Also known as the pirates of the north, the Norse seafarers were active from 8th to around 11th centuries and were known to be ruthless, bearded, extremely violent and godless pagans. But were they? Let us examine the Vikings as they were actually and not as we know them supported with our misconceptions.
Let us start with one of the biggest myths about Vikings, the horned helmets. You have probably heard by now that this fact is actually an unsupported claim. Nothing like that was found in archeological terms, the horned helmets were an image that the costume designer Carl Emil Doepler designed, and thus the myth was born.
If we continue with their appearance, you may have also the image of Vikings as bearded, smelly, dirty in blood-soaked clothes, drunk all the time and eating only meat. The reality is probably far from that. Many combs, razors and other accessories were found, which suggest that they cared about their appearance. Their diet was good, based mostly on fish, due to their close proximity to the sea, and supported by various crops and meats found in their region. And they did not live in small huts, made of dirt and mud. Actually probably most of them were living together in huge halls that served the community to spend time together, train, feast and celebrate.
Not all Vikings were a violent bunch. Of course, some of them were explorers, and were probably aggressive in terms of meeting new cultures, but who wasn’t in that time? We just have to know, that most of the Vikings lived peacefully, not only farming at home but also trading and settling on four continents. Furthermore, they didn’t just travel the world, robbed, looted and went back. A lot of them decided to establish new settlements in the new lands – take for example Dublin, one of the first and biggest “foreign” settlements of the Vikings.
What we have to consider is also that the history of Vikings was written by the Christians which they encountered. That is why they are known to be “godless” and pagans. Have you heard of Thor, Odin, and Loki (Marvel)? Isn’t that proof enough that they believed in gods? Also, they were presented as illiterate and ignorant. If they were such, how could they possibly be one of the greatest travelers of the world?
Don’t believe everything you “know” 🙂