5.11 – THE VIKING GODS (4.12.13)

THE NORSE [12b]

Barbarians. Marauders. Bloodthirsty bandits…whose reputation for brutality would follow them through the centuries.

“When people think of the Norse or the Vikings, they think of crazed marauders jumping in boats, where they rape, pillage and plunder. And it’s an unfortunate image because it’s one-dimensional. A lot of these expeditions that they went on were not purely expeditionary or pirate raids. A lot of these were efforts to open trade routes. If we got back to the 8th-century, 9th-century, we find that a lot of the Norse societies were well-functioning. They had well-established agricultural economies, and they had a culture of technology.”

– Timothy R. Tangherlini, Ph.D.
(Prof. & Chair, Scandinavian Section, UCLA)

The Vikings, or Norse people, flourished from the late 8th-century to the 11th-century, in what is today Norway, Sweden and Denmark. But unlike other ancient civilizations, like Greece, Rome or Egypt, relatively little is known about this mysterious people, as few written records or hieroglyphs have survived.

“People typically don’t think of the Norse as particularly sophisticated, but they were enormously sophisticated in terms of technology. Ship building, bridge building, fortress building. And I’m thinking here primarily of the circular fortresses in Denmark. They are absolutely circular. They consist of ramparts with an external ditch, gateways at each of the compass points.”

– Kristen Wolf, Ph.D. (Prof. & Chair, Scandinavian Studies, Univ. Of Wisconsin-Madison)

Although their civilization was divided among numerous kingdoms, the Norse Vikings were united in their belief in the power of the individual.

“They had a kind of early assembly that was very advanced for its time before the other areas of Europe had any kind of democracy. So, they actually came up with the idea that power belonged to the people, not the royalty.”

– Jonathan Young, Ph.D.
(Founding Curator, Joseph Campbell Archives)

“They had something of a proto-democracy, and people would come from that particular region in order to argue issues of law or other kinds of cultural issues of political significance at that time.”

– Scott A. Mellor, Ph.D. (Lecturer, Scandinavian Studies, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison)

But perhaps most incredible to historians was how far the Vikings traveled from their Scandinavian homeland. Hundreds of years before their European counterparts, the Vikings set out from Scandinavia to explore and conquer vast territories in Europe and even the Middle East.

“They were the ones that invented ships, and they were the ones that traveled about much more extensively than the other German tribes further south.”

– Scott A. Mellor, Ph.D. (Lecturer, Scandinavian Studies, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison)

“The Norse crisscrossed half the world in their long-ships. In the east, they sailed down the rivers of Russia to the Black and the Caspian Sea. In the west, they sailed down the coast of Europe, through the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean. They reached out across the then-unknown Atlantic Ocean. They went almost everywhere there was to go.”

– Kristen Wolf, Ph.D. (Prof. & Chair, Scandinavian Studies, Univ. Of Wisconsin-Madison)

According to archaeologists, artifacts discovered in Newfoundland, Canada during the 1960s, proved that the Vikings were the first Europeans to set foot in North America…500 years before Christopher Columbus.

“I remember a time when it was very contentious about the Norse getting to America when I was young. This was a major, major argument. Now, we have found their settlements there from about 1000 AD, so it’s very, very clear that they made it to northern North America.”

Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D.
(Geologist / Author, Forgotten Civilization)

“The main advantage of the Norse was their excellence in ship-building. And, indeed, the ship has become the symbol of the Viking age. Those who have sailed replicas of Viking ships have commented on just how incredibly seaworthy and fast these ships were.”

– Kristen Wolf, Ph.D. (Prof. & Chair, Scandinavian Studies, Univ. Of Wisconsin-Madison)

“It’s their ship that allowed them to travel over these long distances. They were the ones that really sort of perfected the keel, which meant that the ship wouldn’t flip over when going across the Atlantic.”

– Scott A. Mellor, Ph.D. (Lecturer, Scandinavian Studies, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison)

“The development of the long-ship was an incredible innovation. These were very sleek, very supple craft that could be equally effective on rivers and in the high seas. They were very light and extremely strong craft that was also slightly flexible, so in a high seas or storm or something, it could survive.”

– Jonathan Young, Ph.D.
(Founding Curator, Joseph Campbell Archives)

“They had a very solid understanding of hydrodynamics. In some of the ships, we also found advanced signs of metallurgy, smelting and different types of alloys that they were using. And this is all out of context from other cultures they seemed to be interacting with.”

– Jason Martell
(Founder, AncientSchool),
(Author, Knowledge Apocalypse)

But many researchers remain baffled at how the Vikings became so socially, politically and technologically advanced, especially while living in the cold, harsh environment of the north.

“When we look at ancient cultures such as the Maya and Egyptians, they never wandered very far from their homeland. Even the Greeks stayed close. But the Vikings, they were everywhere. And you wonder, were they just extremely curious people? What motivated them to go to these extraordinary lengths to explore the world? What was it that they were looking for?”

– William Henry (Author / Investigative Mythologist),
(Author, Freedom’s Gate), (The Judgment Day Device),
(Lost Secrets of the Watchers), (The Secret of Sion),
(Egypt: The Greatest Show on Earth)

Just how were the Norse Vikings able to manage such technological and geographical feats? Are their fortresses and journeys to unknown continents evidence that the Vikings had access to extraterrestrial knowledge? Ancient Astronaut Theorists say yes, and believe the proof can be found by examining the religious beliefs of this mysterious people.

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Previous: Introduction | Next: Religion & Mythology

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References:

[1a] Prometheus Entertainment. (2013). Ancient Aliens: Season 5, vol 1. [DVD Back Cover]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[1b] Prometheus Entertainment. (2013). Ancient Aliens: Season 5, vol 2. [DVD Back Cover]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

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[12a] Prometheus Entertainment. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.11 – The Viking Gods. [DVD Footage: Introduction]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[12b] Prometheus Entertainment. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.11 – The Viking Gods. [DVD Footage: The Norse]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[12c] Prometheus Entertainment. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.11 – The Viking Gods. [DVD Footage: Norse Religion & Mythology]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[12d] Prometheus Entertainment. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.11 – The Viking Gods. [DVD Footage: Sons of Ivaldi & the Bifrost]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[12e] Prometheus Entertainment. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.11 – The Viking Gods. [DVD Footage: Gungnir & Mjolnir]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

[12f] Prometheus Entertainment. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.11 – The Viking Gods. [DVD Footage: Burial Rituals & Valhalla]. Los Angeles, CA: A&E Networks, LLC / History™.

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[16] History™. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.15 – The Anunnaki Connection. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: October 14, 2013, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-5.

[17] History™. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.16 – Magic of the Gods. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: October 21, 2013, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-5.

[18] History™. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.17 – The Satan Conspiracy. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: October 28, 2013, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-5.

[19] History™. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.18 – Alien Operations. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: November 1, 2013, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-5.

[20] History™. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.19 – Emperors, Kings, & Pharaohs. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: November 8, 2013, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-5.

[21] History™. (2013). Ancient Aliens: 5.20 – Mysterious Relics. [Episode Description]. Retrieved: November 15, 2013, from http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens/season-5.

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Who were they?… Why did they come?… What did they leave behind?… Where did they go?… Will they return?…

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