There’s a lot that we don’t know about Vikings. We let TV Shows and YouTube videos influence our minds, and in the end, we believe in the image was born from our thoughts. However, there’s a lot to explore when it comes to their culture and we need to get our facts straight!
Click ‘Next’ to dive into the most fascinating tales and truths about Vikings!
They Didn’t Drink Out Of Skulls
As fierce as they are said to be, Vikings didn’t drink from the Skulls of their enemies. They also left the blood to pour in the ground rather than in their bellies, so get that image out of your head as well. Excavations didn’t point out to any skull cups, just boring wooden and metal ones.
Click ‘Next’ to see the next mind-blowing fact about Vikings!
They’re Not Even Called Vikings
We are talking here about Vikings, but this is just a term used for Scandinavians who took part in overseas expeditions. This was passed on throughout history, and we now will pass it along as we walk through life. As a collective, Vikings called themselves “Ostmen” or “Astmen”.
Click ‘Next’ to see who the Vikings called to power in times of war!
Vikings Had Power Couples
After a tomb was excavated in 2012, archaeologists unveiled a Viking power couple that was buried along with their axes. They had a pair of keys on them which showed that the woman was of a noble birth. The axes pointed out that this couple was not to be messed with.
Click ‘Next’ to see the Viking opinion about women!
And They Believed Blondes Had More Fun
We associate Scandinavians as tall, strong and blonde haired people. This is mostly accurate but in the past, not every Viking was born blonde. Many of them were either brunettes or redheads, and since blonde hair was held in high regards, they had to take extreme measures to bleach their hair.
Click ‘Next’ to see how familiar their weddings seemed in comparison to ours!
Viking Weddings Were Similar To Ours
When a Viking married his partner, he had to bring all his friends and family from all over town as a witness. They had to plan everything accordingly, food, drinks, location and even took the weather into consideration. The only thing that was different was the time frame of the wedding since everything lasted for about a week.
They did, however, have a strange ritual for it. Click ‘Next’ to see what it was!
The Strange Wedding Ritual
Viking men were stealing swords from graves to symbolize death and rebirth, while women were taking off and storing their clothes, pendants and other symbols of virginity, as a symbol of their entrance into married life. Before consuming their marriage, Vikings had to legally binge drink honey-based mead. But this gave women free hand when it came to the ultimate decision.
You won’t believe what it was! Click ‘Next’ now!
Women Were Allowed To Divorce
You have to drink your way to bed with your loved one, so you may end up making the wrong decision. That’s why Viking women could opt out of their marriage, at any time, for any reason whatsoever. The husband will also have to pay alimony so they had to think twice about their behavior.
Click ‘Next’ to see how this affected a couple’s life!
Women Wear The Pants
New discoveries have shown that in Birka, Sweden, during the era of the Vikings, 30-year-old female women of extremely high status and power ruled the lands. The findings were published in the American Journal of Anthropology, and this proves that the Vikings were not a male-dominant population.
There’s a lot of equality in their culture, click ‘Next’ to learn more!
Many Vikings Were Farmers
Vikings are known for their battle skills but they should be praised for their farming abilities. Most of them were farmers before they rose up to become warriors and leaders, so they had a good understanding of agriculture and livestock. On their farms, you could find everything that you can find in a grocery store.
Click ‘Next’ to see the food that they placed on their tables!
And Had A Variety Of Food On The Table
You would expect a Viking to eat loads of meat to increase their muscles but the reality is quite the opposite. Vikings had a lot of food to place on their tables so you could find everything from leek soups, to chicken knuckles, to a variety of fruits and vegetables.
But the food was used for a lot more than settling one’s hunger! Click ‘Next’ to learn more!
Food Was Used To Treat Battle Wounds
When you dive into a battle you tend to get hurt. To test the severity of the wound, a warrior had to eat a soup made out of a broth mixed with onions, leeks, and herbs. The partner had to smell the wound shortly after consumption, and if the broth was felt, that meant that the wound was fatal.
Click ‘Next’ to see what was consumed before a battle!
