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Viking raids: it was all about women

Viking raids, which began in the late 8th century and terrorized a vast part of the Old Continent, were generated by the lack of single women, a recent study claims.

Several theories have been set up about the causes of Viking raids. Some scholars point at the overpopulation of northern Europe, others suggest that theinvasionswere actually retaliatory strikes, a response to the irrepressible expansion of Christianity, The Telegraph reports.

Dr. Mark Collard, Professor of Archeology at the University of Aberdeen, and his colleagues, archeologists Ben Raffield and Neil Price at Uppsala University, think that changes in the society of Norsemen led to the shortage of potential marriage partners. Sagas reveal that polygamy became a common practice among the Vikings at the dawn of their raids. Men could have several wives or concubines, but the opportunity was not for everyone.

The poor, young males had little chance to acquire a wife unless they quickly amassed wealth, for which looting provided an excellent opportunity, professor Collard claims.

There were men who had two or three wives, but according to the sagas some princes could even preside over an unlimited number of concubines. In a society where only the powerful and older men can possess several partners, the number of young, dissatisfied, single males increases.This usually escalates the degree of rivalry among the younger and the older generations, so the young try all means available to rise up the social ladder. In the case of the Vikings, pillaging offered good opportunities to gain wealth and power and to become a respected member of the society,enabling them to acquire wives.

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