Norse and Viking are often misunderstood and confused, primarily because they both refer to Germanic people that lived in Scandinavia during the Viking Age. As a result, these two names are used interchangeably. But what’s the difference between Norse and Viking? Well, the difference between Norse and Viking lies in their occupations.
So, while these terms are both used to refer to people from Scandinavia, the Norse were largely full-time traders who settled in Scandinavia. The Vikings, on the other hand, were more of warriors who were led by Jarl, someone of noble birth or the second son of the peacetime chieftain. The Vikings were also not full-time warriors, as they are largely portrayed, and they were largely farmers (who fought like warriors when they were required to or when the opportunity presented itself).
Norse is a name used to describe not only the Norsemen from Scandinavia but also to refer to the language Norse Language.
Regarding the Norse language, it’s noted the Old Norse was one of the North Germanic languages that were developed from the Proto-Norse language. Old Norse was spoken between AD 800 and AD1300. Out of Old Norse came a number of other languages, including East Norse, which gave rise to the modern Swedish and Danish languages, while West Norse gave rise to the modern Icelandic, Norwegian, and Faroese languages.
It’s also important to note that historically, Norse was used to refer to Norse mythology, paganism, and art, Norse activities across the British Isles, also used as a reference for Norsemen.
The descendants of the Norsemen are today known as the Scandinavians, and they are the Norsemen who adopted Christianity to a large scale, especially after the emergence of Christianity in Scandinavia. Interestingly, the Norsemen are said to have documented their history and cultures in literary books.
Notably, the Norsemen’s’ expansion was fuelled by the need for skills’ expansion, especially in warfare, crafts, and also trade. As a result, they were the first group that formed the Russian State for control of trade routes going as far as the Baltic Sea, Constantinople, as well as Arabia.
Today, the Vikings are more mythical beings that existed and pillaged most of Europe and European countries. But what you may not know that these mythical Germanic people said to have acted as noble savages were actually Norse traders, explorers merchants, and in other cases, warriors and pirates who’d travel in longboats to distant parts of the world for trade purpose and also with intentions of conquering parts of Asia, Europe, as well as North America.
The Vikings’ expansion took place during what is now known as the Viking age, a time when the Vikings were quite powerful and under the leadership of Jarls in time of war.
The terms Viking and Norse refer to primarily the same people; the Germanic people who settled in Scandinavia in the Viking Age. They spoke Old Norse. But the only difference between these two groups is that the Vikings were more of warriors (who still farmed), while the Norsemen were primarily merchants and traders.