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Another explanation is that the Vikings exploited a moment of weakness in the surrounding regions. Contrary to Simek's assertion, Viking raids occurred sporadically long before the reign of Charlemagne; but exploded in frequency and size after his death, when his empire fragmented into multiple much weaker entities. England suffered from internal divisions and was relatively easy prey given the proximity of many towns to the sea or to navigable rivers. Lack of organised naval opposition throughout western Europe allowed Viking ships to travel freely, raiding or trading as opportunity permitted. The decline in the profitability of old trade routes could also have played a role. Trade between western Europe and the rest of Eurasia suffered a severe blow when the Western Roman Empire fell in the 5th century. The expansion of Islam in the 7th century had also affected trade with western Europe.
Roesdahl The Vikings Pdf Free
Jomsborg was a semi-legendary Viking stronghold at the southern coast of the Baltic Sea (medieval Wendland, modern Pomerania), that existed between the 960s and 1043. Its inhabitants were known as Jomsvikings. Jomsborg's exact location, or its existence, has not yet been established, though it is often maintained that Jomsborg was somewhere on the islands of the Oder estuary.
Karls were free peasants. They owned farms, land and cattle and engaged in daily chores like ploughing the fields, milking the cattle, building houses and wagons, but used thralls to make ends meet. Other names for Karls were 'bonde' or simply free men. Similar classes were churls and huskarls.
Like elsewhere in medieval Europe, most women in Viking society were subordinate to their husbands and fathers and had little political power. However, the written sources portray free Viking women as having independence and rights. Viking women generally appear to have had more freedom than women elsewhere, as illustrated in the Icelandic Grágás and the Norwegian Frostating laws and Gulating laws.
Most free Viking women were housewives, and the woman's standing in society was linked to that of her husband. Marriage gave a woman a degree of economic security and social standing encapsulated in the title húsfreyja (lady of the house). Norse laws assert the housewife's authority over the 'indoor household'. She had the important roles of managing the farm's resources, conducting business, as well as child-rearing, although some of this would be shared with her husband.
Knowledge about the arms and armour of the Viking age is based on archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and Norse laws recorded in the 13th century. According to custom, all free Norse men were required to own weapons and were permitted to carry them at all times. These arms indicated a Viking's social status: a wealthy Viking had a complete ensemble of a helmet, shield, mail shirt, and sword. However, swords were rarely used in battle, probably not sturdy enough for combat and most likely only used as symbolic or decorative items.
A typical bóndi (freeman) was more likely to fight with a spear and shield, and most also carried a seax as a utility knife and side-arm. Bows were used in the opening stages of land battles and at sea, but they tended to be considered less "honourable" than melee weapons. Vikings were relatively unusual for the time in their use of axes as a main battle weapon. The Húscarls, the elite guard of King Cnut (and later of King Harold II) were armed with two-handed axes that could split shields or metal helmets with ease.