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Ulf
Saturday, October 25th, 2008, 09:25 PM
Vikings Preferred Male Grooming to Pillaging

But Cambridge University has launched a campaign to recast them as "new men" with an interest in grooming, fashion and poetry.

Academics claim that the old stereotype is damaging, and want teenagers to be more appreciative of the Vikings' social and cultural impact on Britain.

They say that the Norse explorers, far from being obsessed with fighting and drinking, were a largely-peaceful race who were even criticised for being too hygienic.

The university's department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic has published a guide revealing how much of the Vikings' history has been misrepresented.

They did not, in fact, wear horned or winged helmets. And they appear to have been a vain race who were concerned about their appearance.

"It seems that the Vikings may not have been as hairy and dirty as is commonly imagined," the guide says.

"A medieval chronicler, John of Wallingford, talking about the eleventh century, complained that the Danes were too clean - they combed their hair every day, washed every Saturday, and changed their clothes regularly."

The guide reveals that Norsemen were also stylish trend-setters: "Contemporaries who met individual Vikings were struck by the extreme bagginess of their trousers.

"A tenth-century Persian explorer described trousers (of Vikings in Russia) that were made of one hundred cubits of material, and a number of runestones depict warriors with flared breeches."

The traditional view of the Vikings as "illiterate warring thugs" exaggerates considerably the reality of their life, the academics argue.

"Although Norse men and women may have sometimes liked fighting and drinking, and were sometimes buried with weapons, they also spent much of their time in peaceful activities such as farming, building, writing and illustrating."

The guide points out that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a contemporary list of notable events beginning in the ninth century and running through to the twelfth, records some battles, but not for every year.

"Life can't have been as violent as we sometimes like to imagine," it adds.

Dr Elizabeth Rowe, a Viking expert and lecturer in Scandinavian mediaeval history at the university, said it was important that children should not picture the Norse warriors as an aggressive race, preoccupied with raping and looting.

"Many British children are quite likely to have Viking ancestry and we want to make them think about the reality of their past," she said.

"It's damaging to think that they were simply a violent society, and easy to undermine them as a people who have no redeeming qualities.

"The truth is that their culture was very artistic and they were keen to make an impression because they want to cultivate a certain look. They were very concerned about their appearance."

The first burial ground of Viking origin in Britain was located only four years ago. Discoveries at the site have challenged the romanticised picture of a noble savage race, perpetuated most famously in Wagner's operas and Hollywood films.

Archaeologists in Cumbria unearthed the remains of Viking men and women buried with copper brooches, jewellery, and riding gear as well as swords and spears.

Dr Francis Pryor, an archaeologist and regular on the Channel Four series Time Team, said the discovery had shown the Norse warriors to be part of an advanced society.

He said: "Far from the illiterate warring thugs in horned helmets who brought us to new depths of barbarism after landing by boat to sack monasteries and molest women, they were a settled and remarkably civilised people who integrated into community life and joined the property-owning classes."

Source (https://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tele graph.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fnewstopics%2Fhowabo utthat%2F3256539%2FVikings-preferred-male-grooming-to-pillaging.html)

Dagna
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 04:29 AM
Violent Vikings

Vikings have been pictured as violent people in text and movies since the 900's. Rape, pillage, and plunder is the standard view of them. Much of what has been written about them has been fiction/fantasy books. The most popular, and really monotonous, title for a book is "The Vikings" in both fiction and historical. I checked out how many different authors have used this title for their book, and stopped counting after I reached 100. I have not checked this out, so it may not be true, but it looks like this is the number one title for a book. Factual history and wild fantasy seem to love this title. Somewhere the two become mixed in one giant blur of factual myth. Now comes the hard part, how do you separate the two?

Violence and bloodshed through out our history is not a new thing. Turn on the evening news and you can watch all kinds of violence, death, and grieving victims. The war that we have right now is only one example of these things on the news. Accidents, robberies, crimes, and even natural disasters bound off the television screen on all of the networks, and jump off the pages of our morning newspaper. These are the things that we see in the news media. The news media only gives us what we really want to see, so this is not really an indictment against them, but what human nature wants us to see. As a case in point I would like to ask you to check how many happy stories are on the television, or in the newspapers. I really do not believe you will find many, and if you do it will be on page 12 with the Walmart ad. Happy stories do not attract a lot attention from viewers or readers. Now if we may, roll back the clock to a thousand years ago, and what were the major news events of those days. Just about the same as we see today. Little has changed since the beginning of mankind. The same things that are important today are the same things that were important back then. When we read the history of the Vikings why are we so surprised at the violence that is recorded in those stories. We're just looking at human nature in its worst form. We, the human race, seem to be obsessed with only bad news.

Were Vikings really violent people? Yes, to some they were, but to others they were everyday people trying to make a living in very difficult times. How many times did the Vikings really raid the other nations of the world? The answer to that question will never be known. First you have to remember that Viking was a job title, and not a race of people. One of the great errors in history is to call all the Scandinavian people Vikings. For the most part they should be called Norsemen, and not Vikings. Vikings are raiders, and people that live a seafaring life. This would be a raider, or a trader. Today the name Viking has come to mean raider or pirate to the historically knowledgeable, and the Scandinavians to those there are not. Vikings were made up of everyday people from all over the world, and not just Scandinavians. Irish, Germans, English, Scottish, and even people from Africa were Vikings!. Did the people of Scandinavia really do all of these raids? There are numerous papers written from this time that tell of raiders from these other countries being called a Viking. It was a convenient thing to blame all the raids on the Norsemen, even if only a small percentage were actually done by them. We have stories of raids that really happened at the hands of the Norsemen. We have stories of raids that never happened, and were nothing more than political propaganda. Why would anyone want to lie about raids? The answer is really quite simple, and not a big mystery. The Dane Law controlled two-thirds of England, and was a giant threat to the English throne. The Norse, for the most part, were not Christian and that presented a problem to the Church. To go back to the original question, were Vikings really violent people? The answer to that is still yes. The real question is were those Vikings Scandinavian.

A thousand years ago you would report a raid as a Viking raid, and really did not care if they were Irish, or Scottish, or even Norse. What did concern you was that you were raided. There is one other possibility for raiders from Scandinavia, and that possibility is Vandals. The Vandals were still recorded, in Viking text, as existing late in the mid 900's. Most historians have said that the Vandal Age ended 200 years before the Viking Age began. This would not appear to be the case if the Vikings were still writing about them almost 500 years after they were to have disappeared. This group of Scandinavian were known for their violent ways, and brutal raids. We cannot discount the possibility that some of the raids were done by Vandals. Archaeological evidence in England has shown that they were there, and did raid England. How can you tell a Vandal from a Viking? By the color of their eyes, or hair? By the clothing that they wear? Maybe by the ship that they sail? All these questions seem rather foolish when you consider the fact that they are both Scandinavian.

