7 Aug 2017

Top Ten Most Fascinating Facts About Vikings

Wow, the fourth season of Vikings really took us by surprise. With the death of Ragnar Lothbrok, (sorry for those who are a season or two behind for the spoiler), we are certainly left hanging and desperate to see what’s next. Kinda like the Game of Thrones Season 6 ending, am I right?

Vikings

And so, while we are waiting for that, here are a couple of fun facts about how the Vikings really are in real life.

10. Vikings were real bros in terms of grooming.

Let us start the list with small details, building from the ground up, shall we? So first, here’s a fun fact. Vikings were actually more concerned in their grooming than what we expect. In fact, they were better groomed compared to other people during that time. They took baths regularly. They combed their hair (head hair and beards included) every day. Archaeologists were able to dig up tweezers and nail cutters. They even had saunas! I certainly know a couple of guys, modern guys, who are more barbaric in terms of grooming compared to our Viking brothers.

9. Vikings didn’t really were those cool horned head gear…regularly.

Before Ragnar Lothbrok and Lagertha became a thing, how did you picture Vikings in your mind? They probably looked more like Stoic from How To Train Your Dragon. A large burly figure with a long fiery red mane and beard, and of course, let us not forget the iconic horned helmet. But, sorry to burst your bubble. In truth, Vikings did not really wear this type of head gear regularly, and most certainly not during battles. Can you imagine these hardcore warriors wearing anything that could possibly stab a comrade, or get entangled with a random branch during battle? Pretty unpractical don’t you think? Hence, they only wear these special head gear during rituals and ceremonies.

8. The Vikings were culinary geniuses and they knew how to make kimchi!

I’ve got to tell you, I’m surprised how cultured these bros are. I already had an idea that they eat well, but somehow, I imagined their food to be quite limited to roasted meat and ale. As it turns out, the Vikings were really good cooks compared to others during that time. They knew how to make sauces and spices, and even knew how to cook fermented cabbage!

7. “I was here” – Random Viking, Hagia Sophia

We already know that Vikings were more adventurous than Dora the Explorer. But did you know that they even reached as far as Istanbul, and even Baghdad! How do we know for sure? Because they left graffiti in the historical, Hagia Sophia!

6. You could thank the Vikings for the Berserk mode in your favorite video game.

Berserk is usually the right word to use when something, or someone, goes in a blood frenzy rage to kill or hurt things with an incredible and irrational strength, so amazing that they don’t feel any pain being inflicted on them! This mode, in video games, usually comes after filling up a certain boost bar, but for the Vikings, where the word itself originated, Berserkers were actually warriors bestowed by the gods with god-like strength, and of course, they go into a violent frenzy without the capacity to be hurt or killed. And for that, I have one word. Legen…wait for it…dary! Legendary!

5. Mr. Wednesday, and his followers, named the days of the week.

If you have ever watched American Gods, then you probably know that Mr. Wednesday is actually Odin. And that Wednesday, was actually named after him. Odin’s Day or Wednesday. See the similarities? And that’s not the only day that the Vikings named. We have Sunday and Monday, the days they offered to the Sun and Moon. Tuesday was named after Tyr, a god of war. Thursday or Thor’s Day for, well, Thor. And Friday, for their goddess of love and fertility. What happened to Saturday, you ask? You can thank the Romans for that, for stealing a day away from Vikings to name it after their god, Saturn.

4. Vikings were more civilized than we think!

It’s not surprising if a lot of us thought of Vikings as uncivilized barbarians. That’s a common stereotype, after all. But now we know that, that is not the case. For one, they were well-groomed, they were good cooks…and did you know that their rights were more advanced compared to other nations during that time? For one, a woman’s dowry remains her own property and were not given to her husband. Women held the keys to money and storage chests and were actually lady bosses in the house. They carry the keys to these chests on their belts as a symbol of power. They also had divorce all figured out, where a woman could divorce her husband anytime she’s not satisfied in their relationship. The custody of the younger kids were automatically given to the mother, while the older kids can choose where to go. And whatever happens in the future, the children would never lose their legal right to inheritance after a parent’s death. They certainly had that all figured out while we still squabble today regarding custody and inheritance. In fact, there are still countries without divorce! Talk about being forward.

3. Vikings discovered America!

My teacher in history can go to the Norse equivalent of hell, for all those boring classes which made me hate going to school. That, and for not believing me when I told him that Columbus wasn’t the first bloke who discovered America. It was the Vikings. Too bad there was no American Gods yet when I was still in grade school. Otherwise, I would have let television and Thoth do all the convincing. Thank the gods for television!

2. Vikings weren’t really called Vikings during their raiding days.

The term “Vikings” didn’t really come into existence, not until the 19th century. So, what did they call these warriors back then? Norse. Or Northmen. Or, well, God’s punishment. Because a lot of English believed that they were punishment by God, and that the villages they raided so brutally were actually being punished for their sins.

1. Vikings were not just all about raiding.

Despite the contrary belief that all the Vikings ever did were raid villages, brutally murder other people, and rape women, the truth is, they are more than that. Vikings usually just do all those raiding and raping at a certain point in their lives, or not at all, actually. They excel in other things and focus on that, like cooking, as we have already mentioned, and farming. Yes, Vikings are expert farmers. That, and expert slave traders.