The Vikings are commonly illustrated as popular historical fiction. It got to the point when the Vikings would get novels, shows, and video games made after them with a rough and loud reputation. However, the legendary Vikings were usually ordinary people who are traders, blacksmiths, farmers, and artisans.
Vikings are most known to raid churches, monasteries, and towns, and they did for various reasons. The majority of the Vikings attacked locations were on the coastline because it’s the easiest place to reach, considering they travel with their iconic ships. With it, the warriors can easily swarm towns as they loot and kill as fast as they can return to their ships.
Moreover, If you’re wondering how much truth is there in a stereotypical Viking, let’s uncover these legendary warriors’ true colors with these top seven Viking facts.
The Vikings, Discoverer Of Numerous Lands
The legendary Vikings were the first people who discovered what is now named the Faroe Islands located in the North Atlantic. They discovered the land after sailing further west from the land now named as Norway. Other locations that the Viking discovered include Newfoundland, North America, Iceland, and Greenland.
The Motives of The Vikings are Still A Mystery
The Vikings are popularly known to attack villages, kill the innocent, and take everything they can back to their ships. However, researchers are still baffled with having no idea what their motives were. The most common theory that they had on why the Vikings raid a lot is that they had little to no opportunities back in their homeland.
Another common theory as to why Vikings do what they’re popularly known to do is their unbalanced demographic in Scandinavia. One of which is the uneven number of people; there are more men than women in their homeland—thus having the theory as to why the Vikings raid villages, take all of their riches, and bring home women to be their wives.
Former Slave Traders
One popular activity that the Vikings do is raid the Slavic settlements for slaves. Afterwhich, they are all brought to the east and south to be sold in the market for slaves in Caliphate and Byzantium. Believe it or not, the Vikings were the ones who first practiced taking slaves for labor, thus creating the word ‘Slave.’
No One Knows Where The Viking Originated
Researchers about the matter widely believe in their theories that the Vikings can be traced back to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Back then, when those places were individual countries, the first-ever Viking settlements were housed at one of those regions. The Vikings formerly viewed themselves as a single community with a single culture and language.
No One Knows What It Meant to be A Viking
In Old Norse history, a Viking refers to a particular practice where a ship rower got tired and is passed on to a different sport for a different rower. The name formerly associates a man who is working on a ship. However, another theory of what a Viking means is that it came from the nordic term ‘sea-mile.’
Nevertheless, the theory is less likely to be accepted among well-known scholars, but it does connect a man and the sea. Based on the Old English roots, the term Viking represents a poem about 9th-century raiders and pirates from Scandinavia.
Vikings Didn’t Know How to Write Until the Coming of Christians
The Vikings didn’t have their writing; however, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their language and alphabet. As popular fiction claims, those writings were known as runes. The runes are usually utilized as ritual fashion such as property markers, identifiers, and gravestones.
It was not long until the Roman Catholic Churches came in and introduced to the Vikings what the Roman Alphabets were. It was also that significant time when the Vikings’ famous sagas shifted to be finally set on paper from traditional orally interpreted.
There Are Two Ways on How The Vikings Treat their Dead
Vikings treat their dead in two different ways; they either bury them or cremate their bodies. Either way, the deceased would still receive some form of a ritual and receive funerary offerings. The offerings are usually the drinks, food, and weapons, for the dead to have everything they need to protect themselves from whatever comes in their journey.
Furthermore, noble-born or wealthy Vikings are buried in a unique way. They are buried by a funeral called the ‘ship burials,’ a ritual where the dead will get buried inside a small ship, and the ship would then carry the body to the afterlife safely.
The Vikings Have A Rich History
The history of the Vikings is as extensive as the researchers who study it. Known as Vikinger from the Danish language, the seafaring Vikings are a faction of people from countries that are Scandanavian such as Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. They are popularly known in the 11th century as smart traders, fearless explorers, and, most of all, tactical warriors.