Most of what I have written so far is just to add to the confusion about Vikings, and all those raids that they were supposed to have done. What I really would like to point out is that the history of the Vikings is more complicated than what many would have us believe. When we look at the Vikings are we really looking at the Norse people, or are we looking at people from many different nations that also called Vikings. I begin this article with the horrors that are presented in our news media everyday. I linked that news together with what we read in our history books. I really do not believe that any of you think that what is reported in the news media represents your daily life. The vast majority of us live a very quiet and peaceful life, a life that is filled with family, work, and our hobbies. I think you do get the idea that the image of the Scandinavian people during the Viking age may not have been filled with so much violence, and filled far more with work and family.


What was the everyday life of a Norse man and woman really like? We know from historical record that their family and friends were among the most important things of their life. Most of them want to own a farm, or a business. They wanted to provide the best that life could offer to their family. The last thing they wanted to see happening was violence. Violence and war put their families at risk, as well as everything they had worked for. Violence and war are a fact of life, and the real story is how you deal with it. Since man first recorded the events around him it was of war and violence, and how they delt with it. In all these thousands of years we never really found any different subject matters to occupy our attention, or how to deal with it.

It seems that we never really record the lives of people that have a happy and normal life. When we read those stories so carefully written down all those hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago try remember that 99 percent of them are no different than the headlines of today. I am the first to tell you that most of what I have written is fluff. No real news media would consider it more that that. What it is is a great way for me to lead into other stories. I hope to put flesh, and not fluff in the others. This will be a start to a look at everyday life in Scandinavia during what we call the Viking Age.

http://www.vikingage.com/vac/violent.html

rainman
Saturday, November 15th, 2008, 10:56 PM
Yes I agree the sagas are made to be exiting. However I get concerned when people feel a need to appologize or play down the role of war in Germanic society.

The concept of bravery, strength, personal sacrafice, heroism, and battle is a part of Aryo-Germanic culture. It does not stem from a love of killing. It stems from an understanding of life.

If you are weak firstly you cannot be honorable. You cannot have morals. Let's say you are a puny pacifist Christian. You beleive in all these higher ideals but you don't believe in standing up for yourself. Your church tells you to do something wrong- you do it. A bully forces you into doing something you don't like- you comply. The old ways was to associate nobility, honor, and kindness with strength and bravery. Today we associate strength and bravery with being immoral and thugish. A coward by his very nature will only do the will of his most persuasive master. He cannot therefore have any values or morals of his own.

The second thing if you are weak you can only live as a slave and luckily at that. To survive and flourish you must be willing to fight. Typically in our history there were times of famine. Two tribes would exist- only enough food for one. They fight until one is destroyed and the other can eat. Better than having both tribes starve. Even in times of plenty the ethic of the warrior was maintained as neccessary for a higher more noble (civilized) life.

In fact Europeans seem almost exclusive in that they had two types of battle. One was civilized warfare. It had rules. It was like a dangerous game. The other was normally what we think of war and was brutal, dishonorable and to be avoided. Why did men fight? To stay strong, healthy and honorable.

Same with the concept of the duel. Not only found in Viking culture but all European culture even up until 100 years ago. It is part of our culture. It ensures that the next generation is healthy. It ensures that the men are brave and willing to stand up for what is right.

It is a conflict of ideals- the traditionalist believes that if everybody has guns and is well trained, knows how to use them and willing to use them that crime will go down. The liberal/Christian view is that crime will go up. One sees the warrior as good and neccessary, the other as evil and to be avoided.

Thus in Aryan culture we tell legends of great battles and great warriors. Of strong princes rescuing young maidens. In Christian culture we have stories of Jesus allowing himself to be beat to death and hung on a cross without resistance. Or Noah building an ark because his master told him too. Or Soddam and Gemorah being destroyed because they didn't do what they were told. And so on.

The warrior image is necessary for Asatru and true Germanic culture. Without it, what we have isn't really truly Aryan.

Ironically probably the closet surviving representation of the old ways is the modern Italian "mafia" culture. They maintain the tribalism of the past, the warrior values, much of the familial culture etc. found among all Aryans in the past. No doubt this has nothing to do with crime- it is about ruling yourself and rejecting central authority just as the Vikings fleeing to Iceland did. Some individuals may make bad choices in this system and the government demonizes them because they compete for power with the gov.

Anfang
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008, 05:42 AM
"By the color of their eyes, or hair? By the clothing that they wear? Maybe by the ship that they sail? All these questions seem rather foolish when you consider the fact that they are both Scandinavian.:"



One way is by the swords and helmets, scabbards and fittings.I will upload some Viking and Vendel stuff up to my gallery tomorrow.

I dont think the questions are that foolish because the different cultures had different energiy. artistically *very* different.


Violent Vikings

Vikings have been pictured as violent people in text and movies since the 900's. Rape, pillage, and plunder is the standard view of them. Much of what has been written about them has been fiction/fantasy books. The most popular, and really monotonous, title for a book is "The Vikings" in both fiction and historical. I checked out how many different authors have used this title for their book, and stopped counting after I reached 100. I have not checked this out, so it may not be true, but it looks like this is the number one title for a book. Factual history and wild fantasy seem to love this title. Somewhere the two become mixed in one giant blur of factual myth. Now comes the hard part, how do you separate the two?

Violence and bloodshed through out our history is not a new thing. Turn on the evening news and you can watch all kinds of violence, death, and grieving victims. The war that we have right now is only one example of these things on the news. Accidents, robberies, crimes, and even natural disasters bound off the television screen on all of the networks, and jump off the pages of our morning newspaper. These are the things that we see in the news media. The news media only gives us what we really want to see, so this is not really an indictment against them, but what human nature wants us to see. As a case in point I would like to ask you to check how many happy stories are on the television, or in the newspapers. I really do not believe you will find many, and if you do it will be on page 12 with the Walmart ad. Happy stories do not attract a lot attention from viewers or readers. Now if we may, roll back the clock to a thousand years ago, and what were the major news events of those days. Just about the same as we see today. Little has changed since the beginning of mankind. The same things that are important today are the same things that were important back then. When we read the history of the Vikings why are we so surprised at the violence that is recorded in those stories. We're just looking at human nature in its worst form. We, the human race, seem to be obsessed with only bad news.

