In everyday language, the word Viking refers to the inhabitants of northern Europe, in the Scandinavian region, between the 8th and 11th centuries.
They spoke Old Norse, a language similar to Icelandic.
And, for a long time, they were known as the Northmen.
But why are we still talking about Vikings today?
At the time, Scandinavia was a very poor region, and the Vikings set off on expeditions to richer countries.
In fact, in Old Norse, Viking means « man who sets out on an adventure to seek his fortune ».
Excellent sailors, they reached as far as Russia and Ukraine, where they founded cities such as Novgorod and Kyiv…
… But also as far as the Mediterranean, Greece and North Africa. They also settled in Ireland, England, France and Iceland.
They even discovered America five hundred years before Christopher Columbus, but were driven out by the Native Americans.
To make a living, they pillaged monasteries and unfortified towns…
… And they traded: they sold honey, furs or prisoners as slaves, and bought wine or cloth.
Few Viking writings remain, and we only know of them through the testimonies of their enemies, who exaggerated their cruelty.
So their history is linked to many European countries, and their culture continues to inspire many writers.