The Vikings

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They'll rape your cattle and steal your wives: it's the vikings, the only race in history to have the same mentality as stereotypical builders. And eat slightly unmanageable open sandwiches.

The vikings were truly the hard men of history: they'd fight, feast and fornicate; they'd steal, swig and shag; they'd pillage, purloin and pilfer; they'd nautically navigate, brutally butcher, and sing off-key to annoy the Germans. Though of course, at the time the vikings were around, about half way through the last millenium, the Germans would probably be too busy hiding their beer and wives. And probably their cattle too: I hear that that sort of thing is terribly bad for the amount of milk they give.

The vikings were a warrior race of large burly people with big beards1. They also had large bits of dead animals to wear, slightly unmanageable open topped sandwiches to eat, buxom young maidens to get off with, and most of Scandinavia carved up between them. What more could any race of marauding football hooligans want?

On a lonely night, the vikings might decide that they were fed up of being stuck in the cold in Denmark and decide to go and invade somewhere a bit warmer, or just stop off for a nice bit of pillaging2. Favourite places for this were Germany (then a random collection of city states and disorganised villages), France (same), the Netherlands (haven't the foggiest) and Britain. That's right. Britain. The vikings were the only race ever to mount a significant seaborne invasion on Britain. Hitler didn't manage, the Spanish Armada failed, nor did Kaiser Wilhelm. The European Union won't manage it, and no other truly hostile force has ever threatened this country. Apart from William the Conqueror, but he doesn't count, because he's French, and we like the French4. Unless they win the world cup again.

The vikings were at just the right point in history to have a really good laugh: since the Roman empire had snuffed it, they had most of Europe to choose from. No other kingdoms in Western Europe could cope with the vikings sailing up to their shores, burning a few things down, and popping off with all the village's women5.

Leif Eriksonn is the most famous viking: it is he who is said to have discovered America, despite the fact that the people who lived there had probably discovered it first. No-one really believes this, especially the Spanish, except perhaps for the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians.

Culture and sophistication were not the vikings strong points. 'Civilisation?' they thought, probably talking out loud about it at the same time to prevent muscle strain, 'let's go and invade it.' and so they did. And what about culture? Writing, the arts, those sorts of things? 'Culture and art,' quoth the vikings, 'are what weedy people use to pull the birds.'

And so on.

Nowadays, the only remains of this proud uncivilisation are the Jorvik centre, the Anglo-Saxon tongue, and those bloody open sandwiches which they started eating in the first paragraph.

1Not to be confused with modern-day lumberjacks. In fact, if you sang the Monty Python lumberjack song in viking times, the you'd be executed. These 'superior' values are still used on the Isle of Man. This is a very good reason not to go there.2The viking 'pillaging phenomenon'3is thought to be the 'racial memory ancestor' of the Great British Cross-Channel Booze Run.3That's easy for you to say4Look Mum, no xenophobia!5And quite possibly their cattle.66Will this joke never end?

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