To Bring Victory
Before every major battle, true warriors consumed a mushroom that heightened their senses. The mushroom also made them euphoric and the Vikings could challenge any type of opponent despite their size or shape. The mushroom made them hallucinate and gave them a type of PTSD which they could use in their advantage.
This Made The Vikings Go Berserk! Click ‘Next’ to see why!
They Went Berserk Before A Battle
Vikings describe this as otherworldly beings taking a hold of their bodies and giving them the ultimate power to destroy their opponents. The state incited fury and whoever was in front of a warrior at that time could face unexpected dangers and brutality. They did this deliberately either by eating mushrooms or drinking alcohol.
Click ‘Next’ to see how this turned them to face each other!
Or Did Battles Of Their Own
If there was no need for war, Vikings took the rage upon each other. However, it didn’t end as bloody as you think. They invented a game called “Flyting: which is mostly an epic Nordic rap battle. Using poetic and ritualistic swapping of insults, participants challenged each other to this battle and the winner was decided by the crowd’s reaction.
Click ‘Next’ to see how creative they were!
They Were Extremely Crafty
Besides insulting verses that had no comeback, Vikings also came up with the most lavish weapons, shields, and ships known to their culture. They portrayed various types of animals or designs in their crafts, making them unique in their own way. They were especially drawn by animals of mythology that often appear in their work.
But there’s another side to them! Click ‘Next’ to see it!
They Loved To Chill
Not all Vikings were bloodthirsty berserk that loved the thrills of battle. A lot of groups were scattered in parts like Greenland, Island and smaller island and they preferred to focus on farming and well-being rather than fighting. They believed in the rewards of the Gods and they knew that they will be rewarded for a day’s work.
Click ‘Next’ to see where they lived!
In Well Made Houses
The North can be quite terrifying when it comes to bad weather. A Viking had to take this into consideration so they’ve built proper homes to keep them safe. They used local materials like wood, stones, moss and turf, and they made sure to cover all layers of their walls with mud and strengthen accordingly.
They Even Built A Bath! Click ‘Next’ to find out more!
They Took Hygiene Very Seriously
A Viking took regular baths either in their rivers or in special places built in their house. Their house was originally designed with one room, and a hygiene area where they could tend to proper grooming. Archeologists have discovered tools like razors, combs and ear swabs near their home so they’re not as savage as we may think.
Click ‘Next’ to see what they ate for breakfast!
Starting The Day Off With A Proper Breakfast
Vikings mostly ate leftover stew, bread, and fruit for breakfast, while their kids ate porridge and dried fruits. For dinner, they ate a lot of meat or fish, stewed together with vegetables grown on their farm. For dessert, they had dried fruits with honey and drank a lot of ale, buttermilk or mead.
Now, what did they do for fun? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
Having A Chat
When you go out, you will often see messages like “We don’t have WiFi here, talk amongst yourself” in front of bars or clubs. Well, Vikings didn’t need a message to pursue a delightful conversation with their fellow townsfolk. We don’t know if they were either illiterate or disinterested, but most of their history was passed on through word of mouth.
Click ‘Next’ to see their assembly point!
Gathered In Front Of Well Lit Fire Places
When Vikings were not throwing a feast in the Chief’s Hut, they often gathered around fireplaces with their close friends and families. When they started a fire, however, they had to use urine and fungus. This is due to the sodium nitrate found in the urine that keeps the fire at smoldering.
And guess what their main activity was? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
Having A Drink
Through times of war or peace, a Viking had to show pay their respects to God through drinking and dancing. They drank out of the horns of cattle and enjoyed various types of ales or meads. They were quite the celebratory types.
There’s more to their culture than just food and drinks, click ‘Next’ to see what other games they played!
Game Night was the most exciting part of Viking Culture when it came to recreation. The most popular board game that Vikings played was called Hnefatafl. Although the rules weren’t written down, but people say that this is more like a chess game with only one king and an army that invades. Sounds simple enough, right?
But they were also into something extreme! Click ‘Next’ to find out what!
Challenging Winter Sports
Vikings knew how to have fun so they enjoyed both skiing and ice skating. They partook them as a form of entertainment but they took them very seriously. According to Norse mythology, Ullr was the God of outdoor activities and he wanted his worshipers to perform well.
