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The midth-century reign of Harald Bluetooth as king of a newly unified, powerful and Christianized Denmark marked the beginning of a second Viking age.
Large-scale raids, often organized by royal leaders, hit the coasts of Europe and especially England, where the line of kings descended from Alfred the Great was faltering.
Crowned king of England on Christmas Day in , William managed to retain the crown against further Danish challenges.
The events of in England effectively marked the end of the Viking Age. Today, signs of the Viking legacy can be found mostly in the Scandinavian origins of some vocabulary and place-names in the areas in which they settled, including northern England, Scotland and Russia.
In Iceland, the Vikings left an extensive body of literature, the Icelandic sagas, in which they celebrated the greatest victories of their glorious past.
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The Viking Age brought change not only to the regions of Europe plundered and conquered by the Nordic warriors, but to Scandinavia itself. Beginning around A.
While the exact reasons for Vikings venturing out from their homeland are uncertain; some have suggested it was Advances in Shipbuilding and Navigation Perhaps the most striking of Viking achievements was their state-of-the-art shipbuilding technology, which allowed them to travel greater distances than anyone before them.
Their signature longboats—sleek wooden vessels with shallow Not even St. Patrick himself could protect Ireland from the Vikings.
When the Nordic raiders launched their first attack on Ireland in A. Such a woman was referred to as Baugrygr , and she exercised all the rights afforded to the head of a family clan, until she married, by which her rights were transferred to her new husband.
Women had religious authority and were active as priestesses gydja and oracles sejdkvinna. Examinations of Viking Age burials suggests that women lived longer, and nearly all well past the age of 35, as compared to earlier times.
Female graves from before the Viking Age in Scandinavia holds a proportional large number of remains from women aged 20 to 35, presumably due to complications of childbirth.
Scandinavian Vikings were similar in appearance to modern Scandinavians ; "their skin was fair and the hair color varied between blond, dark and reddish".
Genetic studies show that people were mostly blond in what is now eastern Sweden, while red hair was mostly found in western Scandinavia.
Men involved in warfare, for example, may have had slightly shorter hair and beards for practical reasons.
Men in some regions bleached their hair a golden saffron color. The three classes were easily recognisable by their appearances.
Men and women of the Jarls were well groomed with neat hairstyles and expressed their wealth and status by wearing expensive clothes often silk and well crafted jewellery like brooches , belt buckles, necklaces and arm rings.
Almost all of the jewellery was crafted in specific designs unique to the Norse see Viking art. Finger rings were seldom used and earrings were not used at all, as they were seen as a Slavic phenomenon.
Most Karls expressed similar tastes and hygiene, but in a more relaxed and inexpensive way. Archaeological finds from Scandinavia and Viking settlements in the British Isles support the idea of the well groomed and hygienic Viking.
Burial with grave goods was a common practice in the Scandinavian world, through the Viking Age and well past the Christianization of the Norse peoples.
The sagas tell about the diet and cuisine of the Vikings,  but first hand evidence, like cesspits , kitchen middens and garbage dumps have proved to be of great value and importance.
Undigested remains of plants from cesspits at Coppergate in York have provided much information in this respect. Overall, archaeo-botanical investigations have been undertaken increasingly in recent decades, as a collaboration between archaeologists and palaeoethno-botanists.
This new approach sheds light on the agricultural and horticultural practices of the Vikings and their cuisine. The combined information from various sources suggests a diverse cuisine and ingredients.
Meat products of all kinds, such as cured , smoked and whey -preserved meat,  sausages, and boiled or fried fresh meat cuts, were prepared and consumed.
Certain livestock were typical and unique to the Vikings, including the Icelandic horse , Icelandic cattle , a plethora of sheep breeds,  the Danish hen and the Danish goose.
Most of the beef and horse leg bones were found split lengthways, to extract the marrow. The mutton and swine were cut into leg and shoulder joints and chops.
The frequent remains of pig skull and foot bones found on house floors indicate that brawn and trotters were also popular.
Hens were kept for both their meat and eggs, and the bones of game birds such as black grouse , golden plover , wild ducks, and geese have also been found.
Seafood was important, in some places even more so than meat. Whales and walrus were hunted for food in Norway and the north-western parts of the North Atlantic region, and seals were hunted nearly everywhere.