Were Vikings really violent people? Yes, to some they were, but to others they were everyday people trying to make a living in very difficult times. How many times did the Vikings really raid the other nations of the world? The answer to that question will never be known. First you have to remember that Viking was a job title, and not a race of people. One of the great errors in history is to call all the Scandinavian people Vikings. For the most part they should be called Norsemen, and not Vikings. Vikings are raiders, and people that live a seafaring life. This would be a raider, or a trader. Today the name Viking has come to mean raider or pirate to the historically knowledgeable, and the Scandinavians to those there are not. Vikings were made up of everyday people from all over the world, and not just Scandinavians. Irish, Germans, English, Scottish, and even people from Africa were Vikings!. Did the people of Scandinavia really do all of these raids? There are numerous papers written from this time that tell of raiders from these other countries being called a Viking. It was a convenient thing to blame all the raids on the Norsemen, even if only a small percentage were actually done by them. We have stories of raids that really happened at the hands of the Norsemen. We have stories of raids that never happened, and were nothing more than political propaganda. Why would anyone want to lie about raids? The answer is really quite simple, and not a big mystery. The Dane Law controlled two-thirds of England, and was a giant threat to the English throne. The Norse, for the most part, were not Christian and that presented a problem to the Church. To go back to the original question, were Vikings really violent people? The answer to that is still yes. The real question is were those Vikings Scandinavian.

A thousand years ago you would report a raid as a Viking raid, and really did not care if they were Irish, or Scottish, or even Norse. What did concern you was that you were raided. There is one other possibility for raiders from Scandinavia, and that possibility is Vandals. The Vandals were still recorded, in Viking text, as existing late in the mid 900's. Most historians have said that the Vandal Age ended 200 years before the Viking Age began. This would not appear to be the case if the Vikings were still writing about them almost 500 years after they were to have disappeared. This group of Scandinavian were known for their violent ways, and brutal raids. We cannot discount the possibility that some of the raids were done by Vandals. Archaeological evidence in England has shown that they were there, and did raid England. How can you tell a Vandal from a Viking? By the color of their eyes, or hair? By the clothing that they wear? Maybe by the ship that they sail? All these questions seem rather foolish when you consider the fact that they are both Scandinavian.

Most of what I have written so far is just to add to the confusion about Vikings, and all those raids that they were supposed to have done. What I really would like to point out is that the history of the Vikings is more complicated than what many would have us believe. When we look at the Vikings are we really looking at the Norse people, or are we looking at people from many different nations that also called Vikings. I begin this article with the horrors that are presented in our news media everyday. I linked that news together with what we read in our history books. I really do not believe that any of you think that what is reported in the news media represents your daily life. The vast majority of us live a very quiet and peaceful life, a life that is filled with family, work, and our hobbies. I think you do get the idea that the image of the Scandinavian people during the Viking age may not have been filled with so much violence, and filled far more with work and family.


What was the everyday life of a Norse man and woman really like? We know from historical record that their family and friends were among the most important things of their life. Most of them want to own a farm, or a business. They wanted to provide the best that life could offer to their family. The last thing they wanted to see happening was violence. Violence and war put their families at risk, as well as everything they had worked for. Violence and war are a fact of life, and the real story is how you deal with it. Since man first recorded the events around him it was of war and violence, and how they delt with it. In all these thousands of years we never really found any different subject matters to occupy our attention, or how to deal with it.

It seems that we never really record the lives of people that have a happy and normal life. When we read those stories so carefully written down all those hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago try remember that 99 percent of them are no different than the headlines of today. I am the first to tell you that most of what I have written is fluff. No real news media would consider it more that that. What it is is a great way for me to lead into other stories. I hope to put flesh, and not fluff in the others. This will be a start to a look at everyday life in Scandinavia during what we call the Viking Age.

http://www.vikingage.com/vac/violent.html

Angelcynn Beorn
Tuesday, November 18th, 2008, 11:11 PM
Sometimes i feel like i waste my time responding to these sorts of posts. But in threads that have nothing to do with religion, when someone still manages to drag Christianity into it and blame it for all their ills, i feel duty bound to respond. Out of respect for historcial accuracy and the truth if nothing else.

Let's say you are a puny pacifist Christian.

Or you could give the example of the numerous Christian warrior Orders that were around in the medieval age, and had reputations as some of the best warriors in the known world. But somehow i think you will be glossing over that fact.

It is a conflict of ideals- the traditionalist believes that if everybody has guns and is well trained, knows how to use them and willing to use them that crime will go down. The liberal/Christian view is that crime will go up. One sees the warrior as good and neccessary, the other as evil and to be avoided.

A-ha. So you're saying that the gun loving traditionalists aren't Christians, but those who want to ban guns are predominantly Christians?

I'm willing to take that bet with you, if you have the courage of your convictions.

Thus in Aryan culture we tell legends of great battles and great warriors. Of strong princes rescuing young maidens. In Christian culture we have stories of Jesus allowing himself to be beat to death and hung on a cross without resistance. Or Noah building an ark because his master told him too. Or Soddam and Gemorah being destroyed because they didn't do what they were told. And so on.

David and Goliath wasn't a Christian tale then? The story of St George and the dragon wasn't embraced throughout Christendom then?

Or how about the story of Baldur, how the pagan Gods were so scared of losing him that they begged every object in the world not to harm him?

Evidently, your claims are beyond repute...

Ironically probably the closet surviving representation of the old ways is the modern Italian "mafia" culture. They maintain the tribalism of the past, the warrior values, much of the familial culture etc.

To be fair, you could say the same about a great many different groups. Football hooligans are probably the best representatives of real, primitive tribalism that we have in the west these days.

Anlef
Wednesday, November 19th, 2008, 01:32 AM
It was a convenient thing to blame all the raids on the Norsemen, even if only a small percentage were actually done by them.

Only a small percentage? It's too bad the author doesn't state his sources. It's one thing to question historical accounts, it's another to come up with a very bold claim yourself and not backing this up with your own sources.

I understand the appeal the Vikings have for all those interested in Germanic heritage. They were powerful, did much exploring and traded far and wide. They also seemed to have knack for preying on other Germanics: burning Germanic villages & cities, raping & stealing Germanic women, taking Germanic wealth & lands, etc. etc.

