, women were not allowed to vote at 'The Thing'. But they were allowed to divorce their husbands.
Shield Maidens were women who chose to fight along men in wars. Few women took this choice and not many historical accounts have evidence of it except the Byzantine historian, John Skylitzes who recorded that Viking Women were in battle in 971CE.
Vikings had their own separate polytheistic religion. Their gods and goddesses each covered an aspect of life. The king of the gods was Odin who lived in Asgard. His wife was the goddess Frigg the goddess of prophecy. We get the word 'Friday' from 'Frigg's day'. The most popular of the gods was Thor, the god of lightning. His weapon was a magic hammer named Mjollnir. 'Thor's Day' is where we got the word 'Thursday'.
During the 900sCE, the Vikings changed their religion and became Christians. Christians from Rome, Constantinople and other cities travelled into Europe to convert people. Some Vikings by this time, were already Christians because they had encountered with Christians on their travels. In 965CE the King of Denmark known as Harald Blue-Tooth declared that his entire kingdom ws to be converted.
In Norway, King Olaf Tryggvason forced the Vikings to be baptised at spear-point. He also threatened to kill any Icelander visiting Norway who was not Christian.
The King of Sweden, King Olof Skotkonung converted to Christianity in 1008CE. On his orders men cut down the statues of Norse gods.
Most Vikings were armed with a large, round, wooden shield and an axe or spear since iron weapons were hard to make, especially iron swords. Weapons were also expensive which became difficult when all free Viking men were expected to carry weapons.
Swords were the most valued weapon. Only jarls and wealthy karls had swords. Early Viking swords were made of pieces of iron and mild steel, these swords were not very strong, but they were effective in Viking battles.
For Vikings, war was a part of life and Vikings valued their weapons so much that they gave names to them. Swords were usually called names like Fótbítr ('foot-biter'), Leggbítr ('leg-biter') or Sætarspillir ('peace-breaker')
For body armour, wealthy jarls wore chain-mail shirts while others wore padded leather armor. Viking helmets did not have horns as it would have been very impractical in battle. A Viking helmet was only a metal helmet with a long nose band to help protect their faces. These helmets were only worn by jarls.
Helmets with horns were used 1500 years before the Viking Age, and only for ceremonies as none have ever been found with marks from battle damage.
The idea that all Vikings wore horned helmets came from the 19th century, when Swedish patriots were trying to romanticise Scandinavia's past. This misrepresentation of the Vikings was then continued by Hollywood.
Vikings began raiding England with over 300 ships in 840CE. Raids from the Vikings were common but, only used to consist of no more than 3 longships at a time.
By 874CE the Great Army had conquered Northumbria, East Anglia and Mercia.
In 1013CE King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark invaded England and conquered the entire country becoming the King of England.
The 'Thing' was a viking group of free men who met up together to dispute over property and decide the punishment of crimes at the time.

All of the men were allowed to vote. Even the king had to obey decisions made at the thing.
Most families depended on their farm for products as they usually had to make items, such as clothes and tools. Sometimes they would trade with other farmers for items. Others paid people to do tasks for them. Wealthy Vikings had slaves to do all their work. Children didn’t go to school, boys would learn the tasks their fathers performed and the girls would help their mothers
The Viking burial custom varied on how wealthy the deceased was and the area they lived in, but they all involve around the Vikings belief in the life after the death
.
Sometimes, ships containing the deceased viking was burned on bonfires to speed up their voyage to afterlife. Sometimes Vikings were buried with their animals and even their servants
Vikings were buried with all their valuable possessions they needed in the afterlife and what they did as a living, example, a warrior would be buried with its finest weapons and Armour, however a farmer’s wife might be buried with her wool spinning tools.
Norse raiders and traders voyaged all over the known world, bringing back to their lands a broad range of goods. The size of their cargo ships made it possible to trade not only luxury objects, but also large common objects.
Vinland: timber
Greenland: walrus ivory, furs, skins, wool
Iceland: fish, animal fat, clothing, sulfur, falcons
England: tin, wheat, honey, silver, linen
Russia: slaves, furs, wax, honey
Byzantium: silks, fruits, spices, gems, silver, brocade
Frankish kingdoms: weapons, jewellery, wine, glass, salt, wool cloth
Shetland Islands: soapstone
Norway: timber, whetstones, barley, tar
Sweden: iron, furs
East Baltic regions: amber, slaves, furs

Here are some things Vikings would trade from their region:
Did you know that:
Leif Eriksson discovered America about 500 years before Christopher Columbus set sail
Leif Erickson was one of the important Viking leaders. He was the one that led the Viking sailors over to the land now known as America.
Between 850-1000AD the Vikings explored many different countries including; The British Isles, France, Spain, Italy and North Africa. They the travelled west towards the North Atlantic where they discovered Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland
In 1066, the Vikings, led by King Harald Hardrada of Norway were defeated by the English and King Harold Godwinson. The loss of this battle is sometimes used to symbolize the end of the Viking Age. At this point the Vikings stopped expanding their territory and raiding became less frequent.
As superstitious as the Vikings were, they believed that the sea was full of monsters. So they caved a dragon head on their ship to frighten the so-called 'sea monsters'.
By Tara, Emily and Ivana :)
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