According to popular myth, the Vikings were the Hells Angels of the middle ages, although with big beards and boats rather than bikes. However, most stories about the Vikings come from the point of view of the victims of their raids and thus present a very biased image.
From a more balanced perspective, the medieval Nordic world was not as violent as it may appear. In this short BBC film, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough shows that they were more than just raiders but also traders, pilgrims and crusaders. These alternative stories are encapsulated in the Old Norse sagas from Iceland. For example, the sagas set in Greenland talk about settlements and exploration; although these sagas are stories rather than historical evidence, recent archaeological evidence is gradually changing our perception of the Norsemen.