Join Date: Apr 2006
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The rudder is a surprise to me, last I'd heard they used steering oars or boards ("st'rboard). No moving parts to break under the waterline.
The author doesn't seem up on Vikings though. They didn't pillage because they were stuck without a credit card--they had and could have carried money. But the Norse culture centered around independent land owners (farmers) who were citizens in a democracy (like Rome, with slaves) that taught one must be both a warrior and a poet at the same time.
In the fall, after the farmers brought in their crops, they went viking (it's a verb) to prove they were warriors and to bring home booty. No excuses needed, that was the culture.
Sadly they had no flavor for conquest or empire--because the roamed, sacked, burned, pillaged, all over their known world, from the interior of Russia and the Volga River, all the way down around to Constantinople and the Sudan.
It was only in the 20th century that historians figured out their "tall tales" of "blue men" and "burning decks" meant they had sailed into the tropics. The Old Norse language has no word for "black", the closest word they had translates as "the blue-black color of ravens" and the "blue" men were a mistranslation for "black" men. They got to Africa.
A most peculiar culture, a shame that they were converted by bribery and deceit, and they're no longer around to tell AlQueda which end to stick it up.