Ullm also had some other game in mind for his followers. Click ‘Next’ to find out which!
There Was Hockey!
It did, however, go by the name of Knattleikr and it had slightly different rules, but it was very close to what we have today. Vikings enjoyed this game a lot and gave up their swords to have a bit of fun. I do hope that things didn’t get too serious knowing that they can get very competitive.
Would all games end well? Click ‘Next’ to see for yourself!
Games Can Get Rough
You wouldn’t want to challenge a Viking to anything. We may think that some of our sports may seem brutal, but Vikings went beyond that level. Their playfulness was extremely violent and some games are too gruesome to describe. Due to their pride, Vikings ended a game with serious injuries that often lead to their deaths.
And all Vikings had a big disadvantage! Click ‘Next’ to see what it was!
And Stature Didn’t Help
Vikings were not tall or muscular as you see in the movies. A man’s height was roughly close to 5 feet 7 inches so it’s quite the opposite that we were all imagining. It may also be because of the harsh seasons and the difficulty to find resources.
So they had to put someone to work if they didn’t feel like it. Click ‘Next’ to see who!
They Could Turn To Their Slaves
When a Vikings invaded a certain town, they often captured people and turned them into slaves known as “thralls”. They could make these slaves work their farms, fight their battles, build their homes, or even turn them into their husbands or wives if they didn’t have the status or charm to find a proper partner.
However, they had interesting views about society. Click ‘Next’ to learn more!
They Had Democratic Views
Vikings could elect their king through voting and the majority always won. They always voted on laws and punishment and decided as a group what was best for their tribes. Criminals were made to pay a hefty fine rather than going to jail, and who didn’t comply with their rules, were more than welcomed to leave.
They also had a Justice System in place! Click ‘Next’ to see how it worked!
A Unique Justice System
Crimes, disputes and divorces were handled in a unique system of law and order known as “Althing”. An approximate translation can be “The Thing” and this is where the townsfolk gathered when they needed a third party’s opinion. Often, things were decided peacefully and fines had to be paid, while other times people had to wrestle and die for what was rightfully theirs.
An execution method? Click ‘Next’ to see!
No Proven Method Of Execution
You may see talks about a certain “Blood Eagle” torture method that leads to a criminal’s death. This method is a myth, that describes a person’s back that is cut apart, and his ribs are pulled out from it, to form the wings of an eagle. This is however written in old poems and novels but nothing was proven.
But they had high-beliefs! Click ‘Next’ to learn more!
They Believed In The Afterlife
Not only did they believe in their own Gods, but Vikings had loads of heavens to consider. The best possible place was indubitably Valhalla, where all brave warriors clicked their glasses when they died. They also had Helgafjell, for those who led a good and admirable life, and Helheim, for Vikings that died dishonorably, including of old age.
Click ‘Next’ to see how they were led.
They Had Various Leaders
Most Vikings were part of a specific tribe or group led by a certain chieftain. The chieftain was responsible for their day to day business and led them on overseas expeditions. Group members had no idea of other Vikings that may cross their paths later on. That’s why they had to sound their familiar horns before they went into battle.
How were they divided? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
They Had A Class System
There was only one true king. Then came ‘Jarls’, chieftains who acted as first hand of the King, owners of lands and armies and makers of rules. Placed to serve the country and rule over freemen. These freemen were called ‘Karls’ or the vast majority of the population. At the bottom of the pyramid, there were thralls, or slaves as mention earlier.
Click ‘Next’ to see more odd habits that Vikings had!
Vikings Had Interesting Dental Habits
In 2009, at Oxford University, archaeologists made a strange discovery in regards to the Vikings dental habits. In a grave filled with Viking decapitated skulls, they saw that each Warrior had filings etched into their teeth. They couldn’t find the reasons behind this, but archaeologists said that it may be a source of intimidation.
Was this considered a form of torture? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
Their Minds Were Thinking Of Quitting
Vikings had a lot of adventure and conquered more than they could have ever imagine. In the end, most Vikings came back to their country and lived on piles of gold that ultimately brought them the prosperity that you can even see today, while others decided to settle in places like Normandy and Russia.
