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Were the Vikings Barbarians? Essay

Were the vikings barbarians ?First of all, we must decide what a barbarian is. A barbarian is a foreigner who is without culture, education nor manners. Somebody who is savage, uncivilized, crude and who acts like an animal would. But it is all a point of view, to today’s standards eating human flesh is a sign of barbarism but cannibals find it normal as they believe that by eating another man’s flesh, you acquire all his virtues.

The Vikings were not cannibals all though they did eat vile food: seagull, seal, walrus, whale, moose, polar bear, horse. I don’t see anything barbarian in eating those animals as they had long winters and poor weather witch meant not much food so you ate was their was.

They left beautiful buildings, longships, chain-mail and swords. They were good craftsmen. They were able to meld different metals, to sow sails and to build cities. This shows that they weren’t only able to copy but that they also could invent.

Cruelty is a sign of barbarism. The Vikings are not famous for being very merciful. They would go to a monastery kill monks, take the surviving ones and sell them as slaves, raid the monastery, burn it down and then only would they leave. That is barbaric as there is no need to burn the monastery and also slaves show that the Vikings weren’t in highly evolved society.

They were organized as they had Chieftains and Kings and had to go on long sea journeys. The village life was organized as they were the craftsmen and the farmers. In the craftsmen you would find weathers, blacksmiths, the carpenters. You would also find a harbor and a smoke house. This shows that there is a community working together⇢communism not barbarism.

The conclusion that I draw from this is that the Viking had a barbaric behavior with their enemies but were nether the less a civilized society that could make profit from other peoples riches and work. They were not inhuman as they cared for their close and dearest ⇢ funeral ceremonies, weddings …

They were hard cruel men as they were born in a hard cruel world. They were born in family of warriors or as poor peasants. They were used to not having everything they wanted. The mentality of somebody who is born in a place were their isn’t much food nor resources is different from somebody who is born in a wealthy prosperous society. This is what made the hard Vikings look as barbarians. They weren’t barbarians but just tough men.


A school book called Living History 1. New Edition, by Collins, Henry and Tonge.

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