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Extent of Norse language in 900 AD: Western Norse in red and Eastern Norse in orange.
|WikiProject Norse history and culture|
The Norsemen (or Norse people) were the North Germanic peoples of the Early Middle Ages, during which they spoke Old Norse language and practiced Old Norse religion. The language belongs to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages and is the predecessor of the modern Germanic languages of Scandinavia. During the late eighth century, Norsemen embarked on a large-scale expansion in all directions, giving rise to the Viking Age. In English-language scholarship since the 19th century, Norse seafaring traders, settlers and warriors have commonly been referred to as Vikings. Though lacking a common ethnonym, the Viking Age Norsemen still had a common identity, which survives among their modern descendants, the Danes, Icelanders,[a] Faroe Islanders,[a] Norwegians and Swedes, who are now generally referred to as “Scandinavians” rather than Norsemen.
History of the terms Norseman and Northman
The word Norseman first appears in English during the early 19th century: the earliest attestation given in the third edition of the