Viking is the name given to the people who came from the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden and Denmark) between about 750 and 1050 AD. Vikings became famous because of their longships.

These ships not only travelled great distances across the sea, they could also travel up rivers letting the Vikings sneak up on villages and take people by surprise.

Viking raiders travelled to different countries to steal valuables and kidnap people to take home as slaves. They also settled and made new homes in other places, such as Britain, Iceland, Greenland, France and Russia.

(Russia is named after a group of Vikings called the Rus.) Vikings travelled as far as North America, hundreds of years before any other people from Europe.

 

 

Look at this site for fun information on Vikings: http://home.freeuk.com/elloughton13/vikings.htm

 

Most Vikings lived on farms. They kept a few animals and grew a few vegetables and crops. Viking houses usually had one long room where everyone ate, slept and entertained. There were earth benches around the walls to use for beds. In the middle of the room was a large pit with the family cooking fire. In the roof above was a hole to let out the smoke. Houses were built to keep out the cold so they had no windows and very thick walls. A passageway connected the main room to the outside. Walls and roofs were made of materials natural to the area tree branches, stone, or turf blocks dug out of the ground.

Look on this site for pictures of Viking meals: http://www.bbc.co.uk

 

 

 

Men and boys:

tunic with trousers or leggings. For battle they wore round helmets - they did NOT really wear the horned helmets you sometimes see in pictures!

Women and girls:

long under-dress with apron dress over the top. The straps of the apron dress were pinned to the apron with large brooches.

In cold weather, everyone wore cloaks.

Clothes were home-made. Silk and linen from other countries could be bought at the markets, but people usually made their own cloth. Men sheared the sheep, then women spun the wool and wove it on their looms. If they wanted coloured cloth, they made natural dyes from plants.

Viking warriors were expected to have sharp wits as well as sharp swords.

They often played riddle games like these:

Riddle 1.

I go to battle

But I cannot fight

I am forged by smiths

But I have no blade

I am stabbed by swords

But I do not bleed

What am I?

 

Riddle 2.

I need to be fed

But I have no mouth

If you care for me well

I will keep you warm

And give you light

What am I?

 

 click here for riddle answers

 

The Viking Magic books are based on lots and lots of research about real Vikings - about their homes, their clothes, their food, their plants, their animals, their runes, their everyday lives...

Here are a few examples:

The market in Runestone

Archaeologists have really found glass beads, silver coins, moulds for brooches, and combs made from antlers in the places where Vikings used to hold their markets.

The king in Wolfspell

In 870, Norway  was divided into lots of little kingdoms and there really was a king called Harald Fairhair. King Harald fell in love, but his girlfriend refused to marry him until he controlled all of Norway. He vowed to leave his hair uncut till he succeeded. (And people really paid him taxes of flour, butter and furs!)

The Gula Thing in Wolfspell

The law court really was called the 'Thing'.

The shipwreck in Stormriders on the coast of Iceland

Viking ships often sailed off-course and reached Iceland. Iceland really is nick-named 'the land of ice and fire' because it has volcanoes as well as glaciers. And volcanoes do melt the ice and cause huge floods.

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