What do dragon mean to Vikings?
In popular imagination,the Vikings are cast as tall Nordic warriors, sporting horned helmets and wielding axes, who descended in longships to wreck havoc upon the civilized peoples of Western Europe, the Byzantine Empire, and the Islamic world. Such perceptions are based on the hostile reports of monks, so often the victims of Viking raids, who penned the medieval chronicles. Since the Reformation, Vikings have been idealized as noble Germanic savages untouched by corrupt civilization—an image based on stereotypes created by Roman authors. In recent decades, revisionist scholars have minimized the destructiveness and, thus, theimportance of the Vikings.
Yet for more than 300 years, Scandinavians excelled in shipbuilding and dominated the sea and river lanes of Europe with their longships and commercial vessels (knarr). Their attacks on Western Europe dictated the future of feudal Europe. They braved the Atlantic Ocean to plant settlements in Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. In Eastern Europe, Scandinavians, known as Rus, extended the range of their commerce and created Orthodox Russia in the 11th century. Without the Vikings, the course of medieval European civilization would have been far different.
In the long Viking culture, the dragon has always played a very important role. Vikings believe that dragons also live in the sea, so for Vikings who often sail on sea, dragons are worthy of respect. In Viking culture, the dragon symbolizes bravery, belligerence, adventurous spirit, etc., so the Vikings like to change the prow into the image of a dragon. Ships are an important part of Viking culture. It can be said that the activities of Vikings are closely related to ships. The Viking boats were relatively light, narrow, flexible and light, and able to withstand wind and waves, making it easy for them to travel and fight. Vikings also like to engrave the look of the dragon on the helmet and armor. Vikings believe that dragons can bring them courage, strength and luck, so they like dragons in their daily lives. The dragon that the Vikings like is a bit similar to the Chinese dragon, so some people think that the Vikings once met Chinese at sea and conducted in-depth cultural exchanges.
The image of the dragon is widely used in Viking ships. They like to decorate with the image of the dragon because in the eyes of the Danes, the Dragon represents the king and is also the patron saint. Especially on the sea, the dragon can protect the Vikings who go to sea to go home safely. Danes believe that the dragon is strong, dangerous, brave and aggressive, which is just like the Vikings who worship the dragon. The strong and dangerous colonies spread all over Europe, and then rapidly weakened under the resistance of European countries. Although the image of the dragon has almost disappeared in today's Danish life, when we see the dragon, we will think of the Viking age, which represents the Viking personality.