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Topic 10 - Raiders or traders the Vikings The last great wave of invasions for western Europe came with the Vikings Who were they where did they go and what did they want The term Viking is as complex and ambiguous as trying to characterise the Vikings themselves According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology this ambiguity is found in the origin of the term viking itself Its general meaning is Scandinavian searover but on closer inspection it contains two meanings Its first appearance is in the Icelandic form vikingr vik meaning creek inlet ingr as in frequenter of inlets of the sea However the Anglo-Frisian linguistic meaning of the word wick is in the sense of camp the formation of temporary encampments being a prominent feature of viking raids Many of these encampments over time became long-term settlements Therefore there is the polarity of seafarerpirate raider and settlerfarmertrader The Readers Encyclopedia places the focus on the raider aspect of the Vikings - A Norse pirate of about 18th-10th centuries AD probably so called from Icelandic vig war cognate with Latin vincere to conquer It does however stress that the word is not connected with king There were sea-kings not to be confused with Vikings who were of royal blood and had small dominions on the coast they engaged in Viking activities ie seafaringplundering expeditions RT Farrell points out that It is convenient to apply the term Viking to all aspects of Scandinavian expansion in this period 9th century including trade and settlement but whatever its much-disputed origins its basic meaning seems to be sea-borne military adventurer An adventure does not need to be destructive but it is obvious that the word has strong connotations of piracy and pirate is a very common Latin term for the Vikings in Frankish sources The distinction between trading and raiding was not a very clear one in the
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