789 – 1066 CE Vicious raiders, canny traders or both?

The activities within a Creative History day tend to focus on the home life, trading and artistic skills of the Vikings on the basis the bulk of the books available already cover the warfare and raiding very well.

We offer one character to present this period:


Aldis is the daughter of a Viking trader.

Historical Context

Vicious raiders, canny traders or both?  Most of what we know about the Vikings is written down by their arch enemies the Christianised Anglo-Saxons. Who do not tell us about policy across Christendom to charge two prices for goods. The higher being for heathen Vikings. Or, that they were also very capable of acts of atrocity. Such as throwing a surrendered enemy into a poisonous snake pit and having a party as you watched them die.

A recent trip to Norway threw up some thought provoking ideas. The museum staff  at Stravenger stated only one Viking metal helmet  has been ‘found’ in Norway across all the Norwegian based archaeological digs. And, that they also date the Viking period from the English sources describing the 793AD raid on Lindisfarne. It seemed surprising that the dating was so universal as though Vikings just popped out no where. Having seen the difficult landscape in Norway it is easy to imagine the peoples there were very motivated to find ways to gain resources that could supplement, or replace, whatever the farms could produce.

That said the Vikings had some very effective, fearful techniques that ensured others would not live restfully if they  believed the Vikings to be around.  By frightening people before you were close enough to physically touch them must have given the ‘invaders’ an advantage.