When is a Viking not a Viking?

First of all, let’s get this straight:

the word viking is a verb, not a noun.

Somehow, over the centuries, the word viking has changed its meaning.

The men we think of as pillaging and raping savages came from what we now know as Scandinavia:


Norway, Sweden and Denmark

These Scandinavians were FARMERS. Each household had its own farm with a longhouse in the centre where the extended family, the workers and the slaves lived. Once the seeds had been planted in the fields, the younger men joined up with a wealthy man who owned a ship (more on ships another time). They were going a-viking: meaning pirating, slaving and adventuring. They were also going exploring and looking for trading partners and new land, so going a-viking meant spending the summer season having “fun”.

At the end of the season, they went back to their farms and harvested the crop, peaceful farmers once more.

A Scandinavian farm in medieval times.