Viking is the name given to those who lived in Nordic countries from Scandinavia, well known by their intrusions and/or sacking in Europe since the VIIIth century. To be exact in the year 793 with the Monastry of Lindisfarne sacking in the north of Great Britain, which one was the first of many that came later. They usually behave during the sackings in a very cruel way, what terrified the entire continent because it was impossible to predict when, where and how they would appear.
For the following centuries, Vikings and their descendants had a huge influence in the european history. In British Islands they ruled for many years until being defeated by Normands, a group of Vikings’ descendants who lived in France. They founded in Italy the Normand Kindom of Sicily, and even with their incursions they achieved to influence in Cordoba´s Caliphate and Byzantine Empire. Sailing the rivers they could get to Baltic Sea and Russia where there are some zones linked to vikings adventurers.
The end of Viking Empire coincide with King Harald’ s fall, in StamfordBridge Battle, in the year 1066 when he was trying to conquer England. Although nordic influence was still relevant; Normands’ acculturation process happened in France, England and Italy, several victories of France which allowed this country to secure its shores and Christianization of Scandinavia implied the dissapearance of this empire.
Normands were scandinavians invaders, mostly danish, they started to occupy north-east France (the current Normandy) in the second half of IXth century. Under the leadership of Hrolf Ganger, Rollo or Rollon french named, they swore lloyalty to King of France (Charles the simple) and they received what later would become Normandy´s Duchy.
They had a polytheistic religion with a lot of supernatural beings (what is told in the Eddas), they knew the runic writing, they were organized in tribes, they had a primitive agriculture and stockbreeding. However, they were sailor experts and they build light and tough boats.
Normands from Neustria, were gradually adopting Christianism but also french language and culture. iIt supposed the creation of a cultural identity which combined their ancients and also local inhabitants knowledge. Everything under the souverainty of King of france, creating a powerful duchy with some specific skills like the ones related to the sea.
Their expansion beyond Normand took them to play a leading role in medieval europe. A group of normand adventurers conquered the Kingdom of Sicily and an expedition led by Duke William derived into the normand conquer of England. Thanks to this two strategic places their influence got to Middle Orient.
It´s said that their migrations were due to several factors, such as:
A search of better places to live, the escape or banishment of defeated tribes, commercial trades, adventurer spirit, pursuit of conquest…
Their famous helmets with horns are nothing but a wrong idea diffused by Hollywood, in fact they didn’t exist. Normand and vikings were fearsome, strong and big warriors that´s why it hadn’ t been a very good war strategy or tactic to have horn in helmets, it would suppose to give the enemy the chance to hurt them.
Horns were used as symbol of power and force. When warriors were buried they carry horns with them as religious symbol.
SEE MORE VIKING HELMETS
SEE MORE HISTORICAL HELMETS