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The Viking Age is the period in Nordic history, which deals with the youngest phase of the Iron Age. Ca. 700-1100.

The period is characterized by cultural coherence with close connections between the Nordic countries, among other things in areas such as mythology, styles in buildings and decoration.
The period in Nordic history, which involves the youngest phase of the Iron Age, is called The Viking Age. The period is characterized by cultural assent with close cultural connections between the Nordic countries, for instance in areas like mythology, building style and decoration.
The beginning of the period is marked by a violent expansion over geographic areas. Many factors have played a part. A steep rise in population in the original Viking countries, i.e. Norway, Denmark and Sweden, probably plays an important part. A change in the heathen religion during the 6th century towards more martial gods could be another. The martial ideal is evident in the fact that when a man fell in battle immediately was sent to Odin´s residence, Valhalla. Another factor has probably been the highly developed Nordic naval architecture and the introduction of the sail.
By the end of the Viking Age the Christian religion advances heavily in Scandinavia. Early on the European missionaries had gone north, but now they were supported by the domestic kings and magnates. Norway and Jutland was Christianized in the first wave because of these areas´ close proximity to the Christian countries. Norway had close contact to England. Through the conquests of Harald Bluetooth in the 970´s and the foundation of what was to become a united Danish realm, Christianity was introduced, probably by force. From Scania and Norway the new doctrine spread to Västergötland, Östergötland and Småland and by the middle and the end of the 12th century the main areas around the lake Malaren and Uppland were Christianized.
The Viking Age is said to have started with an attack on the monastery Lindisfarne in England in the year 793. Certainly it is not possible to name the start of a period by one of the first attacks in Europe. If anything this implies that you have become so powerful that you can extend your sphere of interest far beyond the sea. This year does not comply either with the archaeological material. In the early 8th century we see an increase in rich graves here. In Bornholm, for instance, excavations have revealed incredible magnificent graves from this period. To date the beginning of the Viking Age back to the 8th century is probably not far off.

When did the Viking Age end then? There have been many different years to choose from. The problem is that the Viking Age has never existed. The period is just a latter-day invention designed to divide up the past in smaller and easily understandable periods. The Battle of Hastings in England in 1066 is thought by many to be a good end, while other more vaguely mention the year 1050, when the Danish royal power was forced to give up their attempt to conquer England.
However the problem is that the Battle of Hastings definitely isn’t a memorable year for the happenings here in Scandinavia. Instead we should choose the year 1103. In this year Lund became diocese for the entire North, when the archbishop I Bremen/Hamburg was forced to divide up his power. In this year Christianity was definitely introduced and with it the European cultural heritage.

©  Øresundstid 2009