Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Seafaring A Cornerstone of Viking Culture

Seafaring: A Cornerstone of Viking Culture Technological advances have always played very important roles in the development of cultures. From warfare to agriculture, technology can help shape and mold the way a culture develops. The Viking longships were one such advance. The impact of the technology involved in creating these magnificent ships is very apparent in the remnants of Viking culture. Expansion, warfare and poetry were only some of the many facets of Viking life affected by seafaring. The Vikings were perhaps the most successful of all early explorers. The design of the longships allowed for navigation in the shallow fjords found within Sweden and Norway out to the ocean. From there, the Vikings were able to reach out across the globe. Unlike prior civilizations such as the Greeks, the Vikings used their technology to reach out to other European countries and even into Asia. While the Greeks concentrated their naval efforts in the area of warfare, although there is evidence of far reaching travel in such works as The Odyssey, the Vikings were able to establish profitable trade routes which in turn lead to the establishment of key trade ports such as Hedeby and Ribe. These first trade centers fueled the Viking economy and were essential in the development of Viking culture. However, the expansion made possible by the longships was not merely a tool for trade but also allowed for the colonization of Iceland and Greenland by Viking settlers. Again, the! durable and well-crafted Viking vessels were able to handle such long journeys deep into the unknown Atlantic Ocean. This type of far reaching travel was unheard of before the Vikings and was not matched until almost 500 years later during the peak of European exploration. Colonization, however, was not one of the major goals of the Vikings. Raiding and pillaging were more common tasks than far reaching global expansion. Both, however, ...

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