The Northmen, whom we call Vikings in modern parlance, were widespread in large parts of Scandinavia from the 8th to 11th centuries. Modern people are fascinated by what the life of these Vikings must have been like, which can be seen from the number of films and television programs that we keep making about them. The problem is that many things are misinterpreted or overlooked. Vikings have much more to offer than we might think. Look here!
10. They sold unicorn horns
The life of a Viking was by no means just looting and raiding, as some older films made it seem. Vikings had a robust life at home, and many of them were mostly simple farmers. They were also traders and because of their seafaring, they could go to places and find things that many others and Europe had never seen before. This gave the Vikings a remarkable advantage in selling unusual items. And maybe that meant one or two Vikings were a little ruthless when it came to describing what they were selling.
Well, native hunters in Canada and Greenland had long harvested narwhal for their meat and used the long tusk that made the whale famous when the Europeans first saw these horns in their minds that went with that which must have been a very obvious conclusion at the time. It had come from a unicorn .
A narwhal tusk is actually a spiral tooth that basically grows from its mouth through the lip and directly through the face of the whale. It turns around and around as it grows to keep it straight. The result is that it corresponds to the historical, if fictional, description of what a unicorn's horn might look like. Viking sailors, who could find narwhals in the cold northern waters that they call home, took advantage of other Europeans' belief that this was from mythical creatures. It probably made sure that they could get a much higher price from a buyer.
9. They Wore No Horned Helmets
If you ask someone to describe a Viking, you will likely get the picture of a stocky, muscle-bound warrior wearing a giant sword and wearing a massive horned helmet over his unruly blond hair. And while the Northmen were known as blond and preferred swords in battle, this helmet on their head is the product of pure fiction.
Horned helmets were probably just not a thing Vikings wore. In fact, we have few examples of Viking helmets left and no horns were attached to any of them. There are artistic examples of warriors wearing helmets, especially a tapestry that comes from a Norwegian burial site. This shows some berserk warriors wearing horned helmets. However, there is no real contemporary research showing that this was a literal practice that the warriors dealt with. If they went into battle and traveled to new countries with their boats, space would be scarce and space for a huge and admittedly impractical horned helmet would have been a bad idea.
While it is possible that horned helmets were worn for ceremonial purposes, the fact that our real setting of these giant horns would have been in the way of getting them did the job of the fight. It is just as likely that very few Vikings wore helmets at all when they went to battle, and those who wore the very simple kind, like the only example of a surviving Viking helmet that exists today.
8. The biggest petrified droppings ever from a Viking
When we learned something about history, not everything was rainbow and sunshine. Sometimes bad things happened, sometimes things got dirty. And sometimes historians have to acknowledge that the petrified relic they found is the world's largest Viking poop .
Known by the oddly well-known name of Lloyds Bank Coprolite, this 8 x 2 inch sucker is in the Jórvík Viking Center in York, England. It was discovered in 1972 under the Lloyds Bank building. It's worth an impressive $ 39,000 today.
The fool scientifically referred to as coprolite because it is a somewhat more respectable name is significant because these fossilized remains are usually very rare. And this is the largest ever discovered. The analysis showed that the Viking who produced this monster was a man who ate a lot of meat and some cereal grains. Also noteworthy was the number of parasitic worms that were in this poor guy's gut.
7. Vikings never drank Brennivin
Brennivin is an Icelandic brandy flavored with caraway seeds and some of Iceland's unofficial drink. The name means "fire wine" and is also called "black death". It is widely touted as a traditional Viking drink, and you can find a number of locations that imply the same . The problem is, none of this is true .
According to historian Stefán Pálsson, the Icelandic government introduced a ban in 1915. As with the American ban, people had no respect for this law and started with the moonlight. The ban ended by 1975 and the government needed a way to combat the widespread spread of the illegal alcohol trade. So they came up with cheap and easy to use Brennivin. It worked so well that it not only dominated the market but also gained a reputation for being a kind of bum wine, a cheap alcohol that was easy to abuse.
To combat Brennivn's bad reputation, marketers came up with the idea that fire wine was a relapse to the Viking Age, a powerful drink drunk by Icelandic warlike ancestors.
6. Vikings gave money to children's teeth
If you ever had a reason to google the origins of the tooth fairy myth, or just wanted to open another window and try it now, you can find many dentist websites that tell the story, like The tooth fairy has Viking origins. This is a big oversimplification of what's really going on, but you can definitely see where the tooth fairy story has evolved from a Viking custom.