Oysters , mussels and shrimps were eaten in large quantities and cod and salmon were popular fish.
In the southern regions, herring was also important. Milk and buttermilk were popular, both as cooking ingredients and drinks, but were not always available, even at farms.
Food was often salted and enhanced with spices, some of which were imported like black pepper , while others were cultivated in herb gardens or harvested in the wild.
Home grown spices included caraway , mustard and horseradish as evidenced from the Oseberg ship burial  or dill , coriander , and wild celery , as found in cesspits at Coppergate in York.
Thyme , juniper berry , sweet gale , yarrow , rue and peppercress were also used and cultivated in herb gardens.
Vikings collected and ate fruits, berries and nuts. Apple wild crab apples , plums and cherries were part of the diet,  as were rose hips and raspberry , wild strawberry , blackberry , elderberry , rowan , hawthorn and various wild berries, specific to the locations.
The shells were used for dyeing, and it is assumed that the nuts were consumed. The invention and introduction of the mouldboard plough revolutionised agriculture in Scandinavia in the early Viking Age and made it possible to farm even poor soils.
In Ribe , grains of rye , barley , oat and wheat dated to the 8th century have been found and examined, and are believed to have been cultivated locally.
Remains of bread from primarily Birka in Sweden were made of barley and wheat. It is unclear if the Norse leavened their breads, but their ovens and baking utensils suggest that they did.
This suggests a much higher actual percentage, as linen is poorly preserved compared to wool for example. The quality of food for common people was not always particularly high.
The research at Coppergate shows that the Vikings in York made bread from whole meal flour—probably both wheat and rye —but with the seeds of cornfield weeds included.
Corncockle Agrostemma , would have made the bread dark-coloured, but the seeds are poisonous, and people who ate the bread might have become ill.
Seeds of carrots, parsnip , and brassicas were also discovered, but they were poor specimens and tend to come from white carrots and bitter tasting cabbages.
The effects of this can be seen on skeletal remains of that period. Sports were widely practised and encouraged by the Vikings.
This included spear and stone throwing, building and testing physical strength through wrestling see glima , fist fighting , and stone lifting.
In areas with mountains, mountain climbing was practised as a sport. Agility and balance were built and tested by running and jumping for sport, and there is mention of a sport that involved jumping from oar to oar on the outside of a ship's railing as it was being rowed.
Children often participated in some of the sport disciplines and women have also been mentioned as swimmers, although it is unclear if they took part in competition.
King Olaf Tryggvason was hailed as a master of both mountain climbing and oar-jumping, and was said to have excelled in the art of knife juggling as well.
Skiing and ice skating were the primary winter sports of the Vikings, although skiing was also used as everyday means of transport in winter and in the colder regions of the north.
Horse fighting was practised for sport, although the rules are unclear. It appears to have involved two stallions pitted against each other, within smell and sight of fenced-off mares.
Whatever the rules were, the fights often resulted in the death of one of the stallions. Icelandic sources refer to the sport of knattleik.
A ball game akin to hockey , knattleik involved a bat and a small hard ball and was usually played on a smooth field of ice.
The rules are unclear, but it was popular with both adults and children, even though it often led to injuries. Knattleik appears to have been played only in Iceland, where it attracted many spectators, as did horse fighting.
Hunting, as a sport, was limited to Denmark, where it was not regarded as an important occupation. Birds, deer , hares and foxes were hunted with bow and spear, and later with crossbows.
The techniques were stalking, snare and traps and par force hunting with dog packs. Both archaeological finds and written sources testify to the fact that the Vikings set aside time for social and festive gatherings.
Board games and dice games were played as a popular pastime at all levels of society. Preserved gaming pieces and boards show game boards made of easily available materials like wood, with game pieces manufactured from stone, wood or bone, while other finds include elaborately carved boards and game pieces of glass, amber , antler or walrus tusk, together with materials of foreign origin, such as ivory.
The Vikings played several types of tafl games; hnefatafl , nitavl nine men's morris and the less common kvatrutafl. Chess also appeared at the end of the Viking Age.
Hnefatafl is a war game, in which the object is to capture the king piece—a large hostile army threatens and the king's men have to protect the king.
