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The Viking Ships

The Viking Ships

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The Viking Ships

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  1. The Viking Ships

  2. The Drakkar

  3. Overview • A warship designed to carry fearless Viking warriors on their raids across Europe. • Called a dragon ship by its enemies. • Most large Drakkar, were owned by a powerful king.

  4. Size • Average length of a longship was 28 meters long (91 feet). • Largest ever excavated was seventy meters (227 feet) long.

  5. The Largest Longships • Owned by a powerful king. • He was the only one who could afford to build it. • Sixty oarsmen • Four hundred warriors • In the last days of the Viking Age, three hundred of this type of longship were in the Viking fleet.

  6. Average Longships • Owned by an earl or nobleman • Crew of twenty to thirty oarsmen • Other crew members • Helmsmen: steered the ship • lookout : watched for rocks in shallow waters • fewspare men • Took the place a tired oarsmen • Replaced one lost overboard during a storm • warriors

  7. General Info • Named longships according to the number of pairs of oars they carried and the purpose the ship served. • Tjue-sesser • Twenty pair of oars • Owned by a settlement • Served the king when he needed their help • Most common drakkar had 15 pairs of oars. • Pride of Viking earls and kings • Best built in the Viking fleet • Appeared only in the biggest wars during the last years of the Viking Age

  8. Construction • Clinker design • Planked using two centimeter (3/4“) thick oak boards • Overlapped slightly • Fastened with iron nails. • spaces between the planks were caulked with tarred wool or animal fur to make the ship watertight • planks were also nailed to support-ribbing that ran from the gunwale to the keel. • keel, which ran the full length of the ship • Made of one solid piece of oak. • It add stability • Made the ship travel straight through the water

  9. Construction of the Drakkar Gunwale

  10. Construction • Longship was very sturdy, and yet flexible enough to withstand the waves of stormy seas. • Light enough to be dragged overland between lakes or rivers. • The prow, or bow, was sometimes tipped with a very ornate carving of a snake or dragon head, thus earning it the nickname "dragon ship". • The ornament was removed while the ship was it sea. • Replacing such a finely carved piece was expensive • Losing it was a bad omen.

  11. Sail and Mast

  12. Sail • Expensive to make • often cost more the rest of the ship itself. • Made of wool from sheep or linen from the flax plant. • Making them was the responsibility of Viking women.

  13. Making the sail • Small diamond-shaped pieces were woven and then trimmed with leather. • leather helped the pieces keep their shape, especially when wet. • diamond pieces were then sewn together to make one large square sail. • leather strips gave the cross-hatched pattern. • Sails were usually as wide as half the ship's length. • Red dye was added to the leather trim to produce the vivid cross-hatched pattern. • Sometimes the whole sail was dyed a solid red color. • Red, the color of blood, was meant to strike fear into the hearts of the Vikings' enemies

  14. Mast and Sail • The sail was hoisted and held in place on the center mast with ropes likely made from walrus hide. • Once it caught a steady breeze, the sail could move the ship a very swift twelve knots • If the winds were calm, twenty to thirty oarsmen could move the ships through the water at about five knots. • At night, the sail was lowered and removed from the ship • In bad weather, it often served as a tent (Vikings, inventors of the sleeping bag, would sleep under the sail for protection). • The mast that held the sail was attached to the keel. • Mast could be removed and laid on the deck • Replacing a broken mast would not be possible on a raid.

  15. Ships at Sea • Navigate in water less than a meter deep (3 feet). • In shallow water, the warriors would move to one side of the ship to tilt it so it would pass over rocks and shoals. • The longships' tapered bows and sterns enabled the Vikings to row the ships forwards and backwards without first having to turn the ships around. • This was a great advantage when fleeing after a raid.

  16. Shields • Drakkars are often pictured with shields hanging from the gunwales. • Held in place by racks or ropes. • Protected warriors against arrows and spears during sea battles. • Protected raiding parties as the ships neared shore. • In rough seas, they could easily be lost overboard. • Warriors depended on their shields for their lives. • They would store them safely on board the ship.

  17. Things that make you go “Hmmm” • The deck of a longship was completely planked over. • No sleeping quarters. • Crewmen and warriors stored their personal belongings in chests on the deck. Oarsmen sat on these chests when rowing. • Airtight: kept it high in water. • Meals on a drakkar weren't great. • Cooking on an open fire was not practical on a wooden ship in choppy seas. • Food consisted of dried meat, freshly caught fish, sour milk, water, beer, nuts and cloudberries. • Spoiling was often a problem.

  18. The Knarr

  19. Size • Much different from a Drakkar: • Shorter • Wide • Better suited to carrying cargo such as cattle, wool, timber and wheat. • Averages • 16 meters in length (48 feet) • 5 meters in width (15 feet) • 2 meters +(6 feet) high from keel to top of gunwale. • *Draft of 1 meter (3 feet) • *Depth in water. • It could not navigate the shoals as well as the lighter longship. • Under full sail, it could travel at 10 knots.

  20. Construction • Same clinker method. • Oak was used for the keel and oak or pine for the planks. • One mast with one square wool or linen sail. • The sail was stitched in the typical cross-hatched pattern. • Mast could not be taken down and stored like the longship's. It was permanently fixed to the keel. • Only had a couple of oars.

  21. Crew • Same kinds of sailors as the longship except that there were fewer rowers. • Crewmen were needed • Steer the ship • Furl and unfurl the sails • Watch for shoals • Row. • Because there were fewer oarsmen, rowing was done • When entering and leaving port • When docking. • Deck of the knarr was higher above the water • Ship was rowed with the oarsmen standing up. • They took two steps forward to complete one full pull of an oar.

  22. Uses of the Knarr • Haul cargo over long distances. • Well-suited for ocean travel. • Because it was shorter, it was a better ship in rougher seas than the drakkar. • Leif Eriksson and other Viking explorers used a knarr for their voyages to North America. • Farm animals and other cargo for sale or trade were placed in the middle of the knarr, sometimes under protective tarpaulins. • For these reasons, could not row from amidships. • Rowing was done nearer the bow , stern, or both.

  23. Life Onboard a Knarr • Triangular shaped spaces under the deck at both the bow and stern of the ship. • Used by passengers for protection against unpleasant weather. • It was better than sharing sleeping space with the animals. • Crew bailed a lot of water. • No watertight decks or housing to make sea spray flow directly back into the ocean and no pumps to keep the water levels low. • Water collected in the bottom of the ship and had to be constantly bailed out to keep it from sinking. • Bailing was mainly the job of children, if any were on board. (Like 7th graders).


  25. The origin of the word “berserk” • Used to name a type of Vikings fighter. • When the longship neared a coastline, ten to fifteen warriors often dressed in bearskins, would move to the front of the ship and work themselves into a frenzy. • Sometimes this was done by shouting battle whoops, sometimes it was done with the aid of hallucinogenic mushrooms. • As the longship neared a beach, these “berserkers" would go over the side, shouting and waving their swords in anticipation of a battle.

  26. Going Berserk • Their shouting and waving of their swords created fear in their enemies. • Their animal skins made them look like some kind of beast. • It took tremendous strength • Wearing the skins • Carrying battle swords (As much as 200 extra pounds of weight).

  27. BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!! • Some berserkers were so worked up, they jumped too soon and drowned in water over their heads. • In our language, going "berserk" is taken from these fierce Viking warriors. It means "going crazy".