In many ways the Vikings were the last echo of a fading aspect of general Germanic society which had always been problematic: the dominion of warlords who needed to keep the flow of booty going to maintain the loyalty of their retainers. Perpetual war & strife is detrimental to all sides: the victims suffer directly, the aggressors indirectly by their drain of strong, young men.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e7/Steuben_-_Bataille_de_Poitiers.png/300px-Steuben_-_Bataille_de_Poitiers.png

Apart from this, those 'puny pacifist Christians' were also responsible for preventing Europe from being overrun by Muslim hordes. The Frankish king Charles Martel surprised friend & foe by defeating heavy Arab cavalry with mostly just infantry. Heavy cavalry was a novelty back then and soon after the Franks implemented it in their own armed forces. But of course the Franks also used this new technology to greatly damage the Frisians, Saxons and other fellow Germanics.

My point is: let's not idolise any group any more than we should.

Saxnot
Friday, April 24th, 2009, 03:10 PM
And the feminization of western society marches on. Durn durn durn...

Freja_se
Friday, April 24th, 2009, 03:31 PM
"A medieval chronicler, John of Wallingford, talking about the eleventh century, complained that the Danes were too clean - they combed their hair every day, washed every Saturday, and changed their clothes regularly."



LOL


I think it is true that the stereotype we have is somewhat incorrect since it puts almost all focus on the Vikings fighting wars and conquering, and being brutal. It's easy to forget that they also probably lead normal, peaceful lives among themselves, took care of their homes, brought up their children, had loving family- and friend relationships and took an interest in clothes and design.

I think those aspects are sometimes totally forgotten since people are so fascinated by the other, more aggressive aspects of their personality and history.

In that sense I think this report, together with what we already know, can give a more complete and less one-sided picture of what they were really like.

rainman
Friday, April 24th, 2009, 06:48 PM
This is true in large part, but also Germanic culture was about bravery, self sacrifice, heroism, competition etc.

SylviaPolaris
Sunday, April 26th, 2009, 02:03 PM
Regis Boyer, French specialist in Nordic civilisation, wrote some books about this topic, already in 1992. All of his books and sogür translations are very interesting. I highly recommend.

Zimobog
Sunday, April 26th, 2009, 08:21 PM
I don't see anything wrong with this article other than the author's choice of words in a few places. I guess that's the spin they wanted. Are there any outright lies here?

Vikings did belong to advanced society, they did like their jewlery, they probally took more baths than Saxons if we believe the primary source, we know as a society they enjoyed poetry, winged or horned helms are a myth, etc. The basic facts are correct. I see no harm indended.

This effort might make the study of Germanic history and culture more appealling to a new batch school-age kids, who knows. It shows the complexity and depth of our ancient societies.

There will always be enough fighting and feuding in the sources and "stereo-types" so I don't see the "re-inventors" being able to fully erase it, even if they wanted to. There will always be those of us who are most interested in the more martial aspects of the Viking Age anyhow :thumbup.

No harm done, imo.

snublefot
Sunday, April 26th, 2009, 09:12 PM
For those of us who have grown up with the Saga of the Norse kings, Edda and the Viking museums sost 5 minutes away these things have been evident all the time.

If you come to Oslo, take an hour or two and visit the vault at the historic museum to study some of the Viking jewelery artwork. You will be blown away over the craftmanship they had back then.

Gold wasn't the most valuable item of viking society though. The most valued thing of all was the sail of the longships. It was considered priceless and it was a capital offense to damage the sail. It took the underwool of 30 000 sheep for 3 years to make such a sail. Imagine the price in today's money for something that time and resource consuming!

TheGreatest
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 12:47 PM
Soon they'll be telling us that Vikings had sexual relations with African (Congoid) Slaves or were ''searching for gold'' on their longboat. Excuse my euphemisms but nothing the media could print would surprise me anymore.

thoughtcrime
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 01:13 PM
I can verify at least the part with the winged and horned helms. It's a myth from the christian medieval/rennaisance era, no (or very few) viking(s) ever wore a horned helmet in combat. Why should they? The vikings were cunning warriors, they used what's PRACTICAL at first. Horned and winged helms existed as decoration in viking halls though.

I agree with Zimobog. Nothing wrong or effeminate with being hygienic or being skilled in various arts.

Out of Germania
Monday, August 3rd, 2009, 10:54 PM
I figure people here will enjoy this :D

When most of us think of vikings, we see horn-helmeted violent blond men raping and pillaging everything in sight. But, in fact, many of these images are misconceived – as you are about to find out. The Vikings lived from the late eighth to the early eleventh century and their relatively short history had had a massive impact on western society.
10 One Nation

http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/793px-viking-expansion.svg-tm.jpg?w=400&h=262 (http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/793px-viking-expansion.svg.png)
Misconception: The Vikings were a nation
The Vikings were not one nation but different groups of warriors, explorers and merchants led by a chieftain. During the Viking age, Scandinavia was not separated into Denmark, Norway and Sweden as it is today, instead each chieftain ruled over a small area. The word Viking does not refer to any location, but is the Old Norse word for a person participating in an expedition to sea.

9 Wild, Dirty People

http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/8-tm.jpg?w=263&h=350 (http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/8.jpeg)
Misconception: The Vikings were all dirty, wild-looking people
In many movies and cartoons, the Vikings are shown as dirty, wild-looking, savage men and women, but in reality, the Vikings were quite vain about their appearance. In fact, combs, tweezers, razors and “ear spoons” are among some of the most frequent artifacts from Viking Age excavations. These same excavations have also shown that the Vikings made soap.
In England, the Vikings living there even had a reputation for excessive cleanliness because of their custom of bathing once a week (on Saturday). To this day, Saturday is referred to as laugardagur / laurdag / lørdag / lördag, or “washing day” in the Scandinavian languages, though the original meaning is lost in modern speech in most cases. However, “laug” does still mean “bath” or “pool” in Icelandic.
8 Big and Blond

http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/asterix-and-the-vikings.jpg-tm.jpg?w=400&h=265 (http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/asterix-and-the-vikings.jpg.jpeg)
Misconception: The Vikings were all big and blond
The Vikings are often shown as big, bulging guys with long blond hair, but historical records show that the average Viking man was about 170 cm (5’7”) tall which was not especially tall for the time. Blond hair was seen as ideal in the Viking culture, and many Nordic men bleached their hair with a special soap. But the Vikings were great at absorbing people, and many people who had been kidnapped as slaves, became part of the Viking population in time. So, in Viking groups, you would probably find Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, French, and Russians — a very diverse group built around a core of Vikings from a particular region, say, southern Denmark or an Oslo fjord.
7 Skull Cups

http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/europe-07.1183614420.mead-cup.jpg-tm.jpg?w=400&h=300 (http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/europe-07.1183614420.mead-cup.jpg.jpeg)
Misconception: The Vikings drank from skull cups
The origin of this legend is Ole Worm’s “Reuner seu Danica literatura antiquissima” from 1636 in which he writes that Danish warriors drank from the “curved branches of skulls” – ie, horns (pictured above), which was probably mistranslated in Latin to mean human “skulls”. The fact is, however, no skull cups have ever been found in excavations from the Viking Age.
6 Crude Weapons

http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/vapenutst.jpg-tm.jpg?w=400&h=294 (http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/vapenutst.jpg.jpeg)
Misconception: The Vikings used crude, unsophisticated weapons
Vikings are often shown with crude, unsophisticated weapons such as clubs and crude axes, but the Vikings were actually skilled weapon smiths. Using a method called pattern welding, the Vikings could make swords that were both extremely sharp and flexible. According to Viking Sagas, one method of testing these weapons was to place the sword hilt first in a cold stream, and float a hair down to it. If it cut the hair, it was considered a good sword.