But they needed something before they change sides! Click ‘Next’ to see what!
They Needed Food
Vikings had a great way to preserve food for the harsh winters. Since raising livestock was hard, they decided to salt and dry fish, to smoke and cure meat, and to store most vegetables like cabbage and peas in dry areas. They also moved during summer so they can save a lot of resources.
Click ‘Next’ to see what else was needed in order to join a different country!
Vikings were excellent weavers and created their own clothes. They involved children from a young age and the whole household was turning wool into yarn. When winter came, a family was prepared to put an extra cloak on their back and to place their feet into their newly designed leather shoes.
Click ‘Next’ to see where Vikings could sail when everything was ready!
They Could Sail Anywhere Despite The Weather
Since they were very good craftsman, Vikings built ships to withstand the roughest waters and the darkest skies. They could find the sun in an instant using a sunstone, or the Icelandic spar as it is known. Whenever you point the stone at the clouds, you can find the Haidinger’s Brush that points out the sun.
Guess what else they’ve used to navigate? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
A Special Compass
The Vikings traveled all over the world and they managed to get all the way to China. They engaged in trade with the Chinese people and obtained a mineral called magnetite, which is crucial in the creation of the magnetic compass. With their new toy, the Vikings could explore the seas no matter how foggy or rainy it was.
They even witness a divine intervention! Click ‘Next’ to learn more!
Had Help From The Gods
During the Medieval Warm Period, the Ocean between Greenland and Iceland was covered with ice, so the warm weather made it easier for the Vikings to navigate through and migrate to Iceland. The warm period lasted between the years of 950 and 1250 AD. If this didn’t take place, Vikings in Greenland would’ve starved to death.
Click ‘Next’ to see what brought them to where they are!
They Were True Workers And Enjoyed Life
Vikings loved to work hard and play hard. Working together and playing various games at the end of the day, boosted the Viking morale, and made them live their life fully. This prepared them for war, and built confidence in their capabilities. They are compared to bee hives who always work together for the greater good.
Their lifestyle prepared them for their new conquest! Click ‘Next’ to see how!
In The End, They Were Warriors
They had their own rules and when they weren’t playing, they raided other lands and even friendly tribes to enslave them and take their resources. They didn’t aim for the weak since this would’ve been dishonorable, but they always found someone worthy of their skills. They always had rules to bind them and this made them the ultimate warriors.
Click ‘Next’ to find out what equipment they’ve used!
State-of-the-art Hornless Equipment
You may have seen their horned helmets in movies, but there’s no actual proof that point to that. Viking helmets are just normal helmets so keep that in mind when you are picking your next Halloween costume. The only thing that shows that Vikings really have horns, is the way they are described by medieval Christians.
This does, however, give an insight into their mentality. Click ‘Next’ to learn more!
A Strong Mentality
Besides their skills and culture, Vikings also had a strong mentality that made them the toughest warriors. Whenever a child was ill, Vikings allowed them time to recover by themselves, but if that wasn’t the case, the child would be abandoned. They would also devalue anyone weak or infirm to the greatest extent.
This brought them strength in times of need. Click ‘Next’ to see when!
Which Made Them Act In Times Of Need
Vikings started their raids unexpectedly. They were deep in their mountains, minding their own business when they decided to come forth and conquer everything in their path. It’s said that this happened in the 9th century, when Charlemagne came to power and started to force pagans to convert to Christianity. Maybe that’s why?
So what countries did they start off with? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
The Vikings started to raid France and colonized Greenland and Iceland. But their main obsession was to conquer England. They started out with Scotland and Ireland and they had great success, but England was tougher than that. For 80 years they were held back until they landed in Northumbria and conquered York. From there they conquered various lands.
What other lands did they discover? Click ‘Next’ to see for yourself!
The Land Of Our Forefathers
Columbus is celebrated every year since he discovered America in 1492. But it seems that he wasn’t the first person to do so. Leif Erikson was the first person to actually do so after his father Erik discovered Canada. Leif wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps so that’s what led him to America.
The findings brought controversy but it was proved. Click ‘Next’ to see where!
