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Instead of the terms BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini


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Title: Instead of the terms BC (before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini

Instead of the terms BC (before Christ) and AD
(Anno Domini in the Year of Our Lord) this time
line will use BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE
(Common Era). These abbreviations are becoming
the standard in scholarly work.
An ahistorical depiction of a Viking
Who Were the Vikings?
  • The Vikings, or Norse, were a phenomenal race of
    Scandinavian warriors who raided Northern Europe,
    Eastern Asia, and Eastern North America. The
    exploits of the Norwegian vikings lead them west
    to settle into Iceland in 860 and later to
    colonize Greenland about a hundred years later.
    The Swedish Vikings set out across the Baltic Sea
    into Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia. By
    the end of the first millennium the Vikings
    reached North America five hundred years before
  • Vikings were not just pirates and warriors but
    also traders and colonists.
  • The word Viking means one who lurks in a Vik or
    bay, in effect, a pirate.
  • The word Viking also describes a whole new age
    in Europe between about the mid 700 to 1150 AD.
    This was a period of raiding as well as creating
    far trade networks of settlements by
  • Vikings were comprised of Norwegian, Danish, and
    Swedish decent.

How do we know about the Vikings?
  • Sources and Contemporary Accounts
  • Vikings left many traces of their settlements
    that are still visible today. Archaeology
    provides physical evidence of their conquests,
    settlements, and daily life.
  • Not a lot of evidence survives, and much of what
    we have is either uninformative or unreliable.
    Many popular ideas of Vikings are 19th century
    inventions, such as horns on helmets. Few
    historical records and contemporary written
    sources exist anymore.
  • Surviving accounts of Viking activity was almost
    exclusively written by churchmen. These included
    monastic chronicles such as the Anglo Saxon
    chronicle, Frankish, and Irish Annals. The
    chronicles reflect the fact that Vikings attacked
    these monasteries for their wealth and the
    accounts had a hostile tone to give a popular
    image of Viking atrocities. The Vikings were
    considered heathens for their invasions in
    monasteries and as a result were portrayed in the
    worst possible way.

One of the earliest Icelandic Manuscripts in Old
Norse, the Viking language.
The Sagas
Saga is a Norse word meaning tales. These
writings provide almost all of the knowledge we
have of the Vikings. There are about forty sagas
that include descriptions of historical events in
Iceland and voyages across the North Atlantic
from Norway, Greenland and Vinland
(Newfoundland). The sagas also have records of
family history such as Erik the Red who founded
Greenland, and his son Leif Erickson who
discovered North America. The Sagas were compiled
in the 13th and 14th century, and later based on
stories that originated as early as 400 and 500
years before that. Archaeology is providing that
a lot of these stories have a good basis of fact
in fact the Icelandic sagas were used to help
find what might be the site of Vinland.
The Saga
The Eddas
  • There are also Norse oral religious traditions
    written as poems that are collectively named as
  • They are folktales.
  • Eddas and Sagas werent written on paper. Instead
    on vellum-sheepskin or calf skin. Vellum is more
    resistant to rot and preserves much better than
    paper does. Thank god they used vellum!!

What were their goals?
  • Raids and loot were not the whole story of the
    Vikings. Land to farm was also a commodity. There
    were limited sources of food.
  • They received influences from Europe that they
    saw as technologically and politically superior
    to their culture. Unlike many other invaders in
    history, the vikings werent trying to spread
    their religion that was paganism, rather gain new
    resources and new connections. They wanted
    political and economical advantage.
  • They had to find food, live off the land, and
    set up shop. They drove people out and took their
    money and other valuables they had. Vikings
    targeted the church and monasteries, which were
    the major sources of wealth at the time.

An accurate depiction of what a Viking looked
Ships and Navigation
  • We know what their ships looked like because
    many vikings were buried with their goods that
    sometimes included their boats.
  • They had swift wooden long ships, equipped with
    sails and oars.
  • Shallow drought of these ships meant they were
    able to reach far inland by river or stream to
    strike and move before local forces could
  • Ships had overlapping planks, and measured
    between 17.5m and 36m in length. They were
    steered by a single oar mounted on the starboard
  • Reached an average speed of 10 to 11 knots
  • Crews of 25 to 60 men would be common, but larger
    ships could carry over a hundred people.
  • Sea battles were rare. They fought close to
    shore. Ships were roped together in lines to
    face an enemy fleet.

