Viking Facts

The Vikings have a reputation that is at once very engaging, but highly disputed. Overall, Vikings did not build a city in the way the Romans did or had many monuments. But, the Vikings excelled as people of the sea who sailed and of course fought.

Viking training and skills for self-defense, sailing, and strength were valued and became world renowned. This value of strength and speed gave Vikings a need to excel and stay fit within their societies or communities. Moreover, Viking ships were known for their innovative and effective design because the longships were motored by a mixture of pure and raw manpower and wind.

History of Viking

Viking literally means “pirate” or “raider” in translation. 

Viking literally means

In essence, the Vikings were literally first and foremost  invaders and settlers from present day Scandinavia. The word “Viking” comes from the Old Norse language, which originated from the 8th century.

The exact origin of the word, “Viking,” is controversial. The Old Norse, which was rough and primitive, and eventually developed into other similar languages. For example, the Norse language has some relation to north Germanic languages and dialects as well.

According to the Norse language, ‘víkingr’ translates into man from vík. As well,  ‘vík’ might mean, “the sense of a bay,” or a geographical bay called Víkin in the southern part of Norway.

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Vikings drank from the horns of animals instead of cups or other containers!

Vikings drank from the horns

The thought of drinking from a horn may seem crazy or savage, but the Vikings did just that to imbibe and drink. The convenience of drinking from a horn was the most obvious and logical answer. It would be quite barbaric to drink from a horn today, but during these times it was very convenient. The bones of animals were often lightweight and durable, so perfect for drinking from overall.

The evidence of drinking from a horn is very strong because of archaeology. For example, there is a painted scene of a Viking drinking party on a stone in Gotland, Sweden. The portrayal of the drinking party dates from the 8th century. The party scene of Vikings shows every Viking or person painted in the party as holding a drinking horn.

In history and literature, Beowulf and the Poetic Edda have discussed and brought up drinking horns. In conclusion, it is the efficient and perhaps desperate use of the whole animal, which made Vikings utilize every piece and part of any slaughtered animal.

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Swords were the most powerful and treasured thing to own for Vikings

viking swords

The sword for a Viking was extremely valuable and very important. The various reasons that make A sword the most prized Viking possession are numerous. For example, the fact the Vikings were fighting all the time meant that the swords were special and personal. Some of these swords would be passed down from generation to generation of fighters possibly.

Also, the craftsmanship that goes into making a sword increased the personal sentiment of the sword overall. Therefore, making swords was not cheap and was thus time consuming. In the end, the sword was the most valuable thing a Viking would own thus making it more special. Lastly, swords were given as gifts to people in the society of high status because of rank or good relations.

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Only Men could fight as Vikings as women were not involved in battle.

Men could fight as Vikings

The Vikings were not about bringing equality as battle and fighting were only done by men. There is not much evidence or history to show that women were involved in any sort of combat, battle, or governmental power.

In terms of development, there are some claims that women may have shared rights in various  aspects of society. In theory, there may be some truth, however unfounded, that women could own land, engage in business, and other affairs. Unfortunately, women were relegated to only a domestic purpose in Viking society.

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Vikings started fires in an unusual way by using a special liquid

Vikings started fires by using a special liquid

Not immediately known as being inventors, the Vikings could be very creative at times. For one, the Vikings utilized a very special liquid to start and ignite fires. In general, the concept was to use fungus called, Fomes fomentarius, commonly found in Europe, Asia, and even the Americas, to create fire.

One of the most innovative things to come from the Vikings was that they utilized urine with fungus to create fire. Yes, apparently harnessing urine with a tree bark fungus led to the Vikings to then shape and pound the combination to a different material.

Furthermore, this mixture of urine, fungus, and pounded up ingredients then would get hot and flammable. Moreover, then the smoldering burn of this combination of materials would then burn and create fire.

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Vikings liked to compete and exercise and keep strong and powerful

viking workout

It is true that Vikings were very much into physical activity. The necessity of keeping strong was important if you were out at sea especially sailing for long distances. The life of a Viking especially was one of the extremes and physical stress and more. Moreover, Vikings in some ways had the enjoyment of competing amongst each other. However, they may have not been organized. The Vikings did stay strong.

For example, the Vikings would run against each other to see who the fastest would be in any given group. Also, agility and quickness were valued, so any test to see how quick or alert was tested among Vikings.

Overall, the love of physical activity had its benefits in the long run. For instance, sports could be seen as promoting the master of anything involving weapons.

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 Modern Skiing may have been developed by Vikings thousands of years ago.

Skiing developed by Vikings

The Vikings did not leave a lot behind in terms of their achievements, like the Romans, but Skis and Skiing may originate from them. However, there is evidence that the earliest forms of skis were invented initially by the Chinese and Russians. But, the Vikings introduced a more modern form of skiing.

Also, the word “ski” originates from the Norse word, “Skio.” As well, historically, Vikings even in the Middle Ages, were widely using skis. Specifically, hunters, farmers, and even Viking warriors would utilize skis to get around. Moreover, skiing was a recreation and seen as a fun activity.

The Vikings even had a god of skiing called Ullr. Moreover, the Norse or Viking gods used skiing and snowshoeing in a variety of ways.


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The Vikings enjoyed sailing and shipbuilding around northern Europe and the world

The Vikings enjoyed sailing and shipbuilding

Between AD 800 and 1100, the Vikings were known to have sailed and raided various places around the world. However, the Vikings also did trade with various countries and states around 1000 years ago. All in all, the Viking ship were made for long term use and durability. Moreover, these Viking could actually travel long distances, which was perfect for raid kingdoms in various parts of the world.

The Vikings sailed to the coasts of England and raided monasteries and sacred English areas along with areas like France. As well, the Vikings plundered nearby places like Russia and even places further away like Newfoundland in Canada.

There is a claim that perhaps the Viking reached the Americas before Christopher Columbus, who is from present day Italy. Leif Eriksson, a Viking, may have traveled to North America, but never left any evidence or long lasting influence if it is true.

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Thor is one of the Viking gods who represented thunder.

Thor represented thunder

The Vikings had many gods that some may even be Greek as well. However, Thor is the most popular Viking god around the world. Vikings believed that Thor had the power of a god and as well thunder and lightning.

Thor is depicted as carrying a hammer and being somehow involved with as well thunder, storms and even  sacred groves and trees. The basis of Thor and his reputation is strength and overall the security and well being of mankind.

Historically, Thor personified the Earth, and is physically the strongest of the gods. In general, Thor is the ultimate in strength and masculine power for the Vikings.

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Vikings like the Egyptians have a history with slavery

Viking slaves

The fact that the Vikings kept slaves is not known to many people around the world. However, the slaves, that were called or known as thralls, would perform household chores and duties.

Like the Egyptian slaves, Viking slaves originated from foreign lands. Also, these slaves that did jobs for the Viking would also and provided the manpower and labor for larger construction and building projects. New thralls or slaves as most commonly known by, were captured abroad by the Vikings.

The famous and historic Viking raids and either taken back to Scandinavia or to Viking settlements in Northern Europe. The raids of other places, especially coastal towns, ranging  from the British Isles to the Iberian Peninsula, meant thousands of men, women and children were at one time held captive or even sold as slaves.

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