5 Home Town

http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/norstead-viking-village-19813.jpg-tm.jpg?w=400&h=265 (http://listverse.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/norstead-viking-village-19813.jpg.jpeg)
Misconception: The Vikings lived only in Scandinavia
The Vikings did originate from the Scandinavian countries, but over time they started settlements in many places, reaching as far as North Africa, Russia, Constantinople, and even North America. There are different theories about the motives driving the Viking expansion, the most common of which is that the Scandinavian population had outgrown the agricultural potential of their homeland. Another theory is that the old trade routes of western Europe and Eurasia experienced a decline in profitability when the Roman Empire fell in the 5th century, forcing the Vikings to open new trading routes in order to profit from international trade. Pictured above is a viking village in Canada.
4 Hated by their Peers

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Misconception: The Vikings were hated everywhere
One could imagine that the Vikings were hated everywhere because of their raids, but it seems that they were also respected by some. The French King Charles the III – known as Charles the Simple – gave the Vikings the land they had already settled on in France (Normandy), and he even gave his daughter to the Viking chief Rollo. In return, the Vikings protected France against wilder Vikings.
Also in Constantinople the Vikings were acknowledged for their strength – so much so that the Varangian guard of the Byzantine emperors in the 11th century was made up entirely of Swedish Vikings.
3 Bloodthirsty

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Misconception: The Vikings were unusually bloodthirsty and barbarian
The Viking raids were indeed very violent, but it was a violent age, and the question is whether non-viking armies were any less bloodthirsty and barbarian; for instance, Charlemagne, who was the Vikings’ contemporary, virtually exterminated the whole people of Avars. At Verden, he ordered the beheading of 4,500 Saxons. What really made the Vikings different was the fact that they seemed to take special care to destroy items of religious value (Christian monasteries and holy sites) and kill churchmen, which earned them quite a bit of hatred in a highly religious time. The Vikings probably enjoyed the reputation they had; people were so scared of them that they often fled from their cities instead of defending them when they saw a Viking ship coming near.
2 Rape and Pillage

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Misconception: The Vikings pillaged as their only way of living
It was actually only a very small percentage of the Vikings that were warriors; the majority was farmers, craftsmen and traders. For the Vikings who took to the sea, pillaging were one among many other goals of their expeditions. The Vikings settled peacefully in many places such as Iceland and Greenland, and were international merchants of their time; they peacefully traded with almost every county of the then-known world.
1 Helmet Style

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Misconception: The Vikings wore helmets with horns
This most be the biggest misconception about Vikings, but the fact remains, there are no records of such helmets having ever existed. All depictions of Viking helmets dating to the Viking age, show helmets with no horns and the only authentic Viking helmet that has ever been found does not have them either. An explanation for the helmet with horns myth is that Christians in contemporary Europe added the detail to make the Vikings look even more barbarian and pagan, with horns like Satan’s on their head. It should be noted that the Norse god Thor wore a helmet with wings on it, which do look somewhat similar to horns.

http://listverse.com/2009/04/21/top-10-misconceptions-about-the-vikings/

Did you have any of those misconceptions?

Neophyte
Monday, August 3rd, 2009, 11:50 PM
No, not really.

However, there is one known reference for a Germanic skull cup, and that is from the Langobard kingdom. One of their kings is said to have made one from his father in law's skull, which eventually caused him some severe marital problems.

Dagna
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, 12:57 AM
'Pillaging' Vikings unmasked as eco warriors


THEIR reputation for raping and pillaging may not have set them out as the ideal role-models for an environmentally-friendly way of life.

But it seems that lessons could perhaps be learnt from the Vikings after the intriguing discovery in Yorkshire of what is believed to be a metal recycling centre dating back to the 11th century.

Historians and metal detector enthusiasts have made the find which is being heralded as evidence of how the Norse invaders recycled their fearsome array of weapons.

Read the rest of this article... (http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/39Pillaging39-Vikings-unmasked-as-eco.5875485.jp)

SpearBrave
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010, 09:39 AM
I don't think Eco-warriors would be the right word. Carbon steel and wrought iron were a trading commodity during that time.

They were probably taking any Ferris metals and making what were called currency bars that could be traded to other areas. High carbon steel used in making weapons was very rare during this time and was sometimes worth more than gold or silver. The weapons taken from battle were reforged into bars and made more transportable. This is a clue that the Norse had no intention on staying.

Calling them Eco-warriors is a modern term. Every culture reused iron and steel prior to the invention of the modern blast furnace. Most people have heard of the saying " turning swords into plow shears" or vice versa. I think they used the term incorrectly and as a buzz word. Pre industrial people did recycle as manufacturing new materials was time consuming and costly, not because they cared about the ecosystem.

I am by no account trying to belittle the find. I just think they are going in the wrong direction in trying to preserve the site.:)

Aeternitas
Thursday, March 24th, 2016, 12:40 AM
History teaches us that the Vikings were brutal, thieving invaders, but much of that history was written by Viking victims: European monks. New evidence says otherwise. / … The image we have today of the marauding Vikings is both wildly off the mark, and ignores the major contributions they made in shaping Europe during the Middle Ages. That demystification and deep dive into the world of one of history’s most iconic people is the subject of a new book, The Age of the Vikings, by Anders Winroth. Not only are the Vikings completely misunderstood, he argues, but they may have saved Europe.How the Vikings Saved Europe and Got a Terrible Reputation » Full Link (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/17/how-the-vikings-saved-europe-and-got-a-terrible-reputation.html)

Dagna
Friday, March 25th, 2016, 05:03 PM
Raping and pillaging? Viking conquests were more like 'romantic breaks': DNA reveals warriors brought their women when raiding British Isles
DNA evidence suggests women accompanied men on raiding trips
Study hints men were family-orientated and children may have come too
Women played helped to establish new settlements, trade and had children
Study questions stereotype of raping and pillaging warriors
Experts from University of Oslo say that male warriors didn’t collect female slaves on the way from Ireland, as previously suggestedA study has shed light on the importance of women in the colonisation of the British Isles in the Middle Ages, suggesting that Viking men were family-orientated and not as blood-thirsty as previously thought.

