Were The Vikings Really That Bad?

The Dish

The first Viking exhibition in three decades at the British Museum in London seeks to set the record straight on these seafaring warriors:

Nico Hines explores how the Vikings got such a bad reputation:

It seems this was a rare era in which history was not written by the victors; mostly because the victors couldn’t write. It was left to monks and Christian churchmen to craft the only contemporary accounts of many of the Vikings’ raids, and Vikings did attack churches, which held no sacred mystique for them. They were simply seen as easy, wealthy targets, confounding local conventions of the time.

“These accounts are dressed up in the language of religious polemic,” [British Museum curator Gareth] Williams said. “Many [of the stories] were borrowed from earlier accounts—from classical antiquity. The violent reputation and particularly the reputation for atrocities was created then, but the Vikings were probably no worse than anyone else.”

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