Vikings and Climate Change

I remember reading Albion’s Seed and thinking “These waves of migration seem roughly tied to the pulses of Europe’s Little Ica Age. Surely I’m not the only person noting that?” I wasn’t a historian, and I wasn’t prepared to undertake the research required to substantiate such an observation, but I had a sense that I wasn’t alone. Ars Technica has a arstechnica on some recent work exploring the relationship between the great Viking raids at the end of the first millenium CE and possible changes in the climate. What I like about the work being done, as reported here, is that it isn’t a “climate change done it” approach. I have encountered way too many strictly biological or environmental explanations to phenomena that are better considered a mixture of nature and culture at best, if not a very complex cultural dynamic. Could climate change lead to population pressures that might lead to raiding? Sure, but it could also have been “Hey, it sure easier stealing from other people than making our own way.” The truth is almost always somewhere in between.

Leave a Reply