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Viking - Essay Example

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Viking

Simpson (1967, p11) propounds, "In medieval Scandinavian languages, a vikingr is a pirate, a freebooter who seeks wealth either by ship-borne raids on foreign coasts or by waylaying more peaceful seafarers in home waters. There is also an abstract noun viking, meaning 'the act of going raiding overseas'". This definition hints to the historic approach of delineating the term Viking by referring to them as the looters and raiders of the lands of Scandinavia. It takes one to an era in history when Europe was under constant attack of these raiders often referred to as Vikings. These people were pirates by nature and looted the wealth of most of the British coastal lands including England, Scotland, Ireland and Netherlands etc. However, this approach does not identify all of the people from Scandinavia as the Viking, rather it points to certain activities as raiding, pirating and plundering to identify them. Hence, a Viking according to this definition is a person engaged in brutal attacks at the foreign lands by the seaways in the quest of wealth contained in those areas.
Gibson (1987, pp11-15) also relates to the word 'Viking' as those pirates who were born to fight, made to break and fostered for bloodshed. Hence he refers to the era when a great part of Europe was under the raid of the Vikings coming mainly from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. He says, "The Vikings are a mighty nation with huge bodies and great courage. They do not know the meaning of the word defeat, they never turn their backs on their enemies, but slay or are slain".

This definition is a bit closer to the one presented at first and only different in the sense that it ties the term not with individuals but with a nation or a race of people with regard to the historical event during 750 and 1066 C.E. Gibson (1987) signifies the term Viking with those sturdy people of Scandinavia who were fearless and stood bravely in the face of war and death. They considered warfare as a symbol of courageousness and even associated these feats with their religious faiths. The connection between these two definitions is that both relate to history and illuminate the term in its specific context. The same people and the same individuals indulged in raiding Europe in retrospective. Whatever might be their objectives, circumstances and consequences; they were driven by the availability of wealth in specific areas of Europe leading them to brutal invasions.

After having learnt the basic definition of the word Viking or assessing the idea encompassed with its usage, one also comes across some contradictory views on its illustration. Goldsmith (2004) illuminates that the word 'Viking' is misunderstood many times owing to the history that encompasses the word. She says that some might associate the term with violence, brutality and savagery, while in the linguistic sense it means simply a 'merchant or a warrior'. Therefore, the term 'Viking' simply means someone who travels or an alien. In other words, she attempts to state that the word does not necessarily indicate someone brutal or vicious.

It simply signifies that if the term 'Viking' is to be taken in pure linguistic form, irrespective of the history associated, it plainly refers to a traveller rather than a brutal tribesman or a raider of North.

Conclusion

All the above-mentioned definitions and approaches concerning the term Viking, apart from its linguistic sense, refer to the tribesmen of North who were mainly ...Show more

Summary

This essay provides an insight into the term 'Viking' and the most appropriate meanings assigned to it in connection with its history. Vikings have had a long renowned history of their own that has made the word being interpreted and understood in various manners…
Author : ureichel
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