Vikings, on my mind, recently.
Germanic Norse seafarers. Raiders and traders. Radical warriors who hung out across the northern and the central parts of Europe, and parts of Russia. Vikings ventured into the Mediterranean, and North Africa; the Middle East; Central Asia. All of this happening in the latter 8th century, extending into the late 11th century.
Vikings were romanticized, mythologized, as noble savages … this spotlight of intrigue began in the 18th century; gained serious momentum during the 19th-century. “Vikings, from historical theories, were at times quite violent, piratical heathens, or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikings
So . . .
Why the sudden interest in the Vikings, emerging now … in the midst of a fairly peaceful transition from winter to spring? Well, it’s like this. When I went to high school, a few years ago, we had a mascot; and this is not uncommon. Our mascot was, or were (to be more specific) the Vikings. Someone drew an awesome picture of a Viking, before I came to be a high school student. Although, there is much talk that Vikings did not really have helmets with horn. But don’t despair, Viking fans: none of us really know, because … none of us were there. But even though “we” were … and still are … the Vikings, why am I thinking of the Vikings right now? Here is the answer. I received a mysterious note from a guy I went to high school with, that there was some serious talk of a reunion coming up … as soon as October of this year. This would be out of state for me. In fact, I rarely get down there anymore, which is unquestionably a tragedy. Now the matter has become less convoluted, yes? It makes sense why Vikings are on my mind. There is so much research done about different people groups from different eras, different regions. I will always be skeptical when historians say Vikings were ” … at times quite violent, piratical heathens, or as intrepid adventurers …” I have no doubt that these guys lived in perilous times. There were probably times when some mean people were coming this way, and it was a choice of either living or dying … and to live meant fighting. Who knows what these guys were up against. And maybe there was a wildman who figured out how to get a helmet, and attach some horns … and then he wore that wherever he went … especially at parties, and when he was riding in one of the longboats.
In one source, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-viking-mystery-59648019/?no-ist, it was established that the Vikings were traders first … and when economic times became bleak, they had give up trading … in the conventional sense.
That is when they began going into different lands … And, yeah, things got a bit disruptive. Well, I know this. The folks I went to high school with were goodhearted people who were ready to fight for what was right, and they lived with zeal and vision. The only complaint I have is that none of us ever received our helmets with the horns on the side. Bummer.