The Allure of the Vikings: Warriors, Women and Politics
Lecture by Terri Barnes
Given at Nordic Northwest in Oregon, on October 1, 2021
Excerpt: The first question for me has to be “what is the appeal?” Well okay, a nice buff guy without a shirt, alright I get that, but my students are interested in the histories of many times and places and people and cultures, but the Vikings for some reason consistently draw a very special type of attention from them. I mean to this day it remains by far one of the most popular, if not the most popular, history classes at Portland Community College but by most accounts, the medieval Scandinavians that we call Vikings were a violent, male-dominated, warrior culture who were known for maiming, raping, stealing from, killing, and enslaving people who they came in contact with — I mean not all of them, but some of them for sure.
They wrought havoc on many parts of Western Europe and beyond and they often left death and destruction in their wake. And so I ask you, what is appealing about that? Well, when you look at depictions of Vikings in our modern popular culture it seems the answer is plenty.
Terri Barnes is the History faculty and Social Science Department Chair at Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus in Portland, Oregon. She can be found on Academia.edu.
Top Image: Photo by Hans Splinter / Flickr