Sept. 17, 2008 -- During the Viking Age from the late eighth to the mid-eleventh centuries, Scandinavians tore across Europe attacking, robbing and terrorizing locals. According to a new study, the young warriors were driven to seek their fortunes to better their chances of finding wives.
The odd twist to the story, said researcher James Barrett, is that it was the selective killing of female newborns that led to a shortage of Scandinavian women in the first place, resulting later in intense competition over eligible women.
Soren Sindbaek, assistant professor of medieval and Renaissance archaeology at Denmark's University of Aarhus, told Discovery News that the new paper "is very right in pointing out the inadequacy" of former explanations for the Viking Age.
"We need indeed to seek for an individual, social motivation behind the fact that a large number of young men chose to set out on extremely risky voyages in hopes of acquiring wealth and esteem in foreign lands," Sindbaek said.
September 18, 2008
Vikings abroad in search of women
Viking Age Triggered by Shortage of Wives?: