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Word Count: 1,148
Throughout history Vikings have been portrayed as graceless and boorish pirates Their tale is notorious They were well known and feared by those they conquered They seemed intent on wreaking havoc on all civilizations and blithe of the well being of their own These accusations have originated though mainly from the victims of Viking conquests and have in most cases been exagerated Although Vikings have the stereotype of being cruel barbarians they actually lived complex emotional and civilized lives The word Viking has many different interpretations Most scholars belive it originated from Viking victims from such words as vikingr Old Norse for pirate wic and wicingas Old English for piratesailor encampmentp13 Magnusson The word Viking however is used as a broad term for any Scandinavian Norseman during the Middle Ages According to popular beliefs Vikings were pirates and the results of their piracy were devastating to those they conquered Many of these views are correct Vikings raided other countries They looted treasure destroyed towns and villages and killed many people Records of these terrible raids exist in the literature and by word of mouth of the people in the countries they invaded This may seem appalling to the modern ear but invasions were executed by many cultures in the Middle Ages not just by the Vikings In a turbulent period when piracy and casual raiding were a commonplace of everyday life all over Europe the Vikings happened to be more successful at it than most other people and they paid for it by getting an extremely bad reputationp10 Golding Vikings had little other to be identified with They had very few written records or literature or works of art as many other cultures were developing at the time Naturally they became known for what they did best There are many Viking stereotypes that are hardly true These exaggerations range from their lifestyle to their physical appearance they did not wear horns on their helmets for
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