An iceberg from Vatnajökull Glacier washes up on the black sand beach nearby, looking like a Viking longboat come to conquer.

The Viking Age invokes visions of pillaging, of killing and conquering. I mean check out the names of some famous Vikings: Leif Erikson, Erik the Red, Ragnar Lodbrok. Bjorn Ironside, Ivar the Boneless, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye. Those are the kind of names that strike fear into the hearts of men. But is that who the Vikings really were? What is myth and what is reality?

Were they ruthless barbarians hell-bent on vanquishing anyone who stood in their way? Some historians believe that Christian propaganda is to blame for the modern perceptions of Vikings, that Christians attempted to dehumanize the Norse warriors after they sacked multiple Christian facilities and took relics and treasures.

Were they noble savages with horned helmets, a proud culture and a feared prowess in battle? This glorified vision came about in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Or were they simply a people looking to escape their frigid homeland, embarking on overseas expeditions just to find warmth?

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