Researchers from the University of Oslo have revealed that ‘significant’ numbers of women accompanied Viking men when they sailed to places like the Scottish mainland in longboats.
Their study contradicts the popular notion that raiding parties only comprised men, who were intent on raping and pillaging new territories, The Independent reported.

In fact, experts think whole families may have travelled on the iconic boats to form instant communities on newly-conquered lands.

They analysed DNA extracted from 45 Viking skeletons discovered in Norway, to discoverer that women played an integral part in establishing settlements in Britain, for example.

Professor Eriks Hagelberg, of the university, said the inclusion of women on the trips meant that Vikings could have children and spread more quickly across the northern seas, establishing communities.

‘It seems to support the view that a significant number of women were involved in the settlement of the smaller isles, which overrules the idea that it just involved raping and pillaging by males going on the rampage,’ he said.

The expert conceded that it is true that Vikings did have sex with local women, but the DNA evidence studied indicates that Norse women were at the heart of new communities set up in the Viking colonies.

She told LiveScience that Viking women established settlements and grew crops, and ‘trade was very, very important'.

The study contradicts one of the theories as to why the Viking launched raids: that there were not enough women at home, she added.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2865229/Raping-pillaging-Viking-conquests-like-romantic-breaks-DNA-reveals-warriors-brought-women-raiding-British-Isles.html#ixzz43w31JDd6

Dagna
Friday, March 25th, 2016, 05:27 PM
The truth about Vikings: Not the smelly barbarians of legend but silk-clad, blinged-up culture vultures

A stunning new exhibition at the British Museum is redrawing the cartoon caricature of these 'Scandinavian savages' to reveal them in a fascinating new light

They were a contradictory bunch – shameless raiders yet shrewd traders; pagans yet culture vultures; smelly soap-dodgers who hated messy hair; and testosterone-fuelled warriors who believed girl-power won their battles.

And the look? Well, forget Conan the Barbarian, think Johnny Rotten crossed with Captain Jack Sparrow but with Jay-Z’s jewellery and MC Hammer’s trousers.

We should also banish the idea of bearskins, matted whiskers and shell necklaces. It seems they were more into silk cloaks, groomed beards and bling.

“And they were very much into their bling – sheer ostentatious showing-off.”

“They displayed their wealth and status by wearing ridiculously-impractical clothing, jewellery and weapons, and eating in style. I defy anyone to look at the beautifully crafted artefacts in the exhibition and tell me these were barbarians.

The Vikings were the original social rebels – the punks or Hells Angels of the years 800-1050. But before anyone goes soft on them, Gareth adds:

“They weren’t fluffy bunnies. They were pirates and raiders, that’s what ‘viking’ means. They were slave traders and brutal warriors.”

“But,” says Gareth, “they were also peaceful and successful traders who brought ideas on economic systems, religious thought, literacy and art from the countries they reached.”

Thanks to their powerful longships, the Viking stomping ground stretched from Constantinople and Russia in the east, across to Greenland and North America, and covered the British Isles, France, Spain and the Mediterranean.

They traded amber, whale bone, furs, weapons, wine and jewellery. But whether raiding or trading, the Vikings had to look dapper. Gareth says: “They wore big metal bracelets of set weights – decorative and ostentatious but practical because everyone knew their value.

The Vikings may not have smelled good, a contemporary chronicler called them “the filthiest of God’s creatures, never washing themselves”, but hair was another matter.

“They took their grooming very seriously and combs are one of the commonest grave finds,” Gareth explains.

Their solid-gold toiletry sets included delicate ear spoons for scooping out wax. The men also used a kohl-like eyeliner – “think Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean,” says Gareth.

Viking men were also heavily tattooed but their most striking and fearsome fashion statement was their gnashers.

They would file horizontal lines into the enamel on their front teeth and paint in red resin.

Another myth about Vikings is that of the “berserkir” or berserker warriors, from which we get the expression “going berserk”.

They were said to have worked themselves up into a feel-no-pain frenzy with the help of henbane, a hallucinogenic plant.

But while shape-shifting was a Viking belief, Gareth thinks they were just high on adrenaline, carrying bear claw charms and showing bear-like ferocity – rather than actually being bare.

The Vikings believed in Valkyries – terrifying female spirits of war – however, Gareth is not convinced there were female soldiers. He thinks the weapons may have been heirlooms buried with the last in a family line.

But Viking women were quite independent. They could own their own property and controlled the purse-strings in the marital home.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/truth-vikings-not-smelly-barbarians-3183358

Dagna
Friday, March 25th, 2016, 05:39 PM
The Vikings: it wasn't all raping and pillaging

New research suggests they were model immigrants who co-existed peacefully with the natives

Scholars will argue that they should be seen as an early example of immigrants who were successfully assimilated into British and Irish culture. Their so-called "invasion" led, to some extent, to the creation of trans-national identities, a process that has particular relevance to modern Britain.

Some Viking kings learnt to speak English, Welsh and Irish as well as Latin, the language of the elite in Britain, and adopted Anglo-Saxon names.

One king who settled in Ireland was honoured with "praise" poetry dedicated to his rule by the indigenous community. The Viking kings of Dublin, said Dr Ní Mhaonaigh, became a very active element of the city's political scene.

"What is clear is that the popular picture of Vikings is not quite as it seems, and when viewing their long-term presence, it is quite untrue. The communities were mutually transformed in the process. Of course, there was plundering and pillaging, but those who started to build camps and started to settle began interacting in a very different way," she said.

Over the centuries the importance of this cross-fertilisation was overshadowed by a skewed mythology of the Viking age that was created by 12th and 13th century Irish chroniclers and poets long after the Scandinavians' golden era had ended. A host of poems and prose narrative emerged which depicted the Vikings as "otherworldly beings" who came and stream-rollered across the cultural terrain of the British Isles.

These Irish writers went to great lengths to "extol the virtues of their Celtic ancestors who had fended off the Vikings", and so circulated this mythology of the maurading invader. It is only now, in recent decades, that academics have begun to unpick the stereotype and reveal an altogether different story.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/the-vikings-it-wasnt-all-raping-and-pillaging-1643969.html

Ocko
Friday, March 25th, 2016, 06:21 PM
After the Christianization came to the Danish borders the 'i viking' started. That means the raiding of christian lands, especially France (invading it and having their own kingdom there) and as well in christian Britain (most missionaries came for England and Ireland), being colonized by heathens and later skandinavians the hostile way. Also Ireland was invaded and colonized by skandinavians.