It was played on a board with squares using black and white pieces, with moves made according to dice rolls. The Ockelbo Runestone shows two men engaged in Hnefatafl, and the sagas suggest that money or valuables could have been involved in some dice games.
On festive occasions storytelling , skaldic poetry , music and alcoholic drinks, like beer and mead , contributed to the atmosphere. The Vikings are known to have played instruments including harps , fiddles , lyres and lutes.
Viking-age reenactors have undertaken experimental activities such as iron smelting and forging using Norse techniques at Norstead in Newfoundland for example.
The remains of that ship and four others were discovered during a excavation in the Roskilde Fjord. Tree-ring analysis has shown the ship was built of oak in the vicinity of Dublin in about Seventy multi-national crew members sailed the ship back to its home, and Sea Stallion arrived outside Dublin's Custom House on 14 August The purpose of the voyage was to test and document the seaworthiness, speed, and manoeuvrability of the ship on the rough open sea and in coastal waters with treacherous currents.
The crew tested how the long, narrow, flexible hull withstood the tough ocean waves. The expedition also provided valuable new information on Viking longships and society.
The ship was built using Viking tools, materials, and much the same methods as the original ship. Other vessels, often replicas of the Gokstad ship full- or half-scale or Skuldelev have been built and tested as well.
Elements of a Scandinavian identity and practices were maintained in settler societies, but they could be quite distinct as the groups assimilated into the neighboring societies.
Assimilation to the Frankish culture in Normandy for example was rapid. Knowledge about the arms and armour of the Viking age is based on archaeological finds, pictorial representation, and to some extent on the accounts in the Norse sagas and Norse laws recorded in the 13th century.
According to custom, all free Norse men were required to own weapons and were permitted to carry them at all times. These arms indicated a Viking's social status: a wealthy Viking had a complete ensemble of a helmet , shield , mail shirt, and sword.
However, swords were rarely used in battle, probably not sturdy enough for combat and most likely only used as symbolic or decorative items.
Bows were used in the opening stages of land battles and at sea, but they tended to be considered less "honourable" than melee weapons.
Vikings were relatively unusual for the time in their use of axes as a main battle weapon. The warfare and violence of the Vikings were often motivated and fuelled by their beliefs in Norse religion , focusing on Thor and Odin , the gods of war and death.
Such tactics may have been deployed intentionally by shock troops , and the berserk-state may have been induced through ingestion of materials with psychoactive properties, such as the hallucinogenic mushrooms, Amanita muscaria ,  or large amounts of alcohol.
The Vikings established and engaged in extensive trading networks throughout the known world and had a profound influence on the economic development of Europe and Scandinavia.
Except for the major trading centres of Ribe , Hedeby and the like, the Viking world was unfamiliar with the use of coinage and was based on so called bullion economy, that is, the weight of precious metals.
Silver was the most common metal in the economy, although gold was also used to some extent. Silver circulated in the form of bars, or ingots , as well as in the form of jewellery and ornaments.
A large number of silver hoards from the Viking Age have been uncovered, both in Scandinavia and the lands they settled. Organized trade covered everything from ordinary items in bulk to exotic luxury products.
The Viking ship designs, like that of the knarr , were an important factor in their success as merchants. To counter these valuable imports, the Vikings exported a large variety of goods.
These goods included: . Other exports included weapons, walrus ivory , wax , salt and cod. As one of the more exotic exports, hunting birds were sometimes provided from Norway to the European aristocracy, from the 10th century.
Many of these goods were also traded within the Viking world itself, as well as goods such as soapstone and whetstone. Soapstone was traded with the Norse on Iceland and in Jutland , who used it for pottery.
Whetstones were traded and used for sharpening weapons, tools and knives. This trade satisfied the Vikings' need for leather and meat to some extent, and perhaps hides for parchment production on the European mainland.
Wool was also very important as a domestic product for the Vikings, to produce warm clothing for the cold Scandinavian and Nordic climate, and for sails.
Sails for Viking ships required large amounts of wool, as evidenced by experimental archaeology. There are archaeological signs of organised textile productions in Scandinavia, reaching as far back as the early Iron Ages.
Artisans and craftsmen in the larger towns were supplied with antlers from organised hunting with large-scale reindeer traps in the far north.
