Viking Social Structure
In every kind of society, there is a social structure and the Vikings were no exception. Their society consisted of three different classes: jarls, karls (free men and women) and thralls (slaves). Despite the social difference, these classes contributed to the Viking age flourishment. Read on to find out more about the social structure of the Vikings.
The jarls were the highest class in Viking society. They were on top of the pack and consisted of kings, chieftains and warlords with great power, influence and wealth. Viking warriors who successfully raided and looted many belongings also belonged to the jarls after acquiring new stuff and different properties. Viking jarls were highly regarded and privileged people who were respected in Viking society.
The karls in Viking society were also known as free men and women. Their day to day tasks usually were fishing and farming-related. Some farmers had their own lands, while others did not own any and had to work for wealthier farmers. Other karls back in the day were soldiers, craftsmen or merchants.
Typical Viking warriors were karls at first but after their pillaging and ransacking activities, they could be considered as jarls if they had acquired lots of things. These warriors were usually successful when they did this because their experience in hunting, chasing animals and other tough physical activities helped them become fearless and stronger individuals.
Viking thralls or slaves were considered the lowest class in Viking society because they had no rights of any kind. They usually worked for their masters and could be sold to other Vikings. There were instances when they would also be buried alongside their dead masters during funerals because the VIkings believed that these slaves would accompany their masters in the afterlife.
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