Figureheads would be raised at stem and stern as
a sign of war.
(No Transcript)
Battles and Tactics
  • Vikings had no professional standing army and
    tactics and discipline seemed at little
    development. They didnt fight in regular
  • Weapons training began at youth in hunting,
    sports, and raiding.
  • Aspiring warriors wanted armed service so they
    clanged to famous fighters in order to be
    rewarded with weapons and fame of their own. A
    leader needed to wage war frequently in order to
    keep his followers and maintain power against
  • In preparation for battle younger warriors would
    draw up a line with their shields to create a
    shield wall for better protection.
  • Chiefs were well protected by a body guard.
  • They would either capture and kill their enemies
    Many capturers would become slaves.
  • The famous Berserker warriors fought in groups,
    and believed that Odin, their god of war, gave
    them both protection and superhuman powers so
    they had no need for armor. Berserker battles
    were intense and its said they bit on their
    shields and could ignore the pain of wounds.

Many experienced vikings formed a wedge of 20 to
30 men and would then charge at the enemy. They
fought mainly on foot. The largest armies may
have been 4,000 to 7,000 men. After war Vikings
would return to lives as farmers, merchants,
craftsmen, or join other war-bands.
Offensive Weapons
  • The main offensive weapons were the spear,
    sword, and battle-axe.
  • They carried weapons not just for battle but
    also as a symbol of their owners class and
    wealth. Weapons were decorated with inlays,
    twisted wire and other accessories in silver,
    copper, and bronze.
  • The spear was the common weapon with an iron
    blade 2m to 3m in length.
  • Swords were a sign of high status because they
    were costly to make. The blades were usually
    double edged and up to 90cm. Many swords were
    given names.

Defensive Weapons
  • There were circular shields up to one meter
    across that were carried. The shield may have
    been leather covered. Around 1000, the kite
    shaped shield was introduced to the Vikings to
    provide more protection for the legs.
  • It was essential to wear thick padding
    underneath to absorb the force of blows or arrow
    strikes. Reindeer hide was used as armor.
  • They used long tunics of mail armor reaching
    below the waist. They were not very protective.
    It took many hours to produce a shirt, making it
    very expensive. Its likely they were worn more
    by leaders.
  • Helmets were probably worn by leaders as well.
    Horned helmets also took great skill to produce.

An accurate viking helmet left. The mail armor
shown right.
A modern myth!!!
  • The first Viking raids were hit- and -run
    affairs. There was no coordination and long term
    plan behind them. The Vikings would later have
    more powerful forays and would have base camps
    where they would spend the winter.
  • Vikings raided the British Isles and the Western
    portions of the Carolingian Empire in France.
    They conquered much of Northern England in the
    9th century, and they established a kingdom in
  • In return for cash Vikings negotiated peaceful
    coexistence and conversion to whomever they
    attacked. Some leaders paid ransom to Viking
  • In 911 AD Charles III of France gave Normandy
    (French for territory of Norsemen) to the
    Viking leader Rollos who became a Christian.
    Vikings helped adopt the French language and
    organized a strong state in Normandy.
  • During the same century a Norman adventurer
    Robert Guiscard created the Norman kingdom of
    Sicily. (continued)

Maximum extent of the islamic conquests, 7th -
11th centuries (Green). Areas ruled by the
Vikings or Normans, 9th - 12th centuries (Brown).
Carolingian Empire at the death of Charlemagne in
814 (Grey)
Other Acquired Territory
  • The Vikings reached Iceland and it had become a
    settlement for Norwegians and Danes.
  • 982 Erik the Red founded Greenland.
  • Leif Erikson later landed on North America.
  • The Vikings who went to the British Isles and
    continental Europe, were mostly from Denmark and
  • The Swedes went beyond the Baltic away from
    Christian europe into Russia, Constantinople, an
    Baghdad.The Swedish Vikings influenced the growth
    of the early Russian state around Kiev. The
    Slavic people called them Rus. They were ruled
    by Vikings for a long time that the land was
    named Russia.
  • In Constantinople they helped form and were
    recruited as Varangian guards of the Byzantine
    emperors. Swedes were similar to all the other
    Vikings as they were soldiers, settlers, traders,
    and voyagers.

What happened to the Vikings?
  • Vikings became citizens of many places in Europe.
  • Many had become Christians back in their
    homelands. This lead to the downfall of the Norse
    religion and culture.
  • Kings instituted taxes and the economy changed so
    that you could get along better off as a trader
    than a raider.
  • The Viking invasions caused European kingdoms to
    be more centralized and focused.
  • European kingdoms learned how to protect
    themselves and gain by trading and negotiating
    with the Vikings instead of battling them.