They were used as raw material for making everyday utensils like combs. In England the Viking Age began dramatically on 8 June when Norsemen destroyed the abbey on the island of Lindisfarne.
The devastation of Northumbria 's Holy Island shocked and alerted the royal courts of Europe to the Viking presence. Not until the s did scholars outside Scandinavia begin to seriously reassess the achievements of the Vikings, recognizing their artistry, technological skills, and seamanship.
Norse Mythology , sagas, and literature tell of Scandinavian culture and religion through tales of heroic and mythological heroes.
Many of these sagas were written in Iceland, and most of them, even if they had no Icelandic provenance, were preserved there after the Middle Ages due to the continued interest of Icelanders in Norse literature and law codes.
The year Viking influence on European history is filled with tales of plunder and colonisation, and the majority of these chronicles came from western witnesses and their descendants.
Less common, though equally relevant, are the Viking chronicles that originated in the east, including the Nestor chronicles, Novgorod chronicles, Ibn Fadlan chronicles, Ibn Rusta chronicles, and brief mentions by Photius , patriarch of Constantinople, regarding their first attack on the Byzantine Empire.
Other chroniclers of Viking history include Adam of Bremen , who wrote, in the fourth volume of his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum , "[t]here is much gold here in Zealand , accumulated by piracy.
These pirates, which are called wichingi by their own people, and Ascomanni by our own people, pay tribute to the Danish king. Early modern publications, dealing with what is now called Viking culture, appeared in the 16th century, e.
Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus History of the northern people of Olaus Magnus , and the first edition of the 13th-century Gesta Danorum Deeds of the Danes , by Saxo Grammaticus , in The pace of publication increased during the 17th century with Latin translations of the Edda notably Peder Resen's Edda Islandorum of An important early British contributor to the study of the Vikings was George Hickes , who published his Linguarum vett.
During the 18th century, British interest and enthusiasm for Iceland and early Scandinavian culture grew dramatically, expressed in English translations of Old Norse texts and in original poems that extolled the supposed Viking virtues.
The word "viking" was first popularised at the beginning of the 19th century by Erik Gustaf Geijer in his poem, The Viking. Geijer's poem did much to propagate the new romanticised ideal of the Viking, which had little basis in historical fact.
The renewed interest of Romanticism in the Old North had contemporary political implications. The Geatish Society , of which Geijer was a member, popularised this myth to a great extent.
Fascination with the Vikings reached a peak during the so-called Viking revival in the late 18th and 19th centuries as a branch of Romantic nationalism.
In Britain this was called Septentrionalism, in Germany " Wagnerian " pathos, and in the Scandinavian countries Scandinavism.
Pioneering 19th-century scholarly editions of the Viking Age began to reach a small readership in Britain, archaeologists began to dig up Britain's Viking past, and linguistic enthusiasts started to identify the Viking-Age origins of rural idioms and proverbs.
The new dictionaries of the Old Norse language enabled the Victorians to grapple with the primary Icelandic sagas. Few scholars still accept these texts as reliable sources, as historians now rely more on archaeology and numismatics , disciplines that have made valuable contributions toward understanding the period.
The romanticised idea of the Vikings constructed in scholarly and popular circles in northwestern Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries was a potent one, and the figure of the Viking became a familiar and malleable symbol in different contexts in the politics and political ideologies of 20th-century Europe.
In Germany, awareness of Viking history in the 19th century had been stimulated by the border dispute with Denmark over Schleswig-Holstein and the use of Scandinavian mythology by Richard Wagner.
The idealised view of the Vikings appealed to Germanic supremacists who transformed the figure of the Viking in accordance with the ideology of a Germanic master race.
The cultural phenomenon of Viking expansion was re-interpreted for use as propaganda to support the extreme militant nationalism of the Third Reich, and ideologically informed interpretations of Viking paganism and the Scandinavian use of runes were employed in the construction of Nazi mysticism.
Other political organisations of the same ilk, such as the former Norwegian fascist party Nasjonal Samling , similarly appropriated elements of the modern Viking cultural myth in their symbolism and propaganda.
Soviet and earlier Slavophile historians emphasized a Slavic rooted foundation in contrast to the Normanist theory of the Vikings conquering the Slavs and founding the Kievan Rus'.
They argued that Rus' composition was Slavic and that Rurik and Oleg' success was rooted in their support from within the local Slavic aristocracy.
