Here Are Some Surprising Facts About Vikings I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know
We in the modern era think about Vikings as the ultimate bad-ass warriors, we’ve all heard the stories of Viking raids and that extreme savagery was their calling card. But in reality, those “raids” weren’t necessarily about rapine, they were almost always about “money”. It never made good sense to just sail all over the place looking for a fight, most Viking expeditions were about looking for new trade routes and new and fertile places to colonize.
It is true however, that when the Vikings needed quick cash and slaves, they purposely chose the monasteries of England, it was almost like you and me today going to an ATM to withdraw cash, the monks in these monasteries were mostly scholars and didn’t put up much of a fight and they usually had large stores of food, animals and sometimes gold, that were easy pickings. And because their boats had shallow drafts, they could sail up rivers quietly and launch a surprise attack on their intended victims.
The seafaring Vikings were a group of people that came mostly from the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. They made an enduring name for themselves in the 8th through the 11th centuries for being ferocious tactical warriors, smart traders, and daring explorers. In fact, they arrived in America 1,000 years before Columbus ever did, and archaeologists have found some of their remnants scattered as far east as Russia.
The term Viking means, “pirate raid” in the Old Norse language. The people of Scandinavia commonly used the word as a verb to describe a tradition where men would take off in the summers and go “viking.”
Catholic propaganda is responsible for most of the modern misconception about Vikings (they were pagans, not Christian) The church lost several facilities, treasures, and relics to Scandinavian people, so they made it their mission for many years to make them look like wild beasts.
Pretty much every single Viking costume you have seen in the movies, or video games is a lie. These warriors usually went into battle bareheaded. The whole horned-helm idea came about in Victorian times when Vikings were romanticized. Painters began to depict them as glamorous savages with horned helmets; however, nothing found during the Viking Age shows this image to be in the least bit authentic.