There was no fairy in the Viking tradition who came and took teeth from children, but the Vikings valued children's teeth as good luck charms. The concept of a " dental fee " with something that the Vikings created to give something valuable in exchange for children's teeth. And it was said that the collected teeth were strung together on necklaces to bring luck in the fight.
5. Vikings who left graffiti
Maeshow was a burial site on the Orkney Islands from the Neolithic period. When it was excavated in 1861, the excavators found that they had been deceived into being the first to discover it. In the chamber they discovered a number of rune graffiti left by Vikings.
Vikings discovered the place 800 years earlier and protected themselves from a winter storm. The runes with which they peppered the site leave no doubt that these were just the works of bored men who wanted to mark a wall exactly as someone could do with a can of spray paint today.
One of the inscriptions on the wall reads "Ingigerth is the most beautiful of all women." It is next to a picture of a dog. Others read "Ofram, the son of Sigurd, carved these runes" and "Tholfir Kolbeinsson carved these runes".
4. Theres is an old Saxon poem depicting Jesus as a Viking warrior
Have you ever wondered how Christianity has managed to spread to so many different groups of people across Europe? One reason it was so attractive was that those who spread it managed to adapt it to the audience. In some places, this is more obvious than in the poem that portrays Jesus as a Viking warrior. Because if you want people to believe in your God, make it something they can leave behind.
The poem Heliand was written in the 9th century and called Jesus not only a war chief, but also the last supper "The last Met Hall festival with the warrior companions".
3. Vikings had remarkably good hygiene and their hair was bleached
We often portray the stereotypical Vikings from popular culture as wild and neglected, a barbarian of the north who was rude and rugged. Historical evidence suggests that personal hygiene was very important to the Vikings. It was known that the men used a lye-based dye to lighten their hair because they appeared to prefer blonde. We have discovered tombs for men and women that contain a variety of grooming materials, including combs and other hair products.
It is known that women often wash and cut hair for men. especially before going on a trip. They were also legal prohibitions to intentionally dirty someone. In fact, if you pushed another man into water, dirt, food, or even urine, they were severe punishments. This shows that cleanliness was something the Vikings took seriously.
2. Vikings used urine-soaked mushrooms as fire starters
Anyone who has watched Survivor or Naked and Afraid or has simply forgotten to bring matches while camping knows that a fire is starting It is not the easiest thing in the world. Modern technology makes it fairly simple, safe, but before the advent of matches and lighters and without a handy flint, how did the ancient peoples do it?
In the case of the Vikings, they managed to find help in the natural world to create a kind of chemically operated tinder. A fungus known as Touchwood or tinder fungus grows in and around Europe. Not the smartest name, but it was descriptive.
It was not so easy for the Vikings to have a mushroom nearby that was flammable. The way tinderhead works is that the Vikings would cut off the outside of it to get to the inside flesh of the mushroom. The inner stuff would be sliced and beaten thin. Once knocked down into a felt-like material, they would process it into charcoal paper, which survivors still use today. Essentially, it's a charred piece of cloth that's extremely easy to ignite with one or two simple sparks. Good stuff to start a fire when you have it.
The Vikings then boiled this tinder mush char in their own urine. The sodium nitrate in the urine allowed this mushroom charcoal to smolder for days without actually starting a fire. This meant that the Vikings could carry this smoldering cloth around with them in a container on their journey and easily light a fire if necessary with dry lighting and tinder without having to worry about starting a new spark every time.
1. Vikings sailed with cats
If you have ever wondered how domestic cats have spread so widely around the world, don't ask yourself anymore. The Vikings were instrumental in helping our cat friends across Europe and the world, as they are known to sell with cats on board their ships to control the rodent population.
Genetic studies have shown that cats worldwide expanded into large waves . The first ancient extension was essentially where the domestic cat came from the Middle East. A second expansion followed later and was largely due to seafarers like the Vikings. And, as it turned out, fighting rodents wasn't the only benefit Vikings found when giving birth to cats.
Additional investigations have shown numerous cat skeletons in Viking tombs. The reason was not that they loved to bury their beloved cat friends as Vikings apparently use them for their fur. Examination of numerous cat skeletons has shown that most of them in these grave pits either had broken necks or clear markings on skulls and bones, showing that they had been skinned with a tool. The cats that thrived in these cold climates would probably have had fairly sturdy skins that could have provided warm clothing at the time.
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