These have included novels directly based on historical events, such as Frans Gunnar Bengtsson 's The Long Ships which was also released as a film , and historical fantasies such as the film The Vikings , Michael Crichton 's Eaters of the Dead movie version called The 13th Warrior , and the comedy film Erik the Viking.
Vikings appear in several books by the Danish American writer Poul Anderson , while British explorer, historian, and writer Tim Severin authored a trilogy of novels in about a young Viking adventurer Thorgils Leifsson, who travels around the world.
The character also appears in the film The Avengers and its associated animated series. The appearance of Vikings within popular media and television has seen a resurgence in recent decades, especially with the History Channel's series Vikings , directed by Michael Hirst.
However, the conclusions remain contentious. Vikings have served as an inspiration for numerous video games , such as The Lost Vikings , Age of Mythology , and For Honor Modern reconstructions of Viking mythology have shown a persistent influence in late 20th- and early 21st-century popular culture in some countries, inspiring comics, movies, television series, role-playing games, computer games, and music, including Viking metal , a subgenre of heavy metal music.
Since the s, there has been rising enthusiasm for historical reenactment. While the earliest groups had little claim for historical accuracy, the seriousness and accuracy of reenactors has increased.
Many reenactor groups participate in live-steel combat, and a few have Viking-style ships or boats. Apart from two or three representations of ritual helmets—with protrusions that may be either stylised ravens, snakes, or horns—no depiction of the helmets of Viking warriors, and no preserved helmet, has horns.
The formal, close-quarters style of Viking combat either in shield walls or aboard "ship islands" would have made horned helmets cumbersome and hazardous to the warrior's own side.
Historians therefore believe that Viking warriors did not wear horned helmets; whether such helmets were used in Scandinavian culture for other, ritual purposes, remains unproven.
The general misconception that Viking warriors wore horned helmets was partly promulgated by the 19th-century enthusiasts of Götiska Förbundet , founded in in Stockholm.
The Vikings were often depicted with winged helmets and in other clothing taken from Classical antiquity , especially in depictions of Norse gods.
This was done to legitimise the Vikings and their mythology by associating it with the Classical world, which had long been idealised in European culture.
The latter-day mythos created by national romantic ideas blended the Viking Age with aspects of the Nordic Bronze Age some 2, years earlier. Horned helmets from the Bronze Age were shown in petroglyphs and appeared in archaeological finds see Bohuslän and Vikso helmets.
They were probably used for ceremonial purposes. Cartoons like Hägar the Horrible and Vicky the Viking , and sports kits such as those of the Minnesota Vikings and Canberra Raiders have perpetuated the myth of the horned helmet.
Viking helmets were conical, made from hard leather with wood and metallic reinforcement for regular troops. The iron helmet with mask and mail was for the chieftains, based on the previous Vendel -age helmets from central Sweden.
The only original Viking helmet discovered is the Gjermundbu helmet , found in Norway. This helmet is made of iron and has been dated to the 10th century.
The image of wild-haired, dirty savages sometimes associated with the Vikings in popular culture is a distorted picture of reality.
There is no evidence that Vikings drank out of the skulls of vanquished enemies. This was a reference to drinking horns , but was mistranslated in the 17th century  as referring to the skulls of the slain.
Studies of genetic diversity provide indication of the origin and expansion of the Norse population. Female descent studies show evidence of Norse descent in areas closest to Scandinavia, such as the Shetland and Orkney islands.
Recent research suggests that the Celtic warrior Somerled , who drove the Vikings out of western Scotland and was the progenitor of Clan Donald , may have been of Viking descent , a member of haplogroup R-M From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Viking disambiguation. Norse explorers, raiders, merchants, and pirates. Contemporary countries.
Denmark Finland Iceland Norway Sweden. Other topics. Main article: Viking Age. He issued tracts of land to his followers.
Norse Greenland consisted of two settlements. A smaller settlement near the Eastern Settlement is sometimes considered the Middle Settlement.
The combined population was around 2,—3, They continued to have their own law and became almost completely politically independent after , the time of the Black Death.
In , the Norwegian Kingdom entered into a personal union with the Kingdom of Denmark. There is evidence of Norse trade with the natives called Skraelings by the Norse.
