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Current popular representations of the Vikings are typically based on cultural clichés and stereotypes, complicating modern appreciation of the Viking legacy.
These representations are not always accurate – for example, there is no evidence that they wore horned helmets.
As in the Old Norse usages, the term is not employed as a name for any people or culture in general.
The word does not occur in any preserved Middle English texts.
), were Norse seafarers, mainly speaking the Old Norse language, who raided and traded from their Northern European homelands across wide areas of northern, central, eastern and western Europe, during the late 8th to late 11th centuries.
In addition, that explanation could only explain the masculine (Old Scandinavian víkingr) and ignore the feminine (Old Norse víking), which is a serious problem because the masculine is easily derived from the feminine but hardly vice versa.
The form also occurs as a personal name on some Swedish runestones.
However, there are a few major problems with this theory.
People from the Viken area were not called 'Viking' in Old Norse manuscripts, but are referred to as víkverir (Modern Norwegian: vikvær), 'Vík dwellers'.