The Viking end
The Vikings Impact
  • Many styles of the Viking ships were adopted by
    other European powers.
  • The jury of English common law was a an outgrowth
    of Viking ideas about community obligations and
    sworn investigations.
  • Signs of Viking influence are found in languages,
    vocabulary, and place-names of the areas they
  • They had an impact on medieval technology and
    trade, and was an important part of Europes

Timeline Do Not Write this down Read Aloud
789 -Vikings begin their attacks on England.800
800 -The Oseberg Viking longship is buried about
this time 840 -Viking settlers found the city of
Dublin in Ireland. 844 -A Viking raid on Seville
is repulsed. 860 -Rus Vikings attack
Constantinople (Istanbul). 862 -Novgorod in
Russia is founded by the Rus Viking, Ulrich. 866
-Danish Vikings establish a kingdom in York,
England. 871 -Alfred the Great becomes king of
Wessex the Danish advance is halted in England.
872 -Harald I gains control of Norway. 879
-Rurik establishes Kiev as the center of the
Kievan Rus' domains. 886 -Alfred divides England
with the Danes under the Danelaw pact. 900 -The
Vikings raid along the Mediterranean coast. 911
-The Viking chief Rollo is granted land by the
Franks and founds Normandy in France. 941 -Rus
Vikings attack Constantinople (Istanbul). 981
-Viking leader Erik the Red discovers
Greenland. 986 -Viking ships sail in Newfoundland
waters. 991 -Æthelred II pays the first Danegeld
ransom to stop Danish attacks on England. 995
-Olav I conquers Norway and proclaims it a
Christian kingdom. 1000 -Christianity reaches
Greenland and Iceland. 1000 -Leif Eriksson, son
of Erik the Red, explores the coast of North
America. 1000 -Olav I dies Norway is ruled by
the Danes 1002 -Brian Boru defeats the Norse and
becomes the king of Ireland. 1010 -Viking
explorer Thorfinn Karlsefni attempts to found a
settlement in North America. 1013 -The Danes
conquer England Æthelred flees to Normandy.
1015 -Vikings abandon the Vinland settlement on
the coast of North America. 1016 -Olav II regains
Norway from the Danes. 1016 -The Danes under
Knut (Canute) rule England. 1028 -Knut (Canute),
king of England and Denmark, conquers Norway.
1042- Edward the Confessor rules England with
the support of the Danes. 1050 -The city of Oslo
is founded in Norway. 1066 -Harold Godwinson
king of England defeats Harald Hardrada king of
Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge 1066
-William duke of Normandy defeats the Saxon king
Harold at the Battle of Hastings.
400BC-300BC Ancient Greece - because of their
physical geography individual communities
developed. The city-state of ___Athens__introduce
d _democracy___ which laid the foundation for
Europes government and culture
(No Transcript)
  • Earliest Greek Civilizations
  • The origins of Greek civilization are somewhat
    obscure.  Neither historians, archaeologists, nor
    linguists can confidently establish when
    Greek-speaking peoples made the Balkan peninsula
    of Greece their home
  • Minoans
  • The first civilization to arise in the area of
    Greece came on the island of Crete.
  • Archaeologists have given it the name of Minoan,
    after the mythical Cretan king Minos
  • By sometime around 1650 BC, the island of Crete
    was home to the Minoan culture that flourished
    (although people had inhabited the island since
    the Neolithic period)
  • Almost all we know about Minoan culture comes
    from archaeology, since we cannot decipher their
    written language
  • The symbol of Minoan culture was the palace
  • Around 1650 BC, Crete was dotted with a number of
    palaces, with the most important one being at
  • The palace was the political and economic center
    of Minoan society, containing storage areas and
    trading centers for the local region

