Vikings were mainly free peasants who lived on the territory of the present-day Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Those peasants were forced to move away from their native countries because of the overpopulation and the thirst for easy money.
Swedish Vikings and the Vikings from the coast of the Baltic Sea mostly have traveled to the east and appeared in the ancient and Byzantine sources under the name of the varangians or varyags.
The progress of the Scandinavian shipbuilders - commonly known as skillful sailors since ancient times - has made it possible for them not only travel to the Baltic Sea, but also to the waters of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Viking raids have been happening from the coasts of England to the coasts of North Africa.
At the same time, the Vikings were farmers. They planted vegetables and raised cattle. But at the same time, they were also skilled warriors and ruthless killers of their enemies.
Their most common weapon was a spear (with the length of about 150 cm) and a Scandinavian sword. As well, at that time the Vikings' ships were the most perfect means of transportation on water.
It was a tradition in the Scandinavian society that the soldiers were buried placed on his ship. The Vikings firmly believed that the dead man would sail to the after-life. Because of that the archaeologists have a good idea of the characteristics of the Vikings' ships.
Vikings' fleet consisted mainly of warships, which were called «drakkars».
Features and references in modern culture
To date, the Vikings play a significant role in our modern culture. To this day the heroes of modern films and movies, the main characters of the computer games and novels fight with ferocity against their enemies.