The first money used by the Vikings was not their own. Nor was it used in the way we would think about using money today. To understand how the Vikings thought about
money we need to start a long time ago.
Lets start with how you get what you want. For Mr. and Mrs. Caveman it started out as a fairly simple job, you went out and got it for yourself. This worked very well for most of the time mankind has been around but it was not to last.
The problems start when someone else has something that you need, lets say food for example, that you cannot find where you live. There are
now three new options.
The first option is that you go to whoever has the food and ask them to share it with you. This is a great way to make new friends but unless you are very lucky not a good way to get fed.
The second option is to take the food off them. This is not a good way to make friends and only really effective if you are bigger than everybody else. This is how wars get started.
The third option is the one we are interested in today. If you can find something that the other person does not have, but might like, then you can see if they will swap some food for it. It was touch and go whether trade or warfare was invented first but sadly, I suspect it was warfare by quite a way.
So the consumer world was created and from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age, barter (swapping one thing for another) was was quite sufficient for most peoples needs. Mr. A exchanged his product, flint for tools, for clothing made by Ms. B. Or both exchanged their products, flint and clothing, for wheat grown by Mr. and Mrs. C. This process of exchange was very simple.
Unfortunately, barter can quickly become complicated. If Mr. A and Ms. B both want wheat, but Mr. and Mrs. C do not want flint or clothes, how can an exchange be made? One solution is to find a fourth party, Mrs. X, who wants flint and clothes. She, may raise chickens, something Mr. and Mrs. C do want. She exchanges her chickens for flint and clothes with Mr. A and Ms. B. They then take the newly acquired chickens to Mr. and Mrs. C to exchange them for
One solution is to exchange your goods for something everybody will want and then you can trade that for anything you need. Something that has almost universally been highly valued in history is metal, especially metals such as gold and silver.
Precious metals are easy to carry, do not decay and can easily be measured and divided up into small amounts.
This is were money comes in handy and it seems to have been invented about 4000 years ago, but the people who get the credit for coins are the people of Lydia in Asia Minor during the 7th Century BCE. They produced small ingots of Electrum (a mixture of gold and silver) with marking on them that say how much they weighed which saved anybody having to measure bits out.
Very soon after this money becomes controlled by governments, just to make sure no-one is being cheated of course. They set the amount that each piece of money must weigh and how pure the metal must be. It is not long before they are cheating more than anybody else ever did.