A lot of people picture Vikings as bulky blonde men with horned helmets plundering different lands. However, this is not an accurate description of them as you will soon learn as you read below.
History always reveals what really happened and often reveals strange insights.
So, without further ado, here are some interesting facts you likely don’t know about the Vikings.
They Never Called Themselves Vikings!
The Viking age extends from 793-1066 AD however, the term “Vikings” was only created in the 19th century (1801-1900).
Instead, during their time they were known as Norsemen or Norse for short and also Danes.
These days however the term “Vikings” is commonly used to talk about the Norsemen of such era.
No Metal Helmets
The iconic metal helmet with horns that we all associate with Vikings was a result of a costume that was created for entertainment production in 1876.
Archaeologists have only discovered one helmet suggesting they never actually wore helmets, let alone ones with horns.
If they did wear helmets, they would have been made of materials like leather which would not have been to protect them in battle.
They Had Real Occupations
Many people have the notion that Vikings were full-time pillagers. But that is not exactly true.
Farming was basically the primary occupation for most Viking men. They were also one of the most popular traders of their time.
But of course, pillaging was a huge part of the lives of Viking traders. Contrary to some people’s perception, it was not their sole occupation.
Use of Drinking Horns
As portrayed by popular TV shows like Game of Thrones and Vikings, the people in these shows drank from cups made from Ox and Cattle horns.
Known as Viking drinking horns, these drinking vessels existed before and after the Viking age. This means they were used not only by the Vikings but also many others in decades and centuries before and after this era.
Strange Use of Onion Soup
Vikings have been regarded by a lot of historians as one of the most innovative tribes in the history of man. They were also outstanding in the realm of medicine.
They often came up with creative ways to address simple and complex problems.
For example, wounded Vikings warriors who returned from battles were given strong onion soup.
After a couple of minutes, another person was assigned to smell the injuries of the warrior. If they smelt of onion, it meant that the wound was deep enough to cause death.
Did They Invent Ice Skating?
The Vikings were one of the first people to ice skate. They worshipped a god of skiing, known as Ullr.
Six thousand years ago the Vikings skid for traveling, hunting and for entertainment. They also played a game that is similar to today’s ice hockey.
Swords Were a Highly Prized Possession
There were no large-scale factories or machines for that matter so everything was created by hand.
As such, the time, equipment and skill that were required to manufacture a sword meant they were very expensive.
So owning a well-crafted sword was only possible for a select few. Most simply could not afford them.
Days of the Week Named After Gods
The Vikings named the days of the week after popular Viking gods.
They named Sunday and Monday after the sun and moon, Tuesday after the god of war Tyr.
Wednesday which is also known as Woden’s day is named after Odin, the king of the Viking gods. Thursday is named after Thor, the god of thunder.
However, the favorite day of the week for most Vikings was Friday. Friday was named after Freya, who was the goddess of marriage and love.
Saturday was the only day of the week that was not named after a Norse god.
Women Had Divorce Rights
Viking women had the right to divorce their husbands. Some possible grounds for divorce included a husband being too lazy to run the farm, having too much hair on his chest and so many more trivial reasons.
They Had Good Hygiene
Historical evidence shows that Vikings took very good care of their personal appearance and hygiene.
They were well-groomed using tools that continued to be used and evolve throughout the centuries.
Many Bleached Their Hair
Vikings believed that blond hair was very beautiful. However, not all of them had this characteristic.
So, back in the day, many Viking men bleached their hair with soap that contained lye. To ensure the full effect, they also bleached their facial hair.