The Viking warrior is an intimidating and powerful figure in medieval historical texts. These raiders were seen as a punishment from God by the first Christians to encounter them, and often the only recourse was to pray for forgiveness and bribe these fearsome men to leave a village or territory in peace.

Surely these early encounters were not the everyday norm for these foreigners. In fact, most Vikings were farmers and artisans. So then, the question becomes, how did they begin their lives? What was it like being a child during the Viking Age? Was it like how modern people view childhood or was it different? The truth is that children experienced life very different in the Viking Age. First, they had to survive the hazards of birth. Then, they had to look healthy. Their responsibilities, around the house, depending greatly on their gender. Boys were assigned a role, as was the case with girls. They enjoyed childhood for a very brief time. At the age of 10 or 12, they were considered adults and childhood was over.

When adulthood was reached, then men were expected to learn a trade and perfect their warrior skills. Women would learn their own set of domestic skills while preparing for marriage, and if they were fortunate they would wed an elite Viking male.

The Viking Homeland was vast, shifting collection of lands with often harsh environments. The Vikings would hold territory on three modern Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Their warrior ways and technologically advanced ship building would make them a force to be reckoned with throughout the Viking Age.

The final question for Vikings then becomes what happens when a Viking dies. Death and funeral rites depended on the life of the person who has died. If they were a warrior they might expect to be taken from the battlefield by Valkyries and brought to hall of Odin, Valhalla, or the goddess Freyja's field of Fólkvangar, to await the climatic final battle of the gods, Ragnarök. If the person had led a dishonorable life, or were considered wicked, then they would go toHel and from there into Niflhel [Dark Hel]. Various types of burial sites, such as mound and ship burials, give further clue into the Pre-Viking and Viking Age mindset on death. Many were interred with grave goods that reflected their station in life, and might be seen as useful on their symbolic journey to the next life.

Childhood - Jayne Fouché
Adulthood - James Rose
The Viking Homeland - Trevor Ramsey
Death and Funeral Rites - Alicia Arceneaux