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Who were the Vikings? ( 5 facts )

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Avatar for deki
Written by   52
1 year ago

Most people imagine the Vikings as extremely muscular warriors with horns who have horns, as brutal savages who only plundered and fought, as a dirty horde that came from the north and ravaged everything in front of them. But most of the myths about the Vikings that are popular today originated through Catholic propaganda, after the Vikings burned and looted British churches.

Until the reign of Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, the Vikings were portrayed as a violent and barbaric people. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the perception changed to the point where the Vikings were perceived as a tribe of savages with horned helmets, without any culture, dirty inhumans, invincible warriors… However, today we have much more insight into their lives, and with numerous historical records and archaeological evidence we have the opportunity to look behind the screen of propaganda, and learn much more about the Viking Age, a period of European and Scandinavian history that lasted from the 8th to the 11th century.

While some Vikings were driven by a desire for wealth, most still sought more peaceful economic relations with the surrounding peoples. And they never wore helmets with horns.

5. The Vikings spent most of their time on their farms

Contrary to popular myths that portray all Vikings as fearless warriors, most Vikings were farmers. Even those who took part in the attacks on Western Europe, or those who sailed east or west as traders, were farmers. After each robbery, war or trip, they would return to their farms and continue their peaceful life.

While looting proved to be an excellent source of income, it still could not replace farms that offered a much more stable income. During the men's absence, their wives took care of the farms.

True, some Vikings were classic pirates who left their ships only when they plundered and set fire to villages, but still most peacefully sowed barley, rye and oats. They also raised cattle, goats, pigs and sheep on their small holdings, which were usually large enough to feed the whole family but not large enough to produce surplus food that could be sold or exchanged for other necessities.

4. The Vikings paid special attention to maintaining personal hygiene

English medieval King Henry IV ordered his knights to bathe at least once in their lives. The same Englishmen claimed that the Vikings were dirty barbarians.

But the fact is that the Vikings actually maintained personal hygiene at an enviable level, and that they were one of the cleanest, if not the cleanest, peoples compared to their European contemporaries. It may sound ridiculous today, but the Vikings bathed at least once a week - which was even too much for that period.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the Vikings also used tweezers, razors, combs and ear sticks, made from animal bones and horns. In addition to regular weekly bathing, these dirty non-humans, as they were then called, often visited natural thermal springs where they bathed additionally. And yes - warriors always wore clean clothes during their bloody campaigns.

3. The Vikings respected their wives

During the Viking Age, women in Europe were, to put it mildly, oppressed. In the tenth century, only a few women could be said to possess power, but they too acquired it through their fathers, husbands, sons, and grandsons. The female value of the royal family was simple: they served to give birth to heirs, and as pawns to form new alliances.

But the Vikings treated women quite differently from the rest of medieval Europe. Technically, the term Viking refers to a man, but that does not mean that women did not participate in looting and occupation and settlement of new territories.

Women could have been and were part of the Viking conquests, and there is evidence that during the robberies Scandinavian women traveled the world with men, touring almost every part of the Viking world, from Russia in the east to Newfoundland in the west.

“To assume that men were ranked above women is to introduce modern values ​​into the past, which would be wrong,” explains Marianne Moen, who studies the status of Viking Age women.

When their husbands were absent or dead, women had complete control over property, and there is even evidence that Viking women were able to live and trade completely on their own (again, unthinkable in the rest of medieval Europe). After the death of the husband, the entire estate would become the property of the wife, and many of them became very influential in society based on this.

In addition to all the rights they enjoyed, women could then file for divorce without any problems or consequences, and there is historical evidence that women sometimes threatened inactive husbands with divorce, and divorce itself would always, financially speaking, end in favor of the wife.

2. The Vikings were not a united people

The Vikings did not recognize the Viking counterpart. In fact, they probably didn’t even call themselves Vikings: this term is actually a name for all Scandinavians who took part in naval expeditions. During the Viking Age, the country that today belongs to Denmark, Norway and Sweden was full of chiefs and tribes who often fought against each other (as in other parts of the world).

Due to the ungrateful geographical position, the inhabitants of Scandinavia were forced to fight each other and to keep a limited amount of arable land. In addition, the penetration of Christianity caused many great divisions among the people.

As for the tribe, each had strict laws relating to robberies, murders, rapes… The convict would be brought before a jury which usually consisted of 12 members (sometimes more, depending on the gravity of the crime). If convicted, the sentences were mostly financial, or the culprit would be declared an outlaw - meaning he had to spend the rest of his life alone in the wilderness, away from Viking settlements.

The habits and social institutions of these "pagan savages" were far more democratic than any other in the Western world. The Vikings gathered in meetings called "thing" or "all things", where they democratically discussed legal and judicial matters, voted on the allocation of land and discussed the possible execution of the death penalty for the most serious crimes.

