Say the name Viking and images leap to mind. But who really were the Vikings and what was the Viking Age? Viking is a
term used by modern scholars to refer to the nordic-speaking peoples from southern Scandinavia who raided Europe and
the British Isles roughly between A.D. 793-1066. They would have identified themselves as Danes, Svear, Goths,
Norwegians, etc. There never really was a single "Viking" culture; only a loose assortment of shared ideas,
economies, religious beliefs, and especially a common Germanic language known today as Old Norse. In that sense
Viking culture was simply only one stage in the development of modern Scandinavian culture.
By drawing on various sources, a rather complete picture of the Vikings emerges. Vikings were far
more than the warriors of popular stereotype; they were also skilled craftsman, poets, politicians,
and loyal family members who were proud and conscious of their social status.