The age of Vikings may have passed, but their way of life still fascinates many of us even in the 21st century. It is a well-known Surprising Facts About Vikings that they were ancient Norse-sea experts who were originally from Scandinavia and did everything from exploring, trading, looting, and colonizing.
Something about them, maybe their sheer ruggedness, their wild adventures, battles they fought with handmade weapons, and how they thrived for over four centuries has made people remember them all this while and get inspired.
There are multiple shows, movies, and cartoons based on the Viking way of life, and it is one of the most liked storylines. While Vikings are fascinating topics in history, they are also among the most interesting people to have ever walked this Earth. They are fearless, lethal, and focused like no other.
Here is a list of 15 Surprising Facts About Vikings:
Table of Contents
#1 – Vikings Buried Their Dead in Boats.
Vikings are a creature of great capabilities, and with capabilities come honor and traditions. One such tradition is the burial of the dead amongst the Vikings. Boats were highly valued and carried emotional sentiment for many Vikings since it’s their preferred means of transport and hold it in very high regard.
Vikings considered it worthy of high honor to bury a dead person in a boat. It was a way of paying their respects.
#2 – They Were Experts at Skiing!
Apart from using the boat as a preferred means of transport, Vikings are also known for their exceptional skiing skills. Scandinavians were among the first people ever to make and use a ski to travel faster on ice and snow. Skiing was a huge part of their culture since there was a lot of snow and ice in Scandinavia. They also had a God of Skiing, Ullr.
#3 – They Considered Men and Women Equal.
Vikings might have existed in times pre-historic to us, but they were far more advanced in their ways of thinking and logic. It is a Fact About Viking women that even in those times, they were seen as equal to men in terms of rights and freedom. Viking women had more rights than most women. They had the freedom to divorce their partner and their lands and properties.
#4 – Vikings Had the Most Extraordinary Pets.
Vikings were tough men, and their nature reflected in the choice of pets they had. Apart from having dogs, cats, and fish, they used to keep falcons, peacocks, bear cub, and polar bears as their pets; however, the latter was reserved only for noblemen.
#5 – Mighty Explorers!
The most time in the lives of Vikings was spent exploring the unknown on this Earth. They went on to explore many new and challenging territories, one of which is Greenland. Yes! Greenland was founded by Scandinavian Vikings back in the day.
#6 – A Large Number of Viking Men Were Farmers.
It may be one of the most Surprising Facts About the Vikings, but many of them were farmers and made use of the sickle more than a sword. It seems to the world that all Vikings were fatal warriors and pirates who explored the world, which is true but not more the majority of Viking men. Only a few were pirates, explorers, and looters, and the rest were mostly farmers. Agriculture was the main source of income.
#7 – Many Vikings Profited off of The Slave Trades.
The Vikings time was a crucial time when slave trades used to happen all around the world. Human trafficking was a growing business, and the Vikings weren’t far behind. Many Vikings used to capture settlements like Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, and Slavic and later enslaved them to traffic them to foreign lands in exchange for money and resources.
#8 – High Sense of Personal and Social Hygiene.
This may come as a bit of a Surprising Fact About Vikings, but what the world is learning now in 2020 through the course of this Covid-19 pandemic, Vikings back in the day had already mastered the art of maintaining personal and social hygiene. They were a very hygienic lot; on one of the excavation sites, combs, blades, and tweezers, among other things, were to be found.
#9 – They Did not Identify Themselves as Vikings.
The word ‘Vikings’ was termed by Sir Walter Scott back in the 19th century, which was inspired by multiple texts in the Scandinavian language. Before that, nobody was even aware of the term Viking and hence wasn’t in use. Hence Vikings didn’t see them as a unified group; they always identified themselves individually.
#10 – They Were Originally From Scandinavia.
Vikings were inhabitants of Scandinavia, representing the land of Northern Europe, which covered the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. However, they traveled to faraway lands such as Baghdad and the Middle East.
#11 – ‘Widow-Maker’ & ‘Corpse Bramble’
These were some of the names that Vikings gave to their swords. They had impressive skills with the sword and treated the weapon with respect, sometimes even keeping names such as these. One of the most Surprising Fact About the Vikings yet!
#12 – They Never Wore the Horned-Helmets.
As depicted in most TV shows and movies, one always imagines a Viking wearing a mean-looking horned helmet on his head, which, although looks fascinating and intimidating, was never a part of a Vikings traditional attire. They used to sport headgears of various sorts but not horned-helmets!
#13 – 20% of the English Language is Derived From Old Norse.
As you know, Vikings were bold Norse men and had a language of their own, which people belonging to the tribe understood. It is believed that 1/5th of the English language words are taken from Old Norse, the ancient language of Scandinavia.
#14 – They Liked Blonde Hair!
One of the most random yet intriguing Facts About Vikings is that Viking men preferred being blonde rather than brunettes or any other color. They used natural materials found in nature to dye their hair blonde.
#15 – They Believed in Their Gods.
Viking people had their gods which they worshipped and believed in. Some days of the week are also named after their God’s names. Although the Viking mythology came long after the times of Roman and Greek mythology yet, they’re not very well known.