From the moment they arrived in European rivers, seas, and towns, the Vikings changed the course of European history. The monks who recorded much of this early history thoroughly described a Viking's penchant for violence and destruction: raiding, plundering and burning towns and monasteries. But Vikings also functioned as traders—exchanging those goods they plundered from one location for food and supplies in other, better protected locations. Viking activity in early medieval Europe has been dubbed “creative destruction” by modern economic historians. Viking trading activities, ranging from the British Isles in the West to Constantinople and Baghdad in the East, reinvigorated the European economy, which had been in decline since the collapse of the Roman Empire. After this period of raiding and trading, the Vikings began to settle throughout Europe, embracing Christianity and literacy, transformations which led the Vikings into full integration with European society. We will examine Viking culture from its earliest period, pre-migration, to this period of integration. In particular, we will focus on how the Vikings changed European society and how they were, in turn, changed by European society itself.