The Viking Age

 The Viking Age


The Dark Ages.....was it really so dark? was there a national shortage of candles? The simple answer is no.

 

The term came about because of how little we actually know about the period in comparison to the ancient world before (such as the Roman Empire and the periods after it) This is mainly because during that time very few people wrote things down, other than a few Christian and Arabian scholars. Although the Vikings did have a written form in the Runes, this was not used for writing down in books and so trying to understand. What is now often termed the "Early Medieval Period" when referring to the age of the Vikings is like trying  to look at 400 years or so of history through a tiny keyhole.

 

Despite these limitations there have been great advancements in knowledge over the last 100 years or so both in terms of scholarly research and in archaeology. From these distance fragments we can start to paint a picture of how people lived during those times (even if that picture has some holes in it) Below is a variety of short descriptions of various aspects of Viking life, if you would like to know more then follow the links   

Below is a downloadable PDF about Female Viking Warriors or Shield Maidens

Money and Wealth:

In the Viking world, coins were initially valued only for their weight in silver and circulated alongside many other forms of precious metal. This is what is known as a 'bullion' economy, in which the weight and the purity of the precious metal are what is important, not what form the metal takes. Far and away the most common metal in the Viking economy was silver. Large pieces of silver, jewellery and ornaments etc, were often chopped up into smaller pieces known as 'hack-silver' to make up the exact weight of silver required.


In England, rulers regularly paid Viking raiders to leave them in peace. The idea of 'Danegeld' is particularly associated today with the reign of Ethelred II (AD978 - AD1016), whose policy of paying off the Vikings rather than fighting them was famously unsuccessful and led to the conquest of England by Sweyn Forkbeard and Cnut. Such payments were made in the weight of silver coins and paying Danegeld or 'Making peace' was a polite expression for 'paying them to go away', and could involve large sums, such as the 7,000 pounds paid by the Frankish ruler Charles the Bald in 845.


The idea of coinage was not a difficult one to grasp, and once the Viking raiders began to settle in England in the late ninth century, they began to issue coins of their own.

Here in Wryngwyrm, we can strike our own coins (using pewter) that feature King Eric Bloodaxe.

The original silver penny was minted in York for Eirik (Eric) Bloodaxe who was the last Viking king of Northumbria (AD 947–48 and 952–54), and a rather colourful figure.

More viking history wil be addded to this page over time.

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