Vikings have gone down in history as uncivilised savages who murdered monks, kidnapped people into slavery, destroyed churches and raided villages.
But a new study suggests the eighth-century Viking raiders were motivated to risk stormy seas by much more than just acquiring wealth. The Vikings were also driven by the desire for adventure, the seeking of social capital and the opportunity to build one’s reputation.
Dr Steve Ashby, of the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, says “the lure of the exotic, of the world beyond the horizon, was an important factor.”
“Classic anthropology has shown that the mystique of the exotic is a powerful force, and something that leaders and people of influence often use to prop up their power base.”