VIKINGS, NORSE TEES & GERMANIC T-SHIRTS
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HISTORY OF THE VIKINGS
What were the Vikings for humans? What was the “peculiarity” of their way of life, their way of fighting and their travels of discovery, trade and conquest? They occupy a special place in history because they have traits that were unusual in the early medieval world and displayed behaviors that evolved from their nature and their will to survive. Among these qualities were boldness and loyalty, skill in the use of weapons, personal bravery and the willingness to undertake great ventures and to use life for them. Not only the defense of their farms and possessions, but their success on raiding depended on their combat readiness.
The general picture of what we have today about the Vikings or the Viking Age (history) is one of marauding wolves. They terrorized peaceful people, especially churchmen. Her arrival was unexpected, sudden and unwelcome. Much of that, however, belongs to the realm of myths, because the history of the Norsemen (Viking Age) and Norse mythology is far more complex than we would like or want to convey today. In just a few years, they became known and feared within the Christian world. Names such as Northmen, Danes, Northerners, Scandinavians or Norwegians became the synonym pirate (that is how it is taught us today).
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THE VIKING AGE
The Viking Age is described as a violent place and Antichristian paganism. Here it is to be understood that “paganism” or the word “heathen” (the veneration of the divine) was only degraded by Christianity or obsessionalism to something bad and triggers misunderstandings that mostly result from ignorance. Also, what is conveyed to us today as “cruel” is part of our Christian view or way of thinking or the historiography shaped by the church or the story written in their interest. Wherever the Viking ships or longships were spotted, they were referred to as buccaneers or pirates, a storm from the north. At first it was only small groups that “plundered”, later with large floats and “armies”.
This is the general picture of what we are “happy” in this day and age, without looking more closely at the historical background or the Viking Age. They were not just “robbing and plundering barbarians”, they had significant achievements. They were well known merchants. In their travels, they founded new cities and expanded existing ones, such as Kiev in Ukraine and “Russia” and Dublin in Ireland. They brought animal furs, but also slaves (which was “normal” at the time) to Constantinople and Baghdad and returned home with silk, spices and wine. The Vikings had a great deal of healing knowledge, healing herbs (later bloodyly repressed by the Church). In the weekdays or their names, place names, family names, we find the heritage of the Vikings. In our time, the word “Vikings” stands for adventure, energy and initiative, glory, honor and myths.