What did the Vikings do that enabled them to start their fires even when they were on the go? Well, they used a fungus known as Touchwood and a waste product, urine to make fire. Eewww…!!! As disgusting it may sound, but, this trick surely helped them to take fire along with them anywhere. What they did was boil the fungus in urine for a couple of days and then this stuff was allowed to burn when pounded into felt.
25. The connection between the slain Vikings and Valkyrie
When a Viking warrior died on the battle field, it was believed that he would be chosen by the Valkyrie and then taken to Valhalla. These Valkyries would be women who would become hand maidens for the slain in Valhalla. At Valhalla, the dead warriors became einherjar, or single fighters who would be cared by the Valkyries. In Norse mythology, the Valkyries are often shown accompanied by swans or ravens.
While the rich Vikings often ate high protein diet including horse meat, seal, seagull and whale, the poorer ones satisfied their hunger with fresh vegetables cultivated on their farms. A typical Viking diet included high protein food with the inclusion of the famed stinky fish head soup.
Apart from the mighty sword and axe that were used primarily by the Vikings, there was another weapon without which a Viking warrior was considered incomplete. It was the shield. Most Viking shields were colorfully painted and some also had spear points attached in the front. This was done for inflicting serious words on the enemy and also for protection against them.
Some Vikings facts such as this one will definitely disappoint all of you that have been fans of strong Vikings and their masculine bodies. Vikings, in fact, were not that heavy muscled and huge as they are shown in various TV series. Instead, most of them were smaller in comparison to other European counterparts. Dampener…right!! The Vikings had summer season that lasted for a very short time and it was very difficult for growing crops and veggies back then. Due to the scarcity of food, many Scandinavians were small built.
Its hard to believe, but, the Vikings were in fact Wordsmiths of their time. They invented many words that have been absorbed by English language such as weak, hell, skull, cake, husband and wife. These words have an origin in the Norse language.
Oh they loved board games! Most famous and popular among these games was Hnefatafl, a chess like game that was played on a board that was checkered. It had two sets of armies, each depicted by small figurines. Some believe that this fact isn’t true, but there are a few that believe otherwise. There is some evidence to prove this point and it comes in the form of the 12th century Walrus Ivory carved Lewis Chessmen, each resembling Vikings.
The rich vikings, namely the Jarls and chieftains could afford many luxuries to live life comfortably unlike the poor. They hosted lavish feasts where German wine flowed freely, and enjoyed sumptuous meals comprising of many kinds of meats and veggies. They also ate from metal plates and owned horses. Some rich Jarls were known to employ skalds for reciting heroic poems, and had better halves that dressed elegantly in fine clothing.
Compared to other European counterparts, the Vikings were a lot better in terms of dressing. They loved to dress in colorful clothes and for this, they used the dye of various plants and flowers like weld, woad and madder. Some prominent colors loved by these Norse folks were red, yellow and blue.
Viking age had many oddities that have now come into light. But, there is still one that needs to be written about. Its about their liking for odd pets! Yes, the Vikings loved to keep pet cats, falcons, peacocks and dogs, but, there was one more animal that often found place in their households – THE BROWN BEAR!! Viking men often went on hunting and collected bear cubs to be kept as house pets. The rich noblemen were also known to keep polar bears.
We hope that after going through this post, all stereotypical myths associated with the Vikings have evaporated only to view these seafaring people in the correct light. The Viking age wasn’t merely bloody, but also had many interesting tales of bravado and inventions. So, don’t have any stereotypes, instead, read more to know these people better!