William Fitzhugh On The Vikings

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The definition of the word “Viking” is any of the Scandinavian pirates who plundered the coasts of Europe from the 8th to 10th centuries. For thousands of years, people always thought of the Vikings as brutal pirates who robbed and destroyed everything in their path. The causes of these invasions remain unclear to this day. Some historians believe that overpopulation made the Scandinavians want to venture out of their homeland, while others believe it was simply the Vikings' great love for adventure and their search for wealth as well as to look for new avenues of trade. However, this perception of the Vikings may be inaccurate, according to archaeologist William Fitzhugh. William Fitzhugh makes a reasonable argument that challenges traditional …show more content…
However, in his search for sources supporting his argument, Fitzhugh had to be careful about which sources he consulted. This caution was due to the fact that many early accounts of the Vikings were from victim reports and therefore were extremely one-sided. Also, there are some recent discoveries that are too controversial to consider genuine, like the Vinland Map publicized by Yale University in 1965. In other words, legitimate pieces of evidence that describe accurate Viking lives are hard to come by. Fitzhugh demonstrates that new archaeological findings prove the Vikings not as raiders and pillagers, but as entrepreneurs opening up new avenues of commerce and bringing Scandinavian ideas into Europe. Nevertheless, Fitzhugh agrees that some of the Viking accounts were accurate. For example, past reports from Iceland gave enough evidence for an actual Viking settlement to be discovered, “But archeology is actually proving that a lot of these stories have a good basis in fact, so much so that Helge Ingstad could use them to find the L'Anse aux Meadows site [an archeological site in Newfoundland believed to have been a Viking settlement]" (PBS.com). This discovery of a Viking settlement proves the theory that the Vikings actually settled into many different regions. While literature and …show more content…
In the summary of the article, the purpose is made very clear, “Smithsonian archaeologist William Fitzhugh reveals what drove the Vikings on their adventures to distant shores” (PBS.com). This article suggests to readers that the typical stereotype of brutal Vikings may not in fact be accurate. The article does this through a number of ways; including archaeology, cartography, literature, and historic accounts. For instance, archaeological discoveries such as the revelation of the Viking settlement L'Anse aux Meadows support the idea of Viking settlement. On the other hand, literature, and historic accounts often paint the Vikings in a negative light. For example, most witness accounts include religious monks who believed that these invasions were the result of Satan’s vengeance against Europe itself, therefore, these accounts tended to be extremely biased due to heightened emotions. Also, the use of cartography shows that some pieces of evidence are generally controversial. For example, the Vinland Map publicized by Yale University in 1965 is a largely controversial discovery that is condemned by most historians for being fake. Overall, this article uses multiple disciplines to discuss the Vikings in an ambiguous way. While many recent discoveries are changing the way the Vikings are viewed, modern society may never know what their actions really were. As William Fitzhugh

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