Norse and Viking both refer to people who emigrated from Germany and settled in the Scandinavia in the medieval times. The Norse came to Scandinavia around 1000 BC. The Norse are also referred to as Norsemen. The Vikings came from the Norsemen. They are the young and energetic Norsemen who took to a different way of life from that of other Norsemen. The Vikings were pirates and warriors while the Norsemen were noble people who engaged in farming, trade and were also rulers. In essence, all Vikings are Norsemen but not all Norsemen were Vikings.
The Norse lived together in their villages. Their society was made up of chieftains, farmers, and slaves. Most Norsemen stayed in their villages but the adventurous ones became Vikings and ventured out to raid foreign lands. Development of ships by the Norse community encouraged some of the Norsemen to become Vikings. The Norsemen started building ships in the 8th century. The ships they constructed were strong and versatile and this enabled them to travel long distances.
With the construction of the ships, the Norsemen began travelling to far off lands for purposes of trading. They first travelled to areas around the Baltic Sea and then later on ventured out to areas like Russia, southern European countries, the Caspian Sea, the Middle East, India, Africa, and many other parts of Asia. As the Norsemen travelled the world and conducted trade, they realised that it was easier and more profiting to steal than to conduct trade. Some of the Norsemen thus became Vikings.
The Vikings would make sea voyages to foreign lands and raid the villages there. They did not conduct raids every time but only during specific months and seasons. They mostly tended to raid foreign lands during summer. During the times of war, the Vikings would be led by their leader who was known as Jarl. Jarl was the second son of a chieftain. The Vikings targeted wealthy and less protected western Europe-an monasteries when conducting raids.
According to historical records, the Vikings were cruel people. They would destroy everything they could and also pillage all that they could manage to. Debate exists concerning the degree of cruelty of the Vikings, some people believe that they were bloodthirsty while others believe they were not that cruel as some historical docu-ments depict them as having been. According to a written account by Alcuin of York, the Vikings brutally shed a lot of blood including in places of worship when they at-tacked Britain around the year 793. Other quarters however defend the Vikings say-ing they were no more cruel than the armies of that time. A recent Cambridge con-ference suggested that the Vikings lived harmoniously with their contemporary neighbours like the Celtics and even shared technology and ideas with them.
Unlike the Norsemen who were solely full-time traders, the Vikings were mainly known to be farmers and part time warriors. They would engage in farming then go out to war whenever an opportunity to do so came along.
The Vikings with time began to conquer and settle in other parts of the world apart from the Scandinavia. Among the areas they settled in include Iceland, Greenland, Ireland, Britain, and North America. The Vikings established Ireland’s Dublin City and England’s York City. They also were also among the first people to establish the Russian State so has to enable them control trade routes as far as the Baltic Sea, the Constantinpole, and Arabia. The Vikings were able to conquer other places due to their capability in warfare. The Vikings also traded in silk.