Explore 33 Surprising Facts about Viking Age

12. Skiing was a popular form of getting around

What did the Vikings do

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Viking age was far more superior than any other that followed it because of many factors, one among which was the invention of skiing by the Norsemen. The Norse people invented skis almost 6000 years ago and skiing was a very popular form of getting around back then. The Vikings also skied for fun and recreation. There was a god of skiing called Ullr whom they worshiped.

13. Vikings were not a part of a unified group

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No viking was ever unified as every tribe followed its own set of rules and laws. Most of them didn’t even call themselves Vikings. In fact all the Viking tribes fought with each other and believed in the concept of ‘the survival of the fittest’.

14. The importance of precious metals in the economy

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Precious metals like silver were valued highly and were considered very important for the functioning of Vikings economy. The Norse people conducted trading with the help of precious metals and coins were generally used as bullion. Most Vikings melted coins into jewelry and ingots.

15. The vikings and their aim to reach Valhalla

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Every Viking wanted to reach the final place called Valhalla – the afterlife for the dead warriors. For this, their ultimate aim was to die bravely in battles. It was a common belief among the Norse people that when any Viking died in battlefield, he would be chosen by the main Aesir God Odin and taken to Valhalla, a majestic hall in Asgard. This hall was the afterlife for the brave and legendary Norse heroes.

16. The link between a nursery rhyme and a Viking

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There may be a link or connection between the rhyme ‘London bridge is falling down’ and Olaf the Stout, a Viking. There are no accounts to prove this, except for a Norse Saga called Heimskringla according to which the London Bridge was destroyed by Stout of Norway in 1014. It could be that Olaf the Stout attached cables from Viking longships to the London Bridge and pulled it down into the River Thames.

17. The dead Vikings were buried in boats

What did the Vikings do

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It was a matter of great honor to be buried in a boat during the times of the Vikings. Norse people believed that brave warriors entered the glorious realms after they died. It was not only the brave Viking men that were given honorable boat burial, women of prominence, too were laid to rest in ships. During their burial, slaves were sacrificed too along with valuable goods and weapons.

18. Viking men and their love for blond

What did the Vikings do

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Viking men were very particular about how they looked, and that included their hair. They loved blond so much so that they would bleach their hair using a strong soap that had generous amounts of lye. Some Vikings bleached their beards for treating lice.

19. The most iconic Viking boat is the longship

What did the Vikings do

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If you have read ancient Vikings history from close quarters, you would certainly have come across a term called longship. The longship was the most iconic boat of the Vikings who were experts in building ships and boats. These boasts had a carrying capacity of a minimum of 60 men and could also travel real fast. How fast? Do you want to know? Well, a longship could go up to 200 km per day! These boats were also called dragon ships because they had electorate carvings. These were the fastest of Viking boats.

20. A viking ship and its crew

What did the Vikings do

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The Vikings sailed on their longships along with crew that comprised of a lookout, a helmsman, a bailer, oarsmen and sailors. These crew members ate not rubbish but nutritious food including dry fruits, preserved and dried fish, and stale bread. Among the crew, the sailors could keep their own belongings in a sea chest. All slept in sleeping bags made out of fur.

21. Vikings and slave trade

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Human trafficking was quite rampant during the age of the Vikings. Norse people engaged in slave trade in order to get rich. The slaves would often include women and children of various settlements that the Vikings raided and included Celtics and Anglo-Saxons. Slaves were called Thralls and were trafficked in bigger slave markets in Europe.

Also Read: 33 Unknown Facts about Pompeii Destruction

22. Vikings made their own soaps

Ancient Vikings History

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During Viking age, people were cleanliness freaks and made their own soaps using conkers. There are enough archaeological evidences to prove this. Conkers are a type of horse chestnut and were easily collected from grounds to make soaps. The Vikings then used the soaps to wash their bodies and hair.