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Legacy of the Vikings and Their Contribution to Our Perception in Today’s Society

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There is a diversity of many different cultures all around the world. My roots are from Europe West countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, and Switzerland, as well as Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. My background of my culture is linked to the Vikings. The Vikings have been explorers and raiders of different countries during the Middle Ages. The Vikings’ attribution of the culture in the past of religion, values, art, and gender roles can contribute to our perception in today’s society.

The term ‘Viking’ was used to describe individuals that come from Scandinavia, which was changed between the eighth and eleventh century to be known as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (Wiles, 2016). The Vikings raided regions in Europe by traveling by sea and raided on land. They developed trade routes and settled in Ireland and Britain. The foundation of the term ‘Viking’ is unknown. It is believed that the term is derived from a language called the Old Nora that was commonly used with the people of Scandinavia. It was believed the language of Old Nora had the word ‘vik’, which meant to inhabit the land and sea (Wiles, 2016). The Vikings were always moving from one country to another never staying in one country for long. They were fierce warriors.

The Vikings’ representation of in the United States is seen as superiority towards other cultures. White supremacy is seen in society with white men being the controllers of power. There has been tension with presidential elections of white officials running for president, and only one president was of a different race. The current president possibly has relatives from Iceland, which can make him related with the Vikings (Iceland Magazine, 2016). The president’s motives and actions he takes are very ambitious and very control oriented. This can be related with the Vikings with their need for control and power of invading different countries and ambition to explore. The United States is run by mostly white Americans which throws other races feeling lower than white individuals. It was a unique event when Barack Obama, who is an African American, ran for president. He helped chain the events in the presidential election from always having a president that is a white male leader to see another race rule power. Another aspect in presidential elections is seen as all male leader run for president, and we still haven’t had a woman president. Men have been the dominating group seen even in the Viking group, and women never had any say in political group decisions. Women through history gained the freedom to vote, but we’ve never had a women run for president until recent years. Hillary Clinton ran for president being the first woman to run for president. Even when she didn’t win, this sparked freedom for women to run for a leadership role in an all-male dominating political field, which has been seen in Viking culture as well.

The Vikings worked as a group to raid and trade and sell for the tribe, but when it came to it, the motivation for their actions was for their own selfish pride and dignity. Honor of the Vikings is displayed with their social relationship of their family, friends, and fellow warriors. Honor was also displayed with any actions of heroic events or successes by a Viking. These achievements are further remembered and the Viking men’s name is remembered in honor and celebrated with their death. There main motivation for Viking men to go on voyages to fight is for wealth and power.

The Vikings were very into musical instruments and the sounds they made. They used instruments that made rattle type of noises, such as using pig jawbones and circle bronze pieces (Harwell-Sturgill, 2016). Norse drums were also made with clay pottery and wrapped with animal skin. The Vikings were always traveling to vast lands and experiencing different sets of art and music. The materials they mainly used was ivory, bone, wood, metal, and stone. Many Viking artists used a methods of wood carving to do very unique and exquisite designs. It was easy to carve while traveling to different countries. Jewelry was also made with gold, silver, bronze and gilded bronze, which was made no only for women but for men as well.

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Even though the Vikings were known of being malicious and barbarians to perception of others countries but followed values and beliefs of the Viking group. Loyalty and honor are main follows that the Vikings follow by when they are conquering and raiding other countries, and they need and understanding that when it comes to war that each warrior will be fighting and have each other back if something happens. Justice is a value in war when one warrior is killed then the tribe will seek vengeance. Viking tribes are like family and if one is does something that is not right then this affects the families and friends of the member. This is why honor and reputation is very important to the Vikings. The Vikings believe that courage is the greatest strength when it comes to war and daily life. It is despised when a Viking is cowardly because it is shown as weakness (Neilsen, 2017).

The Vikings believed in many gods, but in the thirteenth century they believed in the pagan belief. This religious practice was developed in Iceland and had sacrifices of horses to the gods. There are many tales that talk about the pagan gods. The main evidence of the literacy is the Eddas. It talks about the gods and their encounters with creatures such as men, dwarfs, and giants (Williams, 2011). The god that is most powerful and is represented in movies was Thor, who is the god of thunder. He is portrayed in the Eddas and the movie as a stupid but strong god. He was the god that would fight off giants with his mighty hammer that was crafted by dwarfs (Williams, 2011). Thor was worshipped by many Vikings. Another character that is well-known is Loki, which is half demon and half god. Many other gods were told in the folktales such as “The one-eyed Odin, the All-Father, god of warfare, justice, death, wisdom and poetry” (Williams, 2011). Their main religions and beliefs were based off pagan beliefs, but when they when off to raid more regions, it expanded their views on other religions such as Christianity. Some Vikings started to convert to the Christianity religion. It was also as if it was pressured to convert to have a peaceful association with Christians. As well, the Vikings settled in Christian neighborhoods in Britain, that made it even more imperative to convert to Christianity. There were having relations with natives and even marriage, which brought up children that partially or fully believed the Christian belief (Williams, 2011). With the influence of the churches and increase in intermarriage led to the Vikings being completely converted to the Christian belief.

Viking men were seen in the voyages to raid other countries, as well in play tribute in the trading and selling. Men were in charge of labor work such as hunting, trading, fishing, fighting and farming. A women’s role in the Viking Age was to take care of the home, take care of the children, and cook for when the men come home. Men were the main population and were the ones to overrule with political and society decisions. If a women tried to overrule their leadership or try to have a say in political matter, they would be decreasing or deteriorating the Viking men’s power. That is why Viking men gave women the position of never being in any political matters or make decisions in society by having women run the home and take care of children. Women in the Viking Age were content with just having a say on how to run the home, but other women tried to fight this restriction of their voice in society. Women that are don’t want to follow the role of being the feminine women to take care of the home and want to be independent and fight were called ‘Valkyries’, who were female warriors. They would fight to for independence and freedom. They would fight if someone tried to terrorize them, their families, or homes. Another difference that is seen between men and women is when it comes to their burials. Viking men are buried with farming tools or weapons, while women are buried with jewelry and items of their home (Pruitt, 2016).

Today’s society should be respectful to the past Viking Age and their culture. Many views in today’s media don’t fully talk about the Viking culture, when they have a movie that is represented in the Middle Ages and the actors being perceived as the Vikings. When individuals dress up in Viking costumes, they should be aware of what is a Viking and the past culture of the Vikings.

The Vikings were seen as being barbaric and cruel individuals that raided, fight, and trade with other countries. The Vikings’ attribution of the culture in the past of religion, values, art, and gender roles can contribute to our perception in today’s society. They believe honor and loyalty are main values to attribute to their family-oriented members of the tribe. We see some attributes of Viking culture in the United States, such as in the presidential elections and even with our current president. Gender roles are even the same with men always being the ones that are more involved with political and labor work, while women are seen to have to take care of the kids and the home. As we digged into the Viking culture, we can see we are actually not that different from them with some aspects. The United States is raised on power and freedom and a nation that is powerful in forces.

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Legacy of the Vikings and Their Contribution to Our Perception in Today’s Society. (2023, September 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from
“Legacy of the Vikings and Their Contribution to Our Perception in Today’s Society.” Edubirdie, 08 Sept. 2023,
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