The Vikings invented the longboat during the Vikings Age from 800 to 1100 A.D. This type of ship helped them travel the oceans to reach France, England, Scotland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Vinland and the Middle East. Thus, they became a dominant force in European medieval trade, politics and warfare.Continue Reading
The reason why the longboat was considered technologically advanced at the time is because of its capability to move by using the oars or a rectangular sail. Therefore, when there's no wind to blow the sail, the ship can still travel using the oars. The longboat, which had a shallow draft, was also built to traverse not just oceans but rivers as well. This allowed the Vikings to pass through the rivers of Eastern Europe all the way to the Middle East to trade.
The Vikings also utilized their expertise in studying the position of the North Star and the sun to help them navigate the seas. There are stories that tell about the sunstone, which is a navigating tool the Vikings used to tell the position of the sun even with dense clouds or fog. It is believed that the sunstones were crystals that served as natural polarizing filters to locate the sun's position. The sunstone has been regarded as a myth until recently when a possible sunstone was discovered from a 1592 ship that sank off Alderney, the northernmost Channel Island.Learn more about Middle Ages
Helmets with horns have become an icon that is closely associated with Vikings, but there is no real evidence, either in historical art or existing physical artifacts, to support the idea that these people actually wore helmets that were adorned with things like horns or wings. Though Greek and Roman texts from the ancient world suggest that some invaders did have some unusual tastes in headwear, including animal heads, it appears that the idea of a Viking wearing a helmet with horns or other embellishment such as wings is a much more recent invention dating back to the 17th-19th century C.E.Full Answer >
While there is a popular perception of Vikings as barbaric, marauding raiders, this only paints a partial image of a culture that included mothers, children, old and infirm people; in fact, as a whole, the ancient Scandinavian peoples known as Vikings mostly worked as farmers, with very few members of this society existing without some sort of connection to a farm. The marauding and raiding activities can be seen as more of a side business than a full-time job for Vikings, and even those who would participate in international trade or raiding would very likely come home to a farm. These farms typically grew grains such as oats, barley and rye in addition to vegetables such as cabbages and root vegetables.Full Answer >
One commodity which the Vikings traded consistently was slaves. In addition to slaves, the Vikings offered honey, tin, wheat, wool, wood, iron, fur, leather, fish and ivory.Full Answer >
The Vikings were from Scandinavia, an area that included islands, peninsulas and ocean-bordering lands, so their primary means of transportation was by using their boats and ships. At the beginning of the Viking Age, Reference.com says they were "the best shipbuilders and sailors in the world," eventually sailing to Greenland and North America.Full Answer >