That christian monks, who could write, chronicled the skandinavians in a very unfavorable and unhuman (for them unchristian) way is only understandable.

That the slandering of heathen viking was a main interest of christians to make sure everyone is against the heathen raiders.

That christian did the same everywhere else was of course blindsided and not talked about, especially not in negative terms.

So we see heathen vikings today through the eyes of hostile christians.

That heathen lived a different reality as those in a monastery is selfevident.

monks also considered ordinary christians as lower than them and are not really favorably chronicling them.

All documents and chronicles have been destroyed by christians/monks and replaced with forged copies to give a positive image of christians and their missionaries.

So what should read history from christians, reporting heathen, with a grain of salt.

Out of Germania
Wednesday, October 11th, 2017, 09:10 AM
What Vikings really looked like

Were Vikings really dirty savages who wore horned helmets, or did they look like we do today? Here’s what the experts say.

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There’s no shortage of myths about the appearance of our notorious Viking ancestors.

To find out more about these myths, ScienceNordic’s Danish partner site, videnskab.dk, asked its Facebook readers to list their favourite myths about what the Vikings looked like.

We have picked out five myths from the resulting debate and asked researchers to help us confirm or bust these myths.

Armed with this information, our graphic designer then took a shot at drawing some examples of our infamous forefathers, which you can see in our picture gallery.

The five myths are:

Vikings were dirty and unkempt
Vikings wore horned helmets
Vikings looked like we do today
Vikings’ clothing style was admired throughout the world
Vikings’ appearance was marked by battle wounds

MYTH 1: Vikings were dirty and unkempt

Unwashed, rough warriors with froth hanging out of the corners of the mouth. Popular culture portrays the Viking as a somewhat filthy person.

But that’s unlikely to be true:

“Several archaeological finds have revealed tweezers, combs, nail cleaners, ear cleaners and toothpicks from the Viking Age," says Louise Kæmpe Henriksen, a curator at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde.

The finds suggest that cleanliness meant a lot to the Vikings. Written sources from medieval England also back up this view. In his chronicle from 1220 – a couple of centuries after the Vikings had ravaged England – John of Wallingford described the Vikings as well-groomed heartbreakers:

”They had also conquered, or planned to conquer, all the country’s best cities and caused many hardships for the country’s original citizens, for they were – according to their country’s customs – in the habit of combing their hair every day, to bathe every Saturday, to change their clothes frequently and to draw attention to themselves by means of many such frivolous whims. In this way, they sieged the married women’s virtue and persuaded the daughters of even noble men to become their mistresses,” wrote Wallingford.

There are, however, sources that paint a contrasting picture:

“The Arab ambassador IBN Fadlan, who met a group of Vikings on the Volga, described them as the filthiest of Allah’s creatures,” says Henriksen.

“But the Arabs were Muslims and came from a culture where people were supposed to bathe before each of their five daily prayers, whereas the Vikings may only have bathed once a week.”

Vikings with neat beards and reverse mullets

It wasn’t enough just to be clean. The hair also had to be styled right.

“From picture sources we know that the Vikings had well-groomed beards and hair. The men had long fringes and short hair on the back of the head," she says, adding that the beard could be short or long, but it was always well-groomed. Further down on the neck, the skin was shaved.

Two sources support this view:

One is a three-dimensional carved male head on a wagon in the Oseberg ship burial mound in Norway. The man’s hair is well groomed and he has an elegant long moustache and a chin beard that reaches up to his moustache, but apparently not out to the cheeks.

The second source is an anonymous Old English letter in which a man admonishes his brother to follow the Anglo-Saxon practice and not give in to ‘Danish fashion with a shaved neck and blinded eyes’. Blinded eyes probably meant a long fringe.

The women’s hair was usually long. It was probably tied into a knot on the back of the head, and the knot may have been decorated with coloured tape, which was braided into the hair. The women also wore a bonnet or a scarf around their heads.

MYTH 2: Vikings wore horned helmets

When you see a Viking in cartoons, games or in movies, he’s often depicted with a horned helmet on his head. But real Vikings did not wear these horned helmets.

It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that people started drawing Vikings wearing horned helmets because the villains in a popular Wagner opera wore such helmets.

From picture sources we know that the Vikings had well-groomed beards and hair. The men had long fringes and short hair on the back of the head. Louise Kæmpe Henriksen

In a real combat situation the horns wouldn’t be very practical as they could easily get entangled in anything that came their way.

When in combat, real Vikings used iron helmets for protection, and they were armed either with ordinary tools or actual weapons such as swords and lances.

Weapons reveal Vikings’ wealth

Researchers can make estimates about a Viking’s social standing based on the weapons he brought to his grave. Small axes and knives were tools for everyone, but only the elite could afford lances and swords.

"You needed to have a high ranking in society to be buried with a sword,” says Viking weapon expert Peter Pentz, a curator at the Danish National Museum.

“A more ordinary Viking could be buried with his axe or knife, but we cannot say whether the axe and the knife had been used as weapons or as tools. Grave finds have revealed numerous small axes, which might just as well have been used for felling trees as for killing.”

The small axe was a tool that could be carried in a belt just like a knife, but the sword is unlikely to have served any other purpose than to kill.

“The sword was associated with an entirely different prestige. In grave finds that’s a clear indication that we’re dealing with a warrior,” says Pentz.

It’s actually more difficult to determine the gender of a skeleton from the Viking era. The men’s skulls were a little more feminine and the women’s skulls a little more masculine than what we’re seeing today. Lise Lock Harvig

The Vikings also used bows, arrows and sharp spears as weapons. For protection they used a round shield, which was lined with leather. These shields were sometimes painted and decorated with simple patterns.

Those who could afford it also used a chain mail to protect the torso.

MYTH 3: Vikings looked like we do today

Many of videnskab.dk’s Facebook readers said they imagine that Vikings looked more or less exactly like we do today.

This is true to a certain extent, but there are some subtle differences and a small mystery that is yet to be solved.

The Vikings’ anatomy was very similar to ours, except that the ancient Danes were 8-10 cm shorter, on average, than we are today.

Louise Kæmpe Henriksen believes that Viking bodies were generally marked by the hard work they had to put in every day as peasants.

“It’s probably fair to assume that they have been more muscular than we tend to be today, but their appearance was also marked by their hard work. Osteoarthritis was, together with dental problems, a common complaint,” she says.

