Misuse of the term "Viking"?
Dear Viking Answer Lady:
I'll have you know that you are misusing the term "Viking"! There are no such thing as "viking" ladies, much less "viking answer ladies," because the only people who can accurately be called Vikings were sea raiders and pirates of Scandinavian extraction.
(signed) I Know More Than You Do
Much as it pains the Viking Answer Lady to have to contradict one of her Gentle Readers, I am afraid that in this instance I must do so. While it is correct that "Vikings" originally were raiders, the activity gave rise to so much notoriety that eventually the term has come to be used to describe a wide range of people, places and activities between about 750 C.E. and 1066 C.E.
As Jacqueline Simpson states:
"In medieval Scandinavian languages, a vikingr is a pirate, a freebooter who seeks wealth either by ship-borne raids on foreign coasts or by waylaying more peaceful seafarers in home waters. There is also an abstract noun viking, meaning 'the act of going raiding overseas'.... Strictly speaking, therefore, the term should only be applied to men actually engaged in these violent pursuits, and not to every contemporary Scandinavian farmer, merchant, settler or craftsman, nor even to warriors fighting in the dynastic wars of their lords or in their own private feuds. However, it was the raiders who made the most impact on the Europe of their time, so that it has become customary to apply the term 'Viking Age' to the period of Scandinavian History beginning in the 790's (the time of the first recorded raids on Western Europe) and petering out somewhere round the middle of the eleventh century (by which time raids and emigrations had ceased, the settlements established abroad had become thoroughly integrated with the local populations, and social changes in the Scandinavian homelands had marked the transition to their true Middle Ages). Indeed, the term is such a convenient label for the distinctive culture of this period that one now talks not only of 'Viking ships' and 'Viking weapons' but of 'Viking art', 'Viking houses', and even 'Viking agriculture' - expressions which would have seemed meaningless to people living at the time."
(Jacqueline Simpson. Everyday Life in the Viking Age. New York: Dorset. 1967. ISBN 0-88029-146-X. p.11).
Buy this book today!