The Norse would have encountered both Native Americans the Beothuk , related to the Algonquin and the Thule , the ancestors of the Inuit.
The Dorset had withdrawn from Greenland before the Norse settlement of the island. Items such as comb fragments, pieces of iron cooking utensils and chisels, chess pieces, ship rivets , carpenter's planes, and oaken ship fragments used in Inuit boats have been found far beyond the traditional range of Norse colonization.
A small ivory statue that appears to represent a European has also been found among the ruins of an Inuit community house.
The settlement began to decline in the 14th century. It is probable that the Eastern Settlement was defunct by the late 15th century.
The Little Ice Age of this period would have made travel between Greenland and Europe , as well as farming, more difficult; although game and seal hunting provided a healthy diet, there was more prestige in cattle farming, and there was increased availability of farms in Scandinavian countries depopulated by famine and plague epidemics.
In addition, Greenlandic ivory may have been supplanted in European markets by cheaper ivory from Africa. Not knowing whether the old Norse civilization remained in Greenland or not—and worried that if it did, it would still be Catholic years after the Scandinavian homelands had experienced the Reformation —a joint merchant-clerical expedition led by the Dano-Norwegian missionary Hans Egede was sent to Greenland in Though this expedition found no surviving Europeans, it marked the beginning of Denmark's re-assertion of sovereignty over the island.
Norse Greenlanders were limited to scattered fjords on the island that provided a spot for their animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, and cats to be kept and farms to be established.
In turn they exported goods such as walrus ivory and hide, live polar bears, and narwhal tusks. This combined with regular herd culling made it hard to maintain livestock, especially for the poorest of the Greenland Norse.
In addition, it seemed that the Norse were unwilling to integrate with the Thule people of Greenland, either through marriage or culture.
There is evidence of contact as seen through the Thule archaeological record including ivory depictions of the Norse as well as bronze and steel artifacts.
However, there is essentially no material evidence of the Thule among Norse artifacts. A significant number of bones of marine animals can be found at the settlements, suggesting increased hunting with the absence of farmed food.
Instead the Norse ensured that overgrazed or overused sections were given time to regrow and moved to other areas.
With the increased need for winter fodder and smaller pastures, they would self-fertilize their lands in an attempt to keep up with the new demands caused by the changing climate.
The economy was changing, and the exports they relied on were losing value. Bjarni was only interested in finding his father's farm, but he described his findings to Leif Erikson who explored the area in more detail and planted a small settlement fifteen years later.
The sagas describe three separate areas that were explored: Helluland , which means "land of the flat stones"; Markland , "the land of forests", definitely of interest to settlers in Greenland where there were few trees; and Vinland , "the land of wine", found somewhere south of Markland.
It was in Vinland that the settlement described in the sagas was founded. Using the routes, landmarks, currents , rocks, and winds that Bjarni had described to him, Leif sailed from Greenland westward across the Labrador Sea, with a crew of 35—sailing the same knarr Bjarni had used to make the voyage.
He described Helluland as "level and wooded, with broad white beaches wherever they went and a gently sloping shoreline.
However, as Erik attempted to join his son Leif on the voyage towards these new lands, he fell off his horse as it slipped on the wet rocks near the shore; thus he was injured and stayed behind.
Leif wintered in , probably near Cape Bauld on the northern tip of Newfoundland , where one day his foster father Tyrker was found drunk, on what the saga describes as "wine-berries.
There are varying explanations for Leif apparently describing fermented berries as "wine. In , Leif's brother Thorvald Eiriksson sailed with a crew of 30 men to Vinland and spent the following winter at Leif's camp.
In the spring, Thorvald attacked nine of the local people who were sleeping under three skin-covered canoes. The ninth victim escaped and soon came back to the Norse camp with a force.
Thorvald was killed by an arrow that succeeded in passing through the barricade. Although brief hostilities ensued, the Norse explorers stayed another winter and left the following spring.
Subsequently, another of Leif's brothers, Thorstein, sailed to the New World to retrieve his dead brother's body, but he died before leaving Greenland.
In , Thorfinn Karlsefni , also known as "Thorfinn the Valiant", supplied three ships with livestock and men and women  although another source sets the number of settlers at After a cruel winter, he headed south and landed at Straumfjord.
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