Blue and red were popular colours throughout the Viking Age. In general, they all wore colourful clothes with patterns and sewn-on ribbons. Ulla Mannering

The Vikings had access to a variety of foods from around the world because they had travelled far and wide as tradesmen and as warriors.

Nevertheless, their nutrition was generally poorer than today. The children experienced slower growth and didn’t grow to be as tall as children do today, explains anthropological archaeologist Lise Lock Harvig of the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, who studies skeletons from ancient tombs.

Viking women had masculine faces

The skeletons reveal another difference between us and the Vikings: men’s and women’s faces were more similar in appearance in the Viking Age than they are today.

“It’s actually more difficult to determine the gender of a skeleton from the Viking era,” says Harvig. “The men’s skulls were a little more feminine and the women’s skulls a little more masculine than what we’re seeing today. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all skeletons from the Viking period, but generally it’s quite difficult to determine the gender of a Viking Age skeleton.”

She explains that Viking women often had pronounced jawbones and eyebrows, whereas in the men, these features were more feminine than what archaeologists are accustomed to when trying to determine the gender of ancient skeletons.

Danish Vikings were redheads

The skin on the skeletons has looked much like it does on most of today’s Danes. Genetic studies have shown that even back then there was a healthy mix of blonds, redheads and dark-haired people, just like today.

There were, however, more blond Vikings in northern Scandinavia in the area around Stockholm, Sweden, while there were more redheads in western Scandinavia, which Denmark belongs to.

Facts:

The Viking Age spanned the late 8th to 11th centuries, where the Vikings lived as farmers, tradesmen and warriors who went on raids.

In the early stages of this period, the regular Viking man fulfilled several roles at the same time, but later on in the Viking era, the community became more specialised, with some focusing on being skilful farmers, while others mainly functioned as warriors.

But not everyone in Viking society was of Scandinavian descent:

”There was a mixture even back then because other cultures came to Denmark,” says Harvig.

Dubgaill vs finngaill

Louise Kæmpe Henriksen mentions a little mystery that has popped into the discussion about the appearance of the Vikings.

In the Irish annals, Danish and Norwegian Vikings are described as ‘dark-skinned’ and ‘beautiful blondes’ respectively – the contemporary Irish ‘dubgaill’ and ‘finngaill’.

According to Peter Pentz of the Danish National Museum, there is an ongoing debate within scientific circles about the exact meaning of these words.

Historians have traditionally interpreted the dark and fair Vikings as Danes and Norwegians, respectively. But this interpretation has recently been challenged by researchers David N. Dumville and Clare Downham. They argue that neither of the two terms describes Viking ancestry. ‘Finnegaill’ could have been used to describe those Vikings who had been in Ireland over long periods, while ‘dubgaill’ was used for newly-arrived rival groups of Vikings.

MYTH 4: Vikings’ clothing style was admired throughout the world

Some of videnskab.dk’s Facebook readers believe that the Vikings’ clothing style was admired throughout the world.

Facts:

When archaeologists determine the gender of a skeleton, they compare the width of the pelvis with features in the skull, so they can be as certain as possible.

But the researchers’ experience is that this is particularly difficult to ascertain when it comes to our notorious Viking ancestors.

And sure enough, several sources, including an old drawing, give positive descriptions of their clothing.

”The Anglo-English king Cnut the Great is portrayed on an English drawing from the 1030s as an erect, well-groomed and elegantly dressed man with pointy shoes, socks with ribbons, trousers and a knee-length tunic and a cloak slung over one shoulder,” says Henriksen.

Scientists know that Vikings valued colours and patterns and that fashion changed over time, from region to region. But exactly what the Viking outfits looked like remains a mystery.

What we know is based on fragments of clothes

Most of the Vikings' clothes have rotted away and disappeared by the time archaeologists excavate their tombs, says Ulla Mannering, an archaeologist at the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Textile Research at the National Museum.

"The picture we have is quite fragmented because it’s based on objects and textiles that are preserved in the tombs,” she says. “In some cases it can be quite difficult to reconstruct the clothes. Besides, it’s not certain that the clothes they wore when they were buried were the same as they would wear any other day."

Researchers do know for sure though that there was a difference between men’s and women’s costumes.

Women’s clothing

The women usually wore long dresses or skirts which went down to the feet. Archaeologists have found numerous belt buckles in women's graves, located on the skeleton’s shoulders. This indicates that the women wore so-called harness dresses, which were held together with a strap over each shoulder. Other findings show that women also wore dresses with built-in sleeves.

Facts:

Vikings’ average height
Men: 171 cm
Women: 158 cm
Source: Lise Lock Harvig

The clothes were double-layered. On the inside, Viking women wore a linen base – a sort of petticoat, which was soft and had a cooling effect. The outer clothes were usually made from wool, which is a warm, but also a durable material.

Men’s clothing

The men wore the same materials as the women. The inner layer usually consisted of a linen kirtle – a long shirt which the men pulled over their heads. On the outside, the typical Viking man wore a woollen coat.

Like today’s men, Viking men wore trousers. These could be either short or long, and they were usually sewn in the style of pantaloons. These trousers only reached down to the men’s knees.

Men usually wore a hat whereas women could choose between a small hat and a scarf.

Vikings knew of colours and luxury

Scientists know that the Vikings liked colours.

"Blue and red were popular colours throughout the Viking Age. In general, they all wore colourful clothes with patterns and sewn-on ribbons," says Mannering, adding that archaeologists have come across examples of colours covering the entire colour palette.

The Vikings have also known about luxuries such as silk and sewn-on ribbons with silver and golden threads. But only a few members of the elite have been able to wear these exclusive fabrics, which were imported from around the world.

MYTH 5: Vikings’ appearance was marked by battle wounds

The muscular Vikings sometimes worked as farmers, and other times they were in battle.

The scientists cannot say, however, how much of the Vikings’ physical appearance has been characterised by wounds and lesions from fights, since superficial cuts or a missing eye cannot be detected on an ancient skeleton.

“But in male skeletons, we have found examples of sword wounds in the hip, which the man has survived,” says Harvig. “It’s not as if all of them have lesions, but it’s not uncommon either.”

She says it’s likely that the Vikings walked around with ugly scars. They didn’t have the modern methods of treating wounds and injuries that we have today.

So perhaps the image of an average Viking, as portrayed in the above picture gallery, only needs to be spiced up with a scar or two and that should bring us pretty close to a portrayal of what Vikings really looked like.http://sciencenordic.com/what-vikings-really-looked