Vikings - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

1 / 15
About This Presentation



The Vikings ate two meals a day; one in the morning and one in the evening. ... and women wore long linen dresses, woolen leggings, and shawls fastened with ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:119
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 16
Provided by: Stude54


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Vikings

a look at culture and daily life
by Kimberly Walters
Who were the Vikings?
The Vikings were an Indo-European culture of
travelers, raiders, and traders. Originally
settling in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, their
population grew rapidly and they began to expand
and colonize around the year 800. Their famous
long ships reached almost every part of the known
world and even discovered new places,
particularly in North America.
Social Structure
  • Society was divided into three classes, based on
    wealth and land ownership  thralls, karls and
    jarls.  The lowest class, the thralls, were
    essentially slaves.  Above the thralls were the
    karls, who were merchants, landowners, farmers
    and craftsmen.  The jarls were the rich, powerful
  • Viking countries were ruled by kings, supported
    by several earls and cheiftans.

The Law
The Vikings believed that the law maintained the
balance between good and evil in their society,
and in fact, the english word law comes from
the Viking language. Trials were held with a jury
of twelve (or multiples of twelve if the case was
important). A panel was randomly chosen to state
their version of the truth, and the person was
found either innocent or guilty. If he was found
guilty he would be fined or made an out-law.
Out-laws were forced to leave the town and became
free-game for their enemies to hunt. A man could
prove his innocence, however, by passing an
ordeal. One common ordeal was to walk twelve
paces on hot coals. If after three days his
blisters were not infected, he was proclaimed
innocent. Disputes were commonly settled with
duels, usually using only swords and shields. The
looser was declared when one mans blood touched
the ground. It was believed that gods always
helped the right man to win.
  • Viking communities were arranged in large family
    groups that lived in simple farmhouses usually
    made of wattle and daub (some were built with
    stones or wood). The bases were rectangular and
    each had a hole in the roof to let out smoke.
    Most had a single room, but rich households often
    had a small entrance hall, a large main room, a
    kitchen, a bedroom and a storage room. Vikings
    hung their belongings from the ceiling and slept
    on benches at the sides of the main room.

  • Because they had many voyages to distant lands,
    the Vikings had an extensive trade network around
    the world.
  • They traded silk, spices, slaves, fur, skins,
    amber, weapons, and food.
  • The Vikings used English, German, and Arab
    currency, as well as coins minted in Scandinavia.

Food and Drink
The Vikings ate two meals a day one in the
morning and one in the evening. The diet was
quite varied and included meat from horses,
goats, pigs, oxen, and many types of fish, and
cultivated crops such as cabbage, peas, and
onions. Vikings in the north hunted whales, deer,
moose, seals, rabbits, walrus, polar bear, wild
boar, goose, and even seagulls.
Women made cheese and butter using milk from
their animals and bread from corn and grains. For
parties and festivals, the vikings brewed fruit
wine and beer, which they drank from animal
horns. They used wooden dishes and spoons and
drank from cups made of silver.
Like most other European clothing of the time,
Viking clothing was most often made of linen,
wool, and in the winter, animal hides. Wealthy
Vikings (kings, earls, and merchants) also used
silk, which they brought back from raids. Bright
colored dyes were extracted from plants and
berries. Men wore tunics and pants, and women
wore long linen dresses, woolen leggings, and
shawls fastened with large metal brooches.
Married women also wore tight fitting scarves on
their heads. Shoes for both sexes were made of
leather and lined with fur.
Found in the Viking graves all over Northern
Europe, beads were clearly much- appreciated
objects to Viking women. The most beads ever
found in a male Viking grave was three, but the
average number for a female grave is around two
hundred. Beads were most often made from quartz
and soda,
but amber, semi-precious stones, silver, and
other metals were also commonly used. Since
making the
beads was extremely labor-intensive, they
were expensive. Glass finger rings and metal
bracelets were also popular for both men and
women, as well as elaborate metal brooches used
to fasten clothing.
Songs and dances were an important part of
parties and religious festivals in the Viking
world. We know very little about actual songs and
tunes, because the Vikings had no way to write
down music until the 14th century, but we do have
evidence of the instruments they used lyres,
flutes, horns, and recorders, as well as their
own voices. Songs often had a chant leader, who
would sing each stanza first, and then everyone
would repeat it. This tradition is still common
in sea shanties and spirituals.
Viking tune written in the 14th century.
As a culture that emphasized war, the Vikings
naturally thrived on competitive sports. Physical
strength, speed, and endurance were tested in
competitions of archery, javelin, skiing,
swimming, and wrestling (usually between only two
men a champion and a challenger). The British
ball game knattleikr was also popular.
  • Viking society had no formal school or system of
    education. History, geography, and navigation
    were taught through sagas of the gods and great
    Viking heroes, told by traveling story-tellers.
    Children also learned while helping their parents
    in the home.

Compared to most women in Europe, a Viking woman
had considerable power in society. She had the
right to property, inheritance, and divorce and
wore the keys to the food chest at her waist as a
visible sign of power. The lady of the household
had to see to it that the food lasted during the
long, dark winter. She made butter and cheese,
dried and smoked meat and fish for storage and
she was also expected to know about herbs for
making medicine and care for the sick and
wounded Sewing and weaving were also important
duties of a Viking woman. Viking women could go
on raiding trips with the men, but the vast
majority chose to stay at home.
Death Rituals
Before the arrival of Christianity, the Vikings
were polytheistic worshippers of Odin, Thor, Frey
and Enevia (along with many other gods and
goddesses.) The Pagans were buried with anything
they might need in the afterlife armor, swords,
horses, and sometimes even human sacrifices that
would accompany the dead man to the underworld.
Women were often buried with cooking utensils and
farming tools. Wealthy viking men were often
buried in their ships, and women sometimes were
buried in wagons. Some of the more eastern
communities cremated their dead and buried the
remains, but almost all Vikings marked their
graves with upright stones in the shape of ships.
If a Viking warrior died in battle, he was placed
with his weapons in a boat and incinerated.
  • Fitzhugh, William. Vikings The North Atlantic
    Saga. Washington Smithsonian Institution Press,
  • Flaherty, Thomas (Editor-in-Chief). Vikings
    Raiders from the North. Alexandria, Virginia
    Time-Life Books, 1993.
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http// ing.
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)