According to Bentley and Ziegler's Traditions & Encounters how did the Viking invasions influence the rise of Europe?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Viking invasions of Europe influenced the rise and development of Europe in two important ways.  To be precise, it was the reactions of the Europeans to the Viking invasions that were more important than anything the Vikings themselves did.

First, Viking raids, and the reaction to them, helped to establish the idea that Christianity was a central part of the European identity and civilization.  (I have the brief edition of Bentley and Ziegler and this is not mentioned there.  However, it is mentioned in other texts from which I have taught.)  AS the Vikings settled in Europe, they became Christianized.  As this happened, they assimilated into European civilization (as, for example, the Normans did).  This showed that Christianity was a major force in creating a European civilization.

Second, Viking raids helped lead to the rise of feudalism, the political system that was to dominate Europe for centuries.  As the Vikings raided, they exposed the weaknesses of centralized monarchies.  The kings could not do anything to stop the Vikings and the local people became less reliant on those kings.  Instead, they turned to local aristocrats who could do more to provide security against the Vikings’ lightning-fast attacks.  When this happened, the local aristocrats came to have more power.  Over time, the increases in their power developed into the system of feudalism where local lords held a great deal of power and ruled their localities for the king to whom they owed allegiance.

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