Study Guide

Elder Edda Historical Context

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The Vikings

The Vikings have entered popular imagination as bloodthirsty and immensely daring pirates, but they were first and foremost farmers and traders, raiding for treasure and slaves to accumulate capital to acquire status at home, or looking for lands abroad to colonize. Their raids, trading expeditions, and colonizing took them from Constantinople, modern Istanbul, to the coast of North America. They laid the basis of the Russian state with their trading posts along the Volga and Dneiper. They founded nearly all the cities of modern Ireland. The threat of their great raiding parties was crucial to the development of England as a unified state.

The society the Vikings came from was one of mixed farming, fishing and hunting, supplemented by trading. They would turn their hand to anything. The development of greatly improved ship designs towards the end of the eighth century gave the Scandinavians the finest...

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This section contains 1,062 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Elder Edda Study Guide
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Epics for Students
Elder Edda from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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