Mycenaean We know little about when the
Mycenaean's came to Greece (or where they came
from), except that they spoke a language of the
Indo-Aryan family. By 1650 BC, they were firmly
established on the Peloponnesus peninsula in the
city of Mycenae, a major city and trading
center. Mycenae was the capital for the legendary
king Agamemnon (the Trojan War). As in Crete, the
political unit was a kingdom ruled by the king
and his warrior nobles. The kings ruled from
their palaces (unlike those of the Minoans, those
of Mycenae were walled). These palaces also
served as the commercial centers of a tightly
controlled economy. The Mycenaean economy was
marked by extensive division of labor, tightly
controlled from above. People were divided into
artisans, farmers, laborers, and slaves (most of
whom toiled for kings or aristocrats). All worked
according to orders from the king and his nobles
the Mycenaean's conducted regular trade with the
Minoans--for at least 200 years, relations
between the two peoples were peaceful. Sometime
around 1450 BC, Mycenaean's attacked Crete,
destroying many of the Minoan palaces and
capturing the one at Cnossos for the next 50
years, the Mycenaean's ruled Crete until a
further wave of violence destroyed Cnossos and
left much of the island in ashes (unanswered
question is who, not what destroyed civilization
on Crete--natural disaster ruled out).
Mycenaean's took advantage of the absence of the
Minoans to expand their trade to encompass the
eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean. Their
culture flourished like it had never done before
as they became quite prosperous from their
commercial activities.
The Dark Age of Greece The period following the
fall of the Mycenaean's ushered in such poverty,
disruption, and backwardness that historians
usually call it the Dark Age of Greece. For the
next 300 years (until 800 BC), Greece remained a
land of chaos- Literacy, which had never been
widespread under the Minoans nor Mycenaean's,
basically disappeared completely. Still, the
period was important to the development of later
Greek civilization. The warfare and chaos of the
era caused many Greek-speaking peoples to
flee--some to Crete, others across the Aegean Sea
to Asia Minor. In effect these migrants turned
the Aegean into a Greek lake. The collapse of
Mycenaean civilization also opened the door for
new developments in the social and political
areas of the Greeks. The loss of imports in
copper and tin meant they could not use bronze
any more, so they turned to working in iron to
supply their needs for metal. The loss of
literacy fostered the highly developed oral
tradition which gave rise to the Homeric
epics. The lack of writing also made possible the
later adoption of the alphabet system from the
Phoenicians (which they would later modify into
the Greek alphabet). Finally, the collapse of the
centralized palace system left survivors adrift
in  small groups under local leaders who could
most efficiently lead continuing survival efforts
(or lead migrations). These small groups provide
the nucleus out of which developed the autonomous
city-state, or polis --the basic unit of later
Greek civilization.
Homeric Age The major cultural development of
the Dark Age was the oral tradition of epic
poetry. The most important (as well as the most
famous of these) were the Iliad and the Odyssey,
attributed to Homer. The Rise of the Polis During
the Dark Age of Greek history, the polis came to
be the dominant political unit. With the fall of
the Mycenaean civilization, the Greek peoples
needed a government that was flexible in the face
of rapidly changing conditions and responsive to
local needs. To solve this problem, they
developed the polis as their main form of
government. What is the polis? The polis is not
really a city-state--in many cases will not even
center around a city (many of the polis were
centered by towns, Sparta was actually a group of
small towns and villages rather than one urban
center). The polis also differed from modern
cities in that it was autonomous, that is not
controlled by a larger regional or national
government. The polis included the city or town
and the surrounding countryside.
Governing the Polis There were several ways that
the poleis were governed. The form of ruler ship
depended on how those who held the power locally
wanted to be governed. 1) Monarchy 2)
Aristocracy 3) Oligarchy (rule of the few) --
usually a small group of wealthy citizens, not
necessarily the aristocracy. 4) Democracy -- all
citizens, without respect to birth or wealth
participated in the administration of the
polis. 5) Tyranny -- someone who seizes power
unlawfully--generally by using his wealth to gain
a political following that could topple the
existing government.
Each polis contained a point, usually elevated
above the rest of the city, called the acropolis,
and a public square or marketplace called the
agora. The acropolis served double duty in most
polis areas, being a place of refuge in times of
trouble and a place of worship--containing
temples, altars, public monuments, and various
dedications to the gods of the polis. Ex.--Acropol
is in Athens was originally used as the city's
last place of refuge when the city came under
attack (they even constructed a shaft 120 feet
deep down to a spring with five flights of stone
and wooden steps constructed to make it easy and
safe to get water during a siege). Each city had
an agora, which was originally where the warrior
assembly met.  But over time, the agora became
the political center of the polis--a place for
public meetings. The agora also came to house a
number of shops, public buildings, and
courts. Adjacent to the agora was an area set
aside for dancing and celebration, which often
later served as the location of the polis's
Growth of Sparta During the Lyric Age, Spartans
expanded the boundaries of their polis and made
it the leading power in Greece. Like other
Greeks, the Spartans faced the serious problem of
overpopulation and the need for more land--Unlike
the others, the Spartans solved this problem
through conquest rather than colonization. In 735
B.C., the Spartans first set out to conquer the
Messinia, a rich fertile region in the
southwestern Peloponnesus--the war lasted for 20
years and ended in Spartan triumph. The Spartans
then appropriated the Messenian land and turned
the native inhabitants into helots (or serfs of
the state). About 650 B.C., the helots rebelled
against the Spartans, leading to a bloody 30 year
war that ended in Spartan victory, but one that
left them with little stomach for more
fighting. Following the war, the commoners of
Sparta (who had done much of the fighting)
demanded equality with the nobility. The
commoners agitated and disrupted Spartan society
so much that the nobility agreed to remodel the
The reforms, called the Lycurgan regimen, created
a new political, social, and economic
system. Political distinctions among Spartans
were eliminated and all citizens became legally
equal--in effect, eliminating the aristocracy and
creating an oligarchy. The government was
formally led by 2 kings (war leaders) aided by a
council of 28 elders who controlled military and
foreign policy.Domestic affairs were handled by
five ephors (overseers) elected from and by all
the people. Economically, the Spartans divided
the land of Messenia among all citizens--helots
worked the land, providing food for the Spartans
(Spartans kept them in line through force).
Under the Lycurgan system, every citizen owed
primary allegiance to Sparta. 
The Evolution of Athens Athens located on the
Attican plateau. Although Athens faced the same
social and economic upheavals as Sparta during
the Lyric Age, Athenian society evolved very
different from that of Sparta. Instead of
creating an oligarchy, over time the Athenians
extended the right and duty of governing the
polis to all citizens. However, it took some time
for Athens to develop its system of democracy.
  • The Classical Age of Greece -- Culture and
    Society in Athens.
  • For all the horrors and loss of life and property
    during the Peloponnesian wars, some positive
    developments did occur in Athens.
  • Athenian arts in the Age of Pericles
  • Architecture
  • During his 20 or so years as the leader of
    Athens, Pericles turned the city into the
    showplace of Greece.
  • He appropriated money from Delian League funds to
    pay for a huge building program, planning temples
    and other buildings to honor Athena, the patron
    goddess of the city, and to display to all Greeks
    the glory and superiority of the Athenian polis.

