The Vikings were the most influential people of the middle age, thanks to the notorious nautical activities of their time. They are probably the most misunderstood civilization, as well. They are commonly held under the notion of terrorists who sailed in their ships and wreck havoc on the populations they victimized. But the deeds of the Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians go unnoticed who built a trading empire with the help of merchants who were mostly selling furs and ambers of the Vikings for silver and spices. But the world is so trapped under these false notions that the feats of commerce and exploration alongside the Viking lifestyle are often ignored and do not get the due attention.
The Viking age is considered to have begun in the 790s by the historians and extended till 1066. Until William, the conqueror, set foot on the island of Britain. In the early 11th century, the throne of England was occupied by the Vikings.
- Vikings were farmers before turning adventurous and aggressive towards the world. Farming was still their main form of occupation, and they spent most of their time farming even during the years of conquering to make ends meet. Almost everyone from their population depended on the goods and products that came from their rural farmsteads.
- The farming work of viking lives like all civilizations, was divided among the men and women. The women were assigned the tasks that could be done within the periphery of the household. Men were given the tasks of farming that were outside their houses.
- As for women, they were assigned to two critical tasks. This included producing clothes and preparing food. They baked, cooked, and even made alcoholic drinks. They also made dairy products such as milk, butter, and cheese. The milking of the milk-producing animals was indeed done outside the threshold of their houses.
- Sometimes women of viking life even took on the duty of being a shepherd while the animals were out grazing. The primary materials the women used for clothing were wool and flax, which were complemented by animal skin and plants such as hemp on minor occasions. The women became very adept in making alcoholic beverages.
- The Vikings were known to be enjoying these alcoholic beverages in their time. These were mead, beer, and fruit wine. The mead was made from honey, the beer was made from barley, with hops for added flavor. The fruit wine was made from the various fruits that grew in their homeland. They were not learned in the distillation of liquor, so they had to be content with these forms of alcohol.
- The men of viking lives had to take care of the agricultural work. This included fertilizing, plowing, sowing, harvesting, and threshing. But during the times of harvest, the situation demanded as many hands as possible. So women also joined in during these times.
- The men had to do the most laborious tasks. They had to make all the necessary items required for farming, like a plow made from wood. They also had to do demanding tasks such as dunging fields and build buildings.
- Even though life looks simple on paper, the times they were in were throwing challenges at them any time in the forms of famines and natural disasters. To live like a viking farming work required an incredible amount of input, and in addition to the sudden mishaps, the men always had to be on their toes to keep things straight.
- They grew crops such as barley, oats, and rye. And cattle animals like sheep, pigs, chicken, goat, and horses.
- The first step the men took in the agricultural cycle was plowing. This was done with a piece of vertical shaped equipment, the ard. This instrument was clinical in breaking soil but was unable to take turns. So for cross plowing, the plowing was carried out twice. One row of plow being perpendicular to the other.
- Viking lifestyle believed in crop rotation to keep the soil fertilized. They also used animal and human dung as natural fertilizers. After the harvest was available, the cutting of the crops was done by men with scythes. The grains were taken over by the women to make bread, beer, and other food products. The grains were usually grounded using the handmills.
- The Vikings People lived in houses made from timber, and in some regions where wood was scarce, they built them with turf or stone. The houses exhibited their belief in simple living places. The houses were shaped in a rectangular fashion with a sweet hole in the roof to let the smoke out of the room.
- A few of the viking lives were skilled fishermen and worked wholeheartedly. They were able to catch fish from both freshwater and the sea. They were also known to have hunted down whales on various occasions.
- Vikings loved a portion of protein in their meals. The pork was their go-to favorite alongside other meat products and fish. In view of this, salt was a vital commodity for them. The salt was brought from merchants to preserve both fish and meat to be eaten during the long winters when food would be scarce.
- Horses were used as their main form of transportation, for both humans and their goods. To live like a viking, they had to be great horse riders.
- Another event which fascinated them was skiing. And the Vikings found a liking to this sport instantly, and was their primary form of recreation. The testament that the Vikings were so much in love with skiing can be addressed by their worship of Ullr, the god of skiing.
- Apart from this, they enjoyed wrestling, racing, and fighting games. Wrestling was even taught to kids from a certain age. And for entertainment purposes, after the sun had set, they stuck to the board games to occupy their time.
Even though the Vikings race is aggressive and monstrous, most of them led hard-working and straightforward lives.
I hope this article has given you a peek into the viking life.