View Full Version : Viking Age Triggered by Shortage of Wives?

Saturday, February 7th, 2009, 06:09 AM
Viking Age Triggered by Shortage of Wives?

Sept. 17, 2008 -- During the Viking Age from the late eighth to the mid-eleventh centuries, Scandinavians tore across Europe attacking, robbing and terrorizing locals. According to a new study, the young warriors were driven to seek their fortunes to better their chances of finding wives.

The odd twist to the story, said researcher James Barrett, is that it was the selective killing of female newborns that led to a shortage of Scandinavian women in the first place, resulting later in intense competition over eligible women.

"Selective female infanticide was recorded as part of pagan Scandinavian practice in later medieval sources, such as the Icelandic sagas," Barrett, who is deputy director of Cambridge University's McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, told Discovery News.

Although it's believed many cultures throughout world history have practiced female infanticide, said Barrett, he admits that "it is difficult to identify in the archaeological record," so the claim "must remain a hypothesis."

To strengthen the argument, however, Barrett has reviewed and dismissed several other proposed causes for the Viking Age.

Improved seafaring technologies are often cited as the trigger, but he points out that an earlier migration from Scandinavia to Britain took place in the fifth and sixth centuries.

"Thus the development of the Viking ship cannot have been a cause of movements of this kind," he said. "Ships capable of carrying warriors over long distances are a necessary pre-requisite for the Viking Age, but clearly they did not cause it."

What's more, he points out, the sailing time from Norway to Ireland is quite short -- perhaps a week using vessels of the time -- so the Vikings were probably capable of raiding Ireland well before the official start of their reign of terror.

The study is published in the current issue of Antiquity.....


Sunday, February 8th, 2009, 11:52 PM
I would say that the beginning of the Viking age was caused firstly by climate change.
It appears there was a cooling trend around 750 AD though I'm not sure if a cause for this has yet been isolated.
Then there is the fact that the Viking age followed a warm period (that had allowed an increase in Scandinavian population) explaining the apparent population pressure that then contributed to an outpouring of our people.

A secondary contributing factor, in my view and a view supported by FJ Los in "The Franks; a critical study in Christianisation and Imperialism." Is that the cutting down of the "Tree of Thor" (At the site of Hermans victory in the Teutoberg frorest). The Irminsul at Detmold in 772 and the subsequent threats of the Saxon chieftains.( "You may have spent 25 years converting us at sword point- but in reaving our sacred tree you must answer to our cousins across the sea- The Norsemen- and they are fiercer than we.") -"Teutonic unity" by Ernest Sevier Cox
That the desecration of Odinic sites was the trigger for the Nordic Holy war against Christianity. It meant all Christians were legitimate targets.