From the modern perspective, the medieval era can seem distant and alien, a time when people knew little of the world around, living in a kind of reactionary, instinctive state, not bothering to wonder or venture out of their local sphere. This generalization, while tempting, and for the better part of the last hundred years, the prevalent viewpoint within the historical profession, misses the actual level of connectivity in this time and space. From as early as the third century BCE, people were traveling far afield to engage in commerce and to procure goods unavailable in their homelands. As centuries passed, and with the addition of new economic actors like the Vikings in the ninth and tenth centuries, the pace of trade and exchange quickened and intensified, as merchants and sailors found new goods and new ways of getting them from one place to another. Along with the material goods traded within and between these networks, there were also intangible goods passed between these peoples, among these, ideas, religious movements, and thoughts about the nature of man and his place in the universe.