In this article, we will present 8 interesting facts about the Vikings you probably did not know about and most of these facts will reveal the Viking culture and the other side of them, unlike what is prevalent among some of those interested in ancient peoples, especially the Vikings.
8 Interesting Facts About the Vikings You Probably did not Know About
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Between roughly A.D. 800 and the 11th century, a lot of Scandinavians emigrated from their native countries in search of better opportunities. These maritime warriors, often known as Vikings or Norsemen (Northmen), started out by plundering British Isles coastal sites, particularly undefended monasteries.
They would leave their mark as pirates, raiders, traders, and settlers over the course of the following three centuries on a large portion of Britain and the European continent, as well as on contemporary Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland.
Vikings' culture and motivations go far beyond what is depicted in video games and movies as ruthless barbarians with bulky helmets and hollow heads. The actual history of the Vikings is a little bit more complicated. The term Viking signifies, "pirate raid" in the Old Norse language.
The Scandinavian people frequently used the word as a verb to refer to a custom in which men would go "Viking" during the summer. The majority of these expeditions, contrary to popular belief, did not involve robbing women and raiding villages. Instead, most of the time, they were there to trade and discover new land. They even had an overall set of laws.
The church lost several facilities, treasures, and relics to the Scandinavian people, so they made it their mission for many years to make them look like wild beasts. The majority of the modern misconceptions about Vikings are due to that propaganda which is even visible today.
Fact #1: They Didn't Wear The Horned Helmets
Almost every Viking costume in a movie or video game is a fabrication. Typically, these warriors went into battle bareheaded. During the Victorian period, when Vikings were romanticized, the whole horned helm concept emerged. They began to be portrayed by artists as glamorous savages wearing horned helmets; However, nothing discovered during the Viking Age indicates that this image is even authentic.
Fact #2: Their Dead Were Buried in Boats
The Scandinavian culture was extremely superstitious, and the Vikings loved very much their boats. Being mummified, dressed in finery, and laid to rest in a ship was regarded as a great honor. They believed that these ships could enter the afterlife from the dead. Often, distinguished warriors and some women were buried in vessels surrounded by valuable goods and slaves who had been sacrificed.
Fact #3: They were usually clean and tidy
Razors, combs, tweezers, and even ear cleaners have been found in Viking excavations. It turns out that these barbaric warriors were very concerned about how they looked. Also, historians think that the average Viking person took a bath at least once a week, which was much more than any other European group did at that time.
Fact #4: Skiing was a pastime for them
The history of the Vikings also delves into the activities that the Vikings enjoyed doing for fun. The Scandinavian people invented their own version of skis about 6000 years ago and used them for hunting, traveling, and entertainment. Even a god of skiing by the name of Ullr existed. Skiing was a form of entertainment for kings and high lords, and competitions in which the best skiers competed for prizes were occasionally held.
Fact #5: Women in Viking times had the following basic rights
Although, they were often forced to marry before the age of 12 and care for a large family of children while their husbands went on amazing adventures. However, in comparison to other women at the time, they had many more freedoms. If the marriage failed, they could claim settlements, file for divorce, and inherit property. That was the situation for women in the history of the Vikings.
Fact #6: The Vikings spent much of their time moving about
Their urine was used to start fires. They would collect a tree fungus known as touchwood and boil it in their urine for several days because they did not have lighters. They would pound the mixture into something that looked like it. They could easily start a fire while they were on the road because the sodium nitrate in the urine would mix with the touchwood and make it easy to burn.
Fact #7: They were trading slaves
Many of the Viking's rich men made a part of their fortunes by capturing some women or men and selling them in massive slave markets in Europe and the Middle East. Thralls were the common name for these slaves, who came from Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Slavic settlements that the Vikings had raided.
Fact #8: Viking men frequently dyed their hair
Having blonde hair was a cool tradition during the Viking era, so Viking men frequently dyed their hair. As a result, brunette Viking men would bleach their hair with a highly concentrated soap containing a lot of lye. According to historians, the bleached hair would not only conform to the beauty standards of their culture, but it would also aid in the prevention of lice.
The Viking Age came to an end as a result of the events in England in 1066. All of the Scandinavian countries had converted to Christianity at that point, and what little of Viking "culture" remained was being assimilated into that of Christian Europe. The Scandinavian roots of several place names and terminology in the regions where the Vikings settled, such as northern England, Scotland, and Russia, can still be found today. The Icelandic sagas, a vast corpus of literature that the Vikings left behind in Iceland, commemorate the biggest achievements of their illustrious history. So the history of a people like the Vikings cannot be erased or destroyed easily.
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