Model of Parthenon
Erechtheum on Acropolis in Athens c. 421 BC
Doric Temple of Athena
The temple of Zeus at Athens Detail
  • Athenian theatre
  • Athenian drama, both comedies and tragedies,
    formed an important part of Greek life (not only
    in terms of the art form, but also as a way of
    understanding the people).
  • Drama probably originated as an opposition
    between a chorus and a single actor--choral
    performances had been around from earliest times
    as a part of honoring the gods or celebrating
    military and athletic victories.
  • Philosophy (mainly centered around Athens)
  • Ancient Greek philosophy focused on finding
    rational, even skeptical, ways of explaining the
    natural world and relationships among people. 
    Although some of these philosophers worshipped
    the Greek gods, as a group, they sought
    explanations that did not evolve around these
    deities--a human-centered way of approaching the
    questions of life, the universe, and everything.
  • Hippocrates (around 400 B.C.)--attempted to make
    medical diagnoses and find cures based on
    rational observation rather than explaining
    illnesses as having supernatural causes.
  • This lack of emphasis on the divine or
    supernatural was also reflected in the way the
    Greeks shaped their political and legal systems,
    something they spent much time and effort in

  • During this Classical Age, three philosophers
    stood out in theorizing about relationships
    between humans and their world
  • Socrates
  • First among these was Socrates (469-399 BC).
  • Unlike his Sophist contemporaries, Socrates did
    not take pay for teaching and claimed he was only
    wise enough to know the extent of his own
  • He taught using the dialectic method (often
    called Socratic method today) of a series of
    probing unending questions.
  • Socrates was a devout believer that human reason
    could lead him to the truth.
  • He used his questioning to challenge basic
    beliefs of those around him, trying to get them
    to use reason instead of blindly following
    tradition or the masses.
  • Socrates despised democracy, believing that
    government should be in the hands of strong,
    intelligent, and informed people.
  • His questioning attacks about government led to
    his trial and execution in 399.

  • Plato (student of Socrates) (429-347)
  • Approached the gaining of wisdom as a
    science--argued that knowledge and virtue came
    through constant study and questioning.
  • This science, according to Plato, could only be
    truly understood by those with sufficient
    training and intelligence (Plato has little faith
    in masses).
  • Like Socrates, Plato despised democracy, arguing
    that it was the worst system of government for
    the people.
  • He called for an enlightened despot (benevolent
    dictator) to rule a society where strife would be
    eliminated by erasing its causes--mainly private
    property and the family.
  • Argued that women should have role in society,
    even though they were less capable than men.

  • Aristotle (384-322) -- student of Plato
  • In political theory, Aristotle was most
    interested in the best state practically
    possible--he had not interest in the perfect (or
    utopian) state.
  • Argued the best would be one that allowed those
    of middle talent and wealth to rule (keeps the
    natural tyranny of the wealthy and the jealousy
    of the poor at bay).
  • Aristotle argued that humans were social
    animals--that their natural milieu was in
    society.  Thus the polis (or city-state) was the
    natural setting for humans.