Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Vikings held political summits across Europe

Fancy clothes, gifts and weapons acted as important status symbols in political negotiations in the Viking Age. (Photo: Asbjørn Mølgaard Sørensen)

What do Angela Merkel and Harald Bluetooth, the Viking King of the Danes, have in common? Merkel is probably guilty of less pillaging than old Harald, but she participates in numerous political meetings throughout Europe – and so did Harald and the other Viking kings.
The kings were politicians who knew about political spin and who built up internal networks, explains Anne Pedersen, an archaeologist and curator at the National Museum of Denmark, which currently hosts a major exhibition about Vikings.
One of the main themes of the exhibition is power and international alliances:
”When the Vikings formed alliances, they did it much like we do today,” says Pedersen. “They made themselves visible on the political scene and they met with their peers at what we could call political summits where they formed networks and alliances.”
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