The Vikings didn’t return empty-handed from America and it seems that they took a few Native Americans with them. A DNA analysis of a group of families living in Iceland, showed that American DNA was found deep in their veins. Leif didn’t conquer Native Americans, but he did impregnate them.
How did this affect the future of all countries? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
It Placed A Long Lasting Mark
Vikings helped develop all major cities across Europe. The colonies started in Ireland with Cork, Wexford, Waterford and even Dublin. Vikings descendants went to Russia and founded Smolensk, Novgorod and more. Viking travelers created the city of Reykjavik and settlements in England influenced the culture and heritage. Even France was affected by this, naming its coast the “Land of the Northmen.”
Click ‘Next’ to see what they left behind!
They Gave Us Part Of Their Language
Even today, no one would actually understand a Norse person, without them speaking proper English. But Vikings influenced our dictionaries in more than one way. We received words like “anger”, “hell”, “skull” and “slaughter” on the negative side. But on the positive one, we got “freckles”, “husband”, “wife” and my favorite, “cake”.
What else did the Vikings offer us? Click ‘Next’ to find out!
True Culture And Food
Vikings had hundreds of gods, goddesses and heroes to worship every day. Their expeditions brought back clothes and jewelry, which were worn by chieftains and their partners. The food was rich and diverse and the dead were celebrated with riches and sent off longboats based on their beliefs. Their name will always be in our history.
Click ‘Next’ to find out how the Vikings truly were!
They Were Very Complex
From their justice system to their class pyramid, Vikings were highly organized and complex. They had a code of honor and they were ahead of their time when it came to hygiene, crafts, trade, and farming. They progressed faster than any other civilization and women were seen as equals during their time.
As surprising as this may be, their honor was unmeasurable! Click ‘Next’ to see why!
A Lot Of Honor
From staying away from the weak, to giving women equal rights, Vikings had a lot of honor amongst their people. The biggest honor was to be buried in a Viking boat. It was a rare for a Warrior to be sent off in a boat like this, since this was only reserved for Kings or great chieftains.
Click ‘Next’ to find out where are they now!
They Are Still Living Among Us, in A Way.
England pushed the Vikings away and force those who remained to bind to their religion and rules. Vikings assimilated the English way of life and peacefully continued their journey. They married and had children, and in the end, they gave birth to your great-great-great-grandfather. What are the chances for us having Viking blood in our veins?
Click ‘Next’ to see who the Vikings inspired with their conquests!
The book written by J.R.R. Tolkien was extremely inspired by a Norse legend called Andvari’s Ring. This ring was cursed and brought perils to anyone who wore it. The legend takes place in a universe called Midgrad, who literally translates as “Middle-Earth”. So now we know where this amazing movie started from.
And LOTR was just the beginning! Click ‘Next’ to see more!
They Also Placed Their Fingerprint On Marvel
If you read the Marvel comics you will find more than Odin, Thor, Loki and Freyja. These Norse gods appear throughout the series and gave life to the Marvel-ous characters that we know today. The name of the Gods are also seen in our day to day basis. Thursday = Thor’s Day, Friday = Freyja’s Day.
Vikings also went digital! Click ‘Next’ to see how!
Thinking Of The Future
The creator of Bluetooth, Jim Kardach, was a guy working for Intel who decided to invent the Bluetooth technology. He was inspired by Harald Bluetooth and his legend when he named his invention and brought it to our world. Harald was a Viking King in Denmark, that brought people together centuries ago. His initials created the Bluetooth logo.
Click ‘Next’ to see what else we know about Vikings!
Archeological sites were funded in the 1900s, in order to explore the fascinating world of Vikings. Until then, the only information that was gathered was that that came from the Viking’s enemies and friends. Scientists just started to dispel these dramatic myths, while uncovering truths, which showed how captivating Vikings were in the past.
Click ‘Next’ to see where this will lead us!
All Good Things Must Come To An End
Vikings were filled with glory and they struck fear in the heart of their enemies. However, their reign didn’t last and most Scandinavians took a different path. Scholars say that they converted to Christianity and banned all violent practices. They had the last attempt when Harald Hardrada invaded England but was defeated in 1066, living behind a history of true Warriors.