Viking Spirits Never Die: Long Live the Vikings in Modern Culture

How does a particular culture capture the imagination of the masses and live on well after its demise? Well, if it were possible, we’d ask a Viking. Native to Southern Scandinavia from the 8th to the 11th century, the Vikings are a warrior race that not only conquered almost everything they clapped eyes on, but did it in such a way that people have never forgotten. Of course, it wasn’t all pirating and plundering, the Vikings were also keen on trade and exploration in general. However, it was their prowess on the sea and way with weapons that won them respect around the world.

History Hasn’t Forgotten the Vikings

Such was their reputation that we still celebrate Viking culture today. In fact, we don’t just celebrate it, we engage with it in a myriad of ways. History books are full of Viking facts, legends, and stories. One of the best-known historical works is The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings by Lars Brownworth. This book assumes no prior knowledge of the subject and injects a sense of drama into its telling of the facts.

For those who see reading as a chore, the best way to get a handle on this ancient culture whilst being entertaining is the History Channel’s Vikings. Premiering in 2013, the fantasy drama series not only depicts the harsh reality of life as a Viking, but every aspect of daily life. From love and relationships to family and recreation, it offers a great overview of the culture. Indeed, that’s something that’s often lost in certain representations of this group. As much as Vikings were experts in sailing and fighting, they also had a love of games and recreation.

Viking Culture is Here to Stay

Evidence of ancient versions of chess and dice have been found at Viking archaeological sites across Europe. This love of recreation and entertainment is something modern gaming companies have embraced. According to Harrison Score of WDW, “Viking mythology has no doubt caught the imagination of online bingo and casino players. There are dozens of Norse inspired video slot machines as well as entire sites, like Viking Bingo, dedicated to the theme.” In fact, such is the richness of Viking culture within the gaming community that modern offerings go beyond the obvious. Slots such as Viking Runecraft pick up on intricate details of the culture such as the alphabet used.

There are also plenty of video games based on Vikings, including Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. From that, you also get to the very cutting-edge of modern technology and virtual reality. Researchers at the University of York have recreated what it would be like to take part in a Viking war. Working with Yorkshire Museum, the team created a virtual camp that puts you in the midst of a battle. Fortunately, the impending danger isn’t physical. However, the experience is truly immersive and another example of our fascination with this ancient race.

Everyone will have their own reasons for loving the Vikings. However, there are plenty of traits that many of us identify with. From their thirst for travel to strength, bravery, and love of games. Put simply, there’s a bit of Viking in all of us and that’s why their spirit will live on forever.

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