1. The Vikings were in America before Columbus

If you ask the question ‘Who discovered America?’ Most people will instantly answer ‘Columbus’. But this answer cannot be further from the truth. Unfortunately, it is still taught in classrooms around the world that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. The year is correct, but most of the other facts are not.

The very notion of ‘Discovering America’ is dubious, as archaeological evidence clearly suggests that North America has been inhabited by humans for 20,000 years, and Columbus ’journey was only the first step on the road to European settlement on this continent.

Ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians and Phoenicians had good enough ships to reach America, although there is very little questionable evidence that they ever landed on American soil, but there is more evidence of Roman galleys that could cross the Atlantic without any problems. The ships of the Roman Empire were as big as battleships from the 18th century. Despite the fact that they could certainly get there, there is some very scarce evidence that the Romans were actually in America (around the year 200). Recent theories that still provoke a lot of controversy say that the Chinese arrived in America before Columbus, in 1421 to be precise, although there is very little physical evidence for this.

But the evidence that the Vikings were in America is indisputable, and they are further supported by claims from Scandinavian sagas. According to the Saga of Greenlanders, the first discovery came quite by accident when a merchant set out for Iceland in 896, got lost at sea due to fog and strong winds, and ended up close to a land covered with forests. He did not disembark here, but successfully found his way home. Later, in 1000, after his story inspired Leif Eriksson, he bought a ship and set out to explore the unknown. If the rest of the legend is correct, Leif and his crew sneaked to the mainland of today's Canada.

And there is ample physical evidence to support this. In the 20th century, archaeologists discovered an entire Viking settlement on Newfoundland, a large island in Canada. In the northern part of the island, known as L’Anse aux Meadows, evidence was found that perfectly matches Leif’s journey described in the Greenlandic Saga.

About 7 years after Leif Eriksson's voyage, a new daring explorer, Thorfinn, set out on the same path and successfully reached Newfoundland (and perhaps beyond). Snorri, the son of Thorfinn and his wife Gudrid, is considered the first European baby born in North America. About three years after arriving in America, Thorfinn, along with his family and crew, left his North American settlement, most likely after being attacked by locals, whom the Vikings called ‘poor people’. After sailing to Greenland and then to Norway, Thorfinn settled in Iceland with his family.

It is believed that the Vikings never settled America permanently precisely because of the strong resistance of the Skraeling, that is, the native Indians.

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Comments

It is a very helfull article.so love read cash income

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1 year ago

The Vikings were interesting people.I learnt a lot from that movie.

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1 year ago

I love the Vikings legend

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1 year ago

I have to watch the series of Vikings first, then I'll understand the meaning of your article. I'll be glad if you visit my article too❤️

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1 year ago

You have a great article, this is a very interesting fact.

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1 year ago

Well I have watched few series about it but I did not finish it all and it shows some barbaric scenes

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1 year ago

when i was younger i remember a watched a few series about Vikings.I liked them a lot.

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1 year ago

I think I will be suffocated if with a bunch of vikings. Bathing once their lives and with those think suits and armors, for sure they have that pungent smell 😅😅

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1 year ago

Couple of movies with this topic made me feel like who we are on this planet, where we are. Comment is uthopistic, i know, lol

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1 year ago

You wrote a lot about Viking that you didn't know before. I didn't even understand what Viking was. Thank you very much.

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1 year ago

I read in one breath. We experienced everything as a nation, so I believe that the Vikings experienced this kind of marketing from famous Britons, from whom we also received a lot of derogatory names. Our fighters in both world wars were also peasants, farmers, and they experienced being called savages and villains. I almost read and watched a series of the same name "Alien" where the British are portrayed as a perverted people, but that's all for now. Luckily, there are a lot of immigrants on the British Isles who have softened their nature a bit.

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1 year ago

https://youtu.be/FedL4B11r60 History movie,,,,,,

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1 year ago

Wow! I learn so many thing from your article. Vikings were Farmer, i didn’t knew that. They were also so brave in their real life

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1 year ago

It is good to know these facts, that they regularly maintained personal hygiene, engaged in agriculture and the fact that they walked the soil of America, because we all actually think that they were a very violent people!

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1 year ago

Wow the Vikings were thought to be savages? If the Vikings entered America before Columbus how come wasn't dovumented as those that discovered the new land

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1 year ago

I have been attracted to Viking history since I was a child. Hogar Terrible is my favorite comic book character.

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1 year ago

It’s really nice to know that they were united for each other there as well, and it’s even nicer to read that they respected their wives. it is rare today

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1 year ago

Vikings were so muc careful of thteir health and hygiene and they didn't use to recognize their counterpart too as you mentioned in the article

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1 year ago