The Vikings were Scandinavian explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided and colonized several parts of Europe. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking) Vikings were characterized as a fierce, merciless group, by the non-Viking people. The Vikings were not afraid of death. They were individuals who took everything they could get their hands on. They conquered every place they came across. The question is; were they good or bad? If you’re a Viking, of course you are going to think you are a good person. If you are not a Viking and were on the side that was being attacked, the Viking people would have been bad in your perspective. Overall, Vikings were bad because they engaged in activities that were immoral and barbaric.
Vikings enjoyed attacking places that were virtually defenseless. These places were typically monasteries because the monks and clergy men were unprotected and had great wealth within the monastery’s walls. Vikings were not scared of attacking any place as a matter of fact. If they were coming your way, you better run for your life. Vikings were so bad; they showed no mercy and killed anyone who got in their way. Are pirates “good”? No, no they are not. Well, neither are the Scandinavian Vikings. They were sometimes referred to as pirate because they came by sea and robbed people. “Pirates of the Northmen's race came to Nantes, killed the bishop and many of the clergy and laymen, both men and women, and pillaged the city.” (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/843bertin.html#Bertin) Vikings moved on after living in the conquered area for awhile to conquer a new region.
Vikings continued being harsh and hostile to conquer whatever land area they could. “The Danish pirates landed in Frisia. They were able to force from the people whatever contributions they wished and, being victors in battle, they remained masters of almost the entire province.” (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/843bertin.html#Bertin) People were terrified of them. It is just morally wrong to think of the Vikings as being good people. Forcing a group, or groups, of people to give you whatever you wanted? It is cruel without a doubt. Could they have conquered in a peaceful way? Sure they could have, but can you recall an event where peaceful “conquer” was utilized? In those days, power was gained through ferocity and force. Vikings used a scare tactic to terrify folks to get their way. It worked.
Another reason why the Vikings were “bad” was because they tricked people in settling on the land of Greenland. Erik the Red decided to give it a name like green land to make people want to go and settle there. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Greenland#Norse_settlement) Obliviously, if you told people the land was green; it meant it was lush and full of vegetation. In reality, the land of Greenland was icy and harsh. The Vikings show a little bit of evidence being good, because they had Christianity in their life. They didn’t have Christianity until Leif Ericsson came into the picture. Leif Ericsson went to Norway to speak to the king who told him to bring Christianity to Greenland. That is why Leif tricked people into settling onto Greenland. He ultimately did indeed bring Christianity to Greenland.
Whether the Vikings were good or bad back in the 9th century, they are certainly loved today. One personal opinion of a man named Joel Grip, is that “everyone I met is like, yay a Viking! And they hug me.” Joel stated this while having a Skype Webcam session with a Western Civilization class. Descendants of Vikings and people of Scandinavian descent are greeted with arms wide open. People seem to love Vikings, but some people may be still terrified of them because of their fierce background. It is, in a sense, a wow factor to be a descendent of a Viking. Whether they were considered good or bad, Vikings stand tall.
Citation: "Norse Settlement". Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 18 March 2010 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Greenland#Norse_settlement