The Drakkar has been the most popular ship since Viking history. It is characterized by its head in the shape of a dragon and is equipped with veils with white and red stripes. Providing fatal speed, this equipment allows you to lead your war-ready soldiers to their looting camp and promote their relaxation.
Features of Viking Ships
The Scandinavians created before the year 800 sailboats capable of furrowing longer and faster. Yet all of the ships produced around this year are currently used to adorn the ocean.
In terms of their governance, Viking ships belong to the Oseberg ships ruling around 834 CE, Tune in 900 CE, and Gokstad, discovered in Norway.
In terms of appearance, the Oseberg is embellished with wood carvings. It is both deep and wide, but less powerful than modern ships. In terms of its size, it has a length of 21.5 meters and a width of 5.1 meters. This ancient Viking boat can accommodate up to 15 pairs of oars.
Tune is a smaller ship than Gokstad in terms of size.
The Gokstad ship had the oarlocks used to support the sailboats. It has the advantage of being large, robust, deep and versatile.
The Oseberg and Gokstad ships were popular during wartime and as transport during vacations or on Viking routes.
Among the most used warships, there is the knarr which represents warships equipped with curved rods at the rear. The Ladby ship in Denmark was discovered in the heart of a ship burial around the year 925. Compared to the Oseberg and Gokstad ships, Ladby is smaller, thinner and less robust. The roles of warships were to transport and retrieve weapons of war and their loot from storage or battlefields. They are also used to transport goods and people to different regions.
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How was the Viking ship born?
In the world of ships, the first boats came from a handful of ship burials. It was after a few years that sunken ships were created. According to archaeologists, they found only a partial trace of a Viking ship and wood is not, according to them, a building material that lasts longer.
In Scandinavia, boats made of stone and metal appeared around 4000-2300 BC. Generally, they help wooden warships in the Bronze Age and during excavations.
In France, only one model of a Viking ship has been discovered
The discovery of a plank boat was around 350 years before our time, in southwestern Denmark. This is the Hjortspring war canoe measuring 19 meters long and 2 meters wide. In second place are the Nydam ships, indicating three fixed boats guarded in a sacrificial deposit located in Denmark. They are characterized by the presence of oars and the lapstrake technique. One of them has a dimension of 23.5 meters and 3.5 meters wide, of which this larger model appeared about 350 years ago.
The boats discovered before the Viking era are noticeable by their planks fixed between them and remained in use from the 3rd century. There are also other Viking ship shapes like longships and big-bellied freighters.
In Northern Europe, the construction of ships was based on ribs which ensure their robustness. At the time, shell construction was also universal. We just integrated sails and oars into Viking boats to reduce the entry of water, increase their speed, maximize their weight and facilitate swimming.
The Drakkar and its evolution
The evolution of warships and the appearance of long, slender ships began around the 10th century. These ships have also found light, beauty and a large carrying capacity like the Hedeby ships which can accommodate up to 60 tons of cargo. Sails and oars were also used to optimize the speed of long boats.
It should also be noted that these ships had a large dimension compared to the ships discovered in the early Viking Age. According to the statements of the Viking Ship Museum located in Denmark, a Viking ship must have a high length compared to tall ships. The Roskilde 6 ship is the most famous of the longships. Skuldelev points to the remains of Viking ships.
The Viking Conquest
Viking ships are sturdy, they endured many obstacles and could travel any distance. Navigation is not so complex when the ships are near the coast. At this time, landmark signs were displayed, namely the cliffs and the passage of time to certain landmarks.
Viking navigation evolved over time while preserving its tracking system. One of the complex navigations of the Vikings is the Atlantic voyage. They sailed for several days without seeing land. At that time, navigation tools did not yet exist. There was no compass, nautical chart, or logbooks. However, they managed to arrive at their destination.
Over time, their navigation improved. They used other reference points such as the position of the sun and stars, the characteristics of the waves, knowledge of gales, the behavior of clouds, the appearance of birds and marine mammals.
However, the northern sky was not really their ally. The stars did not appear and the sun is not reliable at all. They often sailed in fog. Suddenly, at the slightest misinterpretation, the ships became disoriented. Yet the Vikings remained glorious in the face of these trials. Their sailing experience helped other generations.
Importance of boats among the Vikings
Boats have a big place in Viking society. It is above all an indispensable device in exploration. It is obvious that during the Viking Age, every empire or kingdom wanted to expand their powers. All were focused on finding potential new territories, wealth and slaves… Without a ship, any type of conquest seemed impossible. At the time, the ships helped Viking armies intrude into the British Isles, Greenland, Iceland and across the Mediterranean. They even landed in the new world, known as "America" or "Vinland".
Due to their speed and speed, ships are key elements in Viking quests. They play an important role in fostering their success in exploration. Equipped with oars and shallow draft, the ships could land almost anywhere and even next to their almost landlocked targets like Paris. In case the war seemed complex and it was necessary to fight a retreat, the boats helped them in the hit-and-run.
Viking ships are central to the importance of Scandinavian society. Waterways are favorable for establishing a collaborative bond between two kingdoms. They are much faster than a land route. In this regard, they are practically indispensable for trade, communication and the transport of goods. A landscape with so many waterways could be both an advantage and a weakness, since enemies or allies could reach it easily. This is how the Viking rulers gave the order to control every nook, cranny of the coastline or the rivers of their territory.
From a cultural point of view, the Drakkar marked many images in Scandinavian history. Before the Viking Age, various buried ships were discovered in Scandinavia. There are, for example, burial mounds marked with stones arranged from the design of a Viking ship. On such an occasion, it is probable that real vessels in their own right were found in these tombs.